How a Product Testing Lab Helps with Compliance of Hemp Regulations

May 25, 2020

Written By

Sue Cielinski

Federal and state regulations are demanding the testing of hemp and components CBD and THC. KJ Scientific's product testing lab offers high-quality testing for your hemp and derived products.

Until very recently, the United States strictly regulated hemp as a controlled substance due to confusion with marijuana. Hemp is the same species as marijuana and looks very similar, although it is now identified by the natural amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in the plant. The interest of expanding the economic opportunities of hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) has put forth the desire to re-evaluate how hemp is regulated.

Federal Regulation of Hemp

Federal legislation, the 2014 Farm Bill, moved the needle allowing states to conduct pilot programs and research on industrial hemp production. The bill authorizes each state that allows hemp farming to regulate and establish rules for their hemp programs. This legislation describes industrial hemp as the non-psychoactive, low THC form of the plant. It also provides a definition for hemp as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part containing no more than 0.3% of delta-9 THC.

The 2018 Farm Bill moves even further. It legalizes the production of hemp as an agriculture crop, removing its designation as a drug under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, CBD derived from hemp is also legal nation-wide. States, as well as Native American Indian Tribes and U.S. territories, can submit plans for regulatory authority over hemp production.  This bill also requires those applying for regulatory authority to test THC levels in their hemp plants.

The federal regulatory agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), oversees hemp production. In October 2019, the USDA issues an interim rule for the commercial U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program’s regulatory framework for monitoring and testing of hemp. The rule provides a federal approval program with guidelines to states to come up with their own plans to grow hemp. It also establishes a Federal plan for producers in states and U.S territories that do not have their own USDA-approved plan. The interim rule requires strict sampling and testing of THC to ensure verification of 0.3% THC levels. The USDA plans to issue a final rule after the 2020 crop season. KJ Scientific, LLC’s product testing lab has high-quality testing capability to meet federal standards for testing THC in your hemp crop.

Status of States Growing Hemp

Hemp takes off! By 2016, 15 states are already growing hemp. In 2017, about 4 more states begin growing it and about 40 states enact hemp production legislation. After the 2018 Farm Bill all but three states are allowing hemp production.

According to USDA, in March 2020, 44 states (including the U.S. Virgin Islands) and 32 Indian Tribes are in various stages of submission, review and approval of hemp production plans. A large majority of the states either operate under the 2014 pilot project rules or have approved USDA plans, others are under review or in draft. A substantial portion of the Tribal plans are approved or under review. Only New Hampshire chooses not to operate a state program, instead, the USDA issues licenses for hemp producers there.

Though the latest USDA’s interim rule further regulates hemp be well aware that state law for regulating hemp production takes precedence. Therefore, interested parties need to refer to laws in every state in which they conduct business.

Testing Requirements for THC

The USDA requires that all hemp produced according to Federal, State or Tribal hemp production plans are tested for levels of THC. According to the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program any laboratory testing hemp for THC must be registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). KJ Scientific, LLC’s subsidiary KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs uses the required high-performance liquid chromatography to accurately measure THC in your hemp samples.

KJ Scientific is ISO certified and an official independent product testing lab under Texas Department of Agriculture regulations. KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs meet high-level ISO/IEC 17025 internationally recognized standards for superior quality testing, equipment and trained staff. KJ Scientific offers ISO/IEC accreditation though it is not required by either the DEA or the USDA Hemp Program. Some states such as Texas require that any laboratory that performs hemp testing must be ISO/IEC 17025 accredited. 

Is CBD Federally Regulated?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food, drugs, cosmetics, and dietary supplements to ensure these products are safe for public use. Therefore, the FDA is the federal agency that evaluates the risks and benefits of CBD products coming to market. Aside from one prescription drug approved by the FDA to treat two rare, severe pediatric epilepsy disorders, no other CBD products have FDA approval. The FDA is developing a regulatory framework for CBD and the cannabis industry. 

At this time, CBD products i.e., hemp, CBD oil, edibles, topicals and other CBD health products are becoming more and more in demand. Since there are currently few FDA regulations it is in your best interest to have your products tested by a third-party testing lab. Third-party testing is a neutral, unbiased source for testing of CBD that brings added transparency and reputability to your brand. KJ Scientific is an independent, accredited third-party product testing lab available to test your hemp and CBD products.

Our product testing lab performs accredited analytical testing of potency and purity of hemp and derived products. This testing is critical to demonstrate that your products do not contain harmful levels of contaminants and are safe for public consumption.

States Legalize and Regulate CBD

Like hemp, even though federal law oversees it, stakeholders must be cognizant of CBD legislation in the states where they operate. The state legal status of CBD differs depending on where it comes from (its source) and its use. CBD is legalized based on 3 categories: hemp-sourced for any use; marijuana-sourced for medical use; and, marijuana-sourced for recreational use.

In general, hemp-sourced CBD and unlicensed CBD products are legal to possess and consume in all states – except Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota (where it is illegal in every form). In about 13 states CBD is legal without any restriction. In contrast, other states restrict CBD by using an assortment of measures. For example, roughly 14 states specify, “CBD cannot be sold in food and beverages.” Some states set distinct restrictions, “can’t combine with meat or dairy; not in baked goods; CBD tea not allowed” etc. 

States also regulate the sale and purchase of CBD products. For example, in Alaska, California, and Washington, CBD can’t be sold in combination with food or beverages except in licensed cannabis stores. Many states are developing guidelines for labeling CBD merchandise. One state, Vermont, lays out its own unique rule for CBD and maple syrup. When CBD is added it’s illegal to label the product “Pure Maple Syrup.”

Besides regulating CBD, additional states will also be requiring purity and potency testing for CBD.  So far both New York and Massachusetts expect both purity and potency testing. 

Accordingly, KJ Scientific’s product testing lab can help you meet both state and federal regulations for your hemp and derived products. Please contact us to address your specific testing needs.

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