by Luke Runyon, KUNC

Starting March 1st, Colorado hemp farmers must register their operations with the state.

Rules for processing the plant, which is grown for its fibers and oil, came from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.  

“We’re the first state out of the chute to move forward with a regulatory structure and legal authorization to grow industrial hemp, so I think it’s very historic," Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Ron Carleton said.

But even with guidelines there’s still plenty of uncertainty.

The federal government considers hemp a controlled substance and the USDA has remained silent on whether Colorado farmers would be penalized for growing hemp.

“Folks want to know the answer to that before they go out and sink thousands of dollars into the ground," Carleton said. 

And they’d be going it alone in finding prospective buyers.

Carleton says his department currently has no plans to aid farmers in marketing the crop.

 

Copyright 2013 Community Radio for Northern Colorado.  To see more, visit http://kunc.org/