Hemp farmers can now register with the state to grow the crop

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Hemp farmers can now register with the Colorado Department of Agriculture to become sanctioned growers of the long-outlawed crop. The registration officially opened on March 1, a Saturday -- and this is the first business day that hemp registration is, well, open for business. But the state agriculture department wants would-be hemp producers to understand that there are "uncertainties" involved, since hemp is still illegal under federal law.

Here's an excerpt from the department's cautionary press release:

The following issues may cause concern for those interested in growing this crop in Colorado. It is important that potential registrants are aware of these issues and understand the potential risks.

Seed Procurement/Seed Quality. Seed that exists in Colorado may be variable and have unknown THC levels. Random sampling of hemp fields will be conducted. Plant samples testing at levels higher than 0.3 percent THC will be in violation of the Colorado Industrial Hemp Registration and Production Act. Importation of viable industrial hemp seed across state lines and country boundaries is illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act.

Pesticides. There are not any pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc.) currently registered for use on Cannabis spp. (industrial hemp and marijuana) due to the predominant federal nature of pesticide regulation. The CDA is putting together a list of pesticides that could be used on Cannabis spp. and not constitute a violation of pesticide labeling or other federal and state pesticide laws and regulations. This list will be extremely limited.

Federal Farm Programs. Programs such as crop insurance, farm loans and conservation reserve may be jeopardized if industrial hemp is planted. These programs are managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a federal agency. Contact a lawyer for legal advice.

Banking. Even though the Departments of Justice and Treasury recently issued guidance on bank involvement with cannabis operations, banks, including state-chartered banks, may be reluctant to provide services to cannabis growers for fear of being prosecuted for federal law and regulation violations.

Processing. Industrial hemp must be processed prior to shipment out of Colorado. Colorado's industrial hemp rules state that industrial hemp producers must provide documentation of in-state processing as part of registration. It is unknown at this time how many processing facilities will be available in Colorado at time of harvest.

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Ben Droz
"We're certainly excited about getting the program underway. It has great potential for the state," says deputy agriculture commissioner Ron Carleton. "But the reality is there are some challenges and some issues.... We just want to be sure that everybody is fully informed and has as much information as we have about some of these challenges."

Producers have until May 1 to register if they'd like to grow hemp during the 2014 growing season. The registration form can be found on the Colorado Department of Agriculture website. (You can also view a copy below.) The registration fee for growing commercial hemp is $200 plus $1 per acrem and the fee for growing hemp for research and development is $100 plus $5 an acre. (Research and development plots are limited to ten acres or less.) The fees must be paid up front and the registrations are valid for one year.

For more on the state's industrial hemp regulations -- including details about how the crops will be tested for THC -- read our previous post about Colorado's final hemp rules.

Carleton says he's not making any predictions about how many hemp producers will register this first year. While he says the department has gotten a lot of inquiries about growing hemp, "it's hard to know how many of those expressions of interest will translate into real applications. This is something that's so new and so novel for us that I'm just going to wait and watch and see what comes in the door."

He also warns against drawing too many conclusions from this inaugural growing season, emphasizing that building Colorado's industrial hemp program will take time. "I don't want people to measure the success of the program on the first year alone," he says. "I have high hopes and expectations for the success of the program, but it will take us three to five years to see this thing really blossom, both in terms of applying the lessons we've learned on the registration and expectation side, but also on the development of processing facilities and seeing the industry mature a little bit."

See the registration form below.

Industrial Hemp Registration Application

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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17 comments
Junedeer420
Junedeer420

Hemp doesn't need any pesticides added to it!! With the constant drought conditions in Colorado having a lot of the corn fields changed to hemp will save us so much water as well. Hemp was unfairly made illegal in 1937 and we have destroyed the planet so much since then that we NEED hemp to save us from ourselves!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Medical Pot Grower Chosen By State Lost License In Colorado

John J. Czarkowski, a manager of Advanced Grow Labs LLC, one of four companies chosen for licenses to legally produce
medical marijuana in Connecticut, was forced to shut down his Colorado marijuana facility in 2012 after the city of Boulder revoked its license, public documents show.


In a letter dated March 2, 2012, the city of Boulder notified Boulder Kind Care LLC, a marijuana dispensary and production facility, that it was revoking its license for a variety of violations, including:


— Failure to properly store and label marijuana.


— Not having cameras in use on the premises, as required.


— Making a "materially false statement" in its application for a construction permit.


The revocation letter also said that Czarkowski's business partner at Boulder Kind Care appeared to be "under the influence of marijuana" as he guided a city official and a police officer on an inspection of the facility Feb. 2, 2012. The letter said that the partner exhibited "dry mouth, white lips, coated tongue and sunglasses that he would not take off."


