New York Times is reporting that the first commercial hemp crops are being planted in Colorado. An estimated two dozen farmers in the state are taking advantage of the new laws that Colorado voters enacted and are beginning to plant this heritage crop. From the article (emphasis ours):
Colorado has set up an industrial hemp commission to write rules to register hemp farmers and charge them a fee to grow the crop commercially.“It’s something that can be copied and used nationally,” said Michael Bowman, a farmer in northeastern Colorado who sits on the state hemp commission. “We’re trying to build a legitimate industry.”
The state will also be able to randomly test crops to ensure that they contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, far below the level found in marijuana.
Opponents say that hemp and marijuana are essentially the same plant and that both contain the same psychoactive substance. But supporters say that comparing hemp with potent strains of marijuana is like comparing a nonalcoholic beer with a bottle of vodka.
The United States is one of the only industrialized countries in the world that does not permit industrial hemp agriculture, yet allows the importation of the crop. Some reports speculate that hemp agriculture could help revitalize the country’s economy
. Ryan Loflin, a Colorado hemp farmer interviewed for the article, had this to say:
For years, [Loflin] had read about how hemp could replenish undernourished soil and be woven and squeezed into a wide array of products. He drinks a shot of hemp oil for his health every day — “It tastes kind of like grass” — and believes the plant could one day lift the fortunes of struggling small farmers.[…]
“It’s well worth the risk,” he said. “It’s hemp. Come on, it just needs to be done.”
The full article is available online at The New York Times