Hemp, Marijuana Legislative Roundup

Bills seek to clarify industrial hemp definitions, pot club regulations and more

A handful of bills dealing with marijuana and industrial hemp regulation are making their way through the Colorado General Assembly. The following bills would loosen restrictions on medical marijuana use in schools and recreational marijuana use in social clubs as well as open new doors for growers of industrial hemp.


Under current federal law, industrial hemp is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. Last week, U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced plans to introduce legislation that would legalize the plant and classify it instead as an agricultural commodity. A press release from McConnell’s office said federal grants would be made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for hemp research.

Two bills have been introduced in the Colorado Legislature to clarify regulations surrounding the crop. “We are just making very clear and definite designations as to where it falls under the state of Colorado’s laws,” bill sponsor Sen. Don Coram said.

Senate Bill 205- Industrial Hemp for Agricultural Products

This bill aims to make four clarifications. It would:

• Add unprocessed industrial hemp seeds to the Colorado law definition of commodity, which is “unprocessed small, hard seeds or fruits such as wheat, corn, oats, barley, rye, sunflower seeds, soybeans, beans, grain sorghum, and such other seeds or fruits.” 

• Add industrial hemp to the definition of “farm products” in Colorado’s Farm Products Act.

• Add “manufacturing” to the list of activities exempted from civil and criminal actions regarding hemp regulation. It also clarifies that state and federal licensing requirements apply to handlers and dealers of unprocessed seeds and hemp.

• Allow the Colorado commissioner of agriculture to create a fee schedule for industrial hemp cultivation registration.

House Bill 1295- Hemp Products

This would modify the Colorado Food and Drug Act language to clarify that food, cosmetic and drug products are not “adulterated” or “misbranded.” It also stipulates that the Department of Public Health and Environment won’t deny registration or renewals based on a vendor selling, manufacturing or producing industrial hemp products. 


House Bill 1286- Medical Marijuana in School

This bill seeks to allow school nurses to administer medical marijuana to a student at school.

In 2016, the legislature passed House Bill 1373, which allowed a student’s primary caregiver to come to school and give medical marijuana to the student. 

That legislation allows a parent to give medical marijuana in a non-smokeable form to a student as long as it’s not “disruptive to the educational environment or causes exposure to other students.” 

But bill sponsor Sen. Irene Aguilar said a number of schools wouldn’t allow parents to administer it at school and required them to take the student off school grounds, which led to students missing class or having to leave early.

Bill sponsor Sen. Irene Aguilar said there might not be a huge number of children who take medical marijuana, but for the ones who do, the effect is significant. 

Aguilar said a number of these children take hemp oil to help quell seizure disorders or spasms caused by cerebral palsy. 

“These parents already have a hard job and, really, when their kids are at school is their one time to take a break,” she said. “So [we want to do] anything we can to help support them and also to basically normalize their child’s experience.”

House Bill 1280- Court Appointees for Marijuana Businesses

Colorado law currently requires different types of licenses for those who sell medical marijuana or cultivate, manufacture or work in a testing facility. 

The bill outlines regulation for an individual to become a representative for a business after a court certifies that person is fit to have a medical marijuana license. 

After certification, the individual can apply to the State Medical Marijuana Licensing Authority.

Senate Bill 211- Marijuana Consumption Club License

Although Denver voters passed Initiative 300 in 2016 and the city recently saw the opening of the Coffee Joint (the city’s first and currently only licensed pot lounge), state laws are still playing catch-up on what that will actually look like in practice. This bill gives the power to permit such clubs to local jurisdictions and governments.

This bill would create a license classification specifically for marijuana consumption clubs. The bill also exempts the establishment from the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act as long as the building is well ventilated. Right now, patrons are only allowed to use vape products inside. The clubs would not be allowed to serve food or alcohol.

House Bill 1187- FDA Cannabidiol Drug Use

This legislation seeks to create an avenue for selling and prescribing CBD drugs in Colorado pharmacies. It’s backed by U.K.-based GW Pharmaceuticals, which created Epidiolex — a CBD drug that has been presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for trials and approval. The bill would give the green light for pharmacies to dispense, transport and possess the drug if it becomes FDA-approved. 

Coram said the introduction of HB 1295 and SB 205 seeks to clarify language and also to “get ahead of [HB 1187], to say what you’re doing does not affect what we call full spectrum CBD products.” 

—Kaley LaQuea

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