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What is Hemp?

Jan 10th 2020

What is Hemp?

The botanical identified as Cannabis sativa L.* is inclusive of two legally distinct articles under current U.S. federal laws and regulations.

  1. Hemp cultivars of Cannabis sativa are those in which the level of delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol or Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9-THC) is not more than 0.3% a dry weight basis; it was formerly (and still under some state and international regulations) referred to as "industrial hemp." The definition of "hemp" under U.S. federal law, as now established in section 297A of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 as amended by the 2018 Farm Bill, also means "any part... and all derivatives" of hemp (e.g., all parts of the hemp plant, extracts, constituents, concentrates, etc.) This definition, therefore, includes such commercial consumer products as tinctures or extracts of any part of the hemp plant, such as the leaf or flowering top, and cannabidiol derived from hemp cultivars; the THC content must remain at not more than 0.3% for any such plant part or derivative to still qualify as "hemp."
  2. >Marijuana cultivars of Cannabis sativa are all those that cannot be categorized as hemp as defined above. All part and derivatives of any marijuana cultivar of Cannabis sativa are included in the definition of "marihuana" under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), with the exception of the "mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufactures, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefore), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination."

* Some taxonomic references identify up to the three distinct species of the plants within the Cannabis genus. Complete Hemp takes no position on this detail and the information presented.