Hemp, cannabis’ cousin, is gaining extraordinary popularity in Arizona. Many farmers are replacing crops—such as cotton—traditionally grown in Arizona to cultivate hemp, the country’s newest cash crop.
However, Arizona law states that hemp cannot contain over .03% THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis, AZ Central reported. If it does, the crop must be destroyed.
To date, nearly 40% of Arizona farmers’ hemp plants have failed the THC test, according to the Arizona Department of Agriculture’s Plant Services Division, the agency that oversees the state’s hemp program.
“At 40%, that’s off the charts,” said Sullivan of the Arizona Hemp Industry Trade Association. “I’m taken aback by that. That’s substantial.”
According to the Agriculture Department, since early December, 53 of the 130 hemp crops tested have failed. That’s nearly 700 acres of hemp plants.
Conservatively, one acre of hemp is worth approximately $20,000, but often go for well above that price. If about 700 hemp acres are non-compliant it means that there are roughly $13.4 million in losses.
“The failure rate is not unexpected based on anecdotal information from around the country regarding variable seed quality and genetic expression, for THC content, between the varieties planted,” John Caravetta, associate director of the Plant Services Division mentioned.
As of June 2019, Arizona was had the 5th most amount of hemp acres growing in the U.S.
Louis DeLuca The Dallas Morning News via AP