Grading CBD on a Curve
As you may have heard, USDA recently announced interim rules for hemp and CBD that set federal (and state) law on several highly significant issues for the industry. While affirming the .3% THC threshold separating legal hemp from marijuana, USDA adopted a calculation method that may curve THC test values upward, pushing some formerly legal hemp products into the illegal marijuana range.
As of the date of publication of the interim rule, USDA will expressly require the inclusion of THC-A in the calculation of total THC to meet the legal standard, even though THC-A is largely thought to be non-intoxicating. A number of states have already adopted this method over local industry objection, but that debate seems over for now as USDA has made the federal position clear.
Further, the interim rule extends the reach of federal law over any less strict state law – so states that did not include THC-A in hemp testing before must now do so. There could be some irony here as many of the same states that allow the sale of marijuana despite directly contrary federal law appear to be falling in line with federal standards on hemp and CBD.
In any event, growers, producers and sellers of hemp and CBD products should coordinate with their test providers and carefully scrutinize their Certificates of Analysis as it appears that federal and state regulators surely will.