The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed that hemp grown using genetic engineering (GE) does not pose a risk to crops, Business of Cannabis reported.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducted a review of a GE plant produced by Growing Together Research, the 5 October report said.

The company had requested the review to ensure the plant, which had been genetically engineered to reduce its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabichromene (CBC) levels, complied with regulations, Business of Cannabis wrote.

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’s aim was to evaluate if the modified plant posed an increased plant pest risk compared to non-GE hemp, the report said.

APHIS stated: “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 delta-9 THC levels in hemp plants.