Now that hemp is legal, Colorado wants to lead the way in promoting industry |

Now that hemp is legal, Colorado wants to lead the way in promoting industry

Program to explore managing, advocating for state’s hemp industry

Judith Kohler / The Denver Post
Shani Coleman, co-owner of Colorado Cultivars Hemp Farm brings in a load of hemp that was harvested on Sept. 5, 2017 in Eaton.
RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Colorado has been at the forefront of the budding hemp industry. Now that hemp is legal, Colorado wants to remain a leader, said Kate Greenberg, state agriculture commissioner.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture on Thursday kicked off a statewide initiative to chart how to manage and promote hemp cultivation and production amid questions about federal regulations. The Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan, or CHAMP, will draw on the expertise of state agencies and private companies, according to the department.

“Colorado’s ahead of the curve because we’ve had a program in place for five years, but there are still a lot of questions around a regulatory framework,” Greenberg said Wednesday.

The federal farm bill approved in late 2018 legalized the production of hemp, removing it from the list of controlled substances. However, the law maintains the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate products containing hemp.

The FDA scheduled a public hearing Friday to gather information and comments about hemp and how it should be regulated.

The federal farm bill approved in 2014 opened the door to the legal growth of hemp, allowing cultivation for research purposes and allowing states to permit “pilot programs.” Colorado established a pilot program and became one of the country’s leading producers.

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