COLORADO: The hype over hemp that erupted last year during Colorado’s first sensational flirtations with the marijuana look-alike is now starting to live up to expectations. A handful of growers in 2014 planted and harvested small-scale crops that attracted large-scale attention under hemp’s newly legal status.
This year, hype is being replaced with indicators of hemp’s industrial potential as seen in farm fields, factories, retail outlets and university laboratories. Hemp and its byproducts have a wide range of uses in nutrition, clothing, building materials, cosmetics and health.
The sector still is too tiny to rate even an asterisk in most conventional measures such as crop value and retail sales in Colorado.
Hemp also faces lingering perceptual problems. There’s confusion from its visual similarity to marijuana, even though hemp contains little or no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The federal government sees no distinction; it considers both illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.