Farmers in Colorado are increasingly submitting permits to grow hemp. They expect the demand for hemp to skyrocket due to consumer awareness and new bill proposals.
The House Bill 1295 proposes to apply existing food manufacturing guidelines to industrial hemp products like hemp oil-infused coffee in Colorado. It includes products made with hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).
Hemp is a non-psychoactive cannabis plant variety. CBD derived from hemp is said to provide all the benefits of cannabis without causing any intoxication or addiction.
CBD is gaining popularity for its therapeutic properties. Users say it can reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety, cancer, diabetes, and epilepsy, among others.
The House Bill 1295 suggests modifications to the Colorado Food and Drug Act. It aims to establish that laws and controls do not misrepresent hemp-infused food and cosmetics products. But on a larger scale, the suggested changes plan to promote the state’s emerging industrial hemp industry.
On a national level, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposed a bill to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity in the United States (US). The bill is called the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. It aims to remove hemp from the list of controlled substances in the US. If passed, it will allow farmers to cultivate industrial hemp federally. Right now, only a few states allow the cultivation of hemp.
However, many cannabis farmers are ready to embrace the change. Some have already added hemp to their crops due to plummeting cannabis prices. They expect hemp demand to explode as consumer knowledge about the benefits of hemp-derived CBD increases.
Applications for state licenses to grow hemp have increased twentyfold since 2015, according to the Associated Press.
In Colorado, the state’s Department of Agriculture issues permits to grow hemp. So far, the state has issued 12 permits in Montezuma County, 12 in La Plata County, and three in San Miguel County.