What’s Up With Growing Hemp?

On December 20, 2018 President Trump signed H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill) into law. The 2018 Farm Bill exempts hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) if it meets the definition of hemp in the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (AMA). Primarily the hemp must test less than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration.

Although growing hemp no longer violates the CSA, the Farm Bill also outlines a regulatory framework in the new Subtitle G to the AMA. Under that framework, states and Indian tribes can seek primary regulatory authority and oversight over growing hemp in their territories by submitting monitoring and regulation plans. The plan then needs approval from the Secretary of Agriculture. If states or tribes fail to enact such regulatory authority, growing hemp may proceed only under a federal regulatory plan to be developed by the Secretary.

What is Colorado’s plan for growing hemp?

The law maintains the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate products containing hemp. New state law lays the groundwork for Colorado to submit a plan for regulating hemp so it can retain oversight over the state’s hemp industry. Colorado is developing a regulatory framework that addresses key issues such as the licensing of hemp producers, product testing, enforcement, compliance procedures, and annual inspections.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture kicked off a statewide initiative on May 30, 2019 to manage and promote hemp cultivation and production, and meet the subtitle G federal regulatory requirements. The Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan (CHAMP) will draw on the expertise of state agencies and private companies. Colorado Farm Bureau and Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance Company will both have representatives in the CHAMP stakeholder discussions. The CHAMP program will conclude with a report in spring 2020.

Where do we stand?

Until the Colorado Department of Agriculture submits and receives approval of a plan to regulate and oversee the state’s hemp production, Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance Company will not consider insuring hemp production.

According to figures compiled by Hemp Industry Daily, as of May 29, 2019, 2300 farmers in Colorado were registered to grow hemp. 80,000 acres outdoors and 9 million square feet of indoor space (i.e. greenhouses) are licensed for hemp production.

Learn more about insurance coverage for agriculture from Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance here.