Colorado Voters: What’s the Deal With Hemp in Amendment X?

We’ve been hearing a lot of questions about our view on Colorado’s Amendment X (the official write-up of the amendment can be seen here on page 6).

 

This proposal on the November ballot would, if passed, amend the Colorado Constitution to remove the current definition of ‘industrial hemp’ and defer to the current federal definition of hemp. Bluebird strongly supports this amendment because Colorado – the country’s leading producer of hemp – is currently the only state in the country to have hemp’s definition written into its constitution. This situation provides little flexibility for Colorado legislators to make adaptive changes as the industry moves forward.

 

The current language of the federal Hemp Farming Act, if passed, would be stronger than Colorado’s definition. This is due to the federal bill’s specific inclusion of “derivatives, extracts, and cannabinoids.” Currently, both the 2014 Farm Bill and the Colorado State constitution define industrial hemp as a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Those in the industry hope that in the future, after the passage of the Hemp Farming Act, the THC limit might be raised to 0.5% or 1%. This slightly higher level of THC is much more achievable when growing hemp as an agricultural commodity. This THC level would also make it easier for farmers to not accidentally come out slightly high on their levels and be forced to burn their entire harvest.

 

It’s essential for Amendment X to pass now because Colorado law states that substantial changes to the constitution are only voted on in an even-numbered election year. That means if this amendment doesn’t pass now and the federal definition of hemp changes before 2020, the farmers of Colorado would be at an economic disadvantage. This is contrary to the intended will of the voters of the state and thus, for Colorado to remain competitive nationally, it must adopt the definition being used everywhere else in the country.

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