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THC Limit No Surprise in Final Rule on Hemp - Hemp Grower

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Industry members responded to USDA by keeping the allowable amount of total THC in cannabis at 0.3%.

The final regulations governing the production of hemp in the United States under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Act of 2018) will replace the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s

, Released on October 31, 2019. One of the most concerned aspects of the IFR is that in the state-administered test, cannabis contains more than 0.3% THC (called "hot cannabis"), which is technically cannabis (Schedule 1 Controlled Substance) ), must be discarded.

After the release of the IFR, hundreds of growers and other industry stakeholders opposed the statutory 0.3% THC limit during two separate public comment periods provided by the USDA. Some industry organizers advocated increasing THC to 1% (hemp Minimum concentration threshold). according to

. In fact, Kentucky legislators 

Last week, the allowable amount of THC in cannabis was increased from 0.3% to 1%.

"The 2018 Farm Bill authorizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture to produce hemp domestically and provides a framework for the requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The bill removes hemp from the first Schedule of the bill.

And define hemp as a plant

Or any part of the plant (including seeds, derivatives and extracts), the concentration of THC on a dry weight basis does not exceed 0.3%," a USDA spokesperson told

"This means that the THC concentration limit for cannabis is set by law, not a requirement that can be changed by regulations, but it requires action by Congress."

With this in mind, Joy Beckerman, head of cannabis Ace International, which provides professional cannabis consulting, legal support and expert services, stated that the statutory limit of cannabis is maintained at 0.3% in the final regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture. Not surprisingly. 

The legal framework for the THC limit of 0.3% has been listed in the 2018 and 2014 Farm Bills.

Beckman told reporters: "Regulations cannot override laws and regulations."

. "In order to make the regulations above the laws and regulations, the law needs to be amended. It is not their right to ask the USDA to overturn the definition of hemp in the U.S. Congress."

Jason Waggoner, vice president and general manager of EcoGen Biosciences, Colorado, is a leading vertically integrated CBD wholesale producer and supplier of hemp-derived ingredients in the United States, and has adopted a similar attitude toward the role of the US Department of Agriculture in the legal definition of hemp.

He said: "In contrast to what the US Department of Agriculture is doing, my views on that particular level may be unfounded because it is not their prerogative," he said. "They are the regulatory body that enforces the law. Therefore, before the law is amended, I think their hands may be binding with respect to this number."

Eric Steenstra, president of voting for marijuana, stated that although the 0.3% statutory limit was raised to the hands of the USDA, the final rule did provide for the feedback received under the Interim Final Rule (IFR) Some improvements have added a certain degree of stability to the cannabis industry. , Is a propaganda organization based in Washington, D.C.

"I am very pleased that the US Department of Agriculture has listened to the feedback from the hemp industry and farmers, and they finalized the hemp production regulations," Steenstra told reporters.

. "The new regulations mean that fewer crops will be out of compliance, thereby protecting farmers from damage and loss of crops. This and other useful regulations make the new hemp rules an important step in the right direction. "

some

Changes include the expansion of the harvest window, alternative options for disposal or repair of cannabis, and an increase in negligence standards.

Deepank Utkhede, chief operating officer of Vantage Hemp, a large extraction facility located in Greeley, said that apart from the legal parameters in the final rule, the 0.3% upper limit does not necessarily have any scientific basis. , It produces various CBD products for customers all over the United States.

"I am the one who advocates extending the period of cannabis use," Utkhede said of the legal limit of THC for cannabis. "0.3% is arbitrary. It is not based on any science or data. "In the case of 0.4%, you will become higher." This is just a number randomly selected by all accounts. Therefore, when there is no data to support it At times, it is difficult to defend it."

Beckerman said that the origin of the 0.3% threshold that distinguishes industrial hemp and hemp can be traced back to 1976, when Canadian horticulturists Ernest Small and Arthur Cronquist ( Arthur Cronquist) published an article in the magazine.

Titled "

. "

Small and Cronquist said in the article: "It should be noted that we arbitrarily use a concentration of 0.3% delta-9 THC (based on dry weight) in the young and vigorous leaves of relatively mature plants as a guide to distinguish the two types of plants. Plants ."

Beckerman said that the key word in the article was "arbitrary adoption." Forty-five years later, members of Congress and public policy institutes (such as CRS) are still referencing Small's articles when formulating land laws.  

What is the meaning of increasing the allowable amount of THC in cannabis?

Beckman said that, specifically, testing cannabis grown in the field and increasing legal restrictions will affect international trade and the economic stability of farmers. For example, the legal THC limit in Canada and the European Union are both 0.3%.

Beckman said: "This is the first thing we need to know and understand, that is, we want to be able to conduct international trade."

