Many of Arizona’s first hemp harvests have too much THC; a dire situation, says Adam Trenk, Rose Law Group partner, director of cannabis and hemp departments

By Andrew Howard | Arizona Republic

When Arizona started issuing licenses for farmers to grow hemp in 2019, many people predicted a boost to the economy from the plant that’s used to create the popular CBD oil, among other products.

But months into this crop’s new era, the results are not what was expected by those in the industry. Instead of harvesting fields of hemp, farmers are destroying them.

Hemp and marijuana technically are the same plants, but hemp is supposed to have a much lower level of THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes a “high” feeling. The Arizona Department of Agriculture tests hemp crops for THC levels. Too much, and the crop can’t be harvested.


The unwanted cultivation of some hot crops was inevitable given that the hemp industry in Arizona in is its infancy, but the consequences can be devasting financially if they are not tactfully mitigated.

Losing more than forty percent of the crop would cripple this market before it has a chance to take off due to obvious reasons. If farmers are spending a dollar or more per plant on seeds or pods and then have to destroy more than forty percent of their yield it’s a non-starter. 

Adam Trenk