Study: Majority of Hemp Flower Purchased Online Exceeds Federal THC Limits

A new study found the majority of hemp flower purchased online surpasses the legal THC limit of 0.3%, technically fitting the federal classification for cannabis. 

Full story after the jump.

A study published last month by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Institute of Justice found 49 of 53 samples of hemp flower products obtained through online vendors were incorrectly labeled and “technically fit the federal classification for marijuana.”

The study bought flower labeled as hemp from five online vendors and found that just two of the 34 products purchased from vendor one contained less than the 0.3% THC threshold, none of the eight samples from vendors two and three would be considered hemp under federal rules, along with just two of the 11 samples from vendors four and five.  

The study notes that “of the inaccurately labeled samples, virtually all had total THC concentrations under 1 percent but above the legal threshold of 0.3 percent.”    

“Although these results cannot be taken as indicative of the entire field of commercial hemp products, they validate the notion that at least some products that are marketed as hemp (and appear official and reliable from a scientific point of view) can be legally classified as marijuana. These products pose a particular challenge for labs attempting to quantify small amounts of THC, as well as consumers who may be unaware of what is contained in the product.” — “Study Reveals Inaccurate Labeling of Marijuana as Hemp,” Oct. 17, 2022  

Each of the vendor websites indicated that “all products contain less than 0.3 percent THC” or “Products are lab tested to ensure their THC content is less than 0.3 percent.” 

Hemp was legalized federally in 2018 under the Farm Bill and since then, the presence of THC in seized cannabis is no longer sufficient to classify it as a controlled substance under federal law. Most crime labs also do not have the capability to test for THC concentrations which has led law enforcement in some states that still outlaw cannabis to stop prosecuting simple possession cases as defendants can argue the products are hemp. 

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