Nice Time! Colorado Hemp Farmers Boldly Grow Where No Man Has Grown Before
In excellent news for everyone who's ever harangued you about the marvels of industrial-grade hemp (which is not pot, no it isn't, and legalizing it has nothing to do with trying to legalize the smokable stuff, man, it's just good ecology and good economics!*), a few pioneering Colorado farmers arebringing in their first harvests under the state's new law allowing the production of the sturdy miracle plant. It's still illegal to grow under federal law, but presumably the Justice Department's policy of not interfering with state marijuana laws will also apply to hemp. So now that you've got your precious industrial hemp, will you hippies please stop trying to get us to buy your goddamn macramé? Thanks.
The Washington Post notes that it's still uncertain whether we're looking at a whole new industry:
Finished hemp is legal in the U.S., but growing it remains off-limits under federal law. The Congressional Research Service recently noted wildly differing projections about hemp’s economic potential.
However, America is one of hemp’s fastest-growing markets, with imports largely coming from China and Canada. In 2011, the U.S. imported $11.5 million worth of hemp products, up from $1.4 million in 2000. Most of that is hemp seed and hemp oil, which finds its way into granola bars, soaps, lotions and even cooking oil. Whole Foods Market now sells hemp milk, hemp tortilla chips and hemp seeds coated in dark chocolate.
Colorado is now one of ten states allowing cultivation of hemp for industrial use, including several where recreational pot is not likely to make it onto the legislative agenda, like Kentucky, North Dakota, and West Virginia. Colorado, however, seems to win the competition for first large-scale growing, although the state won't issue hemp permits until 2014.
Ryan Loflin, the hemp farmer profiled in WaPo, was not especially worried about the fact that his crop was still technically illicit:
“I figured they have more important things to worry about than, you know, rope,” a smiling Loflin said as he hand-harvested 4-foot-tall plants on his Baca County land ...
Loflin didn’t even have to hire help to bring in his crop, instead posting on Facebook that he needed volunteer harvesters. More than two dozen people showed up — from as far as Texas and Idaho.
Volunteers pulled the plants up from the root and piled them whole on two flatbed trucks. The mood was celebratory, people whooping at the sight of it and joking they thought they’d never see the day.
Now that the great day has arrived, we're guessing that the novelty will start wearing off, and that the hemp harvest is going to start seeming a lot more like farm work... hey! Just one more reason for Barack Obama to let more illegal Mexicans come in and take our stoners' jobs!
*And please make sure you remember to spell-check your angry hemp-is-not-pot comments about the image up top, OK?
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.