Gov. Jared Polis has signed a bill that aligns Colorado’s hemp laws with federal regulations by establishing testing of all hemp lots and instituting civil penalties of up to $2,000 per day per violation.
“Colorado’s farmers are growing hemp on tens of thousands of acres across our state,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 197.“Now that the federal government has finally recognized the agricultural importance of hemp, we’re bringing our state laws into alignment and streamlining regulations for our industrial producers. Colorado has never been afraid to lead the way and set an example for the rest of the country, and our hemp production industry is no different.”
The 2018 Farm Bill enabled the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a regulatory regime for hemp, which the department announced last fall. The rule focused on testing, mandating that crops containing more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol need to be destroyed. THC, a psychoactive ingredient, is present in marijuana typically at much higher concentration.
USDA has since relaxed some of the requirements for laboratory certification and crop destruction in the near term. Colorado will submit a hemp management plan to the USDA for approval. Between February 2019 and 2020, 2,037 hemp growers in Colorado registered to cultivate crops on 86,880 outdoor acres and 16.3 million square feet indoors.