The 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for the widespread adoption of hemp as a commercial crop and states around the country have scrambled to establish hemp programs so that their economies can benefit from this crop. However, Colorado has remained the leader in hemp production despite efforts by other states to grab pole position. The following factors could explain why Colorado is still ahead, and states that wish to catch up can do well to learn from Colorado’s path.
A Favorable Regulatory Climate
The department of agriculture in Colorado took a stance early on to view hemp like any other crop, so the regulations that they formulated were designed to ease rather than complicate the adoption of hemp by farmers and other industry players.
Some of the regulatory factors that make the hemp program of the state more “user-friendly” is the ability for someone for apply for a cultivation license at any time during the year, unlike other states that have a specific timeframe within which applications are accepted and processed.
Support from the Top
The regulatory climate aside, the hemp industry in Colorado is also thriving because it enjoys the support of the entire leadership of the state from the governor to the local officials.
During his time in Congress, Gov. Jared Polis championed the creation of hemp pilot programs under the 2014 Farm Bill. His enthusiasm for the crop seems to have grown from that time, and it seems he has “infected” all those working in his administration with that same zeal.
It is no wonder that many see Colorado has the hemp capital of the country, and processors and other industry participants are setting up shop in this state.
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014 and the state has accumulated a skilled labor force that can easily grow hemp, the close cousin of marijuana. This experienced workforce has been instrumental in overcoming the climatic challenges that Colorado faces. For example, it is drier than other states, but those dry conditions also turn out to be a blessing since growers don’t grapple with the same mold and fungal problems that more humid states have to deal with.
Other states are learning from Colorado and are fashioning their hemp sectors following Colorado’s lead. Many of those states really need the hemp industry to work for them since their farmers have struggled to stay afloat after soybean, tobacco and other traditional cash crops have suffered because of the trade war with China and other factors.
Experts therefore believe that industry actors like Organigram Holdings Inc. (TSX: OGI) (NASDAQ: OGI) and SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) expect the balance of power to keep shifting between the major hemp-producing states in the coming years.
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