The stigma around hemp has slowly started to change and is now receiving some recognition on the federal level giving farmers more options in an already tight market.
Old Mud Creek Farm is one of 100 research farms in upstate New York that grows industrial hemp.
“This is our second year producing hemp,” Old Mud Creek Farm manager Ben Dobson said. “We’re starting to understand how the hemp works in our soils, in our fields.”
Dobson has been participating in the state’s industrial hemp research program and has been studying how hemp should be harvested and marketed in New York.
“The biggest misconception is that hemp is a drug that makes you high,” Dobson said. “Marijuana contains THC, tetrahydracannabidiol, which makes you high, whereas, hemp contains less than .3 percent of THC.”
He’s not the only one who supports fighting the misconception.
“Hemp is another research aspect that we think is key part of the future of agriculture,” he said.
Sen. Chuck Schumer said he is sponsoring Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s farming bill that would declassify industrial hemp as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and allow states to regulate it.
“Our farmers are looking for new crops that work that can make money and do good; hemp is the key,” Schumer said.
According to Schumer, the U.S. is the largest importer of hemp in the world to use in cosmetics, food, clothing and more.
“Why don’t we grow the hemp right here in New York?” Schumer said.
The farming bill passed in the U.S. Senate and now heads to the House.