The research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice has awarded $350,000 to a federal laboratory to develop a reliable method for measuring THC levels to distinguish industrial hemp from marijuana.
The 2018 Farm Bill allowed the cultivation of industrial hemp in the United States by providing a threshold of 0.3% THC for the entire plant.
“The objective of this project is to provide forensic laboratories with the necessary analytical tools to confidently make these measurements through simple, robust, and cost-effective analytical methods,” the DOJ’s National Institute of Justice wrote in a grant notice published last week.
The grant recipient is the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal laboratory under the U.S. Department of Commerce. According to the announcement, NIST will focus on the development of dilution methods, extraction protocols, a single laboratory validation study and evaluations of measurement tools.
The NIST is collaborating with state and county law enforcement in Maryland “to allow for a critical evaluation of the new analytical methods to ensure their applicability to meet forensic laboratory needs,” the notice said.