COLORADO: Proponents of industrial hemp say it’s one of the most misunderstood plants in the world. It’s related to its far more controversial cousin, marijuana, but lacks the THC that gives marijuana its psychedelic properties.
The first federal law mentioning hemp came in 1937. Congress discouraged the high THC varieties of cannabis, like marijuana, while exempting farmers who grew the crop for industrial uses like fiber and seed. It enjoyed a short resurgence during World War II, when the federal government actually promoted the crop, petering off in the 1950s. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 put the current kibosh on the plant. It required farmers apply for a federal permit before growing it. No commercial permits have been granted since then.
But in a historic move, the 2014 farm bill allowed hemp cultivation in areas where state laws have legalized the crop.
Kentucky, California, and Colorado are among states that have welcomed its return. Nebraska recently passed a law opening the door for farmers to grow hemp. Currently 12 states have legislation on the books that would allow cultivation of hemp as laid out in the recent Farm Bill.