Colorado to add 3rd DEA lab, provisional hemp testers in approved rules

The federal government has signed off on Colorado’s plan to add provisional testing labs and a third permanent testing lab for hemp THC levels as part of its overall changes to meet new federal requirements.

Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Colorado’s revised hemp plan.

Colorado has regulated hemp since 2013, before any federal clearance for the crop. But the state needed to make significant changes now that the crop is federally legal but governed by USDA.

Among the changes coming to hemp regulation in Colorado:

  • The lab serving the Colorado Department of Agriculture will get certification by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, giving Colorado three compliant THC-testing labs instead of two.
  • The state is starting a new class of “conditionally certified” labs that will be allowed to test hemp while awaiting federal certification, a stopgap “to ensure sufficient testing coverage” for the next couple of years.
  • Hemp will be tested for total THC, not just delta-9 THC.

Colorado pointed out in its note to USDA that the state already has made big strides in reducing hot hemp that exceeds the 0.3% legal limit, down more than half over the last five years, to 16% last year.

Colorado says it will continue allowing hemp producers with crops between 0.3% and 1% THC to submit “video or verifiable photographic evidence to substantiate appropriate disposal of crops.”