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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed that hemp grown using genetic engineering ‘may be safely grown and bred in the United States’.
The APHIS carried out a review of a hemp plant modified using genetic engineering by Growing Together Research, Inc..
Growing Together Research had genetically engineered the plant in order to reduce its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabichromene (CBC) levels. The company requested a review from the USDA to ensure the plant did not fall foul of regulations.
Under the Plant Protection Act of 2000, the USDA has the authority to oversee the “detection, control, eradication, suppression, prevention, or retardation of the spread of plant pests to protect agriculture, the environment, and the economy of the United States”.
The review aimed to determine whether the modified plant posed an increased plant pest risk compared to non-genetically engineered hemp.
The orgainsation stated: “APHIS found this modified hemp is unlikely to pose an increased plant pest risk compared to other cultivated hemp.
“As a result, it is not subject to regulation under 7 CFR part 340. From a plant pest risk perspective, this hemp may be safely grown and bred in the United States.”
Under a final rule for the Farm Bill, published in January 2021, hemp cultivators are required to test the levels of total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in hemp plants.
The USDA recently announced that its Agricultural Marketing Service is delaying the enforcement of a requirement that all hemp must be tested by a DEA-registered laboratory until December 31, 2023 “due to inadequate DEA-registered laboratory testing capacity.”