The federal definition of industrial hemp is material which contains less than or equal to 0.3% Total THC. Beginning in 1978, Dr. Ernest Small who is considered the “Father of Canadian Hemp” has been credited with setting the 0.3% level for THC Delta-9 concentrations as the defining level to distinguish between hemp and marijuana. There is now a growing effort to redefine hemp as 1% THC to help address the current industry conditions. In a June 18, 2021 letter from the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance Dr. Small wrote in part:
With the COVID situation, it seems like a century ago that I presented the lecture you mentioned on cannabis in Vancouver in 2018. I did indeed, as I have in other lectures, mention my viewpoint that the 0.3% criterion for THC content in the inflorescence of the plant, which I originated in 1976 on strictly taxonomic considerations, is a hindrance to the industry today when it is considered as a criterion for “safely” growing hemp on the basis of abuse potential. As I noted, the 0.3% criterion, when considered as a criterion for drug abuse potential is extremely conservative, and therefore has been useful for much of the world which adopted the criterion in limiting the possibility of drug abuse insofar as cannabis is concerned.
Now that industrial hemp is legal in the United States and documentation of its low potential for abuse and increasing evidence for its benefit, it may be time to adjust our definition to the full 1% THC level.
The main benefits we support are the challenges farmers face whe attempting to grow and harvest compliant hemp. With the added rules adopted by the USDA in late 2020 which uses the TOTAL THC as the measuring stick, even more farmers are finding themselves with large amounts of hemp that is technically above the approved limit.
As a hemp verification company Rhizo Verified supports state and federal legislation that allows farmers to safely grow and harvest their hemp crops witoput fear of destruction, fines, or revokation of their licences because of an arbitraty lavel create decades ago.
As you are aware, the 0.3% THC criterion is often demanding for breeders to achieve and also produce cultivars with other desirable characteristics. – Dr. Ernest Small
Until the US officially changes the permissible level to 1% THC, farmers will need to reduce as many variables as possible to avoid growing non-compliant hemp. For this reason we have created our catalogue of seeds to include verified hemp seeds from experienced, reputable and skilled breeders in addition to providing helpful information to farmers concerning the best ways to grow each variety while still staying compliant by harvest time.