COLORADO SPRINGS – On Tuesday, Colorado Gov.John Hickenlooper signed SB13-241 into law, effectively nullifying the federal ban on industrial hemp farming in the Centennial State.
Under the new law, the Colorado Department of Agriculture can create a state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program and Registry, giving Colorado’s farmers the ability to begin the process to “engage in industrial hemp cultivation for commercial purposes.”
The recent passage of Amendment 64 legalizing the cultivation and recreational use of marijuana in Colorado had the major impact on the state’s agricultural sector, and laid the groundwork for passage of this bill. Now, farmers in Colorado can apply for a 10 acre research plot, or they can apply for larger farms.
“I believe this is really going to revitalize and strengthen farm communities,” says Ryan Lofin, the man who planted Americas first hemp crop in 60 years on 60 acres of his family’s Colorado farmland. That plot previously supported alfalfa.
Steve Wilson of the Missouri Hemp Network praised Colordado’s new law.
“Colorado has been leading and now appears to have an advantage. With hemp farming, you need a certain level of maturity both as a society and a government. Colorado farmers are not afraid and Colorado politicians are listening to the voter. Colorado is setting a great example of how to govern in the 21st century.”
The premature death of the United States hemp industry is attributed to the passage of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, along with the enactment of the federal controlled substances act of 1970. Under federal law, the Drug Enforcement Agency has prevented the production of hemp within the United States. However, with this new Colorado legislation, hemp’s future appears poised to make a comeback.
“Being able to tell people that hemp is viable in Colorado and Kentucky now makes the conversation real rather than a dream,” Wilson said.
The United States is currently the world’s largest importer of Hemp (with China and Canada being the top two exporters in the world). Governor Hickenlooper’s signature on this historic bill in Colorado has effectively enabled it’s farmers to participate and profit in this market.
Bills like this one will serve as a boon to a troubled economy by creating jobs here instead of sending money to countries like China and Canada. Utilizing federal law, the DEA has been used as an “attack dog” of sorts to prevent competition with major industries where American-grown hemp products would create serious market competition: cotton, paper/lumber, oil, plastics and others. If American farmers enter this “green” market, the public will also benefit by seeing lower prices on products utilizing hemp.
This serves as yet another example of liberty actually breeding economic growth while government often impedes it.
Contact and encourage your state representatives to introduce the Hemp Freedom Act