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Colorado Legislators Pass Bill Allowing Industrial Hemp Cultivation
by Ali Papademetriou
Coloradoans were thrilled on Monday after discovering that their state’s House passed SB 13-241, a bill that would legally allow industrial hemp cultivation.
Lifting the federal brand on hemp as being an illicit substance, regardless of hemp containing only less than 1% of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, is becoming a popular state-level trend recently. Washington State, Missouri, New Hampshire, California, and Kentucky have all been working to legalize industrial hemp.
Colorado’s House vote was unanimous – 34 to 1 and was lightly amended after already being passed out of the Senate. Now the legislation is on its way back to the Senate and considering the Senate already passed its first version, the chances of the Senate turning down the bill are essentially non-existent. It will then be up to Governor Hickenlooper to determine whether or not the bill will be signed into state law.
If it becomes law, SB 13-241 would “repeal the industrial hemp remediation pilot program in the department of public health and environment, enacted by House Bill 12-1099, and replace the pilot program with a program in the department of agriculture that requires a person seeking to engage in industrial hemp cultivation for commercial purposes or to grow industrial hemp for research and development purposes to register with he department.”
Fundamentally, the bill would rename the department’s program regarding hemp and what it can be used for.
The bill specifies that with an appropriate registration issued by the program, growers may “engage in industrial hemp cultivation for commercial purposes or grow industrial hemp outdoors on not more than ten acres for research and development purposes.”
Interestingly, the bill also acts as a creed for the conception of the industrial hemp committee. “The Industrial Hemp Committee is hereby established. The chair of the agriculture, livestock, and natural resources committee in the house of representatives and the chair of the agriculture, natural resources, and energy committee in the senate shall jointly appoint seven members to the industrial hemp remediation pilot program committee which is hereby established,” reads the bill.
It is stipulated in the bill that someone interested in cultivating industrial hemp must first apply to the department for a registration from the committee by the first of May of the year in which they wish to grow.
The applicant wishing to cultivate the hemp also has to inform the committee of specific information including the geographical location of where the hemp is going to be grown and personal information belonging to the applicant such as their home address. Each registration is valid for only one year.
If signed into law, the commissioner will adopt the rules of the new provision to allow hemp cultivation registrations by March 1, 2014.