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However, Mr. Pennington had been providing his son with honey infused with cannabidiol, or CBD, a nonintoxicating compound that, like THC, is found in varying amounts in the plant known as cannabis. THC is federally illegal, and until recently so was all cannabis.

In June of 2018 , Mark Pennington received troubling news from his ex-girlfriend, with whom he shared custody of their 2-year-old son. She had taken a hair follicle from the boy, she said, and had it analyzed at a lab. A drug test had returned positive for THC, the intoxicating compound in marijuana; evidently their son had been exposed to it, presumably in Mr. Pennington’s presence. He was told that, from then on, he would be permitted to see the child only once a week, and under supervision.

“I can’t even estimate how many people this is going to screw over,” said Mr. Conrad, who has worked on a handful of cases similar to Mr. Pennington’s. (He is not working with Mr. Pennington on the lawsuit against the lab.) In one case Mr. Conrad consulted on, a couple in Florida was charged with marijuana possession after a CBD-infused gummy bear tested positive for THC. Another client was arrested for violating his parole after testing positive for THC, when he claimed he had only used CBD.

However, a woman who was fired from her job last year following a urine drug test from Quest Diagnostics has claimed that a CBD product caused her to test positive for THC. Because she is in ongoing legal proceedings with her former employer, she asked to be referred to only by her middle name, Elizabeth.

It is also difficult to estimate how many people in a year have suffered negative consequences, such as the loss of a job or parental rights, after testing positive for THC, because most drug testing data is private. Even data that is public can be difficult to parse. For instance, in many locales, official statistics around “drugged driving” do not distinguish between drivers who test positive for THC and those who test positive for other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine.

SHANCHONG, China — China has made your iPhone, your Nikes and, chances are, the lights on your Christmas tree. Now, it wants to grow your cannabis.

China relented on industrial hemp only in 2010, allowing Yunnan to resume production. Hemp then was used principally for textiles, including the uniforms of the People’s Liberation Army, but soon the products expanded.

Yang Ming, a scientist with the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Science who is one of China’s leading experts on hemp, said the plant’s seeds were traditionally formed into a ball and used to treat constipation, but the psychotropic qualities of cannabis were not broadly known by farmers or other residents.

That’s when the authorities intervened. Dr. Yang, originally from Yunnan, was a recent graduate of the agricultural university in Beijing at the time. He was assigned to study cannabis, and he has been doing so ever since. His avatar on social media is a cannabis leaf.

“It is very good for people’s health,” Tian Wei, general manager of the subsidiary, Hempsoul, said during an interview at the factory, which was punctuated by test gunfire from the manufacturer next door.