Because we only have 1% and only 0.3%. Therefore, we really need to keep this in mind. "

Beckerman said she is an advocate for changing the law to cancel on-site decarboxylation testing. This process activates compounds such as THC, which may occur through heating or some oxidation. In short, the test method imposes a "total THC" standard, which includes not only delta-9-THC (the main poisoning compound of cannabis), but also tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) (a non-psychoactive compound of plants) ) Tetrahydrofuran after decarboxylation.

Although the United States Department of Agriculture included the requirements for testing total THC in its final rules, the 2018 Farm Bill does not define hemp based on total THC levels, only delta-9-THC. This means that the USDA is interpreting the 2018 Farm Bill to include total THC.

Beckerman said that if most farmers do not have to decarboxylate and quantify the THCA in plants, they will not be "hot seller."

Beckman said another concern about changing the law to increase the allowable amount of THC to 1% is the overproduction of the extract variety.

Having said that, Beckman said that if the law is amended to increase the legal limit of THC to 1%, farmers will be encouraged to continue planting extract varieties, which will not provide them with economic stability.

She said: "We need to protect the farmers." "At the same time, we can't say,'Hey, farmers, start growing fiber hemp. Just grow fiber hemp. Stop extracting hemp." Really? Who are they selling to? Where is the fiber processor? "

Beckman said that the future of hemp does not lie in the extract, but in the oil and the fiber of the hemp plant. But more fiber optic processors are needed to adapt to this market.

She said: "They are here, let me tell you." "In the United States, there are five kinds of coming soon, and there will be more, but as far as the situation is today, I want to tell a farmer in Washington State [Growing Fiber Hemp], the nearest fiber processing plant is in Montana. Hasn't it been built yet? No."

From sampling to THC testing, the following is a comparison between the final rule and its effect in March, which will take effect in March.

The final rule made several changes to sampling, which should reduce the burden on growers and regulators.

First, the rule increases the sampling time, which is currently 15 days. Now, it takes up to 30 days to collect test samples before the farmers plan to harvest, allowing more time for regulators to enter the field. Many people said in public comments that 15 days is too short to collect the right amount of samples from every manufacturer in the state.

The rules have also been slightly modified from where the plant samples need to be collected. Although the IFR requires samples to be collected from the top third part of the plant, the final rule now stipulates that the sample should be sampled at a distance of about 5 to 8 inches from the "main stem" (including leaves and flowers) and the "top bud". (On the stem Appear at the end of the plant), or the "central cola" at the flowering top of the plant (cut stems that may be cut into buds)."

Andrea Hope J. Steel, director of Coats Rose PC and co-head of the law firm’s cannabis business law group, told

This requirement will allow the sampling agent to collect more stem and leaf material than previously allowed.

Steele said: "This will help reduce the occurrence of hot crops." Stems and leaves usually contain lower levels of cannabinoids than flowers, and the specific one for this problem is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

However, Graf said that although the IFR review calls for a switch to whole-plant sampling, it still requires sampling mainly from flower materials. 

This

A large portion of its 300 pages are used to process and respond to the most demanding comments, including comments on sampling.

"Although many commenters believe that sampling of whole plants should be allowed, AMS believes that because THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] is concentrated in the flower material of the plant, the flower material is more suitable for testing than the whole plant," the final rule states.

Perhaps most importantly, the final rule changed the sampling protocol, from using specific methods to collect “representative samples from each batch of [growers] planned harvest” in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards to allowing states and tribes to implement more “performance-based” Methods. method.

AMS stated that these performance-based sampling protocols may consider the following factors:

"The flexibility that states and Indian tribes have in developing their own cannabis production plans will enable them to adopt best practices, because these practices will continue to change and evolve over time. For example, states and Indian tribes can make it possible to walk in the wild. Ways to adapt to the actions of cannabis growers of all sizes and shapes,” the final rule states. “AMS believes that in view of the operations of various growers, it is difficult to uniformly apply national standards. The standard "twisted" or letter "M" or "Z" walking pattern may not be suitable for sample collection by micro-agricultural producers, which is very large-scale. Producer or producer of multi-faceted cannabis."

Countries will need to include detailed information on performance-based sampling methods in their cannabis plans, which must be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (One

It has been published on the AMS website. )

Although the final rule implements overall positive sampling changes in the industry, THC testing will still be a heavy burden in most cases. 

The final rule is retained, and on a dry weight basis, hemp must be kept below 0.3% of the total THC. Total THC is defined as the sum of delta-9 THC and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). THCA itself does not produce the same psychoactive effects as delta-9 THC, but it can be converted into THC by decarboxylation, which is a process required for testing.

