Hoban Law Group continues to fight for the hemp market as food products become unlawful under state legislation.


Written By: Abbie Marks

As you may or may not know, in recent months the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has taken the position that ANY hemp product intended for human consumption (from other than nonviable seed) that is to be produced, manufactured, or sold in the State of Colorado is an adulterant and/or deleterious substance under the law. The CDPHE’s position mimics that set forth by the FDA, and there are significant penalties for violating these legal provisions and poses a huge problem for the hemp industry.

The total domestic value of hemp retail products sold in 2015 was $593 million, citing Hemp Business Journal, with 15% revenue coming from food products. 1 In a recent article in AgWeb, Chris Bennett writes, “the U.S. annually imports $500 million of hemp and hemp-related products. The nutraceutical active ingredient global market is $20 billion per year, while the pharmaceutical active ingredient global market is $13 billion per year.” 2 As Colorado leads the nation in terms of domestic hemp production (~9,000 of the ~12,0000 acres cultivated in 2016), this legislative effort needs to begin here. Hoban Law Group has solicited the input, feedback and support of the CDPHE, CDA and other state-level agencies, who are similarly willing to resolve these concerns within Colorado and seek the same legislative clarity and regulatory certainty that the industry does.
These agencies simply need legislative clarity that will help in defining “industrial hemp”. The Hemp Foods Bill is a simple yet thorough solution to this problem. Keeping in mind the protection of farmers and small business owners who contribute to a flourishing, sustainable market, the bill would allow for operations to resume as usual while working in conjunction with previous legislation.

The Bill will “establish a clear definition of “industrial hemp” and “industrial hemp products”, excluding these terms from consideration as adulterated or misbranded substances” while allowing hemp to be used as animal livestock and throughout wholesale food manufacturers given the proper licensing. This initiative is imperative to the growth of developing industry and is designed to ensure that Colorado-grown and manufactured hemp products are both safe for consumption and respected as a valuable food commodity. Given the need for swift action during this 2017 General Assembly Session, HLG is seeking donations of up to $80,000 to fund lobbying efforts set forth by an impeccable team who helped defeat similarly harmful legislation intended to adversely impact the industrial hemp industry during the 2016 Session. “We are seeking a contribution between $2,500-$25,000 for support of the Hemp Foods Bill as well as the lawsuit against the DEA,” says Hoban.

Both of these efforts, led by HLG, are critical to pave the way for the future of hemp foods, extracts and/or supplements. “Virtually all significant ‘players’ throughout the industrial hemp industry are aligned on this issue, and we must get it done this year. Hoban Law Group will be the “point guard” for this effort and will interface with expert lobbyists on this very serious issue.” “This legislation will serve as a model for every other state with a hemp pilot program,” explains Hoban, “so without it, the industry could be set back another few years.”

The hemp industry needs your help today. Please send a check to the “Hoban Law Group ESCROW” to the address below and you will receive a receipt of your contribution. Without your support, this effort is sure to fail, and the regulation imposed will limit any growth for the hemp foods market. Instead, let us build upon years of hard work and save a flourishing industrial hemp industry in Colorado.

1 “Hemp Industry Size and Market Intelligence (2015).” Hemp Business Journal. N.p., 11 Oct. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.

2 Bennett, Chris. “Hemp Profit Gets Real.” AgWeb – The Home Page of Agriculture. N.p., 30 Jan. 2017. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.