Colorado Agriculture Director Has Big Plans for Hemp

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Thomas Mitchell | July 1, 2019 | 6:54am

Marijuana might win Colorado points, but it’s hemp that will make the state a real winner in this game. As the country’s leader in acreage devoted to hemp farming over the past two years, Colorado has a real head start on the growing industry, and it’s Kate Greenberg’s job to keep us in the lead.

The new director of the Colorado Department of Agriculture is responsible for many things, including overseeing the state’s industrial hemp program, which churns out the plants responsible for all of those CBD products we love so much. But keeping things on course has it challenges, such as looming federal regulations and more domestic competition thanks to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp farming at the federal level.

To learn more about the future of hemp in Colorado, we chatted with Greenberg about her goals for the plant.

Westword: How much did you know about hemp before taking the new job?

Kate Greenberg: I knew very little. I am, like a lot of us in the world of agriculture, on the learning curve. In the policy universe, I had interfaced with hemp through the Farm Bill. In my last life, with the National Young Farmers Coalition, we were working on ag policy though the Farm Bill, and definitely crossed paths with what was going on with hemp. So I was tracking it through the end of 2018, but in terms of what has taken off since the Farm Bill was signed, I think it’s a whole new universe for everyone. So we’re getting up to speed and ahead of the curve as fast as possible as we build a new industry.

How educated are Colorado farmers about science and state laws surrounding hemp?

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