Industry group aims to develop high-CBD varieties that won’t go hot

A coalition of hemp farmers plans to screen seed-propagated hemp varieties to determine which ones may be able to produce mother stock for clones that will consistently meet federal THC limits.

The project aims to get more cultivars listed with the global Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA).

The project grew out of a state-appointed panel of hemp entrepreneurs in Colorado tasked with finding strategies to help the new industry. It was developed by the Agricultural Genomics Foundation and the Fat Pig Society, a Colorado-based hemp workers’ cooperative.

Hemp plant breeders say they aren’t close enough to developing stable CBD seed varieties that reliably grow to full-term maturity without testing above the federal legal limit of 0.3% THC. They said that clones – or rooted cuttings – could be a more immediate way to develop safe varieties, but it’s difficult to identify the best-suited varieties.

The project is led by Terry Moran, who developed a state-level seed certification program in her time at  the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Moran now works for a hemp company.

AOSCA listings are becoming more important for an industry struggling to find varieties that won’t need to be destroyed, the group told Hemp Industry Daily in an email.

As a service to participating breeders, the group will:

  • Cultivate plants in a USDA Certified Organic container test field; breeders will receive two copies of each plant, propagated vegetatively to serve as mother stock for future clone crops.
  • Provide testing results and all physical traits measured, as necessary to enter the Colorado Certified Hemp trials, file for plant or utility patents and USDA Plant Variety Protection and apply for an AOSCA listing.
  • Identify whether varieties were cross-pollinated with marijuana, eliminate those plants and return low-risk plants to restart seed or vegetative plant lines.
  • Help breeders shorten the path to seed stabilization by growing seed to allow breeders to select plants closest to the breeding target for the next breeding cycle.
  • Provide application materials for patents or AOSCA certification, with necessary information and estimates on fees and legal costs.
  • Include data collected from breeders’ plants in future scientific studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, in collaboration with AGF.
  • Notify breeders of identification of any patentable asexual (clone) varieties with information and assistance to apply for patents and AOSCA certifications, including gene sequencing and field trials to identify variety attributes.

Interested breeders are asked to call 970-325-6556 or email