Colorado assembling task force to study intoxicating hemp products

Matt Whittaker

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Broomfield, Colo.) After a battle between the hemp and marijuana industries, state authorities are convening a group to study intoxicating hemp products, the Broomfield-based Department of Agriculture said Thursday.

The task force stems from legislation Gov. Jared Polis signed Tuesday that directs the agriculture department, Department of Revenue and Department of Public Health and Environment to convene a group to make recommendations in a report to lawmakers by Jan. 1.

Potential task force members can request to serve via an online application by June 15. 

Once finalized, the group will meet at least six times virtually from July 13 through Dec. 7 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and there will be a public comment period at each meeting. The public can also submit written comments here.

The task force legislation is a watered-down version of a proposal that pitted the Colorado hemp and marijuana industries against each other.

“While we are in agreement with lawmakers and others that intoxicating finished products should not be sold outside a regulated 21+ sales scheme, this bill goes too far and would effectively end all hemp derived cannabinoid production in Colorado,” the Colorado Hemp Association said before striking the compromise. 

Patients groups also worried the bill would prohibit therapeutic uses of intoxicants from hemp, according to Lakewood-based industry publication MJBizDaily, which Emerald Holding, a New York Stock Exchange-listed company recently bought.

“Marijuana and hemp were making steady and significant progress on parallel tracks, but the recent emergence of ‘intoxicating hemp’ products resulted in a collision that may hinder the pathway to federal legitimacy for both industries,” according to Denver-headquartered cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg.

 “These products, which are derived from hemp and contain significant levels of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, were not intended under current hemp laws,” the law firm said.  “They raise significant public health and safety concerns, and they are damaging the credibility of the legal marijuana and hemp industries and jeopardizing their efforts to bring about further critical reforms.”

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

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