Oregon senators push back on USDA’s rules for testing THC in hemp

The federal plan to test hemp for THC will damage the industry, according to two Oregon senators who are pushing back on rules from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both Democrats, say the USDA hemp production rules lay out THC testing requirements with “potentially harmful effects” for the new hemp industry.

The senators suggested five changes to the rules:
  • Expanding the testing window from 15 days before harvest to 28 days before harvest.
  • Allowing labs that aren’t registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to test hemp.
  • Eliminating the requirement that THC testing be done after decarboxylation, saying there are “similarly reliable methods” that are friendlier to the producer.
  • Requiring hemp samples to come from the top 8 inches of the plant instead of the top third.
  • Raising the THC level at which farmers can held negligent from 0.5% to 1%.

The senators say the 0.5% THC limit for negligence is “far too low” for farmers working with untested genetics. Their letter, first reported by Marijuana Moment, echoes concerns already raised by industry entrepreneurs.

The USDA has said it’s open to changing the hemp rules but has given no deadline for doing so. The public can comment on the rules until Dec. 31.