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The Mandate The 0.3% THC mandate is a problematic interpretation and application of early cannabis science. In 1976, Canadian horticulturalists Ernest Small and Arthur Cronquist published an article in Taxon, entitled “A Practical and Natural Taxonomy in Cannabis,” in which they provide the seminal demarcation between “industrial hemp” vs “marijuana”2 that has been adopted by governments around the world. In their words: It will be noted that we arbitrarily adopt a concentration of 0.3% Delta9-THC (dry weight basis) in young, vigorous leaves of relatively mature plants as a guide to discriminating two classes of plants. This is based on standard-grown material in Ottawa in gardens, greenhouses and growth chambers, and of course on our analytical techniques. Dr. C. E. Turner, who has conducted extensive chemical analysis of Cannabis at the University of Mississippi, has agreed (pers. com.) that this is a reasonable figure to discriminate two classes of plants. The major scientific problem (besides “we arbitrarily adopt…”) is that the widely implemented 0.3% THC concentration limit is often applied to flowering tops (where cannabinoid production is concentrated) instead of the “young, vigorous leaves of relatively mature plants” identified by Small and Cronquist. The real difference between “industrial hemp” and “marijuana” is derived from two separate genes that are tightly linked (located eight centimorgans apart on the same chromosome) and fight to convert the precursor cannabinoid CBG to either THC or CBD3 . When THC production genes are turned “on” and CBD is turned “off,” plants are THC dominant, psychoactive, and are 1 When sampled at the appropriate time (i.e. 30 days before harvest), these states use sampling protocols that all of our plant varieties will pass. 2 Small and Cronquist. 1976. 3 Weiblen et al. 2015. considered type I (recreational and medical)4 . When both CBD and THC genes are turned “on,” plants are moderately psychoactive (as CBD lessens the psychoactivity of THC) and are considered type II (medical)5 . When CBD production genes are turned “on” and THC is “off,” plants are considered type III (industrial hemp)6 . Even with the THC genes “off,” type III plants still produce a small amount of THC; the reason for this is unknown and we are working with several research groups to better understand why this occurs. In our high cannabinoid hemp research programs, we have encountered plants that range from .1%-1% THC by dry weight on trimmed flowers. This means the federal limit of 0.3% is socially constructed rather than scientifically accurate, but we must currently abide by this mandate. High cannabinoid hemp farming is still possible (as evidenced by the explosion of this industry), but seed selection is critical for success. Farmers must consider a seed variety’s total cannabinoid content, CBD to THC ratio, and appropriate sample timing in their state to achieve good results, as all three of these variables play critical roles in successfully growing a full-term crop of legal, industrial hemp.
Maka Sihu NATIVE AMERICAN ENTERPRISE DOES NOT CARRY OR SALE ANY PRODUCTS ABOVE THE LEGAL LIMIT OF .3% THC. MOST OF OUR PRODUCTS ARE WELL UNDER OR EVEN THC FREE.