Some hemp farmers worry they'll have to raze crops due to new rules

hemp plants Tennessee
Posted at 12:02 PM, Feb 17, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Due to new rules about chemicals in hemp plants, some Tennessee hemp farmers worry they'll have to destroy some of their crops.

The rules mean any crop with a number higher than 0.3% of a number of different precursors for Delta-9 THC in their plants can't be sold.

Seth Fuller of Nashland Farms is in that situation right now. While he tried to grow crops with a high CBD content, it was difficult to keep some forms of THC low in the plant. A big problem he's run into is regulating a compound called THCa.

"In 2021, the regulation was that you could have a certain amount of THCa, which is the acid that then turns into possibly 9 THC," said Fuller. "Delta 9 THC is the aspect of the plant that has the most stigma because it has the tendency to get you high."

Fuller is now awaiting testing on about half of his crop that was right on the limit. If the second test comes back over, he'll have to destroy it all.

"[The crop] went from them being completely compliant, to some being on the line of compliance to a couple of our varieties we've had to get retested in order to prove they are compliant," he said.

People with Tennessee Growers Coalition said many growers are encountering the issue.

"A lot of successful growers are not growing this year because they are not growing what they have been able to grow in the past," said Kelley Hess, executive director of the group.

Fuller said he's not giving up yet, but it's hard to see so much hard work go to waste.

"When half of my crop is on the verge of testing hot, even though there is non-detectable Delta 9 THC, it hinders our ability to progress," he said.

Tests usually take about two weeks to come back.

This story was originally published by Kyle Horan of WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee.