The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana

Most CBD enthusiasts know the technical difference between hemp and marijuana: Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC whereas marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC — sometimes up to 20% on a dry-weight basis. However, for law enforcers in Tennessee, the visual similarities between the plants make it difficult to tell whether a cannabis crop is hemp or marijuana.

Industrial Hemp Crops Are Booming

Between February and August of 2019, over 20,000 Tennessee growers applied for licenses to cultivate hemp through the Tennessee Agriculture Department. However, growing marijuana is still illegal and police are responsible for making sure that cannabis growers don’t have marijuana masquerading as hemp.

Testing Facilities Are Limited

Of course, a simple lab test reveals the difference between hemp and marijuana but the MPD doesn’t have lab-testing equipment and the crime lab in Nashville only allows for limited testing. K9 sniffer dogs can’t tell the difference between hemp and weed, so that’s another identification method that’s basically useless for sniffing out illegal crops.

The Idaho Cannabis Scandal

In April of 2019, the difference between hemp and marijuana became a major problem when a truckload of 7,000 pounds of industrial hemp was seized on its way through Idaho. Later, tests revealed that the contents were, in fact, hemp, but were treated by Idaho police as a major drug trafficking bust. Ironically, the hemp that the trucker was carrying was grown legally in Oregon and destined for Colorado where cannabis is legal. However, hemp in Idaho is illegal — regardless of its origin or destination.

The Future of Crop Testing in Tennessee

Of all the states that permit industrial hemp, Tennessee is one of the few that actually tests for THC levels in plants. Attorney Leslie Ballin is confident that, in the future, law enforcement will have the technology to help them tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. In the meantime, confusion can lead to innocent growers being suspected of being guilty and illegal growers going undetected.

Why the Difference between Hemp and Marijuana Matters

They’re the same plant, they look the same, they smell the same, and they’re both used for recreational smoking. However, the chemical differences between hemp and marijuana have a huge impact on the people who use them. For example, people who are suffering from mood disorders appear to benefit from CBD but become worse with THC. Children suffering from epilepsy also require a high-CBD strain that’s essentially free from THC.

Experience Lab-Tested Hemp at HerbKing

A leader in the hemp industry, HerbKing supplies high-CBD hemp that conforms to federal regulations and is third-party lab-tested before sale. If you’re interested in purchasing hemp for yourself or stocking your shop with our top-shelf products, we invite you to browse our quality selection and send us an email to purchase in bulk. HerbKing is one of the most trusted suppliers of industrial hemp. Discover the difference between hemp and marijuana with HerbKing!

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