Connecticut officials said Tuesday that they were checking with city officials in Boulder about the problem, which state Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein said "was not disclosed to us" in Advance Grow Labs' application for the grower's license it now has been issued.


Rubenstein said he did not know how long his inquiry would take or how it might affect Advanced Grow Labs in Connecticut.


Rubenstein said his agency began checking into the license revocation in Colorado after the Boston Globe published a story about it Tuesday morning. The front-page Globe story said that Czarkowski and his wife — who now are managers of three companies that have won preliminary approval to run medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts — had sold the Boulder marijuana business two months after receiving the city's license-revocation notice.


A mini-biography of Czarkowski, which Advanced Grow Labs submitted to the Department of Consumer Protection with its licensing application last year, says that he founded Boulder Kind Care, which the bio described as "a successful [marijuana] dispensary and production facility in Boulder, Colorado."


The bio says that the Colorado company grew to 20 employees and $2.4 million in annual sales in the three years after it was founded in 2009. Czarkowski's co-founder at Boulder Kind Care was his wife, Diane Czarkowski. The bio submitted says that Boulder Kind Care "was sold in 2012."


Meanwhile, the Globe also reported that Diane Czarkowski filed for personal bankruptcy last year and was released from repayment of more than $400,000 in debts by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court last June.


Court records show that during that proceeding, American Express Bank and American Express Centurion Bank claimed in court that Diane Czarkowski used an Amex account connected with Boulder Kind Care to run up thousands of dollars in charges in the two months before she filed for bankruptcy in February 2013.


The charges were for airplane fares and other "luxury goods and/or services," the court documents said. The Amex Banks' court action said that Diane Czarkowski was "financially sophisticated" and had no reasonable expectation that she would be able to repay the debts, some of which, court papers said, were on behalf of her husband.


Cannabis Connoisseur's Coalition
Cannabis Connoisseur's Coalition

This makes us very happy. We would like to thank all of the pioneers that have paved the way and fought so hard to make this happen. Would like to send a big shout out to our friends at EnviroTextiles.

jamesmcvaney
jamesmcvaney

Congratulations Colorado Department of Ag. You hatched a chicken without having any eggs.

#facepalm

If you are interested in helping launch Colorado's hemp industry please contact me at info@hempincolorado.colm. We are looking for people to help organize and maintain community groups that have started throughout Colorado whose purpose is to locally guide their area hemp industry. We are only seeking people experienced people with developed skills sets the Ag sector or community organizing at this time.

Jean Netherton
Jean Netherton

currently it is a CYA requirement. The state will be able to defend the registered growers against the fed. When (optimistic ain't I?) we get the federal law changed it will no longer be necessary.

Matt Pyles
Matt Pyles

The song "Godda...Electric" is reality here now. "Your choices are whisky, weed, and Black Sabbath"! How cool!!

Sam Hawk
Sam Hawk

The main reason I hear, unscientifically tested, that hemp was outlawed and should not be allowed again that hemp over grows everything around it. If this top photo is true, then that myth is BS. Have you ever heard of this before about the encroachment onto other growing stock?

DontBlowBHO
DontBlowBHO

The founders grew hemp. Used it for just about everything. Including the American flag.

tony514
tony514

what is an acrem and why does it cost a dollar?


Drew Bright
Drew Bright

do you have to register to grow spinach?!

Michelle Van Wieren
Michelle Van Wieren

Don't make it 'legal and taxable' &/or let them make it transgenic. MAKE EVERYTHING LEGAL, except doing harm, including the harm of making it transgenic.

Dan Klinge Jr
Dan Klinge Jr

register with the state. lame. why not just "Hemp Farmers can now just grow hemp if they want to"?

Vote Hemp
Vote Hemp

Farmers will not be able to grow hemp in Colorado, or any other state, on a commercial scale until the definition of industrial hemp is exempted from the definition of "marihuana" on the federal level. Even if a state passes a commercial hemp farming bill, the department of agriculture passes rules and issues licenses to farmers, it's still not legal to grow hemp on the federal level. We can not recommend growing hemp, except for research persuant to Section 7606 of the Farm Bill, until the state versus federal problem is finally resolved. If you choose to do so it's at your own risk. You may learn more about the risks of doing so here: http://votehemp.com/seed

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@tony514  ... typical Westweed stoner spelling fail!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... because the asswipes and liars that wrote that pathetic turd A64 were too stupid and cowardly to actually LEGALIZE marijuana or hemp.



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