BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4/AP) — Farmers can now apply online to grow industrial hemp in Colorado. Brian Koontz, the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Hemp Program Manager, said Thursday the state already leads the country in registered land area for industrial hemp cultivation, and the new application process “will help us continue to stand as a leader in the industry.”

(credit: CBS)

Farmers can apply online at the department’s Hemp Online Portal, or HOP.

The agriculture department has processed more than 2,600 industrial hemp registrations across the state, and more than 80 square miles of the crop have been harvested so far this year.

Even though hemp and marijuana are both the same species of plant, there are important ways in which they differ. (credit: CBS)

Hemp is now used to make CBD products, among other things. Colorado requires industrial hemp to have less than 0.3% of THC, the chemical that produces a high in marijuana.

RELATED: Hemp Vs. Pot: The Difference Can Send You To Prison

Hemp has a much lower concentration of THC than marijuana and does not produce an intoxicating effect.

Hemp has a much lower concentration of THC than marijuana and does not produce an intoxicating effect. (credit: CBS)

The federal Farm Bill passed late last year legalized the production of hemp nationwide.

In Logan County, owners expect the L7 Hemp farm expect to harvest 5,000 acres of hemp this year using organic methods — and minimum-security prison inmates.

(credit: CBS)

The pilot program in Sterling is a first for the Department of Corrections. It plans to expand community-based job training for inmates throughout the state in an attempt to lower the recidivism rate.

RELATED: Felons Working On Hemp Farm Raising Some Eyebrows In Colorado Community

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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