As one of the first states to legalize hemp, Colorado has become a leader in hemp farming and product innovation. However, factions of the state's hemp industry worry about falling behind in one critical step in retail hemp and CBD: testing.
Of the eleven state-certified laboratories currently listed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, only six are located in Colorado. The lack of in-state testing forces hemp farmers to send crops to CDPHE-certified labs in California, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, or Wisconsin in order for business deadlines to be met, according to Samantha Walsh, vice-chair of the Colorado Hemp Association.
"We warned the Department of Health last year when they were crafting regulations on what would qualify for a certified laboratory," Walsh says. "This is just testing hemp."
The CDPHE's hemp laboratory requirements resemble those of handling blood and biological samples, Walsh argues. Her concerns extend to the Ph.D.-level experience necessary for hemp lab director positions, and the "fine balancing act of timing" that hemp producers follow in order to have their samples tested within thirty days of harvesting, per the Colorado Department of Agriculture's newly adopted hemp rules, which were approved by the USDA in August after more than a year of negotiations.
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