Amendment X: A Primer on Hemp

Published on: October 24th, 2018

It’s that time of year again. It’s time for voters to express their opinion at the polls and try to push America (and their small sections of America) in the direction they think is best. There are various pressing issues on the Colorado ballot this year from campaign financing to payday loans and from slavery to increased oil & gas regulations. Since Amendment 64 legalized recreational cannabis, voters have had opportunities to speak out and vote on all the details that keep the legal industry functioning. Today we have new ballot initiatives that could affect the Colorado cannabis and hemp industries. So let’s talk hemp. 

 

Amendment X

This year’s ballot includes an amendment to the Colorado Constitution regarding the definition of industrial hemp. In 2012 when Amendment 64 passed, a definition of industrial hemp was added to the Colorado Constitution that defines industrial hemp as, “the plant of the genus cannabis and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]
concentration that does not exceed three-tenths [0.3] percent on a dry weight basis.”

 

The definition of industrial hemp in federal law at this time sets the same limit for THC concentration. Amendment X removes the definition of industrial hemp from the state constitution and gives the term the same meaning as in federal law or state statute. In the event that federal law changes, Colorado would maintain compliance with federal regulation.

 

What is industrial hemp? Industrial hemp (commonly referred to as “hemp”) is an agricultural commodity that belongs to the cannabis family. Industrial hemp has only trace amounts of the psychoactive component of marijuana (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC), typically around 0.3 percent. By contrast, most marijuana strains sold in Colorado range between 8 and 30 percent THC. Industrial hemp’s applications include building material, food, fuel, medicine, paper, plastic substitute, rope, and textiles. It’s an ancient product and was widely used in America’s early days, prior to prohibition. In fact, “It is well known that a few of our founding fathers were big proponents of growing hemp everywhere. A few in particular such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin not only spoke great things of the plant, but actually took part in the creation of a hemp industry,” according to worldhistory.us.

 

Under current federal law, all cannabis varieties including industrial hemp are classified as controlled substances regulated by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency in the U.S. Department of Justice. The U.S. Congress currently has legislation pending regarding industrial hemp.

 

Colorado Impact

 

As of June 1, 2018, there are 688 registered hemp growers in Colorado cultivating 23,500 outdoor acres and 3.9 million indoor square feet of industrial hemp.

 

The hemp industry is making tremendous growth as a comeback textile and as a CBD source. By adopting the federal definition of hemp, Colorado stands to be ahead in this sprouting market, assuming the federal definition will only change in beneficial ways.

 

Palmer Lake, CO, may go recreational

 

Palmer Lake residents will vote for a third time on whether to allow recreational marijuana sales in the small foothills town.

The town’s sole medical marijuana dispensary, Palmer Lake Wellness Center, worked with a local wholesale grower to collect signatures for the petition. Just over 100 signatures were needed and about 170 residents signed to put the question on the ballot.

 

Palmer Lake’s Board of Trustees also has referred a measure to the ballot seeking voter approval of a five percent sales tax on recreational marijuana sales if the pot shop measure passes.

 

The Daily Chronic reports that, “Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food and clothing. The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service.

Over thirty countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.

The world’s leader in hemp production is China.”

For information on those issue committees that support or oppose the measures on the ballot at the November 6, 2018 election, go to the Colorado
Secretary of State’s elections center website hyperlink for ballot and initiative information:
http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/InitiativesHome.html

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