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: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/dea-announces-steps-necessary-improve-access-marijuana-research: “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.”
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."
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.