Hemp Might Finally Make a Comeback in America

The New York Times wrote Thursday about Colorado’s “marijuana refugees”: Families who uprooted their lives to the move to the state when it legalized pot because the drug has crucial medicinal effects on their children’s illnesses. “I put what fit in my car and drove out here,” Marisa Kiser, whose toddler, Ezra, has had seizures almost since birth, told the Times. No one could have predicted that the state’s legislation would create a community-in-exile of more than 100 families who help look after one another’s children, trade medical tips—and even, in some cases, shared their first Thanksgiving dinner in this new land.

Colorado’s new law is reaping other changes, too, among them the first legal crop of hemp that America has seen in nearly 60 years. Hemp is a cannabis plant, as is marijuana, but it contains almost none of THC, the component that gives pot its potent effect. Still, hemp—which can be used in “products from rope to auto parts to plastics, shampoo to vitamin supplements”—has paid for the stigma attached to its sister-plant: Though it is legal to buy and sell hemp in the U.S., growing and harvesting it have been prohibited. In every state that discusses legalization, hemp’s economic potential comes up: Data from Canada’s legal hemp industry suggests the crop yields revenue of $390 an acre, and the Hemp Industries Association estimates that products from the forgotten cannabis already constitute a $500 million industry in the U.S., according to The Denver Post. “I think that once people see the value of hemp, it’ll become a no-brainer,” said farmer Ryan Loflin, the Colorado man who has already planted 60 acres of the plant.

– Read the entire article at New Republic.