Hemp-CBD Across State Lines: Colorado

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colorado hemp

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“2018 Farm Bill”) legalized hemp by removing the crop and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) and by providing a detailed framework for the cultivation of hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill gives the US Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) regulatory authority over hemp cultivation at the federal level. In turn, states have the option to maintain primary regulatory authority over the crop cultivated within their borders by submitting a plan to the USDA. This federal and state interplay has resulted in many legislative and regulatory changes at the state level. Indeed, most states have introduced (and adopted) bills that would authorize the commercial production of hemp within their borders. A smaller but growing number of states also regulate the sale of products derived from hemp.

In light of these legislative changes, we are presenting a 50-state series analyzing how each jurisdiction treats hemp-derived cannabidiol (“Hemp-CBD”). Each Sunday we will summarize a new state in alphabetical order. So far, we have covered AlabamaAlaska, ArizonaArkansas, and California. This week we turn to Colorado.

When it comes to hemp, few states have embraced hemp like Colorado.  According to a report prepared by Marijuana Business Daily,  in 2018, Colorado allocated 12,042 outdoor acres and 2.35 million square feet indoors to the cultivation of hemp.  If you buy a product containing hemp, in any state across the country, it likely came from Colorado.

The state’s cultivation program is overseen by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (“CDA”). “Industrial hemp” or “hemp” means “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, including the seeds of the plant and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent on a dry-weight basis.” CDA oversees the cultivation of hemp does not regulate the processing of hemp into other products, including Hemp-CBD other than requiring that cultivators disclose agreements with Colorado hemp manufacturers.

However, in 2018 Colorado enacted House Bill 18-1295 (“HB 18-1295”), codified in part in C.R.S. 25-5-426, which establishes that the manufacturing of an “industrial hemp” or “hemp product” must comply with Colorado’s Food and Drug Act. HB 18-1295 defines an “industrial hemp product” as “a finished product containing industrial hemp that”:

  • Is a cosmetic, food, food additive, or herb;
  • Is for human use or consumption;
  • Contains any part of the hemp plant, including naturally occurring cannabinoids, compounds, concentrates, extracts, isolates, resins, derivatives; and
  • Contains a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent.

Manufacturers of industrial hemp products must register with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”).

Colorado imposes certain labeling requirements on hemp products:

  • An identity statement, which indicates what the product is (not a brand name).
  • A net weight statement.
  • A list of all ingredients.
  • The company name with an address

The label must also clearly identify that it includes hemp as an ingredient and if there is CBD, the amount of CBD and whether it is an isolate. Labels must also include the statement “FDA has not evaluated this product for safety or efficacy,” and may not contain any health claims.

In this 50-state series, we’re moving through states alphabetically. However, if we were ranking the states, Colorado would almost certainly come in first due to its full-on embrace of hemp. The state was one of the first to legalize recreational marijuana so we’d give them a pass if they were to slow things down when it came to hemp. Obviously, that’s not the route taken by the Centennial State. In addition, in light of the uncertainties surrounding how the FDA would regulate Hemp-CBD, the state has tasked CDPHE with overseeing the manufacture of products containing hemp and Hemp-CBD. Kudos to Colorado for boldly moving forward with hemp.

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