Marijuana

Polis, USDA and FDA Will Speak at Denver Hemp and CBD Conference

Colorado Governor Jared Polis speaks to a crowd during the 2019 NoCo Hemp Expo in April.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis speaks to a crowd during the 2019 NoCo Hemp Expo in April. Jacqueline Collins
Colorado Governor Jared Polis will continue making his rounds on the state's hemp circuit when the American Herbal Products Association's hemp and CBD congress comes to town in August.

Legalized at the federal level in late 2018 and now overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture, hemp and its potential are starting to gain attention in the herbal supplement world, while CBD companies are stuck in a gray area as the Food and Drug Administration mulls over future regulations for hemp-derived CBD. But in Colorado, businesses in both areas are moving full speed ahead, thanks to state laws legalizing recreational marijuana and hemp-infused foods.

And the AHPA has taken notice, choosing Denver to host its first Hemp-CBD Supplement Congress. The two-day conference will focus on hemp and CBD's future in the dietary and supplement industries, which went through similar regulatory bumps in the ’90s as government officials tried to catch up with commercial and public interests.

CBD, a derivative of hemp, is used in food, as well as vaporizer and cosmetic products to treat inflammation, anxiety, sleeping disorders and more, though the jury is still out on how many of these commercial products are actually effective. Pressed hemp seed oil, another derivative of the plant, is used for nutritional purposes and skin disorders, as well.


Polis, a pro-hemp politician since his days as a U.S. Representative, talked about hemp's potential in April, when he appeared on stage at the NoCo Hemp Expo with United Natural Products Alliance president Loren Israelsen to talk about the parallels between hemp and dietary products. Colorado's new governor is a big get for cannabis and hemp events looking for credibility, and the AHPA shared its excitement in an announcement of the event's lineup.

"His participation is integral to the future of hemp, and we look forward to continuing to be a voice of the herbal products industry and sharing his groundbreaking message to our 500-plus top leading members,” AHPA president Michael McGuffin says of Polis. “This collaboration with Governor Polis solidifies his plans to make good on the promise he made in January to position and help shape the future of industrial hemp.”

Although Colorado and a short list of other states with legal marijuana have allowed hemp-derived CBD products intended for human consumption, the vast majority of states are still operating under federal laws and guidelines, which technically ban CBD products intended for human consumption. This hasn't stopped hemp-derived CBD vaporizers, edibles, drinks and other infused-products from popping up nationwide to take advantage of ambiguous laws, though.

In addition to Polis, William Richmond, the USDA hemp program's chief of operations, will also speak on a panel with a high-ranking FDA representative, according to the AHPA's agenda.

The conference will take place August 15 and 16 at downtown Denver's Crowne Plaza.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell