As the master attorney Rod Knight points out, the defining factor of legality in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is the level of delta-9 THC. The acid THCA is not psychoactive and not relevant:

To quote subtitle G legalizing Hemp Production: “The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa …with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” Nice and specific, delta 9 THC only.

As the DEA itself puts it here: “The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2018, changed the definition of marijuana to exclude “hemp”—plant material that contains 0.3 percent or less delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis. Accordingly, hemp, including hemp plants and cannabidiol (CBD) preparations at or below the 0.3 percent delta-9 THC threshold, is not a controlled substance, and a DEA registration is not required to grow or research it.”

We publish the actual COA of every hemp flower item online in the item illustration, along with the actual product picture.  Some labs add the irrelevant acid THCA to D-9 THC to get a number that appears to exceed the legal limit of 0.3%, but closer examination of the document will show that the D-9 THC number is legally compliant.  We do not list any hemp that is not legally compliant.  

However, the new prohibitionist interim rules proposed by the USDA would reverse the obvious intention of Congress written into the law. The new rule says “Testing will be conducted using post-decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods where the total THC concentration level measured includes the potential to convert delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into THC.”  

This is prohibitionist sophistry.  As Knight puts
 it, "When THCA is heated it undergoes a chemical process through which it loses a carboxyl ring and transforms into a different molecule. This process is called decarboxylation. The molecule that THCA transforms into when it is decarboxylated is D9 THC, the molecule that determines the legal status of a hemp plant. As opposed to HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography), the GC (gas chromatography) testing method heats up a sample in order to separate out its constituent parts to measure them. The heat it produces is sufficient to decarboxylate THCA in a hemp sample. In other words, the GC testing method creates the very molecule that it is measuring. This is loosely akin to a radar gun that speeds up the car it is clocking or a thermometer that heats up the water it is measuring."

"Asserting that THCA “contains” or is “composed of” D9 THC is to misunderstand basic chemistry. THCA is a separate and distinct molecule from D9 THC. It does not “contain” D9 THC any more than wood “contains” ash or a caterpillar “contains” a butterfly. Certainly, burned wood can transform into ash (and other compounds) and a caterpillar can transform into a butterfly; however, arguing that wood “contains” ash and caterpillars “contain” butterflies is to enter into the realm of teleological philosophy, not science. The same is true for THCA and D9 THC. The fact is that decarboxylation, a chemical process, renders a THCA molecule into a D9 THC molecule by changing it: a carboxyl group is removed and carbon dioxide is released."

The new interim rules will not be finalized until sometime in 2020 or 2021, by which time a less rabid administration should be in control. We’ll see what happens, but for now all our hemp is strictly legal, according to the DEA and our major shipper, the post office.

As attorney Knight says, “using the total THC protocol will have disastrous consequences for the hemp industry. Primarily, the Rule will dramatically reduce the varieties of hemp that can be cultivated.” The new rules will drive most small producers, the majority of our suppliers, out of business. To add insult to injury, most independent labs, not registered with the DEA, will be disqualified as well. 

The new rules have a 60 day public comment period.  If you want to weigh in on the issue please sign the petition online here: