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Understanding the New Industrial Hemp Requirements

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

By Guest Blog Contributor, John "Jack" Manning, RZA Legal summer intern

On July 1st, several new MED regulations will go into effect, placing new requirements on both marijuana manufacturers and marijuana stores selling products containing industrial hemp. The new regulations affect both Medical and Retail businesses. Here’s what you need to know about complying with these regulations and other related industrial hemp regulations.

What is industrial hemp?

“Industrial hemp” (also just called “hemp”) is defined by statute as any part of the cannabis plant containing less than .3% delta-9 THC by dry weight. This means that in order for a cannabis additive to be considered hemp, a food manufacturer must confirm that their cannabis contains less than three tenths of a percent of THC concentration. Industrial hemp is an approved food ingredient and is not considered an unlawful adulterant under Colorado law (NOT Federal law) so long as it contains less than .3% THC by dry weight. Food manufacturers may use hemp in their products without criminal or civil punishment at the State level.

What do the new testing confirmation requirements mean?

The new MED regulations state that both manufacturers and dispensaries must confirm that any industrial hemp product they receive has undergone certain testing requirements as laid out in the 4-100 series of the MED regulations before accepting possession of those products. The 4-100 series states that until the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) publishes its own industrial hemp testing requirements, hemp products must comply with the testing requirements in the MED rules before transfer to a licensed marijuana business. As of June 11th, the CDPHE has not published any formal testing requirements specific to hemp products (except that the cannabis additive must meet the definition of industrial hemp). This means that manufacturers must confirm that the hemp products have passed microbial, residual solvent, and metals tests before transferring those products to a licensed marijuana dispensary, and dispensaries must confirm that hemp products have passed those same tests before selling them to a patient or customer. Please note that for Medical businesses, the testing must occur at a medical marijuana testing facility, while it must occur at a retail marijuana testing facility for Retail businesses.

What do the registration confirmation requirements mean?

The new MED regulations also require dispensaries and manufacturers to confirm that the “Person Transferring the Industrial Hemp Product” (meaning the hemp product manufacturer selling the product to a marijuana product manufacturer or dispensary) is a registered as a food manufacturer or storage facility with the CDPHE. Food manufacturers, regardless of whether they use hemp as an ingredient, must register with the CDPHE (the registration form is available here); the new regulations simply require marijuana businesses to confirm that their hemp product distributors are registered with the state. The CDPHE maintains a list of registered food manufacturers approved as hemp sources, available here.

What other regulations apply to the manufacture and sale of hemp products?

Food manufacturers using hemp ingredients must comply with all food manufacturing regulations, including but not limited to the required labeling procedures under Colorado law, the avoidance of all unlawful adulterants, and Federal good manufacturing practices that the CDPHE has incorporated into the Colorado regulations. Additionally, food manufacturers that use industrial hemp in their products must pay a registration fee. The MED has not listed any specific requirements for the sale of hemp products by a marijuana store, other than the testing and registration requirements that go into effect July 1. The CDPHE, however, requires conformance with Federal labeling laws, which require that hemp product labels:

1. Identify hemp as an ingredient

2. If the product contains CBD isolate, identify CBD as an ingredient and state the amount of CBD

3. Include the statement “FDA has not evaluated this product for safety and efficacy”; and

4. Not make any claims concerning health or other benefits.

You don’t want to be left without the necessary information when these new requirements go into effect next week. If you have any questions about using industrial hemp products as an ingredient in a marijuana products, or whether your marijuana dispensary is compliant when carrying these products, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for a consultation.


Jack Manning is a summer law clerk at RZA Legal. He is a rising second year law student at The

University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Jack’s legal interests include cannabis law,

promoting the deregulation of marijuana, and obtaining greater legal protections for animals.

Before attending law school, Jack worked as a kite repairman and barista across Boulder and

Denver. Jack’s non-legal interests include fantasy novels, Star Wars, and casual mountain biking.

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