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Governor Polis Charts Way Forward for the State’s Hemp Industry

Janet Miller

Janet Miller

Last updated: September 10, 2019

Colorado has in the recent past risen to become a globally recognized leader in the industrial production of marijuana. In what has been seen as a move to maintain dominance in the hemp industry, Governor Polis has outlined a new hemp policy aimed at boosting hemp cultivation.

  • Polis’s administration has outlined a new plan that will make marijuana a significant part of the agriculture sector in the state.
  • Hemp production is a major portion of the state’s Rural Economic Initiative.
  • Polis intends to increase Colorado’s allocation of land for hemp farming from the current 62,000 acres by 20% next year. 

Governor Jared Polis unveiled his administration’s plan to speed up registration of hemp farmers while speaking at this year’s CBD supplement conference on August 16.

Within the nation, Colorado is said to export to multiple states as well as other countries such as Uruguay, Chile, and Canada. Fighting competition from other states among them Oregon and Montana, Colorado has caught the attention of an increased number of hemp companies. This has been seen as a result of the state’s laws which legalize recreational use of marijuana. Also allowed by the law are hemp-based foods and cosmetic products.  

Hemp Industry Support

Polis and his administration employ various means to support the growth of the hemp industry. Incentives such as tax breaks are some of the ways in which the government has moved to keep the industry thriving. 

Ean Seeb, who is the governor’s advisor in matters marijuana policy, says that these tax breaks give companies a reason to move to Colorado and conduct business there. Seeb is convinced that an increase in the number of marijuana processing, manufacturing, and retail players will translate to an increase in marijuana’s agricultural value.

He intends to loosen further the already lenient laws to ease the way for the cultivation, processing, and use of marijuana. The goal is to ensure that they do not over-regulate the hemp industry but rather to make it normal just as corn is.

Some of the steps that Colorado has taken include:

  • Colorado’s government does not place age restrictions on who can purchase, consume or ingest products derived from industrial hemp unless it is combined with an age-restricted commodity such as alcohol.
  • The legislature of Colorado has recently passed two bills which have reduced the cost of licenses for manufacturers and set up the state’s hemp program to align with new policies from the United States Department of Agriculture.
  • The formation of Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan (CHAMP) which happened after Polis became governor. This plan is built to bring together all players in the hemp industry in an effort to improve on the farming, manufacturing, and testing of the plant.
  • The group that is implementing the CHAMP plan will produce a report in 2020 that will provide more recommendations on how to improve hemp’s supply chain and sustainability of the business.

Farm Bill into the Law

The 2018 Farm Bill which was signed into law on the 20th of December 2018 was a big win for all Americans but more so those in the hemp business. It removes hemp, which the law defines as any cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, from schedule I controlled substances rendering it a normal agricultural product which can be cultivated for sale. 

The effects of passing this bill into law have been observed to have far-reaching gains for the industry. Since it was passed, Colorado’s market has seen its fair share of hemp-based CBD products. 

CBD products have gained so much popularity such that they are on sale in every kind of store in Colorado. From gas stations to food stores, it is quite easy to find products in the form of pills, capsules or even lotion. 

Economically, the hemp industry has proved to be a giant after netting a total of $400 million in sales in 2018. It is the efforts of such people as governor Polis and his administration that have allowed the hemp industry to be looked at objectively and without prejudice.

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD is legal in the U.S and Polis wants to increase awareness on this. It is for this reason that Colorado has increased funding in a bid to remain at the forefront in terms of regulation, innovation, and research on industrial hemp.

Currently, in the UK, many hospitals under the NHS have forbidden the use of both conventional

“We’ve seen a big shift at the state level — Colorado, of course, as one of the states leading the way — and then the federal level as well,” says Governor Polis. “Colorado was already ahead of the country as a whole. Colorado accounted for more than half of the nation’s industrial hemp production in 2017. And as of 2018, we have 835 licensed processors,1200 registered land areas, 62-thousand acres growing hemp and ten million indoor square feet of hemp registered.”

Polis’ administration has aligned their goals on the hemp industry to advance Colorado’s agenda around opportunities and reduction of energy usage and wastage. Polis has this to say about his administration’s attitude toward hemp

Not only do we feel that it’s critical that the hemp industry join Colorado’s farmers and ranchers in advancing this kind of stewardship of our land, but we know that hemp farmers have a leading role to play,”

Polis pointed out a number of programs and legislations that have assisted Colorado in driving its hemp market much higher.

“Being a leader here has surely kept us busy,” Governor Polis says.

In May, Polis signed two bills – SB-240 and SB-220 – that took effect immediately.

  • The first bill, SB-240 established rules and regulations to be adhered to when it comes to the extraction, storage, and manufacture of hemp. 
  • The second one, SB-220, aligned the state’s current programs with the federal regulations that came out of the 2018 Farm Bill. 

CHAMP, on the other hand, is an eight-focus group program which is focused on various steps on the supply chain of hemp. These areas include but are not limited to research and development of seed, cultivation, testing, transport, processing, manufacture, marketing, insurance and banking for the hemp industry.

This project is designed in such a way that it will propel Colorado’s hemp industry to exemplary levels.

“It is a project designed to formulate Colorado’s comprehensive blueprint for leadership in the hemp economy,” Polis comments about CHAMP. 

Also, he predicts that it will institute a substantial market for the state’s agricultural communities by the identification of opportunities. These opportunities will be identified from the areas of entrepreneurship, spotting of market gaps and research and development.  

“As our momentum continues to build, we’re excited to continue leading, innovating, and yes also sharing what we learned along the way, just as we learned from others,” says a confident Polis. Other programs like the Department of Agriculture’s seed certification program for hemp are also in place to ensure that quality standards are upheld in the production of industrial hemp. This certification program ensures that the seeds test below the legal percent in THC which is 0.3%.

Author

Janet Miller

Janet Miller

Janet is a medical specialist with 10 years of experience as a physician and writing passion. She aims to help people and expand humans mindset. Chat with Janet on Twitter @Janet_Miller_MD or via our contact page.

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