USDA Approves Colorado’s State Hemp Plan

Cannabis plant (Photo by Harrison Haines from Pexels)

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Recently, Governor Polis, Commissioner Kate Greenberg, and officials from the U.S. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the approval of Colorado’s State Hemp Management Plan that provides details on practices and procedures to enable hemp producers to operate in Colorado in compliance with federal laws.

“Colorado is the undisputed leader in the cannabis industry, and our hemp plan is a model for the country,” said Governor Polis. “Hemp is a versatile crop, an economic engine that supports jobs and our agriculture industry. We look forward to seeing how hemp can be further developed for fuel, food, and other uses while being a source of revenue for family farms.”

Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) launched the hemp pilot program in 2014 and since then the program has rapidly scaled up production, launched a certified seed program, diversified supply chains, and is establishing a statewide Hemp Center of Excellence, which will help direct research, outreach, and educational efforts for Colorado’s hemp industry.

“CDA has worked closely with the USDA to draft a plan that gives the greatest flexibility to Colorado’s hemp producers while ensuring requirements are in place in accordance with federal standards,” said Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg. “Throughout this process, we’ve consulted regularly with stakeholders in the hemp industry, including producers, researchers, policy experts, and the public.”

“Colorado should be proud of leading the charge for the hemp industry. There are many ways that this crop can benefit both small, family farmers and Americans in their everyday lives,” said musician Willie Nelson. “From textiles and feed to fuel and plastics, hemp is the answer. I applaud Governor Polis for prioritizing hemp and I look forward to seeing the results. Hemp=Fuel-Food-Fiber!”

The final approval comes more than 18 months after CDA submitted detailed and comprehensive comments for Colorado’s plan in response to the USDA’s Interim Final Rule (IFR) for hemp issued on October 31, 2019. CDA was instrumental in leading discussions with USDA officials, soliciting stakeholder and legislative feedback, and improving the Rule to make it more flexible for hemp producers. The Final Rule and the approved State Plan will take full effect on Jan 1, 2022, with some provisions already in effect.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture exists to support the state’s agriculture industry and serve the people of Colorado through regulation, advocacy, and education. Our mission is to strengthen and advance Colorado agriculture, promote a safe and high-quality food supply, protect consumers, and foster responsible stewardship of the environment and natural resources.