USDA Approves Colorado Hemp Plan

Colorado has gotten the go-ahead to move forward with the development of its hemp industry.

On Tuesday, August 10, Governor Jared Polis, Commissioner Kate Greenburg, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials announced the approval of Colorado’s Hemp Advancement & Management Plan.


The plan details acceptable practices and procedures enabling hemp producers to operate in compliance with federal law.

In 2014, the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) launched a hemp pilot program, which rapidly scaled up production and launched a certified seed program.

Along with diversified supply chains, Colorado is building a statewide Hemp Center of Excellence, which will focus on directing research, outreach, and educational efforts for the hemp industry.

Governor Polis says Colorado is the cannabis industry’s undisputed leader, and the state’s hemp plan is a model for the rest of the country.

“Hemp is a versatile crop, an economic engine that supports jobs and our agriculture industry,” says Governor Polis. “We look forward to seeing how hemp can be further developed for fuel, food, and other uses while being a source of revenue for family farms.”

Colorado received final USDA approval more than 18 months after the CDA submitted its comments for Colorado’s hemp industry plans.

The comments were in response to the USDA’s Interim Final Rule (IFR) for hemp, issued on October 31, 2019.

In discussions with the USDA, the CDA provided feedback from stakeholders and legislators.

The CDA also worked to improve the IFR to increase flexibility for hemp producers.

“CDA has worked closely with the USDA to draft a plan that gives the greatest flexibility to Colorado’s hemp producers while ensuring requirements are in place in accordance with federal standards,” says Greenburg. “Throughout this process, we’ve consulted regularly with stakeholders in the hemp industry, including producers, researchers, policy experts, and the public.”

The IFR and Colorado’s USDA-approved hemp plan will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

According to the state, some provisions are already in effect.

Willie Nelson-Approved

Musician Willie Nelson weighed in on the topic, stating that Colorado should be proud of being a hemp industry leader.

“There are many ways that this crop can benefit both small, family farmers and Americans in their everyday lives,” says Nelson. “From textiles and feed to fuel and plastics, hemp is the answer. I applaud Governor Polis for prioritizing hemp, and I look forward to seeing the results.”