A Republican congresswoman from Colorado is accusing her primary election opponent of being an “illegal drug dealer” over allegations that a company he owns grew and sold hemp containing more than the allowable amount of THC.
At a debate on Thursday, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) attacked state Sen. Don Coram’s (R) drug policy and criminal justice record, alleging that he may have supported legislation to lower penalties for fentanyl and remove qualified immunity for police because he had “ulterior motives” and may be a “felon” himself for “selling hot hemp.”
Boebert, a controversial figure in Congress who often makes headlines for pushing political boundaries, said that there were seven lab reports showing that Coram’s hemp contained more than 0.3 percent THC per dry weight, which would be considered “hot” hemp that needs to be disposed of.
Cannabis Law Report recently reported about lab tests from Coram’s hemp business, citing a complaint that some of its products contained up to 0.59 percent THC. The outlet noted accusations that the senator used his political influence with the state Department of Agriculture and a county prosecutor’s office to get charges brought against a company that didn’t pay him for hemp biomass they allegedly purchased from his business, Paradox Ventures.
It’s not necessarily felonious to grow hemp that exceeds the THC limit. There are several factors, including those related to the environment, that can cause the concentration of the intoxicating cannabinoid to spike. But what the congressman alleged is that Coram’s cannabis business then went on to sell that product.
“That makes you an illegal drug dealer, with a vote that maybe changed that,” Boebert said. “Sounds corrupt to me.”
Coram laughed off the allegation, as did several members of the audience when Boebert raised it. He didn’t specifically refute the hemp-related claims, choosing instead to defend his support for a policing bill he voted to advanced with amendments.
Of course, while marketing hemp with more than the allowable THC limit would be in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act because the plant would then be considered illegal marijuana, it’s questionable how politically effective the congresswoman’s complaint will be in Colorado, where marijuana is legal for adult use and attitudes toward the crop are generally favorable across party lines.
Gov. Jared Polis (D) has been a particularly outspoken advocate for the state’s hemp market. He hosted a celebratory event at a hemp farm late last year after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) signed off on Colorado’s regulatory plan for the crop.
Marijuana Moment reached out to Boebert and Coram’s campaigns for comment, but representatives were not immediately available.
Boebert’s line of attack isn’t especially surprising, not just because she’s known for taking extreme positions. Her record shows a general unwillingness to advance drug policy reform. She voted against legislation to federally legalize cannabis and support research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, for example. She was absent for a vote on marijuana banking legislation.
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