The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s regulatory role with Industrial Hemp is limited to registration of growers and inspection of crop. The State of Colorado has no jurisdiction over many other factors that producers are faced with. While Colorado legalized the production of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis spp), growing it is still considered illegal by the Federal Law. The following issues may cause concern for those interested in growing this crop in Colorado.
Seed Procurement/Seed Quality - Seed that exists in Colorado may be variable and have unknown THC levels. Random sampling of hemp fields will be conducted. Plant samples testing at levels higher than 0.3% THC will be in violation of the Colorado Industrial Hemp Registration and Production Act. Importation of viable industrial hemp seed across State lines and Country boundaries is illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
Pesticides - There are not any pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc.) currently registered for use on Cannabis spp. (Industrial Hemp and marijuana) due to the predominant federal nature of pesticide regulation. The CDA is developing rules to determine which pesticides could be used on Cannabis spp. and not constitute a violation of pesticide labeling or other federal and state pesticide laws and regulations. The list of allowable pesticides will be extremely limited.
Federal farm programs such as crop insurance, farm loans and conservation reserve may be jeopardized if industrial hemp is planted; these programs are managed by USDA a Federal Agency. Contact a lawyer for legal advice.
Banking – even though the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury recently issued guidance on bank involvement with Cannabis operations, banks including state-chartered banks may be reluctant to provide services to Cannabis growers for fear of being prosecuted for federal laws and regulations violations.
Processing - Colorado's industrial hemp rules state that industrial hemp producers must provide documentation of in state processing as part of registration. It is unknown at this time how many processing facilities will be available in Colorado at time of harvest.
Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution directed the General Assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp. Legislation adopted in 2013 delegated the responsibility for establishing registration and inspection regulations to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
The new rules, to be published as 8 CCR 1203-23, will sets forth the requirements of registration and inspection. These rules will be adopted and effective by early 2014. The registration deadline is May 1 of each year, beginning in 2014.
Industrial Hemp means a plant of the genus Cannabis and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis.
Two types of registration will be allowed: Research and Development (R & D) and Commercial.
R & D is limited to 10 acres or less and will be charged a registration fee of $100 plus $5/acre.
Commercial registrants are not limited in size of acreage and will be charged a registration fee of $200 plus $1.00/acre.
When registering, applicants must provide:
maps that include GPS locations of all growing locations and varieties planted
affidavits or lab tests showing that the crop planted will produce a THC content of 0.3% or less
CDA will select at least one third of registrants each year for field sampling and verification of 0.3% or less THC content
Costs of field sampling and lab testing incurred by the Department will be passed on to the registrant.
Fees for field sampling are currently $35/hour and will include drive time, sampling time and any per diem or room charges incurred by the Department’s representative(s).
“Since passage of Amendment 64, the Department has received numerous inquiries from individuals who are interested in cultivating industrial hemp as a crop. Unfortunately, there is considerable confusion about what both Amendment 64 and legislation approved by the General Assembly, SB13-241, actually did with regard to hemp.
“Amendment 64 did not authorize the immediate cultivation of hemp. It instead directed the General Assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp. This they have now done,” stated Carleton, in reference to SB13-241. “This legislation delegates to the Department the responsibility for establishing registration and inspection regulations and to have the rules finalized by March 1, 2014. The bill also creates an advisory committee to help the Department in developing the regulations. The measure is now awaiting action by Governor John Hickenlooper.
“Once SB13-241 becomes law, we will begin the rulemaking process, working in consultation with the advisory committee. While we will work diligently to complete this process as quickly as possible, it is unlikely that we will have rules setting up a registration and inspection system in place until early 2014.
“The General Assembly, with SB13-241, has made it clear that cultivation, for either commercial or research and development purposes, is not authorized unless the prospective grower first registers with the Department. That will not be possible until early 2014 as we do not expect the registration program to be in place before then.”
Individuals with questions concerning the upcoming rulemaking process may contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture at (303) 239-4100.
Amendment 64, section 16 (d) to the Colorado Constitution defines Industrial hemp as ‘a plant of the genus Cannabis and any part of that plant, whether growing or not, containing a Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.’
Under Colorado State law any Cannabis with a percentage of THC above 0.3% is considered marijuana.
Registration will be available March 1, 2014.
The Industrial Hemp Regulatory Hemp Program Act was approved and signed by Governor Hickenlooper in May 2013. At that time, the Colorado Department of Agriculture was given authority to begin developing the Rules for registration and inspection, to be effective March 1, 2014.
The Department is currently working with the Industrial Hemp Advisory Committee to draft these rules and establish registration and inspection protocols that will be conducive to the production and economic development of the Industrial Hemp Industry in Colorado.
Very specific time lines need to be followed in order to have Rules adopted according to State Statute. We plan to have the Rules published for public comment by October 25, 2013. A public hearing will be held regarding the adoption of the Rules in early November, and finally the Industrial Hemp Rules will be presented for Agriculture Commission approval in mid-November to take effect March 1, 2014.
Please click the link below to be taken to the Industrial Hemp Registration Application.