Colorado ballot measure could have dire consequences for hemp

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Amendment X contains misleading wording in an attempt to confuse voters

Next month, voters across the country will take to the polls in a number of states. They’ll have to decide the fate of a number of issues and a measure to be presented to Colorado voters is especially contentious. The ballot initiative would give politicians more power to control the marijuana industry while taking the power away from the citizens.

Amendment X covers the legalities of industrial hemp in the state. While hemp is rightfully not defined as marijuana, the two are often closely related. According to proponents, the amendment will “[change] the industrial hemp definition from a constitutional definition to a statutory definition.”

In actuality, the amendment would redefine industrial hemp to “[have] the same meaning as it is defined in federal law or as the term is defined in Colorado statute.” This is an important distinction because no longer would there be protection afforded to hemp through the state’s Constitution. This means that all hemp would be illegal in the state.

The move is seen by many as a step backward. There’s no justifiable reason to implement legislation over hemp, they argue because the system currently works fine. As it’s covered by the Constitution, politicians hands are tied if they try to change laws. However, as something governed by a statute, and not the Constitution, lawmakers will have free reign to determine the future of hemp. As marijuana lawyer Robert J. Corry, Jr. said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”