Colorado universities can now legally grow hemp for research -- but will they?

Thumbnail image for hemp.plant.in.hand.ben.droz.credit.205x205.jpg
Ben Droz
Colleges and universities in Colorado and other states where industrial hemp is legal are now allowed to grow the crop for research purposes, thanks to a provision in the Farm Bill signed into law on Friday by President Obama. The provision, which was originally introduced as an amendment by Colorado Representative Jared Polis, defines hemp as separate from marijuana -- and could give the fledgling industry the scientific boost it needs to get off the ground.

So will Colorado universities start studying cannabis?

Perhaps not yet. When we asked whether Colorado State University has plans to conduct research on industrial hemp in light of the Farm Bill provision, spokesman Mike Hooker sent us the following statement:

As a land grant institution with vast expertise in agriculture, Colorado State University is watching closely to see when language in the Farm Bill results in the policy changes needed to permissibly cultivate, research and conduct other activities related to growing industrial hemp in the U.S. Once new federal regulations concerning industrial hemp are issued by the Department of Agriculture, Colorado State is poised to help explore the possibility that hemp could become an important crop in Colorado.
The Farm Bill also allows state agriculture departments to grow hemp for research purposes. But Colorado Department of Agriculture Deputy Commissioner Ron Carleton says "it is very unlikely" that the department will do so. It's unclear, he adds, whether the department will have to register universities to grow research hemp. "To be clarified," he writes in an e-mail. (We asked him to let us know if and when he receives clarification.)

In the meantime, here's the text of the provision:

SEC. 7606. LEGITIMACY OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP RESEARCH.

(a) In General- Notwithstanding the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (20 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.), chapter 81 of title 41, United States Code, or any other Federal law, an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)) or a State department of agriculture may grow or cultivate industrial hemp if--

(1) the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research; and

(2) the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed under the laws of the State in which such institution of higher education or State department of agriculture is located and such research occurs.

Eric Steenstra, president of the national advocacy organization Vote Hemp, says the provision will allow researchers to begin the work of rebuilding the American hemp industry. More than fifty years have passed since the last crop was grown here, Steenstra says. "All of the genetics we had from centuries of growing hemp have been lost in the last fifty years," he says, "and we need to find varieties that are going to grow well in different parts of the country and that will meet the needs of manufacturers."

(Of note: Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin planted 55 acres of hemp last spring, despite the fact that farmers were not yet allowed to register to grow the crop in Colorado. The registration officially opens on March 1 of this year.)

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Hemp Industries Association
Ryan Loflin harvesting his hemp plants.
And manufacturers' needs are changing, Steenstra says. While hemp has always been prized for its fibers, he says, the demand is growing for products made from hemp seeds and hemp-seed oil, such as foods, body lotions and soap. "The modern hemp market is going to look a little different than what it used to look like," he says.

Steenstra made sure to give props to former Colorado state senator Lloyd Casey, who was among the first to introduce hemp legalization legislation in the United States. In the mid-1990s, Casey tried twice to legalize hemp production here, but the measures failed after the federal Drug Enforcement Administration came out against them. Casey, who's long-since retired and now lives in Ohio, still thinks the DEA's position was ridiculous -- a point he made clear when we spoke to him last May. At the time, Casey was planning a trip back to Colorado to attend the signing of the bill to register hemp farmers with the state.

"He deserves a lot of credit," Steenstra says. "He started this whole process."

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Hemp: Read final regulations for growing industrial hemp in Colorado."


Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com


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33 comments
hemphelps
hemphelps

This is definitely a start and I am glad that it's finally here.  But it's crazy that this proven plant is going and has gone through so much BS form our government.  It all spiraled down hill in the 1930s when big corporation lobbied to make it illegal.  They seen hemp as a threat to their business so they basically bribed politicians.  The corruption needs to stop.


www.HempHelps.org  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Parasitic whiners cry cry cry about lost potential revenue


*** High Times, Westword sue Colorado over marijuana ad restrictions ***


The publisher of marijuana magazine High Times has sued the state of Colorado in federal court over the state’s rules preventing recreational cannabis businesses from advertising in most publications.


High Times, along with local weekly magazine Westword, filed the lawsuit on Monday. It marks the first time anyone has challenged the restrictions in court.


The rules allow recreational marijuana businesses to advertise only in publications that are adult-oriented. According to the state’s rules, recreational marijuana stores can advertise only in a publication that “has reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the publication’s readership is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.” There is no such restriction on medical marijuana businesses.


The lawsuit argues the rules, which also restrict television, radio and outdoor advertising, are an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.


The magazines are “chilled from soliciting advertisements from prospective clients and prevented from making revenue from clients who wish to engage in advertising concerning marijuana-related products and services,” the lawsuit’s complaint states.


The lawsuit doesn’t state specific instances in which High Times or Westword were harmed by the rules. In Westword’s latest issue, there are at least nine ads by marijuana businesses advertising that they are open for recreational sales or soon will be.


It is also unclear how the suit’s filing in federal court will impact the judge’s assessment of its claim that the ads concern “lawful activity,” since marijuana is illegal federally.

Anthony Weller
Anthony Weller

At least other state universities will start there research .

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

"Of note: Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin planted 55 acres of hemp last spring, despite the fact that farmers were not yet allowed to register to grow the crop in Colorado"


So Ryan Loflin ILLEGALLY cultivated hemp, flagrantly and willfully violating Colorado law for his own vainglorious publicity.


