Uncertainty dominates newly legal new hemp market

Marijuana’s square cousin, industrial hemp, has come out of the black market and is now legal for farmers to cultivate, opening up a lucrative market. That was the idea, anyway.

Would-be hemp farmers are having mixed success navigating red tape on everything from seed acquisition to processing the plant. Farmers and regulators agree it will take years before there’s a viable market for hemp.

Hemp is prized for oils, seeds and fiber. But its production was prohibited for decades because the plant can be manipulated to enhance a psychoactive chemical making the drug marijuana.

The new Farm Bill ended decades of required federal permission to raise hemp, but only with state permission.

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Colorado and Kentucky are forging ahead, but have struggled to get their hemp industries up and running.

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