How a THC Testing Lab is a Trusty Source for Final Hemp Regulations

March 4, 2021

Written By

Sue Cielinski

The USDA issues final hemp regulations with THC testing requirements. KJ Scientific’s Independent Testing Labs offers testing to assist your hemp/extracts/products comply with these federal standards.

In October 2019 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued an interim rule/regulation to domestically produce commercial hemp. In general, it establishes a framework and approval of federal plans to grow hemp and test tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) verifying the 0.3% level in the hemp plant.

The USDA made changes to the interim rule based on public comment and experience gained from the 2020 growing season. As a result, on January 15, 2021, they issued final hemp regulations effective March 22, 2021. KJ Scientific, LLC’s subsidiary KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs (KJ SCI-ITL) can help ensure you follow these federal regulations for your crop, extraction oil and testing of THC in any manufactured product.

Changes in Final Hemp Regulations

The USDA made some significant technical changes from the interim to final hemp regulations. They primarily address procedural and compliance measures for hemp sample collection, testing and plant disposal. By and large, these changes range from a better sampling method, to a longer window of time between crop testing and harvesting. The changes also deliver a higher THC threshold for negligent violations and require testing laboratory certification.

Specifics of Technical Changes

The USDA still requires pre-harvest hemp samples to come from the cannabis flower rather than the whole plant. Although now it allows those samples to be taken from five to eight inches from the stem and from a smaller number of plants. Though THC is mostly concentrated in the flower this change adds consistency of where on the plant to make the cut.

The window required for sampling of hemp plants before harvest is extended from 15 to 30 days. This measure is meant to address the logistical challenges involved in sampling over a short timeframe i.e., backlogs in THC testing.

The final rule also provides for “performance-based” sampling for total THC, instead of relying on strict federal sampling requirements. This provision allows hemp producers flexibility to base their results on their own long-term THC data trends. This requirement offsets uncontrollable fluctuation in THC levels caused by environmental and geographical conditions and seed type used.

The final hemp regulations give some additional flexibility to the THC standard of negligence requiring disposal of the crop if exceeded. Hemp is already defined under federal statute as containing no more than 0.3 percent THC. Now if hemp tests above 0.3% but below 1% THC it is not considered a negligent violation, but still needs to be disposed or remediated.

The USDA maintains the requirement that hemp is tested only at labs certified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The DEA mandates certification since testing labs are handling THC, a controlled substance. Labs are given more time to obtain this certification by delaying enforcement until December 31, 2022. KJ SCI-ITL is already an ISO 17025 certified lab. We plan to obtain DEA certification before this date to meet the 2021 DEA certification deadline mandated by the state of Texas.

Achieve Expert Testing

A highly-skilled laboratory is necessary to adequately implement USDA’s hemp regulations. KJ SCI-ITL is expert, accredited, and ISO certified. Our laboratory is an official independent (third-party) testing lab under Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) hemp regulations (Texas License #: 2020011).

We test hemp for producers according to USDA’s interim and now the final hemp regulations. We are among the first chemical testing companies to do so. KJ SCI-ITL was the fourth to be licensed by TDA.

Experience Matters

We have the experience that distinguishes us from another laboratory. We work with a variety of chemical analyses, among them terpenes, and constantly develop and validate methods for different chemicals. Compared to other labs, our turnaround time is faster and our certificate of analysis is far easier to understand. KJ SCI-ITL is transparent and upfront with our customers and helps them navigate through the changing landscape of industrial hemp.

Our prior experience in environmental toxicology also sets us apart from the average hemp testing company. We are among seven labs of Fortune 500 commercial and government organizations in the world (U.S. EPA, Procter & Gamble, Dow Chemical, DuPont, SC Johnson & Son, Fraunhofer Institute, and Givaudan) that conducted a ring trial to standardize methodology to test chemicals for chemical risk assessment for purposes of human and environmental health.

We conduct our laboratory studies in the Spirit of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP). We also comply with U.S. and international laboratory safety and regulatory measures. Our experience is fine-tuned by full knowledge of testing parameters that require accuracy, precision, and robustness. We wholly transfer this expertise to laboratory analysis of your hemp and hemp products because we understand the importance of a high quality and product safety.

KJ Scientific can customize testing to meet your specific testing needs and also ensure USDA hemp regulation compliance. Please contact us to address your specific testing requests.

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