For the last few years, the health, sports, and wellness industries have been shaken up by the emergence of a group of unique chemicals called cannabinoids. These chemicals are produced by the cannabis plant, and even though most of the research into their abilities is in its preliminary stages, we can conclusively say they have medical properties.
In December 2018, Congress passed the Farm Bill, effectively making the cultivation and sale of hemp and its derivatives legal. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the cannabinoids produced by cannabis, and the legislation kick-started the CBD craze that’s currently gripping the U.S.
However, the industry is barely regulated, and according to a large majority of hemp farmers, the rules published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in October 2019 are way too stringent for the budding sector to thrive.
Hemp farmers in Oregon can heave a sigh of relief after the state made a decision to increase the level of THC allowed in certain products. THC testing has been a controversial issue, especially after the USDA published its new hemp rules. According to the new rules, farmers had to test their harvests 15 days before harvest in DEA-approved labs. On top of the problematic allowable THC levels, farmers had to contend with higher fees as the state passed the increased operational costs onto them.
THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical that creates the psychoactive high marijuana is famous for, and for hemp to be considered legal, it has to have minuscule levels of THC.
In Oregon, products such as CBD that aren’t federally regulated but are still available on the shelves are regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), and the agency recently decided to allow CBD tinctures to have up to 50mg of THC per container from 10mg per container.
The move will cushion farmers who found that their hemp contained more than the federally allowed levels from massive losses. “This provides an out for those crops that exceed the federal limit. They will have an additional market,” says Oregon State University Global Hemp Innovation Center Director Jay Holler.
Steven Crowley, OLCC’s Hemp Processing Technician adds that the new allowable levels don’t even compare to the THC levels allowed in marijuana products. “Marijuana tinctures, extracts, and concentrates may contain up to 1,000 milligrams of THC per container, so the new limits on the hemp versions of these products are still only a fraction of what the equivalent marijuana item can have,” he says.
The rule change will not affect hemp edibles which are capped at 10mg per unit and 1mg per serving. Nevertheless, hemp experts see the raised allowance that industry players like Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) wouldn’t object to since farmers have a way to save hemp that tests hot.
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