Hemp study bill could open doors for Colorado industrial hemp production

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Wes McKinley.
Representative Wes McKinley wants to save the earth with hemp, and not in some philosophical, hippie-dippy way either. Through a bill he has introduced this session that would study how hemp plants clean contaminated soil, McKinley is hoping to eventually revive industrial hemp production in Colorado and the rest of the country.

House Bill 1099 wouldn't legalize hemp farming outright. If passed, it would authorize the chairs of the agriculture, livestock, and natural resources committee in both the House and the Senate to appoint a seven-member committee to study the process of phytoremediation, a fancy term for a simple process. You see, hemp plants suck up contaminants and radiation in the soil -- and it's been proven to work in places like in Russia, where they've been used to remove soil contaminants from the Chernobyl disaster site.

As detailed in the bill, the committee would consist of one soil expert from a Colorado university or college, one expert in radioactive material detection and leeching, one expert in phytochemistry, one horticulturist, and three Colorado residents "educated and interested in the specialized use of industrial hemp."

The committee would choose a small test site in Colorado and would have until July 1, 2022 to complete the project.

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Canadian industrial hemp.
The idea to use industrial hemp as a soil-remediation tool was brought to McKinley's attention by marijuana activist Jason Lauve a few years ago. McKinley says Lauve has been instrumental in getting the bill off the ground. Cannabis soil remediation dovetailed perfectly with McKinley's work with cleaning up the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant.

Though the project is a heavily regulated pilot program with a set, ten-year life span, McKinley hopes it will open doors to future industrial hemp production. "Being from a farming area, we are looking for crops that can make a profit," he says. "We think hemp doesn't have to be subsidized like they do with corn and wheat."

McKinley, a rancher who represents a highly agricultural segment of the state and isn't often photographed without a bolo and a cowboy hat, has approached the issue from an farming standpoint and makes the clear distinction between industrial hemp cultivation and marijuana cultivation. As he points out, Americans buys millions of dollars worth of legal hemp products each year from other countries -- money that could be going to American companies.

Page down to read more of our interview with Wes McKinley and the industrial hemp bill.


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13 comments
Mariannelopez101
Mariannelopez101

in favor of this bill.I am from calif. this would be a big step if approved.The tahoe hemp co. out of Tahoe is Very much in favor of this bill.I will foward this post to everyone that i know that may support this bill.Thank -you for all the work that is put into this bill to pass even if it takes along time.hopefully it will not take till 2022.

ray christl
ray christl

Rational idea,but why take a swipe at the HIPPIE -dippy way ??? We were right about cannabis ,and will cover the Earth with peace & love. The CIA- Mafia is creating a horrible world of cancer,war, & death. 

Stop the MSM propaganda for the 1% tyranny.

Joe
Joe

Careful, Wes. Setting a limit of 0.3% THC in industrial hemp will only create another new branch of law enforcement to go crawling through the hemp fields sampling leaves and buds for THC. How do you like the sound of the Colorado Hemp Enforcement Division? We don't need more auditors with guns!

Bruce Tanner
Bruce Tanner

As a Caretaker of Buildings & Land & what I experience this is for real a way & truth & life that ties to tending while living on earth...

Lindasuerivers
Lindasuerivers

What can I do to help? Many programs have prewritten letters to ask their Congressmen to support a specific Bill, with just cause. If you have one, I would gladly sign & submit. If not, I would write one, if that would be alright. This is important to all Americans. Please respond.

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

Banning industrial hemp makes about as much sense as making rubbing alcohol illegal for anyone under 21. Thanks for your work on this, Jason.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Phytoremediation sounds cool, and may have appplication at Rocky Flats and elsewhere in the State, but Colorado should take the lead in studying the agronomical potential of hemp all-round.  The potential of hemp as a food crop is enormous, and it might supply far more of the nation's biofuel than does corn, at far less cost.  With a major cyclic drought looming, hemp might prevent a second American Dust Bowl again roaring out of eastern Colorado.

kevin hunt
kevin hunt

I agree, Joe, but there is no way to please the prohibitionists without some sort of regulations.  Having a Colorado Hemp Enforcement Division is better than having the DEA, which doesn't allow any industrial hemp cultivation at all.  In 30+ other countries, they have agents sampling the hemp fields without any problems.

Michelle LaMay
Michelle LaMay

 And Joe, a testing industry for a plant that will be uprooted and ground up. The Colorado Relief for the Possession of Cannabis Act 2012 defines cannabis and this definition will be in the constitution: (a) “CANNABIS” MEANS      (I) THE GENUS OF THE CANNABIS PLANT AND ALL ITS SPECIES, LIVING OR DEAD, (II) AND IN ANY AMOUNT.

Having gone heretofore undefined, this definition of cannabis, ensconced in the Colorado constitution November 6, 2012, will allow tons of hemp to be transported to refineries, pulp factories, food processors etc. and redefine dry land farming in Colorado...mark my words.Michelle LaMay, Proponent #1303-886-7998http://www.relief4possession.w...relief4possession@groups.facebook.com

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Cannabis is illegal because of industrial hemp,  Not because of the buds.  The buds were the excuse we were given in 1937. The real money is in the hemp for food, fuel, fiber and yes, in today's polluted world, the toxic waste.  They did planted hemp after Chernobyl.  Studying until 2022 is, well, long.

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