In accordance with the wishes of farmers and the hemp industry, the USDA has raised the THC levels which trigger hemp eradication to 1% from the 0.5% which it was previously. This change was intended to come into effect on the 22 of March 2021; however as it was released by the office of outgoing President Trump’s administration,  this new rule will likely be frozen by the Biden Administration. This is standard for a presidential transition, when new rules and revisions issued by the outgoing administration are often frozen and reviewed.

When the Farm Bill of 2018 was passed, hundreds of growers and other industry stakeholders were opposed to the 0.3% THC limit which was mandated. This limit is extremely low, seems random, and is not based on a scientific source. Any crop which exceeds this limit is considered “hot” and must be destroyed by farmers.

The authorities are finally willing to recognize the struggle farmers face battling the many factors beyond their control which can cause an increase in total THC levels. These factors include seed genetics and climate, which can contribute to a crop surpassing the negligent violation threshold for THC.
Additionally, raising this threshold to 1.0% reduces the risk of producers incurring negligence violations without increasing the risk of non-compliant material reaching channels of commerce.

Despite the convenience the new rule offers to cannabis growers, it does create an issue for international trade, as in Canada and the EU the threshold remains at 0.3%. This makes the export of American hemp to these markets impossible.

The new rule will also require that the total THC of a crop, which includes accounting for the potential conversion of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into THC, is reported and used to determine the THC content of a hemp sample.

Today, GemmaCert has customers in 30 countries. About 25% of them grow hemp and use their GemmaCert device to avoid harvesting a “hot” crop. This ensures that growers don’t waste valuable time and resources on crops which will eventually need to be destroyed. It also saves them the costs of destroying the crop, as well as the loss of profits from not being able to sell the hot hemp. GemmaCert gives hemp farmers the much-needed ability to test their crop in the time running up to the harvest and to monitor an increase in total THC and total CBD. Additionally, farmers can even use it to determine optimal harvest time for their crops. With GemmaCert, farmers are able to measure total THC down to 0.2%.