Colorado is known for majestic mountains, craft breweries and, of course, its wonderful world of weed. However, not everyone knows to take advantage of the state’s most progressive medicinal plant-based resource: cannabidiol, or CBD.
On July 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018, authorizing $38.4 billion in spending. Wedged into this bill was the Industrial Hemp Water Rights Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation introduced in part by Colorado senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner.
Marijuana may be the main attraction for many in the cannabis world, but Colorado also leads the way in hemp cultivation. In fact, as of this week, there are approximately 400 active industrial hemp businesses registered with the state’s Department of Agriculture. Still, misconceptions around the differences (or lack thereof) between hemp and marijuana run rampant, so let’s clear the confusion.
For over two hundred years, farmers in the state of Connecticut legally grew and harvested hemp for use in sails, ropes, and clothing. In fact, the value of hemp in colonial-era Connecticut was so high that it was actually illegal for farmers to not grow hemp. That sentiment continued all the way through World War II, when the U.S. government was distributing propaganda films urging farmers to plant hemp crops for the good of the nation.
In the 1950’s however, the hemp plant got caught up in the misguided reefer madness over marijuana, and has not been grown in Connecticut ever since.
But as cannabis acceptance grows in the state, so too does the demand for the right to grow the incredibly useful and perpetually renewable resource of hemp.
Jim Denny has 7,500 square feet of hemp plants and a problem: His homeowners association has found that his plants are a violation of the HOA rules and has ordered him to “replace” them by the end of next week. The reason? The HOA board says that Denny failed to get approval for “landscaping modifications” to his lot and that his 75-foot-by-100-foot hemp plot is a home business in violation of the Todd Creek Farms HOA rules.
To comply with the board’s findings, Denny is giving away his hemp plants (and in some instances, selling them for a small fee) to anyone who is registered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp.
Melanie Asmar at the Denver Westword has the full story.
Kentucky’s hemp farmers will receive 250 pounds of hemp seeds held up by federal officials at Louisville International Airport for the last week after much legal wrangling by the state.
According to Holly VonLuehrte, an attorney for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, says she’ll have the shipment at the Ag Department office sometime later today. However, the delay could mean that hemp harvests may not have time to fully develop before harvest season.
Earlier this year, on February 7th, President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill, backed by a rare display of bipartisan politicking. Originally introduced by cannabis-friendly Congressmen Jared Polis (D – CO), Earl Blumenauer (D – OR), and Thomas Massie (R – KY), the bill contained a very special amendment. For the first time in decades, the federal government had made an allowance for the cultivation of hemp. The hemp caveat only applies to states that have passed their own form of hemp legalization, and Massie’s Kentucky is one of those states.
Also from the Commonwealth of Kentucky is Republican Senator Rand Paul, who has made clear his support for hemp cultivation in the state. The senior Senator from Kentucky and possible-Sleestack Mitch McConnell was reported to be instrumental in making sure that the bill that the president signed retained the hemp growing amendment.
Kentucky was poised to re-establish its roots in a hemp trade that flourished in the state until it was banned by the federal government in 1937. Today, however, the state finds itself embroiled in a lawsuit against the federal government, and their first hemp harvest hangs in the balance.
The two-month period during which Colorado farmers could register to grow industrial hemp for the 2014 growing season closed on May 1. And as of 4:30 p.m. that day, state records show that 42 people or businesses were approved to grow hemp and another 53 had applied but were not yet approved.
And there may be more on the way. Colorado Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Christi Lightcap says more applications may trickle in, since they simply had to be postmarked — not received — by May 1. A few of the applicants stand out, including a county government and Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
|Hemp growing in Colorado.|
Thirteen producers have registered to legally grow hemp in Colorado in the month since registration began, according to the state Department of Agriculture. However, those thirteen producers hold a total of twenty registrations, as several of them are registered to grow in more than one location or for more than one purpose. Ten of the registrations are for commercial purposes, while the other ten are for research and development. The Denver Westword spoke with three producers, who told the paper about their plans for planting marijuana’s sober stepsister.
Backers of the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative have been given the go-ahead from the state to begin collecting the required 504,760 signatures needed to get their legalization bill before voters this fall.
If approved, the measure – dubbed the Jack Herer Initiative — would legalize cannabis use for adults 21 and up, allow for licensed and taxed cannabis retail sales, loosen restrictions on doctors recommending medical cannabis for minors, restrict drug testing for pot by employers and forbid any state funds from going toward enforcement of federal marijuana laws. But that’s a big “if”. The signatures must be collected by Aug. 18, and that’s not going to be cheap or easy to achieve.