Eighteen of 22 Hemp Crops Tested So Far By Ag Department Below Allowable THC Limit

As many cannabis lovers (and readers of this fine newspaper) know, hemp is now legal in Colorado. But it's not an unregulated free-for-all. State regulations allow the Colorado Department of Agriculture to test the crops of up to a third of registered growers to make sure said crops' THC content is below the allowable limit of 0.3 percent. If a grower's plants test higher than that, the crop must be "destroyed or utilized on site in a manner approved of" by the state agriculture commissioner.

We checked in with the department to see how the testing has gone so far.

See also: Hemp: New Law Lets Farmers Register Year-Round to Grow Crop

According to spokeswoman Christi Lightcap, the department has received 22 test results thus far. Eighteen were below the 0.3 percent THC limit. Four were above.

The department can't reveal any details about the crops that exceeded the limit, Lightcap says. But she reports that they included hemp grown for both commercial and research-and-development purposes, and that all four samples contained less than 1 percent THC. As such, Lightcap says the growers were granted waivers that allow them to avoid losing their hemp-growing registrations and allow instead for the crops to be destroyed in the manner approved by the commissioner that we mentioned earlier.

The 22 test results represent 15 percent of the current registrants' crops, Lightcap says. An additional 1 percent are still in the lab, and Lightcap says the department plans to test another 3 to 4 percent in the field. The balance of the testing will be done on indoor plants.

"Some of the plants grown indoors were planted later than those planted in the field," Lightcap explains in an e-mail sent today. "We will have further testing in the coming months as more indoor facilities have product to test."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar