Congress will consider triple the THC limits for hemp and revise the regulations
Less than a week after the federal hemp regulations went into effect, a Republican senator is working on a new bill to revise those rules. Rather than placing additional restrictions on this new industry, this proposal aims to make life easier for hemp farmers.
The U.S. government legalized hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill, but while that law ended the pointless ban on this non-intoxicating plant, the government’s desperate fear of THC makes life difficult for hemp farmers. Under current law, hemp plants are limited to a maximum THC content of 0.3 percent, and all plants that exceed this threshold must be destroyed.
The THC content in natural hemp flowers can vary due to environmental factors. Even a minor change in weather can result in the destruction of an entire crop. To make matters worse, cultivators need to have their flowers tested for THC levels 30 days before harvest. Many farmers have complained that they don’t have enough time to collect these samples, test them, and then harvest their crops.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) just passed the Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) bill to ease some of those onerous restrictions. That bill would raise the THC limit for hemp plants to one percent, more than three times the current limit. If passed, this provision would prevent farmers from having to burn perfectly healthy hemp plants just because they slightly exceed the official THC limit.
“I spent years fighting in Washington to restore one of Kentucky’s historically most important crops by legalizing industrial hemp,” Paul said in a press release, according to Marijuana Moment. “We won a hard-won victory, but there is still a lot to do to prevent the federal government from burdening our farmers with unnecessary bureaucratic micromanagement.”
The bill would also make farmers’ lives easier by testing the final hemp products for THC rather than testing the actual flower itself. This would make life a lot easier for farmers and allow hemp growers to combine higher and lower THC plants to create products that are within the federal THC limit.
“The THC content of hemp plants is significantly influenced by environmental factors that farmers cannot control,” explains Paul’s summary of the bill. “Alternatively, hemp processors have better control over the THC levels in their products. A legal solution to this problem by testing the final hemp product instead of the hemp flower or plant itself would take the burden off farmers. “
The HEMP Act would also help protect companies that ship hemp across state lines from police harassment. In the two years since hemp has been legal, policemen from Kansas to Texas to New York have confiscated shipments of perfectly legal hemp and arrested drivers for carrying what they believed was illegal marijuana. Under Rand’s new bill, all hemp shipments would have official documents showing that all of the plants in question were fully compliant with federal law.
“Senator Rand Paul’s legislation is very timely with state Department of Agriculture passing policies that would redefine hemp by one percent,” said Patrick Atagi, chairman of the National Industrial Hemp Council, told Marijuana Moment. “We believe the HEMP Act is important to consumers and the consumer’s right to know, and we are proud to support Senator Paul’s efforts. If passed, the HEMP bill will help the whole economy and provide jobs for Americans. “