In fairness to all the other farmers who waited patiently for the regulations to take effect and who complied with Colorado law, the scofflaw Ryan Loflin should be DENIED any hemp license by the state due to his blatant criminal acts and moral turpitude.

hempstress
hempstress

I wonder if VoteHemp posts their hand wringing-concern trolling bullsh*t on any KY/Hemp related articles? Or do they just want to scare Colorado farmers away so they can spread their Canadian backed monopoly on hemp only to states that they force to grow Canadian Certified Seed?

Ingrid Setzer
Ingrid Setzer

They would if I was going there! Just to shut me up!

Belinda Westerlund
Belinda Westerlund

Stall tactic, no need to research, it is legalize in ever industrialized country in the world!

Chris Tensen
Chris Tensen

Of course finding the seeds and doing something with the harvested the crop might be bigger challenges at this point.

Chris Tensen
Chris Tensen

From what I was told the Oregon Dept of Ag wanted to grow test crops, but they were waiting for federal approval since they said they would not go after WA and CO with their laws. Then it was said they did get approval. Not a legal stamped thing, but the feds saying they would not interfere. But the actual wording.... ""These schemes must be tough in practice, not just on paper," she wrote. "They must include strong, state based-enforcement efforts backed by adequate funding. We will take a trust but verify approach. "In other words," Marshall wrote, "as long as the state follows through in imposing strict controls regulating marijuana-related conduct, it is less likely that any of the department's eight enforcement priorities will be threatened and federal action will be less necessary."" That sounds like "you can grow hemp as long as you follow rules" to me..... I wonder if there are any farmers willing to test this theory.

Vote Hemp
Vote Hemp

The feds did not give approval. Amanda Marshall, the US Attorney for Oregon, said that "as long as the state follows through in imposing strict controls regulating marijuana-related conduct, it is less likely that any of the Department’s eight enforcement priorities will be threatened and federal action will be less necessary." http://bit.ly/1hv1iyh

Chris Tensen
Chris Tensen

Wow! awesome. What'd you use to grown on that land?

Chris Tensen
Chris Tensen

Aside from this farm bill, Oregon will be growing 3 test crops in the spring. By farmers wanting to grow hemp, not schools. This was a project with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. And the feds gave approval for it.

Chris Tensen
Chris Tensen

That goes for the entire cannabis plant then. In which feds said they would not interfere with. There will be a number of farmers growing hemp in Colorado come spring. Growing for use, not research. Ryan Loflin, you'll be growing again in the spring I imagine???

Vote Hemp
Vote Hemp

Sorry, no they can't; it's still not legal on the federal level. There are still a lot of risks to grow hemp on a commercial scale without a DEA permit including federal civil asset forfeiture, criminal charges, conspiracy charges, mandatory minimum sentences, and loss of agricultural program benefits. We can not recommend growing hemp until the state versus federal problem is finally resolved. http://votehemp.com/faqs#seed Ten states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. These states will be able to take immediate advantage of the industrial hemp research and pilot program provision, Section 7606 of the Farm Bill: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. State departments of agriculture will need to promulgate rules to be able to take advantage of the hemp research provision in the Farm Bill. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is already working on draft rules.

FreeTheWeed
FreeTheWeed

Ryan Loflin is an embarrassment to law abiding hemp farmers.

Sharon Dicolla
Sharon Dicolla

why do we need to do research, don't we know what it can do? just do it already.

Chris Tensen
Chris Tensen

Can't they already grow it due to the new law? The research thing was part of the farm bill and only for 9 states. I didn't think it mattered in Colorado since they are beyond that speed bump already.

Dominick Black
Dominick Black

I want to grow HEMP (Not pot) decoratively around my fence-line.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

"Of note: Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin planted 55 acres of hemp last spring, despite the fact that farmers were not yet allowed to register to grow the crop in Colorado"


So Ryan Loflin ILLEGALLY cultivated hemp, flagrantly and willfully violating Colorado law for his own vainglorious publicity.


As such and in fairness to all the other farmers who waited patiently and complied with Colorado law, Ryan Loflin should be DENIED any hemp license by the state due to his blatant criminal acts and moral turpitude.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Anthony Weller "At least other state universities will start there[sic] research"


When will you start your remedial English classes?


Why are so many stoners so damn illiterate?


UseReputableSource
UseReputableSource

@hempstress  I had the same concern after they tried to make Colorado buy seed from Canada by attempting to get it into our hemp law. It is in the public record.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... those hemp products will still be imported, as they are produced MUCH CHEAPER overseas, in places like China and Eastern Europe where LABOR costs are much lower.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Ryan Loflin  -- ZERO when your hemp license is DENIED for your willful and flagrant violation of Colorado law last year.



UseReputableSource
UseReputableSource

This is not correct.  Do NOT take legal advice on-line.


If anyone wants to learn more about industrial hemp, please contact a few of the reputable experts in Colorado and ask about their experience.  

VH does not speak for Colorado.

hempstress
hempstress

Yeah...you would think in a state that not grows THC heavy marijuana prolifically and has implemented laws regarding industrial hemp too that, yeah, yeah can grow hemp. But that's not what VH wants you to think. they want to scare farmers away from the crop so they can further their Canadian backed monopoly. Look at all the states where they have "helped" write legislation. Every one has some "certified seed" provision and in Maines case they actually forced them to grow "CANADIAN" certified seed. All to further the monopoly of Hemp Oil Canada.


But to ACURATELY answer your question, Yes Farmers in Colorado can start growing hemp in March now that the registration program is done. The significance of the FARM bill was to allow CSU/CU to do R&D.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Dominick Black ... your neighbors whose pot crops will be ruined by your hemp pollen will surely appreciate that.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@UseReputableSource @hempstress  


              *** Regulation Works!! ***


... Bück Dich and receive the REGULATIONS that the Big $$ Dispensary Cartels and Special Interest Lobbyists bought and paid for !!


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