New Hemp Scanner Distinguishes Hemp from Cannabis

Science&Tech News - Hemp Scanner

Ever since hemp was first legalized back in 2018, there have been numerous cases of it being mistaken for illegal cannabis. For example, law enforcement in Idaho stopped a 6,700-pound hemp shipment from Oregon to Colorado in January 2019. In June of the same year, a pilot refused to take off with a shipment of hemp from Mountain Strong Hemp Company to Tennessee. In addition, a truck carrying a thousand-pound shipment of hemp was detained not so long ago near Amarillo, and the driver spent weeks in jail until the shipment was confirmed legal.

These are but a few of many unfortunate stories that have inspired a team in Texas A&M University’s Agrilife Extension program to create a hemp scanner that will help distinguish hemp from cannabis.

The hemp scanner is small enough to fit inside a police cruiser car and is able to scan the product without damaging it. What’s more, this scanner could become a valuable asset (both for farmers and police officers alike) when it comes to testing the plant — to be designated as hemp, the plant has to have less than 0.3% of THC.

The scanner tests the plant’s spectra imaging and displays the THC levels in the product. It will also be able to distinguish between a large variety of hemp and cannabis products, and the mass production of this testing apparatus could start in a relatively short while — about two to three years.

Also, the hemp scanner idea inspired the team to create yet another (similar) product for testing CBD content, allowing farmers to know the exact concentration of CBD in their plants and estimate the value a lot better.

Determining whether a product is illegal or not (with a 98% accuracy), these new scanners will surely make everything easier. And not only for law enforcement but also for farmers, shipment drivers, retailers, etc., who will no longer spend weeks in jail due to false charges.

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