By Rod Kight
This is a good analysis of the temporary USDA hemp rules. Read the whole thing on the link below.
The first crisis point initiated by the Rule is its requirement that Labs “must be registered by the DEA to conduct chemical analysis of controlled substances (in accordance with 21 CFR 1301.13).” The USDA’s basis for implementing this requirement is that Labs “could potentially handle cannabis that tests above the 0.3% concentration of THC on a dry weight basis, which is, by definition, marijuana and a Schedule 1 controlled substance.” In other words, implied in the requirement for testing cannabis samples for their THC concentrations is the fact that some will not test within the legal limit for hemp and will thus be illegal marijuana. Since it is illegal to possess marijuana without a DEA registration, all Labs must be registered with the DEA in order to perform compliance testing for hemp.
The second crisis point initiated by the Rule is its requirement that, “Testing will be conducted using post-decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods where the total THC concentration level measured includes the potential to convert delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into THC.” This is a technical way of saying that the Rule requires the total THC value of a hemp crop not to exceed 0.3%. In other words, the concentrations of THCA in hemp now matter. I am particularly interested in the total THC issue and have previously written about it in detail. If you are not familiar with the issue I encourage you to click here to be directed to an article in which I analyze and debunk the arguments for using total THC as the metric for determining whether a cannabis sample is lawful hemp or illegal marijuana. Although I am not surprised, I am disappointed and concerned that the USDA chose to implement the total THC metric. For the reasons I discuss in the article I just referenced, the 2018 Farm Bill did not require the USDA to implement a total THC testing protocol.