Hemp harvest is nearing an end in Georgia. According to Tim Coolong, associate professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the state’s hemp producers appeared to have stayed within the legal parameters of hemp production.
What distinguishes hemp from marijuana is the amount of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol present in the plant. It is the main compound in cannabis that produces the “high” sensation.
Legal hemp must contain no more than 0.3 percent of THC. Otherwise, the THC is at an unacceptable level, and the crop must be destroyed. That doesn’t appear to have been the case this year, though.
“I haven’t heard many reports of people going above the limit. For the most part, at least for the growers I’ve interacted with, they were testing regularly. When they had gotten their test back for harvest they were completely legal and ready to go,” Coolong said.
THC levels must be officially tested within 15 days of anticipated harvest.
If growers regularly tested their hemp samples, it prevented a disastrous scenario of if the officials tested the crop before harvest, and it exceeded legal limits, catching the farmers off guard. All of the work done to produce that crop would be for naught.
“We stressed that a lot last year at our county meetings. Terry Hollifield, with Georgia Crop Improvement, they were doing the sampling for the growers, and he made a specific effort to do orientations with them. During the summer, he would go out and visit the growers and explain to them the process and everything,” Coolong said.
“Almost every grower I had spoken to this summer was doing some testing on their own before the state would come in. I would be surprised if there were very many growers who were just like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know about this.'”