Earlier this year in April, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released a publication that included changes to state “wholesale food, industrial hemp and shellfish regulations.” Some of these regulations officially went into effect on July 1, and now, the state will move forward into a new era of legal cannabis, but one that could potentially cause problems.
The state already allows CBD and hemp extracts to be used in the preparation of food and drinks, but those products must now be tested for potential pesticides and other harmful contaminants. According to Hemp Industry Daily, hemp products will now be tested for 106 different pesticides by October 1. Previously, only 13 pesticides were required for testing within the industry. Products must go through a lab testing facility—and there’s only one officially authorized to operate in the state right now.
Hemp product labels do not currently list THC or cannabinoid content either, and companies don’t have to list that information as long as the 0.3 percent THC threshold isn’t surpassed. According to the new rules, information regarding both contained THC and any other cannabinoids must be listed.
Colorado and the “Final Rule”
Earlier last month on June 1, Colorado submitted a revised version of its Hemp Management Plan, which revolves around the USDA’s “Final Rule” on hemp production. “With the publication of this final rule, USDA brings to a close a full and transparent rule-making process that started with a hemp listening session in March 2019,” stated USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach in a press release from January 2021. “Key provisions of the final rule include licensing requirements; record keeping requirements for maintaining information about the land where hemp is produced; procedures for testing the THC concentration levels for hemp; procedures for disposing of non-compliant plants; compliance provisions and procedures for handling violations.”
Colorado’s take on the USDA’s rules provides a strong approach to handling hemp in the future. According to Governor Jared Polis, the “revised Hemp Management Plan gives Colorado’s hemp producers a realistic way to expand operations while also ensuring that testing is in place. Hemp producers play an important role in Colorado’s economy, and it’s important that as a state Colorado does all it can to help create jobs and benefit consumers.”
Leading the Pack
According to the Colorado Times Recorder, there were approximately 88,745 acres licensed for hemp cultivation in 2019. There was a decrease in licensed acres in 2020 due to oversupply, landing at about 36,225 acres. Despite the drop, Colorado is still the state with the most acres licensed in the entire country. According to the 2020 U.S. Hemp Corp Report by VoteHemp.com, Arizona currently falls at 34,932m followed by Kentucky at 32,000 and New York with 28,932. Needless to say, Colorado is far exceeding the rest of the country in terms of hemp management so far.
Colorado isn’t limited to embracing hemp through regulatory means. Many Coloradans, including the governor, are passionate about supporting hemp in their state. Officials commissioned Margaret Eversole from Mesa County to craft a hemp-based American flag and Colorado state flag, which flew at the west end of the state capitol on June 11 in honor of Colorado Hemp Week (which ran between June 6-13).
Although, Westword reports that this was actually a fluke, and that the hemp flag flew because the person who is responsible for flag raising “saw the hemp flag on his desk, and assuming that it was the next in line for flying at the west pole, put the flag up without knowing its origins.”
While there may be some issues with implementing these new rules in the state, the way is being paved for a successful CBD and hemp industry to blossom even further in Colorado.