Hemp re­turns to stage as US pot rules change; con­ven­tion opens

The China Post - - LIFE -

Once banned be­cause it is a close cousin to mar­i­juana, hemp is com­ing back in the state of Colorado and now has its own con­ven­tion, at­tract­ing in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est as a new crop for farm­ers strug­gling to find new crops to stay afloat.

Hemp, which is fiber drawn from mar­i­juana plants, was outlawed in 1937, but a new Colorado law al­lows it. How­ever, farm­ers are still try­ing to find ways to get their plants and seeds to mar­ket be­cause fed­eral law still heav­ily reg­u­lates the in­dus­try.

Ten states have al­lowed the grow­ing of hemp. Those states are Colorado, Wash­ing­ton, Cal­i­for­nia, Ken­tucky, Maine, Mon­tana, North Dakota, Ore­gon, Ver­mont and West Vir­ginia. Colorado and Wash­ing­ton have also le­gal­ized recre­ational mar­i­juana.

The plant’s re­turn to le­giti- macy could clear the way for U.S. farm­ers to com­pete in an in­dus­try dom­i­nated by China.

The expo, fea­tur­ing 70 com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tion, is fo­cus­ing on industrial hemp. Hemp con­tains less than 0.3 per­cent of THC, the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in mar­i­juana. Plants sur­pass­ing that amount can­not be used com­mer­cially. More than 1 per­cent of THC is con­sid­ered po­ten­tially in­tox­i­cat­ing.

“We have a lot of work to do to ed­u­cate the public about what hemp is and to ed­u­cate the farm­ers in­ter­ested in bring­ing hemp back to Amer­ica. There is a lot of in­ter­est from farm­ers to grow,” said Mor­ris Bee­gle, the Hemp Expo co­or­di­na­tor.

The expo will show­case prod­ucts made from hemp, in­clud­ing pa­per, food, rope and cloth­ing. There will also be legal ex­perts on hand.

The seeds can­not be trans­port- ed from state to state, said Ed Lehrburger, one of three founders of Fort Lup­ton’s PureVi­sion Tech­nol­ogy, a biomass pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity with a fo­cus on turn­ing hemp into dif­fer­ent us­able prod­ucts.

Hemp reg­u­la­tions were up­dated in Colorado un­der new rules af­ter vot­ers ap­proved the use of medic­i­nal and recre­ational mar­i­juana. Industrial hemp must be reg­is­tered and is sub­ject to sampling for THC con­tent. Grow­ing sites must be spec­i­fied and those bound­aries must be main­tained, the Greeley Tri­bune re­ported.

Na­tional leg­is­la­tion is in the works in an at­tempt to ex­clude industrial hemp from mar­i­juana un­der the fed­eral Con­trolled Sub­stances Act.

The U.S. Drug En­force­ment Agency still clas­si­fies hemp among heroin, LSD, MDMA and mar­i­juana.

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