COLORADO: Ask farmers where they procured hemp seeds to plant last spring, and you may get an answer like this one from Bill Billings: “I got them from Mother Nature and God. That’s all I can say.”
Don’t-ask, don’t-tell characterizes Colorado’s newest cash crop. Like its genetic cousin marijuana, hemp is legal under state law. But conflicts with federal law leave the future uncertain for the state’s hemp industry.
The plant looks like marijuana but has little or no THC, the psychoactive ingredient that makes pot smokers high.
The federal government’s prohibition on hemp was partially eased in the Farm Bill passed by Congress this year. Still, Colorado growers have no legal means to buy starter seed from out of state, nor to sell their harvested raw seed outside of Colorado.