Pros and Cons of Growing Hemp in Colorado
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- On Election Day, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which legalizes the use of marijuana for adults 21 and over. It also includes a provision legalizing the growth of industrial hemp. While hemp can be used for multiple products, growing the crop is still a federal crime.
"It comes in all different colors of the rainbow," said Claire Codling, a Western Slope resident. Hemp is the foundation of her business.
"I specialize in craft supplies, twine and cord. I have customers around the world that are making hemp jewelry."
Beyond what she utilizes it for, hemp can be used in a variety of ways.
"Oh, you can make anything with it. We can make construction materials, paper. It's biodegradable, it's eco-friendly," Codling said.
Bruce Talbott, the farm manager of Talbott Farms, said, "It's a great crop from the standpoint of biomass. Whether it's used for paper, whether it's used for rope, whether it's used for textiles."
While Amendment 64 includes legalizing the growth of hemp, local farmers may still stay away from the crop.
"I think most commercial growers are going to be reluctant to go there, just because we interface so much with federal regulations and federal control. Without a federal mandate or legalization, I think that would be a high risk," Talbott said.
Codling said she wishes legalizing the use marijuana was a completely separate issue from legalizing hemp.
"I cannot smoke my product. To me it is two completely separate issues; one is fiber for making things," she said.
She hopes one day she will be able to get her product locally.
"I think if we could grow it in Colorado it would produce jobs; small businesses could start. I'd love to buy a product that I import from China right here on my home turf."
Until then, she must rely on other countries' products.