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.

2 comments on “Oregon senators push back on USDA’s rules for testing THC in hemp
  1. george on

    I sent a sample out for testing last month. After the lab dried the sample using a drying balance, it was ground up and the biomass was divided up five ways. The first lab test came in at .17%. The second lab COA came in at .21 and .22% and the third lab came in at .30 and .27%.
    This is the same kind of spread we see in marijuana testing. While all of these test would pass, hanging the life of the farm and farmer on completely random test results is scary at best and suicidal at its worst.

  2. Martin Margheim on

    The answer it really quite simple – get the DEA out of the rules. By definition, hemp is less than 0.3% THC. It was separated from higher THC cannibis by definition and virtue of the December, 2018 US Agricultural ACT. Hemp is an agricultural product. There need not be DEA involvement.

    The rules as proposed appear to lay onus on growers to prove they are not growing cannabis with higher than 0.3% THC. The onus should be the other way around. And, as suggested, testing latitude must be expanded to reasonable timing, plant location, percentages and etc. BUT, get the DEA out of the equation!

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