Colorado’s New Hemp Regulations Increase Contaminant Testing

By HILAL BAHCETEPE  |July 19, 2021

Hemp-infused products will soon undergo pesticide testing similar to that of their marijuana counterparts.

A lack of federal guidance since hemp’s federal legalization in 2018 has left Colorado to regulate CBD and hemp-derived extracts on its own. Following a glut in the industry from an oversupply of hemp biomass, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment began rolling out hemp regulations in April.

The new rules are set to take effect in full on October 1, but testing has already begun for 106 different pesticides, as well as heavy metals and other residual solvents used in the hemp extraction process, according to Jeff Lawrence, CDPHE director of environmental health and sustainability. Ingredients derived from hemp and intended for consumption, including food, drinks, cosmetics and pet products, will be subject to the testing.

“Ultimately, this is a public-health issue. In 2018, when, statutorily, these products were allowed, we said it would be treated like every other food and dietary supplement requirement,” Lawrence explains.

list of areas where Colorado’s hemp rules needed reform was laid out by a state-approved panel earlier this year, including guidelines for new CBD and hemp-derived extract testing. On top of contaminant testing, the new regulations require an exact percentage of THC content to be included on hemp product labels.

The CBD craze might be calming down, but Lawrence says Colorado wants to help legitimize a still-growing hemp industry, by enforcing universal standards similar to safety regulations already enforced by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The regulations don’t apply to industrial hemp products not intended for human consumption, such as textiles, fuel and other industrial materials. Hemp-derived smokable products are excluded, as well, including those with modified cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC.

“We don’t want to burden the industry,” Lawrence says. “But what we’ve learned is that there are things in hemp products that we obviously need to be considerate of. Since the inception of hemp, Colorado has been a leader in this industry. This will provide some better guidance.”

The first rollout of regulations began in April, with most testing requirements for heavy metals, microbial and residual solvents going into effect July 1; pesticide testing had a delayed implementation date, but is expected to begin rolling out by August 1.

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