Understanding the Dangers of the USDA’s Interim Hemp and CBD Interim Rules

By Dr. John O’Connor Ph.D. and Shawn Valor

The USDA just dropped a bombshell on the CBD industry using Kentucky inspired set laws that will leave many farmers in ruin. In the report they confirmed and stated that over 70% of farmer went into CBD hemp growing and just put through regulation that are only good for fiber and grain production, the minium 30%. The majority 70% will not test legal Hemp and will get screwed over losing all they have and all the money invested as the USDA will force all states to follow their rules. The only growers who are saved are those who live in states growing in marijuana legal states because that’s what most flower strains are now going to be classified. 

Here’s a list of the big points of the rules they instated: 

  • Delta 9 THC was reclassified as being Total THC (THC-A plus DELTA-9)
  • A Margin of Uncertainty was added as necessary in lab reports (If you come in .35% THC and the uncertainty is +/- 0.06% you could still have a legal crop.) 
  • Hemp is federally defined for making CBD oil
  • Hemp is legal in all US territories including Puerto Rico 
  • Hemp must be tested by DEA registered labs 15 days before harvest from the top 2” of the plant with bud
  • The USDA encourages using GC method for hemp testing (Which over bloats the THC numbers and is generally inaccurate in results.)  
  • ALL states must comply with the points highlighted in their plan and adjust all their plans to include their points. Any laws a state has now get thrown out the window for the USDA’s. 
  • In a state without a hemp plan you can get a USDA license where their laws apply instead
  • USDA refused to put out an official seed program as they speculate a seed will turn into a legal plant in one state will grow hot in another. 
  • A 3 strike rule was added. If you go hot 3 times you can’t grow for 5 years. Striking once gets you on a probationary status where the DEA keeps a closer eye on your crops and production. 
  • The interim rules become law in 2 years. 

If you want to take part in changing the hemp industry for the better read the following effects of the rules have on the hemp and CBD industry the copy and paste the below text  to this address for the USDA:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/10/31/2019-23749/establishment-of-a-domestic-hemp-production-pr ogram#open-comment 

If you want to know more about hemp and the complications that can ruin a  crop and how to fix them go buy our book Farming Industrial Hemp: Not Your Daddy’s Tobacco.


The rules are contradictionary. The testing methods only benefit fiber yet the report itself confirms hemp for CBD oil purposes. These rules will lead to the destruction of the American farmer as many do not have the experience to grow hemp in the very specific way the USDA presents with the interim rules. Many will lose 10’s-100’s of thousands of dollars. With High CBD strain’s variability in THC numbers and can go hot on a moments notice add on inaccurate and discriminatory anti-CBD practices that are being enforced and it will kill the market. 

Total THC:

The reason this was implemented was because its’ seen THC-A when burnt will turn into DELTA-9. This only applies to the smoke-able bud market. That’s it. Even then Total THC is discriminatory as THC-A is a variable science with no accurate ways to make that number go down. They even confirm in the report that a legal plant will go hot depending on where it’s grown.  This will make it impossible to grow hemp for CBD oil as when CBD goes up THC-A will be on average 0.3%-04%, already over the legal limit. Under Total THC, THC-A will be the killing factor for many growers making a loss in profit for the whole industry. THC-A doesn’t get converted to DELTA-9 THC in the CBD oil market because the process never heats up the acid enough to decarboxylate it. 

The definition should be brought back to the original European definition where they test for the DELTA-9 pre decarboxylate or Total THC should be brought up to 0.6% at least if a growing and prosperous CBD market is possible. Total THC’s legal number of 0.3% is based of the European definition where they test differently meaning that if the number is going to be inflated by THC-A, then the legal limit must also be brought up with it. 

With these rules unchanged it will be more likely to win the lottery as a career then grow hemp for profit. 

DEA Registered labs:

There aren’t enough labs to make this possible. The wait period alone will kill profit on crops as they sit and wait for either the slow process of a lab getting approved or a long wait list of an over worked lab. Most states have under 20 state approved labs and even less DEA approved labs and states like Tennessee where there are thousands of growers there would be a horribly long wait list that could get into the 6 month to 1 year range. Add on top of this if a crop comes in hot that will lead to a full loss of profit when it will be automatically reported due to the inflated numbers of total THC. Add that the grower takes on the cost of testing, the price will inflate because of high demand leading to inflated testing process and a severe stopgate in price a grower has to incur just to sell their crop. 

