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US: Kentucky Senator Proposes 1% THC Limit for Hemp



Photo: DR

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) presented a bill to triple the concentration of THC in hemp plants, addressing several concerns the industry has expressed about proposed federal regulations for the crop.

Hemp and its derivatives were legalized when the Farm Bill passed in 2018 and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) quickly began work and developed rules for the new market. However, industry stakeholders have strongly protested against certain restrictive regulations as they result in an inhibition of growth in the sector.

The new Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan Law by Rand Paul aims to solve these problems by defining four specific rules for the sector.

The most common complaint lawmakers receive is that hemp is defined by the federal government as containing no more than 0,3% THC. Farmers argue that the figure is too low and therefore the new legislation aims to increase this limit to one percent.

It would also address issues with testing requirements and procedures in accordance with proposed USDA regulations. The agency mandated that hemp growers have a 15-day window to test the bloom of crops to ensure that the THC concentration is within allowable limits. But testing the flowers can be expensive and farmers defend themselves with the consequence that these costs can represent for the financial sustainability of the sector, mainly due to the fact that the THC of the plant is significantly affected by environmental factors.

To address this issue, the senator is pushing for the final hemp products themselves to be tested, rather than the initial flower of the plant.

The legislation also requires the establishment of a “seed certificate” to accompany hemp in transport. There were cases in which the police seized the legal crop, considering that it was not hemp but illicit cannabis. To resolve the issue, processors must have a certificate stipulating that the hemp transported contains the legal limit of THC and attesting that the seeds are certified to produce less than that amount.

Finally, the draft law will create a definition for the margin of error regarding the procedures for quantifying the percentage of THC. While the current hemp rule gives the DEA legitimacy to stipulate that margin, Senator Paul proposes “using 0,075 percent as the standard unit of measurement,” giving farmers and processors the certainty they seek with analysis.

"For years, I have led the fight in Washington to restore one of Kentucky's historically vital crops through the legalization of industrial hemp," the senator said in a press release. “We have achieved a difficult victory, but there is still a lot of work to be done to prevent the federal government from burdening our farmers with unnecessary bureaucratic micromanagement.”

Read the full proposal below



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