3 Key Questions for the Arizona Hemp Program Advisory Committee

Arizona is one of the at least 40 U.S. states which have enacted hemp laws to bring the state laws in line with the federal policy which removed industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and put it under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now the state of Arizona has set up a hemp advisory committee to help the state’s Department of Agriculture to draft the rules which will govern hemp growers, processors and other hemp industry players. The following are some of the key questions that the advisory committee will consider as it does its work.

What Happens When a Crop Has THC Beyond the Legal Limit?

Farmers in Arizona have been growing cotton on large tracts of land for decades, but the dwindling profits of this crop has led many to consider switching to industrial hemp which holds promise as a more profitable cash crop.

However, the legal definition of industrial hemp poses a big risk that has made many farmers wary of jumping onto the hemp bandwagon. According to federal and state law, industrial hemp is a strain of cannabis whose THC content is less than 0.3 percent.

The key question on the mind of many farmers is, what happens if they harvest an industrial hemp crop and upon testing, its THC concentration is found to be higher than the legal limit? The black and white answer to that question is that the affected batch of hemp has to be destroyed.

The hemp advisory committee must now find ways to ensure that all the hemp harvested and taken for processing doesn’t exceed the defined THC limit, and the committee will also have to find ways to safeguard the interests of the farmers from that eventuality. For example, can some compensation be given for the costs that went into growing hemp which is later found to have high levels of THC?

How Much Water Does Growing Hemp Require?

Farmers in Arizona have for long failed to farm their entire tracts of land due to water shortages resulting from the prolonged droughts experienced in this desert state.

The hemp advisory committee will therefore have to establish whether hemp requires less water to grow when compared to cotton and the other cash crops grown in the state. This information is vital because it could impact the rules made on how much land a single farmer or company can devote to hemp production, and how the water for irrigation can be sourced or rationed.

How Can Quality Seed Reach Farmers?

Since hemp is just emerging from an era of prohibition, there are concerns that many farmers will make huge losses after buying and growing hemp seed of questionable genetics and quality.

The advisory committee may therefore have to think of ways through which checks can be instituted to ensure that all the seed sold on the state market meets a given set of standards so that farmers don’t invest in growing those plants and only discover at harvest time that they wasted a bunch of money.

It would be enlightening to hear what suggestions industry players like TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) (FRA: TH8) and Therma Bright Inc. (TSX.V: THRM) (OTC: THRBF) can offer as a way of addressing the issues in the discussion above.

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