Hemp-CBD Legislation: Will Congress Boost the Hemp Total THC limit to 1%?

As reported by Hemp Grower magazine, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky introduced legislation on December 15 that would amend the definition of hemp from .3% THC to 1% THC. The bill would also make other major changes to the USDA’s interim final rule, which would affect hemp growers, processors, manufacturers, and shippers. The legislation is titled the Hemp Economic Mobilization Act (the “Hemp Act of 2020”). The Hemp Act of 2020 proposes four significant amendments to the federal laws currently governing the production of hemp.

First, the Hemp Act of 2020 would amend the federal definition of hemp by striking “.3 percent” and inserting “1 percent.” As hemp businesses know, the 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as cannabis sativa with a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than .3 percent on a dry weight basis. The USDA then adopted a “total THC” testing requirement that further burdened growers and others in the industry.

As we wrote back in January 2019, the .3% threshold was created by a Canadian researcher in the 1970s who set a dividing line of .3% between hemp and marijuana for purposes of establishing a biological taxonomy. The dividing line was never intended to be used as

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