DENVER – A bill that changes the way THC levels are calculated in Colorado’s industrial hemp has been sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk.
Senate Bill 90 passed its third reading in the House by a 58-3 vote Friday morning. Four representatives did not vote.
The bill will change the rules regarding industrial hemp so that the state agriculture commissioner will have to measure delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels combined with the levels of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) in hemp crops.
Under Colorado Department of Agriculture rules, industrial hemp has to have THC levels of under 0.3 percent so as to not qualify as psychoactive marijuana.
THCA is the precursor to THC, but when decarboxylated by drying, turns to its psychoactive cousin. Research has shown that THCA has no psychoactive effects; it is not scheduled by the Drug Enforcement Agency as THC is.
THCA levels in medical and recreational marijuana typically bought in Colorado are most-often under the 2 percent level, compared to 15-29 percent THC levels for most of the cannabis.
The bill, if signed by the governor, would also establish a process for hemp growers to apply for a waiver that would exempt them from the concentration limits if certain conditions are met.
CDA has already certified three seeds for Colorado industrial hemp production that meet current requirements. The department says state farmers will be able to start buying and growing the seeds this year.
Congress approved hemp production in 2014, but a state certification like Colorado’s is necessary to raise the crop.