United States farmers cultivated over 23,000 acres of hemp in 2017, up from fewer than 10,000 acres in 2016.
Governor John Hickenlooper has signed legislation, Senate Bill 241, into law creating a new program within the Department of Agriculture to oversee the regulation of commercial hemp production. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Senate Bill 241 classifies cannabis possessing no more than three-tenths of one percent THC as an agricultural commodity and establishes a 9-member committee within the state Department of Agriculture to oversee the creation of regulations governing the licensed cultivation of hemp for commercial and research purposes. The Department must adopt regulations for the new program no later than March 1, 2014.