Hemp and marijuana are hard to differentiate with the naked eye, but the two plants differ in their chemical makeup. Hemp is mostly used for its fiber and oil to make fabrics and lotions.
Credit Martin Abegglen / Flickr/Creative Commons
Aspiring hemp growers are stuck in a tricky gray area these days. While voters in some states, like Colorado, have given the go-ahead to growing and processing the plant, a blanket ban still exists at the federal level.
Kentucky farmer Brian Furnish is hoping for the legalization of industrial hemp.
Credit Jacob McCleland / For Harvest Public Media
Kentucky is trying to bring back hemp, the close relative of marijuana that is used in a seemingly endless number of products like textiles, car parts, lotions and paper. But like its cousin, it’s illegal to grow hemp in the United States.
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 8:13 am
Hemp products for sale in Washington, D.C., in 2010. The U.S. is the world's largest consumer of hemp products, although growing hemp is illegal under federal law. Colorado recently passed a measure that legalizes growing hemp.
With recreational marijuana now legal in Colorado, small-scale pot shops will open up soon in places like Denver and Boulder. But that's not the only business that could get a boost: Large-scale commercial farmers may also be in line to benefit.
Why? When Colorado voters legalized marijuana last November, they also legalized hemp.