On top of all the other risks Minnesota farmers face from planting to harvest, those growing industrial hemp deal with an unusual one: If the crops produce too much THC, the psychoactive substance present in all cannabis plants, then it’s not hemp under state and federal laws, but marijuana.
It can be very difficult for growers to know exactly how much THC their hemp seeds are going to produce, so farmers can plant seeds thinking they are growing a legal and environmentally friendly crop, only to find out they’ve actually invested time and money in growing a drug.
All of it, then, must be destroyed.
To combat that uncertainty and risk, researchers at the University of Minnesota recently developed a genetic test that will take out some of the guesswork.
The research, published last month in the American Journal of Botany, compared the genes of different varieties of