Numlock Sunday: Sarah Kessler on the hot crops and hemp
By Walt Hickey
Welcome to the Numlock Sunday edition. Each week, I'll sit down with an author or a writer, behind one of the stories covered in a previous weekday edition for a casual conversation about what they wrote.
This week, I spoke to Sarah Kessler who wrote “The High-Stakes Race to Breed Cannabis With 0% THC” for OneZero. Here's what I wrote about it:
Right now, the hemp plant has to have less than 0.3 percent THC on a dry-weight basis in order to not be considered marijuana, which is illegal by federal level. If that level hits 0.4 percent, then it’s not legal anymore and the entire hemp crop will often need to be destroyed. Keep in mind that 0.4 percent THC cannabis would be terrible marijuana, as legal pot has as much as 20 percent THC by weight, but that’s the limit and it’s causing the nascent business issues. Given the recent legality of hemp, it doesn’t have the backing of decades of calibrated genetic modification and precision breeding enjoyed by other crops, so some far…