In­dus­trial hemp in­dus­try feel­ing its grow­ing pains

Woonsocket Call - - Region/obituaries -

More than 80 Ver­mon­ters are now reg­is­tered to grow in­dus­trial hemp this year, state of­fi­cials said.

Hemp farm­ing ap­pears to be on the rise three years af­ter le­gal­iza­tion, Ver­mont Pub­lic Ra­dio re­ported. But, there were some dif­fi­cul­ties.

John Wil­liamson, of State Line Farm in North Ben­ning­ton, said that peo­ple stole large amounts of hemp last year think­ing it was mar­i­juana. Those men are now fac­ing felony grand lar­ceny charges.

Mean­while, Univer­sity of Ver­mont's agron­o­mist Heather Darby says she planted an­other acre at the univer­sity's re­search farm af­ter a chal­leng­ing though suc­cess­ful har­vest.

She said the in­au­gu­ral hemp har­vest taught her not to wait too long to har­vest hemp.

Green Moun­tain CBD is grow­ing 5 acres (2 hectares) of hemp on its Hard­wick farm with a fo­cus on the grow­ing mar­ket for cannabid­iol oil. That mar­ket, which in­cludes prod­ucts made from mar­i­juana, is ex­pected to grow to more than $2 bil­lion by the year 2020.

"There's other farms that are grow­ing it well," says Ja­cob Gold­stein, the co­founder of Green Moun­tain CBD. "The chal­lenge is to process it, mar­ket it, de­ter­mine a brand for your prod­ucts and get it out to the peo­ple."

The com­pany has cre­ated a few well­pay­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs in Ver­mont and plans to soon in­vest hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in new equip­ment. Most of its sales are on­line, but it also has cap­sules in a hun­dred stores and phar­ma­cies around the coun­try.

The state's first an­nual hemp fest is set to take place at Burke Moun­tain on Sept. 9.

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