Farmers who intend to plant Colorado’s first industrial hemp crop can register starting March 1, though they should be aware of several unanswered legal questions, the Colorado Department of Agriculture says.
“There are challenges in this first year, and I think the most important thing is that we want those who are interested in cultivating to do so, to come to the department and register,” explains Ron Carleton, deputy commissioner of agriculture. “But we at least want them to be aware that there are challenges.”
While it isn’t clear how many people will register to grow hemp, the agriculture department has fielded numerous queries from throughout the state in the past few months.
The issue is complicated because while Colorado has legalized cultivation of industrial hemp—also called Cannabis spp—the practice remains illegal at the federal level. Recent activity in Washington, though, has permitted some flexibility. For example, Carleton notes, memos from the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Treasury have indicated that while Cannabis remains illegal, the federal government will defer enforcement to individual states.
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