Many American farmers were handed seeds of opportunity in October, when the United States Department of Agriculture released its much-anticipated regulations for farming hemp. The new federal rules came nearly a year after Congress legalized hemp farming, and almost half a decade after the Colorado Department of Agriculture established its own program for farming hemp. And this state’s rules don’t exactly line up with the ones just announced by the feds.
Two years after voters approved Amendment 64, legalizing recreational marijuana, Colorado decided to opt into the 2014 Farm Bill, a federal law that allowed states to create pilot programs for hemp licensing. As a result, Colorado is now one of the largest producers of hemp in the country. While every Colorado farmer growing hemp will probably have to change a few things once the federal regulations take hold, those same regulations also bring credibility to an industry essentially stuck in a federal gray area, according to Corey Cox, an attorney with Vicente Sederberg who represents clients in Colorado’s hemp industry.