In 2022 Colorado gathered experts across the state to convene in a task force to study intoxicating hemp products and make legislative and rule recommendations. The task force, of which Realm of Caring was a member of, met over the course of six months, collectively committing to thousands of hours. The final report was submitted to the General Assembly on January 3rd, 2023.
Before the bill was introduced to the Senate Finance Committee on April 18th, 2023, those findings and recommendations were dismissed. Over the course of the last three weeks of session, through the Senate and House, amendments were further added going well beyond the scope and intent of the bill.
The intoxicating products the task force were intended to discuss were synthetically derived and synthetic cannabinoids available in the market. The focus quickly transferred from those products to non-intoxicating, hemp-derived CBD products that have been available for purchase globally for more than a decade. Instead of focusing on the crux of the issue, which are intoxicating products, the amendments sought to further regulate those that are compliant with safety data to prove that they do not produce adverse effects. These products that are being threatened are utilized for an array of healthcare conditions, offering a life-saving therapy for infants, children, adults, and animals. Sacrificing access to these products is to sacrifice a life.
To pass this bill with the amendments would impose age restrictions for a subset of the non-intoxicating products now available. Parents are being put into a situation where in order to give their child their medicine, they must verify their age as 21+ for purchasing. Not at a dispensary in Colorado, but at grocery stores, supplement and vitamin shops, and any other retail location where compliant hemp products were once sold without restriction.
There is scientific data available to show that in a CBD to THC ratio product made from hemp, THC levels are non-intoxicating up to 3.7mg per serving. Amendments set forth bring that serving limit down to 1.25mg per serving. The task force gathered to make legislative and rule recommendations based in science, which they did. This new serving limit of 1.25mg is arbitrary, not based in science, and will quickly cause Colorado to lose status as a leader in the hemp industry.
The rhetoric and reasoning behind these amendments are based in fear from a lengthy war on drugs as well as greed from the marijuana industry. Special interest groups took advantage of the opportunity to regulate intoxicating products with an attempt to instead regulate non-intoxicating products.
We cannot risk access to the most vulnerable across our state and nation who purchase from Colorado manufacturers. We have fought too long and too hard to be right back where we were a decade ago. The only difference between then and where we are today, is that we now have a decade of data from our own constituents to support that these products are safe and non-intoxicating.
At Realm of Caring, we support a veto to SB23-271. There is still a concern regarding intoxicating, synthetic and synthetically derived products and this bill does not solve that. A veto here would allow stakeholders to come back next year with reasonable solutions that do not impact access to quality and compliant hemp products.
For additional viewpoints on the process and outcomes of SB23-271, check out the following resources: