CHAMP report provides roadmap for future of hemp in Colorado

a hemp field backlit by the sun
CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Regional Economic Development Institute contributed to the recently released CHAMP report.

After months of partnership and integrated research, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Colorado State University, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Division of Regulatory Agencies, and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade announced today’s release of the Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan (CHAMP) report.

A national leader

“Colorado is a clear national leader within the industrial hemp industry, and the CHAMP report will serve as a key tool to further this leadership. The report identifies key initiatives that Colorado can share with other states to standardize the hemp industry across the country,” said Governor Polis. “I’m particularly proud that this project brought many voices to the table from across the state to compile their expertise and sector-based knowledge, and to hear from others in the sector about common pain points and opportunities.”

Advancing the hemp industry in Colorado

Using the CHAMP Initiative as a blueprint, Colorado state and local agencies, in partnership with higher education and industry, will begin to implement some of these large-scale initiatives to advance and manage this new industry. This includes promoting research and development in seed genetics and cultivation, developing and advocating increased industrial processing and uses, privatizing laboratory testing, and increasing access to financial and insurance resources.

Eighteen months in the making, the CHAMP report is the result of a rigorous and collaborative stakeholder-based initiative that brought together top subject matter experts from the hemp industry, higher education, and regulatory fields to explore important questions regarding the economic advancement and regulatory management of the hemp industry in Colorado. Stakeholders were part of guided discussions that provided important perspectives and recommendations on a number of critical issues at every stop on the hemp supply chain. The result is a comprehensive, informed roadmap on how to further advance Colorado’s hemp industry.

Affecting change at the federal level

The CHAMP process has already begun to affect change at the federal level. The 2018 farm bill essentially allowed for the legal cultivation of hemp under the regulatory authority of the United States Department of Agriculture. Based on numerous CHAMP discussions with stakeholders, Colorado provided written comments to the USDA that effectively changed the federal regulations to provide more appropriate and sensible oversight of this new emerging agricultural crop, including the allowance for the remediation of non-compliant plants into complaint plant biomass to help farmers mitigate against financial loss.

Providing research, partnership, and guidance for hemp industry

CSU’s College of Ag Sciences and Regional Economic Development Institute will continue to partner with USDA, CDA and various communities across the state to provide applied research, technical assistance, economic development guidance and education motivated by what was learned from the CHAMP project.

Read the full report and recommendations.