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GemmaCert Unveils Rapid Field Test That Can Distinguish Between Hemp and Marijuana

By David Jagielski – Updated Jun 18, 2020 at 1:46PM

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With results available within minutes, the product could help prevent wrongful arrests of people transporting legal hemp.

Israeli-based cannabis technology company GemmaCert unveiled a new product this week that can test cannabis and within minutes reveal its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. The product, which is also called GemmaCert, can detect if THC is as low as 0.2%. The key level when it comes to U.S. law enforcement is 0.3% -- if the THC content exceeds that, the plant is classified as marijuana.

Since marijuana is illegal federally, people may not transport it across state lines. The challenge is that hemp is legal federally, but it looks like marijuana. The only reliable way for law enforcement personnel to differentiate between the two is by testing it. Using the technology currently available to them, that's not a fast process, and it usually requires labs to do further testing.

This can lead police to wrongfully arrest individuals transporting perfectly legal hemp on suspicion of transporting marijuana.

GemmaCert CEO Guy Setton stated in a press release that with his company's product, "Police officers could determine on-the-spot if the substance analysed is below the permissible THC level."

Cannabis hemp oil.

Image source: Getty Images.

Hemp is big business in the U.S.

For consumers looking to purchase cannabidiol (CBD) products in states that haven't legalized medical or recreational marijuana, hemp-based options are an attractive alternative. New regulations written into the 2018 Farm Bill opened the doors for the industry, and hemp company Charlotte's Web (CWBHF 17.51%) has benefited greatly. Over the past 12 months, the company has brought in profits of $6.4 million on revenues of more than $93 million.

Charlotte's Web has been profitable in three of its last four quarters, a significantly more consistent result than is common among marijuana companies, which have generally been struggling to stay out of the red. But advancements in this kind of THC detection will go a long way for companies involved in the hemp business.

David Jagielski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Charlotte's Web. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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