The US Department of Agriculture has finally made good on its promise to publish hemp regulations in time for the 2020 growing season. A draft version of the new guidance, published Thursday, provides a regulatory framework for states, tribes, and individuals to lawfully grow hemp.
One key area that farmers had been concerned about is how the USDA would deal with higher levels of THC in hemp plants. It’s not uncommon for farmers to grow hemp that tests as too “hot,” meaning that it contains more THC than the 0.3% legal limit.
The new guidelines do offer a bit of cushion in this area, giving farmers assurance that they will not be considered in violation of the Hemp Act unless their crops test above 0.5% THC.
Farmers that grow hemp that tests above the 0.3% limit of THC will still have to destroy their crops, though. So, while farmers won’t face drug crimes under these rules, the financial cost of growing hemp that tests even slightly over the 0.3% limit could be pretty devastating for farmers who are trying to stay within the rules.
The new guidelines leave significant room for states and tribes to come up with their own rules for hemp growth and distribution. And states like South Dakota are free to outlaw hemp production within their borders. However, they may not interfere with interstate shipments of hemp lawfully produced under an approved state or tribal plan or a USDA-issued license.
The rules, which take effect immediately, will be scrutinized over the coming days and weeks. Once the USDA interim rule was published, it triggered a 60-day public comment period, in which the agency will be soliciting input from various sectors of the hemp industry.
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A new study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry this week highlights just how much remains to be learned about cannabinoids and mental health. For the meta-analytical study, researchers looked at the results of 83 studies on cannabinoids (both THC and CBD) for a wide range of mental health conditions.
The results? “There is scarce evidence to suggest that cannabinoids can help depressive disorders and symptoms, anxiety disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, or psychosis.”
And, overall, the evidence is just not sufficient to support medical practitioners recommending cannabinoids as treatments for psychiatric disorders.
They aren’t writing cannabinoids off, though — just pointing to the lack of evidence so far.
According to the authors of the study, “Further high-quality studies directly examining the effect of cannabinoids on treating mental disorders are needed.”
Purdue University won a nearly $1 million grant from the USDA this week to study the organic production of hemp.
According to Kevin Gibson, Purdue professor of botany and plant pathology, this research into best practices is badly needed.
“There’s certainly tremendous interest and tremendous opportunities, but the reality is that this is a crop we haven’t grown on significant acreage for 70 to 80 years,” Gibson said. “The knowledge base to be successful needs to be developed.”
Key areas of research will include:
- How hemp best works in rotation with other crops
- How hemp fits into a soil conservation system
- How the timing of planting will affect growing success
- Developing organic practices that reduce the reliance on pesticides
In North Carolina, smokable hemp will be banned starting in the summer of 2020. A vote in the state senate on Monday passed a bill that will, in effect, limit the state’s 2019 Farm Act (which legalized hemp and established a hemp program).
The new measure, which has yet to be signed by Governor Roy Cooper, declares possession of smokeable hemp illegal as of June 1, 2020.
And what is included under the ban? According to the bill, smokable hemp includes “harvested raw or dried hemp plant material, including 19 hemp buds or hemp flowers, hemp cigars and hemp cigarettes.”
It seems that every week there’s a new partnership between a sports organization and a CBD brand. This week, Abacus Health Products announced a deal between their CBDMedic brand and Gillette Stadium, home of the NFL’s New England Patriots.
If all of this sounds vaguely familiar, it may be because former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had already announced his affiliation with the company earlier this fall.
Interestingly, CBD is still banned by the NFL, so CBDMedic can’t actually advertise within the stadium. Instead, signage will only be displayed on the outskirts of Gillette Stadium.
Also, from 27th October, CBDMedic products are being distributed at Patriot Place with samples handed out outside Gillette Stadium as guests enter.
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If you think you’ve heard of every questionably useful CBD product on the market, how about CBD-infused workout gear?
That’s right — clothing, with CBD.
Gizmodo published an article this week on Acabada, purveyors of “the high life collection.” The upshot? According to the company, up to 25 grams of “microencapsulated” CBD are packaged in each Acabada piece. The CBD supply is supposed to last about 40 “wear and wash cycles.”
According to CEO Seth Baum, “We didn’t try to validate the concept, the efficacy, of CBD—that’s a little above our pay grade.” he said. “There are people out there that understand CBD, that believe in CBD, that are already advocates. And that’s who we’re going to focus on.”
You may have seen warnings in your local media about CBD candies being handed out as Halloween treats. So are cannabinoids the new razors in your kids’ treat bags?
According to journalists at The Cannabist and Slate, the warnings are not based on any actual report of Halloween candies being laced with cannabinoids and handed out to children, ever.
That’s not to say parents shouldn’t be vigilant about what goes into their children’s treat bags. Checking labels and disposing of unwrapped candies is just common sense.
But so far, there’s no need for added paranoia about THC- or CBD-laced candy.