A group of state cannabis regulators is asking Congress to change laws around hemp and cannabinoids through the forthcoming 2023 Farm Bill, seeking to adjust the federal definition of the crop and modify rules around hemp-derived cannabinoids.
The changes are needed, says the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA), because the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp nationwide, "inadvertently resulted in a thriving market for intoxicating cannabinoid products that are included (or claim to be included) within the definition of 'hemp.'" The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC, but so far, federal agencies have failed to establish a robust framework for how to regulate hemp-derived cannabinoids.
There are five specific adjustments CANNRA is calling on lawmakers to adopt in the letter sent to the chairs and ranking members of House and Senate agriculture committees. First, the group wants to split the definition of hemp into at least two categories: one that would apply to hemp "grown for food, fiber, and feed" and another that would cover hemp "grown for any other purpose, including the extraction of cannabinoids."
As part of those definitions, CANNRA also wants lawmakers to factor in THC-A, a precursor to delta-9 THC when defining cannabinoid thresholds for what qualifies as hemp. Currently, hemp is limited to 0.3 percent THC by dry weight, but that figure does not include THC-A, which the group's letter notes "readily converts to delta-9 THC when heated, combusted, or aerosolized."
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