An effort to help Colorado’s new hemp farmers find seeds that produce hemp and not marijuana is advancing in the state Legislature.
Once banned because it is a close cousin to marijuana, hemp is coming back in Colorado and now has its own convention, attracting international interest as a new crop for farmers struggling to find new crops to stay afloat.
Marijuana’s square cousin, industrial hemp, has come out of the black market and is now legal for farmers to cultivate, opening up a new lucrative market. That was the idea, anyway.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday he’s working with the Department of Justice to permit the importation of hemp seeds for cultivation.
Colorado is just starting its experiment with industrial hemp production. But interest in the new crop is so strong that the state is moving to expand the number and size of farms that can grow marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin.
Hemp registration is open for farmers in Colorado, the first state to start regulating industrial hemp since the federal government allowed limited hemp regulation.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture has adopted the state’s first industrial hemp rules that went into effect before New Year’s Day.
Southeast Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin tried an illegal crop this year. He didn’t hide it from neighbors, and he never feared law enforcement would come asking about it.
An American flag made of industrial hemp will fly over the U.S. Capitol on Independence Day.
Colorado farmers who want to grow newly legal industrial hemp are closer to being allowed to do it. A state Senate vote Friday puts a hemp regulation measure halfway to the governor’s desk.