At the 2014 NoCo Hemp Expo in Loveland, CO several hundred entrepreneurs and hemp enthusiasts from across the US gathered to witness a movement in the making. With over 70 million in MMJ taxes this year alone, Colorado is one of the largest cannabis states in the US and is leading the way in hemp reform today.
On the Western Slope, local non-profit Colorado Hemp Education Association is testing out plots and seeking political support for farmers to grow hemp. Sue Gray and Jackie Chenoweth of CHEA attending the recent event and were thrilled to gain insight into the crop’s legal standing at the state and national level and what must be done locally to help farmers grow hemp across the board.
“We need to work on with farmers growing hemp,” says Gray. “We need everything legal, so our farmers won’t get prosecuted. Our main area of focus is educating the public.”
CHEA reports that there are currently no famers growing hemp on the Western slope, but Gray and Chenoweth are taking part in a few small R&D plots “to help develop seed and cultivate strains adaptable to our climate.”
“We’re growing enough to sell to farmers,” and hopes that after two years of growing hemp seed, “we will get to the point of adaptation.”
“Maybe then, legislature will catch up to our demands.”
But Gray and many others are still looking forward to this year’s season.
At Colorado Hemp Project, Bill and Danielle Billings are gearing up for greater plots this year. Their recent exhibit at the Expo gave viewers a glance at local, organic hemp seed from their Sterling plot, which have also been also donated to native tribes in the area.
The trade group also presented BMW’s latest hybrid hemp car, which was a monumental illustration of just how alternatively this crop can be used, featuring BMW’s latest hybrid hemp car.
With the recent passing of Senate Bill 196 on April 23rd, CO’s Department of Agriculture will begin building a certified seed program with data collected in the 2014 growing season, allowing farmers greater access to viable, federally permitted seed.
“This genie is not going back in the bottle,” says Mike Bowman, a presenter at expo in Loveland, and it seems as though our wishes have been granted.
“The tide is coming. If we can’t solve a problem like this, we are forever broken.”
As Colorado continues to lead the way in cannabinoid reform and research, many are wondering what the landscape will look like for hemp nationwide. As for today, that depends highly on our level of action.
“We need to create a bounty of political voices in Colorado and nationwide. Call Congress today and ask for their support on Senate Bill 134 (Industrial Hemp Farming Act), and House Bill 525.”