What is Industrial Hemp?

If cannabis is Colorado’s modern-day gold rush, then industrial hemp is its modern silver boom. Just as gold drew the first prospectors to Colorado in 1858, Colorado’s progressive stance on cannabis captured the attention of the nation. However, as many Coloradans know, it wasn’t gold that made the state famous and prosperous, it was the Silver Boom. At The Rodman Law Group it is our belief that the cutting edge of the cannabis industry (across the country not just Colorado) is industrial hemp, and like the silver boom that followed the gold rush in Colorado, it is in industrial hemp that the largest fortunes will be made.  

Thanks to many years of misinformation, there are a great deal of falsehoods and untruths surrounding industrial hemp. One of our core goals is to shatter these myths and facilitate education and disseminate truth about this amazing crop. We are striving to accomplish these goals by providing the most up to date information on the subject to our clients and by speaking and writing about the subject as frequently as possible.

What’s the Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp?

The first question most people usually ask when discussing industrial hemp for the first time is “How is it different from marijuana?”

The answer is simple: while both industrial hemp and marijuana come from cultivars of the cannabis plant, the THC level in industrial hemp must be below .3% of the dry weight of the plant. In other words, the psychoactive properties that many traditionally associate with marijuana use (i.e. getting “high”) are not present in industrial hemp.

What are the Applications of Industrial Hemp?

Some of the things that you can do with industrial hemp are:

  • produce high tensile strength rope (as the US Government paid farmers to do during World War II)
  • extract lifesaving, non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as cannabidiol or (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabinol (CBN) for pharmaceutical purposes
  • produce environmentally safe, highly efficient, and easy to use building materials
  • produce plastics for use in everything from automobile manufacturing to residential plumbing
  • produce fabric for clothes, hats, and containers
  • produce biofuel
  • produce a wide range of food products including ice cream, tea, and cereal.
  • and of course, make paper through a process that is significant more environmentally friendly and more productive than our current logging based paper industry

Legal Status of Industrial Hemp:

  • The Farm Bill, passed in 2014, designates any part of the Cannabis Sativa L.  plant possessing no more than .3% THC as being hemp
  • Much of the industrial hemp in the US is imported from other countries
  • 32 out of 50 US states draw a distinction between hemp and marijuana — and have legalized the production of hemp
  • CBD is still considered a Schedule I substance under the CSA
  • There’s still a very gray area surrounding the legality of CBD – and much of it is dependent upon where the extract is from
  • There’s a discrepancy between the language in the Farm Bill and the DEA’s classification of CBD as a Schedule 1 drug
  • CBD is not recognized by the FDA as a supplement or food additive

Colorado

  • Industrial hemp in Colorado requires registration with the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA)
  • The CDA does not have jurisdiction over the processing, sale, or distribution of industrial hemp, they only regulate cultivation
  • CBC, CBG, CBD, and CBN can be produced in Colorado under the relevant licensing regimes for either marijuana or industrial hemp.
    • As to CBD (this point will apply to the other non-THC cannabinoids once they become as well known as CBD): Colorado did not specifically regulate CBD; however, state law compliant CBD products are legal because of the state’s laws pertaining to cannabis and Hemp. That being said, local laws  may impact CBD sales points. For example, the city and county of Denver prohibit the sale of CBD products manufactured outside Colorado and intended for human consumption (so grow your cannabis/hemp in Colorado!).

California

  • The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will administer the state’s Industrial Hemp Farming Act
  • Currently, there is no registration available for private growers, who must instead register with the relevant local jurisdiction (county commissioner) – research institutions are exempt from registering and may grow hemp

Why Choose RLG?

There has never been a crop as versatile as hemp, and with Colorado leading the shift towards legality at a nationwide level, industrial hemp is poised to revolutionize industries as diverse as medicine, energy, and heavy manufacturing. The Rodman Law Group has the regulatory know-how, the requisite legal skill, and the unbridled passion for the industry to help those with vision make a significant impact in industrial hemp, an impact that could change the world. We can provide your business with the insight and knowledge that you need to be successful in the industry, while providing focus on compliance with all state and local laws.