CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The New Bloom Labs in Chattanooga is getting down to the chemistry in an industry that’s blooming in Tennessee.
“In Tennessee last year, there were less than 400 permits issued for the growing of hemp. This year there were over 3,000,” John Kerns says.
Kerns is the CEO of New Bloom Labs.
It’s a company focused on the testing and quality control of hemp.
“Growers will ship samples to us, of typically hemp flower. We will process that flower and then test it in our instruments and then mail them a report of what the chemistry that is contained in their plant” Kerns says.
The company says it can turn around a report in a day or two.
For certified industrial hemp, it has to have a potency of less than .3 percent THC.
“It’s not necessarily difficult to be mindful of those legal thresholds, as long as you know how your plants are developing throughout the growing season and that’s where testing came into play. So if you are constantly monitoring the levels of different CBD and THC cannabinoids, you can kind of adjust how to care for the crop in order to keep it legally compliant,” Kerns says.
Because it’s a fairly newly legalized industry, Kerns says there is not a lot of data on how well it grows in different growing conditions.
“If we can constantly test these crops, the more we can learn from one year to the next and one generation from the next to be more effective hemp growers,” he says.
Hemp is used for a variety of products, including CBD oil, food additives, and textiles.
Hemp growing has gained popularity locally.
Hamilton County represents around 60 of the over 3,200 licensed hemp growers in Tennessee.