Although adding this restriction is one of the most demanding changes in public opinion, the USDA is unable to do so because the restriction has been written into law in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Act). It is worth noting that

However, THC is not included in the farm bill, which only defines cannabis at the delta-9-THC level. In its final rule (and IFR), the USDA interprets the language of the Farm Act to mean that total THC must be tested.

However, Senator Rand Paul has introduced legislation at Kentucky and at the federal level.

, This will settle the dispute between total THC and delta-9-THC.

Graf said that the final rule still retains "one of the most annoying regulations," which is a requirement for laboratory testing of marijuana and must be registered with the U.S. Drug Control Agency (DEA).

"Although AMS has received comments opposing this requirement, AMS retains the requirement in this final rule that any laboratory testing of cannabis for compliance with regulatory requirements must be registered with DEA ​​for chemical analysis of controlled substances..." , The final rule states. "Registration is necessary because it is possible for laboratories to process cannabis with a THC of more than 0.3% measured on a dry weight basis, which is defined as cannabis and Schedule 1 controlled substances."

In 2020, the USDA announced the postponement of certain requirements outlined in the IFR, including requirements for DEA registered laboratories. According to the final regulations, the delay has been further extended to December 2022.

Jeff Greene, co-founder and director of business development of the Florida Cannabis Commission, believes that the delay is a good sign, especially if the new Biden administration chooses to review and modify the final rules.

Green said: "There is still a lot of work to be done, but (U.S. Department of Agriculture) admitted that the DEA laboratory requirements will be postponed to 2022, so they admit that they do not necessarily have the correct requirements." "I think if the industry can apply to the U.S. agriculture The Ministry certifies that there is no need for [DEA laboratory requirements] next year, and I believe it will be cancelled."

The final rule did make a positive change in testing. It raised the negligence threshold from 0.5% to 1%, which means that if the marijuana test is higher than 0.3% but lower than 1%, it will not be considered negligent (however, treatment or remediation is still required). Those farmers whose THC values ​​of the crops measured are higher than or equal to 1% will receive a notice of violation from the USDA, which includes a corrective action plan, requiring producers to follow up and report progress to the USDA before a certain date. Producers who experience more than three negligence within five years will not be eligible to participate in the licensed cannabis program within the next five years.

Green said of the increase in negligence restrictions: "I think this has greatly reduced criminal activity."

If cannabis is indeed tested for "high temperature" above the 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) limit, the final rule provides producers with more disposal options beyond the total destruction written in the IFR.

Countries now have several options to improve production efficiency and reduce waste, so that they can make beneficial improvements to the soil. These include:

Producers can also bury or heat hemp. (AMS implemented these additional options in early 2020, but did not write them into the IFR.)

The final rule also implements a new option for hot crops: repair.

The rule stipulates that producers can remedy their materials by "removing and destroying flower materials, while retaining stems, stems, leaf materials and seeds." Producers can also chop up whole plants to create a "biomass-like material" and then retest it to ensure compliance.

Producers no longer need to use DEA-registered distributors or law enforcement agencies to deal with hot hemp.

The final rule states: “Through two forms of remedial measures, manufacturers can minimize losses, and in some cases can generate a return on investment, while ensuring that non-compliant materials do not enter commercial activities.” (AMS has

On its website. )

Several other changes were made to the final rule, including clarification of the tribe’s authority over cannabis production.

AMS stated on its website: “The IFR does not specify whether tribes with approved USDA programs can exercise their primary regulatory power over cannabis production across their entire territory or only on lands with inherent jurisdiction.” “Finally. The rules stipulate that a tribe can exercise jurisdiction over the production of cannabis in its entire territory, and therefore can exercise its management power, regardless of the degree of its inherent management power."

AMS also clearly stipulates in the new regulations that the final regulations only apply to cannabis cultivation. Any subsequent production will be the responsibility of DEA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Steele said: "What happens after growth is not within the jurisdiction of the USDA."

Although these regulations are the so-called "final regulations" for cannabis, they may not be final. Several industry sources said that the administration of President Joe Biden may require that the regulations, which are set to take effect on March 22, be frozen and amended.

In the end, many people say that the final rule is a step in the right direction in the cannabis industry. Nevertheless, improvements can still be made.

Greene predicts that the USDA will learn from states how to implement performance-based sampling procedures and ultimately standardize the most successful programs at the federal level.

Green said: "The DEA laboratory requirements and how to sample [cannabis] are two things that will be done during the Biden administration." The bill to raise the upper limit of phenol content to 1% will be a trio of amendments. industry. "If we hit the ball outside the park, then we will win the game."

Donald Robison of the Indiana Chemist's Office provides tips on how to avoid bad actors.

