This week, Colorado legislators introduced SB 22-205, legislation aimed at addressing the growing issue of intoxicating compounds being sold under the hemp name. The bill comes on the heels of months of negotiations among stakeholders in the hemp industry, marijuana industry and state regulators.
While we believed the drafters had adequately understood the positions of the hemp industry, the introduced bill makes clear that there has been a breakdown of communication: Too many of the hemp industry’s concerns were unaddressed or rejected by the drafters. Fortunately, there is time to fix it.
Fundamentally, all of the parties at the table agreed on a general principle: Intoxicating compounds must be regulated and limited to adults only, while non-intoxicating hemp products should be permitted at retail along with other dietary supplements and food and beverage additives. However, this bill contains many provisions that do not address that mission, and potentially criminalize the provision of non-intoxicating hemp products, thereby ensuring a mass exodus of legitimate hemp businesses from Colorado.
The US Hemp Roundtable opposes SB 22-205 in its current form. Working with stakeholders on the ground, we will be working to secure amendments to address critical problems in the bill, including:
- In what appears to be a drafting error, non-intoxicating hemp extract tinctures would be limited to 20 mg of THC per bottle, with criminal penalties and/or civil rights of action for violations. This would virtually wipe out full spectrum hemp tincture commerce.
- The bill would require Colorado CBD manufacturers to immediately destroy much of their stock of non-intoxicating full-spectrum products that exceed the 20 mg THC package cap (including tinctures, caplets, gummies, etc.) , prohibiting them from selling these products to states where they are legal, and potentially imposing criminal and civil penalties on their storage and distribution.
- In determining whether future cannabinoid products are intoxicating, the law would not require a scientific analysis and could lead to improperly classifying some novel non-intoxicating compounds as adult-use cannabis.
- The legislation does not provide a certain path to protect the retail sale of CBN products that are demonstrably non-intoxicating. Protections for non-intoxicating products are limited to CBD, CBG and CBC (and acids), stifling innovation.
- There would be no grace period whereby retailers could sell non-intoxicating products that are packaged legally as of today, but would fall outside the new limits. There are also no safe harbors for manufacturers handling in-process or bulk ingredients. This would require small businesses to immediately destroy non-intoxicating products that complied with the rules when they were manufactured, or face possible criminal penalties.
- While the bill provides no protections for Colorado-based companies that sell full-spectrum products nationwide, it does not meaningfully address the fundamental problem of out-of-state companies selling intoxicating products under the guise of hemp online into the state. This exacerbates an already uneven playing field.
- Worse yet, we are hearing that some cannabis advocates are pushing for even more restrictive THC mg limits which could result in eliminating all broad and full-spectrum hemp products from the retail marketplace.
We appreciate and support the Polis Administration’s intent to crack down on the unregulated retail sale of clearly intoxicating compounds masquerading as hemp. But with the legislation using too broad a brush, we must push back on provisions that would wreak havoc on the Colorado hemp/CBD industry and further undermine the efforts of struggling Colorado hemp farmers.
We will keep you in touch with the progress, and may need to call on your help to secure a reasonable and fair regulatory system.