Hemp represents a new frontier for American farmers. If things go well, they may be saying goodbye to crops like soybeans and wheat. It has a multitude of applications, and it produces a group of chemicals called cannabinoids that have wide-ranging medicinal properties.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp after decades of prohibition, classifying industrial hemp as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC. THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) is responsible for marijuana’s infamous ‘high’, and for hemp to be legal, it has to have minuscule amounts of it.
Farmers can now grow the crop under state or tribal programs. The legislation also instructed states and tribes to create their own programs and submit them to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approval.
This Monday, the Kentucky House voted to give final passage to a bill that will be a big help to the state’s budding hemp sector. Termed ‘House Bill 236,’ the legislation would allow the state of Kentucky to expand the number of qualified labs authorized to test the state’s hemp for THC.
Last October, the USDA released the interim final rule on hemp, and the rules expanded on the parameters laid out by the 2018 Farm Bill. According to the rule, farmers are to test their crops 15 days before harvest at DEA-approved labs. Following the publishing of the rule, there were complaints that the rules were too stringent.
Testing is currently being handled by the University of Kentucky, but according to the bill sponsor Rep. Matthew Koch, the institution recently experienced a testing backlog.
He says that a Senate amendment to the bill that was approved by the House before final passage clarifies that the language in HB 236 regarding the transport of hemp refers to hemp extracts like CBD, not the raw hemp biomass.
“Farmers were concerned that the former language in there with hemp ‘material’ would affect the transportation of a harvest from the field. This language, is, of course, intended to address the transport of extracts, not raw materials.
According to House Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Richard Heath, there is some discussion at the federal level about raising the legal THC limit of hemp from 0.3% to 1%, but he clarifies that it is a ‘federal issue.’
“I would support our federal delegation if they decide to go down that road, and I would encourage my colleagues to reach out to their Congressmen and their U.S. Senators to encourage them to change the definition of hemp from 0.3% to 1%.”
The measure is now headed to the governor for his signature and experts think that cannabis companies like HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V: HTC) (OTCQB: HTPRF) don’t foresee any problem to the enactment of this bill by the governor.
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