Hansen: Vote yes on Amendment X

Wyatt Hansen

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

A vote for Amendment X on the upcoming 2018 ballot will allow Colorado to remain a leader in the hemp industry by allowing the industry to stay flexible with the changing federal laws.

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As of right now, Colorado is the only state in America that defines industrial hemp in its constitution. Amendment 64 added the definition of industrial hemp to Colorado’s constitution in 2012. On the ballot this year for Colorado’s midterm elections is Amendment X, which removes industrial hemp from our constitution and creates a statutory definition based on upcoming federal laws.

Colorado Blue Book’s supporting argument states, “Colorado is the leading producer of industrial hemp in the country and the only state with a definition of industrial hemp in its constitution. Striking this definition will allow Colorado’s hemp industry to remain competitive with other states as the regulatory landscape evolves for this crop.”

Industrial hemp is defined by The Colorado Department of Agriculture as “a plant of the genus Cannabis and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than three-tenths of 1 percent (0.3 percent) on a dry weight basis.” Industrial hemp is used for a variety of products such as building material, food, fuel, medicine, paper, plastic, rope and textiles.

If federal law were to change the industrial hemp definition, there is likelihood for further and better products to surface in the industry. Colorado would be behind the eight-ball because our constitution could permit us from changing to adapting federal law if the definition were to remain.

A vote for Amendment X will give Colorado flexibility in changing our own hemp laws to fluctuate with federal law. By removing the definition of industrial hemp in our constitution, Colorado will be able to bolster the hemp industry and give local hemp farmers room for change if needed.

Sen. Stephen Fenberg, a primary supporter of the ballot initiative, said, “There’s an expectation that federal law will loosen and now permit hemp cultivation.” This means as federal law changes Colorado will be able to evolve and preserve their position and remain competitive as a key leader in the hemp industry.

If the amendment passes, the definition would be in statute instead of in the constitution giving the industry more flexibility. Since industrial hemp is defined in Colorado’s constitution, responding to the upcoming federal changes to hemp would be challenging.

If the amendment is voted down, Colorado would lose their position in the hemp industry as other states will be able to adapt to the changing federal laws.

Vote yes on Amendment X so Colorado can remain competitive in the hemp market and successfully be able to adapt to new federal hemp laws in the future.

Wyatt Hansen can be reached at letter@collegian.com or online via twitter @hansolo1610

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