There should be a plan of action to make sure there are enough labs in relation to the number of growers or make simply make this unnecessary. The more of a closed group you make the labs the harder it will be for the majority to get their items tested. 

Testing methods:

Everything that was encouraged will further bloat numbers where a normally perfectly legal hemp plant will test hot. It’s a system that sets up the grower to fail and punishes them for growing. Taking from the top 2” of the plant will lead to the misleading results as THC-A grows upward. Being THC-A is the deciding factor now it, it makes it so no flower variety will come in legal. It will be legal hemp discriminated as marijuana because it was setup to fail. GC method already is documented as inaccurate in measuring THC and bloats the numbers overall because of the post decarboxylating process. With labs being needing to use the method to be certified will lead to a lot of failed crops. Add this with Total THC and the CBD industry is stifled and destroyed as something that would traditionally test 0.1% DELTA-9 could be inflated to the point of testing 0.3% just from practices alone before Total THC is added on. 

The testing 15 days before harvest will lead to low quality plants. This will lead many growers to harvesting early and will not show accurate numbers. In 2019 alone many growers kept their plants in the ground until October because of a very unbeneficial hot wet summer. Because of this delay there no way to make a specific date to harvest. The practice of harvesting early will lead to a wetter plant more likely to develop mold and mycotoxic fungi that could hurt people in the long run. These rules should be changed to 6 weeks after planting, as this will lead to a consistent date of testing. 

About the Authors:

As an Industrial Hemp Psychologist, Dr. O’Connor has worked with the Virginia Universities in the pilot hemp programs since 2014. Prior to the hemp pilot programs, Dr. O’Connor consulted dozens of farms in upstate New York, helping them with soil science and agricultural management. Since the 2018 Farm Bill, he has worked with scores of farms throughout the southeast region in establishing productive industrial hemp farming systems. As an international consultant, he is currently helping farmers in Africa grow industrial hemp in their soil. An ardent observer of human behavior, Dr. O’Connor’s insightful knowledge has added volumes of helpful knowledge to understanding the agricultural industry’s ever-changing regulations, including the 2018 Farms Bill’s industrial hemp inclusion as a farm commodity. As a consultant, his understanding of agricultural regulations and organic farming techniques has help hundreds of farms. He serves as President of the American Emotional Wellness Organization and Books for Charity, Inc a 501 C 3 nonprofit charity as well as Reverend to the Chapel of Light and Spiritual Awareness church. Dr. O’Connor has over three decades of therapy experience working with individuals, groups, corporations, and small businesses. He has received recognition from Google for having set a record with over a of 30k views to his reviews. LinkedIn congratulated him for being in the top 10% most viewed profiles. He is also a Certified Master Photographer with credits in multiple newspapers and magazines through the US and Canada. What seems like a lifetime ago at the beginning of his career, he graduated from the New Hampshire Police academy with honors. Dr. O’Connor’s articles have been published in sports magazines such as Fighter, RPM, Concealed Carry Magazine, and Summit Racing, for his knowledge on developing an unbeatable mental game, endurance, human performance, and self-protection. He is an IDPA Winter Nationals event winner and a Certified NRA pistol instructor.

Shawn Valor is a seasoned copywriter, published content creator, and novel-writing entrepreneur with 6 novels under development. He is a Master Luthier at Brute Force guitars with over 100 guitars, basses, and mandolins crafted by him. He is a knowledgeable workaholic now with 5 years experience in working in the Hemp growing Industry as an expert adviser to help make a safe and profitable yield for his clients. He partnered with Dr. John O’Connor PhD. to create a book known as Farming Industrial Hemp: Not Your Daddy’s Tobacco to help growers avoid the common issues that plague fields from what we’ve seen. We have partnered again for a book on the ultimate guide for state laws on Hemp and CBD oil to help all understand what each laws means whether grower, processor, or traveler. He has wowed audiences at the Southern Hemp Expo as a speaker representing the national event. He’ll be making appearances as a speaker at the Dallas Hemp Expo, Memphis Mid-South Hemp Fest, and Greenlight Festival in Hong Kong. He works as a writer and content creator at Screen Rant coming up with articles around you’re favorite media franchises and twisting them into a brand new light. 

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