Tags: Marijuana Legalization | US State Facts | key players | Colorado | industrial hemp farming

Legalizing Weed: Key Players in Colorado's Legalization of Industrial Hemp Farming

By    |   Wednesday, 02 Dec 2015 06:47 PM

The cultivation of hemp was banned by the federal government in 1957 but, in recent years several states have legalized industrial farming of the plant, which is used in the manufacture of food, fabric, and other non drug-related products. Colorado joined this roster in 2012 with the passage of Amendment 64, which legalized both the recreational use of marijuana and the growing of hemp.

As in many other states, legalizing hemp in Colorado required the efforts of several people, both citizens and lawmakers. The following are a few of the people who contributed to the state legalizing hemp farming.

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1. Brian Vicente
Vicente is the Colorado attorney who co-authored Amendment 64 and helped lead the effort to get it passed into law. Speaking shortly after the United States Justice Department announced it would not attempt to block the amendment, Vicente said: "We are thrilled that the federal government has decided to step aside and allow Colorado to move forward with the responsible regulation of marijuana in our state," as quoted by the Denver-based website Westword.

2. Bill Billings
Billings is the president and co-founder of the Colorado Hemp Project, which operates a 2-acre industrial hemp farm in the state. The organization's farm was one of the first legal hemp crops in the nation following the decades-long ban on cultivation of the crop. As High Country News reported in 2014, Billings planned to use some of the crop in the production of hemp-based electrodes for batteries.

3. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
In 2014, Gov. John Hickenlooper publicly denounced the state's legalization of recreational marijuana as "reckless," according to The Washington Times. However, he has taken some actions that benefit the state's industrial hemp farmers. That same year, as reported by the Denver Post, he backed House Bill 1398, which allowed farmers (including hemp farmers) to establish their own financial cooperatives. The move was important because in the past, some hemp farmers had lost their bank accounts or had to hide their money because hemp farming was still illegal.

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The cultivation of hemp was banned by the federal government in 1957 but, in recent years several states have legalized industrial farming of the plant, which is used in the manufacture of food, fabric, and other products. Colorado joined this roster in 2012.
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Wednesday, 02 Dec 2015 06:47 PM
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