Colorado Loosens Hemp Testing Restrictions

New Ag's Connor Klep leads hemp lovers through the Field of Dreams Campout in Greeley last summer.
New Ag's Connor Klep leads hemp lovers through the Field of Dreams Campout in Greeley last summer. Danielle Lirette
A trio of state health and regulatory agencies have come to an agreement on how to test industrial hemp products in Colorado. In a joint bulletin issued Friday, September 21, the Colorado departments of Public Health and Environment, Agriculture and Revenue announced looser restrictions for licensed marijuana testing labs that wish to test industrial hemp and hemp-derived CBD products. Previously, only hemp businesses registered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture could request marijuana labs to test their products, and that was just unprocessed hemp. However, the rise of Colorado's hemp industry and the passage of HB 1295 during the 2018 legislative session has prompted the three state agencies responsible for regulating the plant to ease access to laboratory testing as more hemp and CBD products come to market.

The new law deems that adding hemp, hemp extracts or its naturally occurring cannabinoids to a cosmetic, food, food additive, herb or anything else intended for human consumption no longer adulterates the product — meaning the government approves it for human consumption. Referencing the bill's passage, the DOR, CDA and CDPHE are now unofficially letting companies that contain hemp or hemp extracts from a CDA-registered source to apply for lab testing, too, saying they will not take enforcement action. Here's how it was explained in the bulletin:
The Departments acknowledge the public health and safety benefits in permitting retail marijuana testing facilities to test industrial hemp and industrial hemp products derived from hemp cultivated by a CDA Registrant. Therefore, it is the Departments’ position that taking any enforcement action against such testing is not currently a priority for the Departments, absent evidence of public health and safety risks or other conduct in violation of Colorado statutes or regulations, and so long as:
  • The person submitting the sample for testing provides the retail marijuana testing facility with a CDA Registration number indicating the origin of the material to be tested.
  • The sample submitted for testing is tracked through the radio frequency-based inventory tracking system.
  • If the sample submitted for testing is a sample of a product to be used in the manufacture of an “industrial hemp product” as defined in section 25-5-426(2)(g.5), C.R.S., the manufacturer of the industrial hemp product possesses a CDPHE Registration.
Current regulations only mandate that hemp products be tested for potency, but the announcement adds that testing for contaminants should be on the way as a result of feedback from state Marijuana Enforcement Division (a division of the DOR) stakeholder meetings.

As the three departments agree to not enforce certain hemp-testing requirements, they will hold another meeting with stakeholders for recommendations on how to officially fix the problem in the state's regulatory framework. That meeting will be held on Monday, October 1, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Colorado Department of Agriculture building, 305 Interlocken Parkway, Broomfield.
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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
Contact: Thomas Mitchell