Farmers in Alabama pass THC metrics as first legal U.S. hemp harvest looms

Farmers in Alabama pass THC metrics as first legal U.S. hemp harvest looms

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Across America’s agricultural lands, a new class of farmers are waiting with bated breath as inspectors evaluate their prospective hemp crops.

Industrial hemp was legalized in the U.S. in December, and the first official harvest season around the corner has a strange energy emerging for farmers, manufacturers and retailers of the crop alike. In Alabama, early reports are showing that many of the initial crops there have come in under the 0.3% THC level needed for the yields to be legal.

The Associate Press reports that agriculture officials have fielded hemp samples from 45 licensed growers in the state of Alabama and they all passed the legal maximum THC tests. [1]

According to federal law laid out in the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized industrial hemp, 0.3% THC is the highest level allowed in the crops. THC is the mind-altering compound found in marijuana, while cannabis products with CBD compounds are not necessarily psychoactive.

People use CBD products for their chronic pain problems, anxiety, epilepsy and a bevy of other issues. More scientific study is needed to show the extent of such wellness uses, but testimonials proliferate.

The AP reports that the last legal harvest of hemp in Alabama was in 1937. [1] reports some people have actually trespassed on the young farms with the… wrong idea in mind. “They’re going in thinking it’s something it’s not,” Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate said of some trespassers in Madison. [2]

In other states, tests with higher-than-legal THC have been more prevalent. State officials in Hawaii recently destroyed huge yields of hemp crops because those plants registered at higher than the 0.3% maximum THC level. [3]

There, more than half of all hemp crops grown in the state were seized for destruction because they violated the rule.

“It’s honestly expected and fairly routine in the sense that it is really hard to grow a plant that is 0.3% or below, and it is also really difficult in Hawaii because we have a really unique climate and photoperiod as compared to other states,” said Shelley Choy of the Hawai’i Dept. of Agriculture.

Still, things aren’t going perfectly in Alabama.

“This is right around when it should be harvested,” Pate said. “It is also the time we run out of rain. Right now, these plants are wanting their six inches of rain and the forecast is nothing but sun for a week. I would love to have some rain.” [2]

David Johnson runs a farm that only just got interested in hemp cultivation, and the mix of weather and method uncertainty has challenged his new cannabis farm.

“We’re in the greenhouse business,” Johnson said. “We’ve been doing poinsettias since 1983. I have no experience on this. We’re kind of experimenting.” [2]