USDA Says Genetically Modified Hemp Plant Containing 0% THC Can Be Grown In U.S.

The USDA has approved the cultivation of a hemp plant varietal engineered by Growing Together Research Inc. that has genetically reduced levels of THC and cannabichomene (CBC).

Full story after the jump.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has approved a genetically modified hemp plant engineered by Growing Together Research Inc. that has reduced THC and cannabichromene (CBC) levels. The agency said it reviewed the plant to determine whether it posed an increased plant pest risk compared to other varietals.

In its letter to the USDA, Growing Together notes that the plant contains 0% THC, which would reduce farmers’ risk of growing so-called “hot crops” which “creates an economic and regulatory risk to farmers who want to grow hemp.”

Growing Together noted in a press release last year announcing the cultivar that from 2018-2020 more than 10% of planted hemp acreage was “hot.” 

USDA, through APHIS, regulates the “Movement of Organisms Modified or Produced through Genetic Engineering” under the Plant Protection Act of 2000.

In a letter to Growing Together, APHIS Deputy Administrator Bernadette Juarez said the agency “found this modified hemp is unlikely to pose an increased plant pest risk compared to other cultivated hemp.”  

“As a result,” she wrote, “it is not subject to regulation under [the Plant Protection Act]. From a plant pest risk perspective, this hemp may be safely grown and bred in the United States.”

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