THC-Limits for Hemp Hurt the Industry and the Environment
Hemp is arguably the most versatile plant on the planet. It is well documented that hemp can be used to make things like paper and rope, but hemp can also do so much more.
The hemp plant can be used to make fuel in the form of bio-diesel. It can also be used to make medicine. A team of scientists even built a super-capacitor out of hemp. A super-capacitor is an energy storage device, like a battery.
Hemp has been prohibited in the United States since 1937, but a 2014 Farm Bill provided for exceptions in states that have legalized hemp for research and/or pilot program purposes.
To date, 31 states have passed such laws according to the organization Vote Hemp. Hemp production has taken off in many states, with states like Kentucky nearly tripling production in 2017 (a total of 12,800 acres).
The spread of hemp reform has been paralleled by an increase in public awareness about the wellness benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), which is found in abundance in hemp plants.
What's the difference between hemp and cannabis?
"There is no difference, it's all one plant, it's all cannabis." Morris Beegle from Colorado Hemp Company said at Green Flower's recent Cannabis Health Summit when asked what the difference was between hemp and cannabis.
Chris Boucher from Ananda Scientific echoed that point. "A molecule is a molecule." he said, "Most of your medical marijuana based CBD cultivars were crossbred with industrial hemp."
Agricultural hemp is grown for the purpose of making things into textiles and other goods. Hemp grown in that fashion is what most people picture in their minds when they think of hemp being cultivated.
However, hemp can also be grown different ways, including being spread out in a field as opposed to being packed together, and there are many people that grow it indoors alongside other varieties.
How much THC is in hemp?
Of the 31 states that allow hemp cultivation in some form, all but one of them classifies hemp as having less than 0.3 percent THC.
West Virginia is the exception to the rule, allowing up to 1 percent THC before the plant is considered to have crossed the threshold from being hemp versus not hemp.
How did so many states come up with the arbitrary number of 0.3 percent? Canadian plant scientists in 1976 published a report from research they performed using material that was at 0.3 percent or less.
For whatever reason, that arbitrary number was adopted by international governments across the globe, which was then itself relied upon for coming up with the laws that most states have on the books today.
Any THC cap on hemp is arbitrary and harmful
If someone was to look at a plant that was 0.3 percent THC, and 1 percent THC, and a mix of 0.34-1.01 percent THC, they would likely not be able to tell the difference.
The average person would say that they are all likely the same all considered to be hemp, assuming that they knew what hemp looked like.
But according to the current rules in place in states across America, some of it is hemp and some of it is not.
This is important because what is considered to not be hemp is to be destroyed and is not allowed in the marketplace. That is not just harmful to the farmer, it's also harmful to the environment.
Hemp is a sustainable crop that has the ability to pull toxins form the soil it is grown in, and then turned into durable goods that will last for decades.
Those goods are used in place of many other goods that are built with plastic and other inputs that are harmful for the environment and often end up in a landfill within a short amount of time.
What you can do to help
Arbitrary THC limits on hemp, especially when the threshold is only 0.3 percent, hurt the hemp industry by preventing otherwise useful hemp from being turned into products, including medicine.
If that gets you fired up, which the Green Flower team certainly hopes it does, then you should contact your state legislators and let them know that hemp THC limits need to be raised. If West Virginia can set a 1 percent limit, so can other states.
In an ideal world, there would be no THC limits applied to the hemp plant, but politics is a game of incrementalism, and 1 percent is more than three times as good as what most current states have.
While you are at it, contact your members of Congress and let them know that you support ending federal prohibition for hemp, and for all varieties of the cannabis plant!
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