According to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA), 42% of hemp crops in Tennessee are being found non-compliant with federal requirements limiting total THC levels in the crops to below 0.3%, forcing farmers to destroy their crops, according to a News Channel 5 report. Seth Fuller, co-owner of Nashland Farms, said that he has twice had his crops tested by the TDA and it twice “come back hot.”
“The last couple months have proven to be stressful and destructive for the hemp industry.” – Fuller to News Channel 5
Fuller said the crops tested slightly over the 0.3% limit for THC and since they couldn’t get the levels down, the crops were burned.
“It’s a very sad day at Nashland Farms,” Fuller said in the report. “There are a lot of people who helped maintain this crop to help get it to its potential and there are a lot of people waiting to get this crop to help with ailments and everybody is kind of losing in this case. So, we’re trying to create a win and educate the general public and try to destigmatize hemp as a whole.”
Denise Woods, Hemp Program Coordinator for TDA, said the agency was trying to help farmers, including allowing for some remediation, but the agency’s hands are tied by federal law.
“There’s a lot of variables that no one can control with any part of agriculture, but especially hemp that affects the levels of THC,” she told News Channel 5. “When the [U.S. Department of Agriculture] said in their final rule that it’s 0.3% THC, that’s what we have to go by.”
In the past three years, the state has lost about 3,000 hemp producers, which fell from 4,000 statewide to just over 1,000, the reports says. Woods indicated that many of the hemp growers who stopped did so because they weren’t committed to trying to keep their crop under the 0.3% THC threshold.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly the 0.3% federal threshold for hemp crops was for THCa, not THC.
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