Office of Indiana Chemist (OISC)

Not only in Indiana but all over the country are known to be active distrust marijuana suppliers.

Donald Robison, OISC seed manager, said that OISC received the first report of poor reputation from Indiana cannabis suppliers in the spring of 2020. As the year went on, more reports began to appear, prompting OISC to issue a warning early this year. 

"We recently encountered a situation where a grower in Indiana who wanted to grow hemp bought seeds from an untrusted supplier in California," Robinson told us.

. "This untrusted seller sold him cannabis seeds. Indiana is not a legal state for cannabis." 

When growers realized that the seller was selling hemp seeds to them instead of hemp seeds, they tried to contact the seller. A few weeks later, without a reasonable response, OISC stepped in. 

Robison said: "My office tracked the seller and we found that they were selling seeds through a seed sales cooperative."

OISC informs the cooperative what the seller has done, but they can never contact the seller directly. 

The seller does not have a permit or license to sell the seeds, Robison said, which is critical to the grower when the seller is considered to be in good standing.

Although buying from unlicensed seed suppliers in Indiana is not illegal, Robinson urges farmers to buy only from licensed sellers because the law protects farmers in more ways when buying produce from farmers.

Robinson said farmers can make sure that they are buying from a trusted seller by browsing the state’s list of approved seed suppliers online, or calling someone in the state’s agriculture department or seed department directly.

Robison encourages all farmers to report any problems they have with untrusted sellers because this problem is beyond the scope of the country.

Robinson said: "Some of these unreliable suppliers are from other states, and they are selling seeds to growers in Indiana." "I am

And we also talked about this at the meeting, which is a common problem throughout the country. "

He predicts that most of these untrusted sellers will be eliminated by the Federation within four to five years.

A list of companies that have Indiana seed licenses can be obtained in the state to sell cannabis in the state.

The ban on smoking marijuana has been lifted until the next hearing scheduled for March 22.

The ban on smoking marijuana in Texas has encountered another obstacle. The hearing was originally planned to be held on February 1, but on January 5, Judge Lora Livingston of the Travis County District Court postponed the hearing to March.

Susan Hays, the lawyer in charge of the case, said in an email to the following people:

It was pointed out that “the trial was postponed to allow more time for the pre-trial briefing, and a motion for a brief judgment may also be required”, and pointed out that it is common to postpone the first trial.

In August 2020, the Texas Department of Health Services (DSHS) launched

, Which includes regulations prohibiting the production, processing, distribution, and retail of smoking marijuana products in Texas.

The plan went into effect on August 2, 2020, but a few days later, several companies filed lawsuits to overturn the state's ban on smoking cannabis products. In late August, Judge Livingston

Until the hearing after September 2020.

After the hearing, the temporary restraining order became a temporary restraining order.

Hayes said: "The appeal of the interim injunction has been fully notified in the Austin Court of Appeals and is still pending." 

The temporary ban prohibits the state from enforcing the DSHS ban on any smoking marijuana product until the case begins in March.

This is the latest lawsuit filed by Apothio LLC against Kern County, California.

On January 8, the Federal Court in Apothio LLC’s

Against Kern County, California, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and multiple individuals suspected of destroying 500 acres of marijuana in 2019. The extension of the discovery means that both the plaintiff and the defendant will stop the process of obtaining evidence to prove their case.

U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Thurston (Jennifer Thurston) said in a document filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on January 8. According to a criminal misdemeanor charge, the criminal case “may involve witnesses and written evidence...” For this reason and other legal factors, she wrote that there is no need to re-improve the discovery process of information collection in criminal and civil courts.

The criminal charges against Jones date back to the day in 2019, when the defendant allegedly destroyed Apothio's crops. Jones said it was marijuana, but the defendant said it was marijuana.

According to the judge's order, in October 2020, Jones "was prosecuted for a criminal misdemeanor related to the facts of the case." "... Specifically, these charges are for the illegal cultivation and sale of marijuana."

In June 2020, KCSO and CDFW filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in the district court. The defendant’s attorney referred to cannabis as "marijuana" in its motion, called the product a "prohibited substance," and used this feature to justify the destruction of cannabis.

In addition,

"Judge Thurston pointed out that an "initial review" of the two outstanding bids for the "Apothio" axe claim was conducted, which clearly shows that the motion can be decided without other findings, and it seems that these two motions are considered Will be approved."

The judge wrote that the seized crops exceeded the legal cannabis THC threshold by 0.3%. The order said: “As the defendant asserted, the law enforcement agency’s test found that Apothio’s cannabis plant is a contraband. If it is true, the plaintiff will not have a property interest in this contraband.”

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