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Colorado officials consider new rules on growing hemp

November 07, 2013|By Michael Muskal

Colorado officials will weigh new rules regulating the state’s legal hemp industry and could act as soon as next week.

Officials unveiled the rules Wednesday at a public meeting in Lakewood, according to the Denver Post. The regulations, developed by an industrial hemp advisory committee, will go next week to the state Department of Agriculture.

Amendment 64, the 2012 Colorado ballot initiative that legalized marijuana, also provided for state licensing of industrial hemp farming.

Colorado is already the site of the state’s first commercial hemp crop to be harvested in 56 years. It was 55 acres of the plant grown in Baca County by Ryan Loflin, who has been profiled by the Los Angeles Times.

Advocates are hoping that growing the crop -- which looks like marijuana but has little or no THC, the psychoactive substance that gives pot its kick -- will spur economic growth. Colorado voters on Tuesday embraced a 25% marijuana tax, which could prove a turning point for legalization backers who have argued that selling the weed should add to the state's coffers. The same could happen with hemp.

Hemp, however, remains illegal under federal law, a potential brake on its development value.

The new state regulations call for farmers to register and pay a $200 annual fee, plus $1 per acre planted. Farms will be subject to inspections to make sure that the hemp contains no more than 0.3% THC.

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