SPRINGFIELD, Colo. - Earlier this month as Ryan Loflin planted the first crop of industrial hemp in decades; he could barely contain his excitement.
"Hopefully this is the seed of the future of farming," Loflin said.
A few weeks after that historic planting, the Colorado Department of Agriculture released this statement:
"Since passage of Amendment 64, the Department has received numerous inquiries from individuals who are interested in cultivating industrial hemp as a crop. Unfortunately, there is considerable confusion about what both Amendment 64 and legislation approved by the General Assembly, SB13-241, actually did with regard to hemp. Amendment 64 did not authorize the immediate cultivation of hemp. It instead directed the General Assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp. This they have now done," stated Carleton, in reference to SB13-241.
"This legislation delegates to the Department the responsibility for establishing registration and inspection regulations and to have the rules finalized by March 1, 2014. The bill also creates an advisory committee to help the Department in developing the regulations. The measure is now awaiting action by Governor John Hickenlooper. Once SB13-241 becomes law, we will begin the rulemaking process, working in consultation with the advisory committee. While we will work diligently to complete this process as quickly as possible, it is unlikely that we will have rules setting up a registration and inspection system in place until early 2014. The General Assembly, with SB13-241, has made it clear that cultivation, for either commercial or research and development purposes, is not authorized unless the prospective grower first registers with the Department. That will not be possible until early 2014 as we do not expect the registration program to be in place before then. Individuals with questions concerning the upcoming rulemaking process may contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture at (303) 239-4100."
The CDA didn't respond when asked about how they will respond to industrial hemp already planted in the ground like on Loflin's farm near Springfield.
Loflin says he doesn't believe the CDA is going to come to his fields and pluck the plants out of the ground though.
"I couldn't imagine why they would do that, it's just if you're supporting the Colorado farmer, why would you try and set them back by trying to destroy a crop of this and all the time and money I've invested," Loflin said.