The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s hemp management plan, which will govern the state’s sizable industry for the crop and ensure that businesses there continue to operate in compliance with federal law.
“With this new plan in place, we are creating a huge number of new opportunities to further hemp production and uses here in Colorado, from paper to plastic substitutes, fabric, hempcrete, detergents, soaps, insulation, biofuel and so much more,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg. “This plan approval will pave the way for a greater and more diverse hemp industry here in Colorado.”
The USDA noted that feedback from Polis, Greenberg, and other Colorado officials helped identify logistical challenges to widespread lab testing of hemp, which is forbidden from containing more than 0.3 percent THC. Specifically, the Colorado leaders noted that a requirement to dispose of hemp that tested over the federal THC limit could cost the state $842.6 million.
In response, USDA changed to proposed rules to allow hemp growers to attempt to remove the excess THC “from non-compliant crops in order to stave off financial risk associated with the loss of investment in their hemp crop.”
“Colorado is the undisputed leader in the cannabis industry, and our hemp plan is a model for the country,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement. The governor went on to say the plan is “…a new framework that meets the needs of Colorado farmers and producers, breaking down ridiculous barriers that got in the way and drove the cost up of hemp production.”
The state’s press release included a congratulatory statement from musician and longtime marijuana fan/advocate Willie Nelson. “Colorado should be proud of leading the charge for the hemp industry,” he said. “There are many ways that this crop can benefit both small, family farmers and Americans in their everyday lives. From textiles and feed to fuel and plastics, hemp is the answer.”
Colorado officials last month announced the launch of a new office to provide economic support for the state’s marijuana industry. It will focus on creating “new economic development opportunities, local job creation, and community growth for the diverse population across Colorado.”