WHAT HOT HEMP IS?
If hemp tests show Delta 9 (THC) levels exceeding the 0.3% threshold set by state and federal law during their required pre-harvest test, it is considered hot. This can cause a farm to be ordered to destroy their crop since it is then considered to be an illegal cannabis grow.
One thing farms can and should do is test their hemp regularly towards the end of harvest to monitor Delta 9 levels and pull the crop if it is coming close to running over the .3%.
There are in field tests that can be purchased for decently cheap. These tests are not the most accurate but will still give you a close enough idea of where the hemp flower is at on Delta 9 so you can make moves if needed.
Another advised option is to run a non-compliance test with a testing labs. These tests are just for research and are not submitted to the ODA or governing agency typically. It is advised you double check with your preferred lab to be sure.
When you run material for the required pre-harvest, towards the end of harvest, the lab will have to submit those results to the ODA and if you are over on Delta 9 you are required to destroy your crop. So running a few hundred dollar tests prior is well worth the money.
THE LAWS AROUND TOTAL THC:
If total THC levels exceed .3% after harvesting your hemp, you are able to sell it to another registrant including processors, handlers and other grows.
You are not allowed to sell the hemp to the public. This includes people, online or in person and any retailers. Any material being sold directly to the public must test under .3% total THC which includes Delta 9 and THCa.
We note that 90% of hemp grown in Oregon is over on total THC which means it has to be remediated through processing and should not be being sold as smokable flower. People purchasing flower over on the total THC are not allowed by the state of Oregon to take it out of state even though other state laws may be more lax about the total THC being higher than .3%.
Some things you can do to reduce total THC levels down to the legal limit include, cutting it with other material. For flower this could be homogenizing the hot material with trim for prerolls, running it through a bubble hash machine to remove kief or processing it into THC free distillate or any other concentrate that cuts the Delta 9 levels.
HOW TO AVOID GROWING HOT HEMP?
While there are no guarantees, there are things that can be done to hedge having a legal crop when it’s time to finally harvest. Some considerations include growing from clones rather then from seeds which helps give tighter and more predictable outcomes across a field. With seed, you’ll can easily have a wide range of chemical profiles from plant to plant making it trickier to stay legal.
Another sound piece of advice it to do your homework when purchasing genetics. Buy varieties that have been flowered and tested to show they will grow under the legal limit.
The but of this last statement is remembering that genetics are altered by the region and grow variables of their environment. Farms growing in areas of higher solar intensity will have more THC production in the same genetic compared to someone in an area with lower solar intensity.
RECAP + A FEW EXTRA POINTS:
- Purchase with a written contract
- Purchase certified hemp seed
- Grow the hemp how it was grown when it was certified & from same region
- Harvest before levels surpass the legal limit
- Have the lab run an un-reported test before running the reported one