Saturday, May 27, 2017

Industrial hemp arrives in the mountains

By Frank Kracher

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History was made at the North Carolina-Tennessee border Friday night as the first permitted industrial hemp plants were trucked into the mountains.
The plants are part of a state-sanctioned pilot program to bring back a long abandoned industry.
The approval process to grow hemp started in March and is already moving forward. And the beginning stage being started just hours ago when a refrigerated truck carrying more than 6,700 plants pulled into the first rest stop along eastbound Interstate 40 in North Carolina.
The female plants are clones grown in Colorado that will be used by area mountain farmers to get the process going here. There are two strains that were cultured and then established in soil.
The idea is to manufacture everything from from fiber for clothing, to oil for homeopathic remedies and and an estimated 25,000 other uses.
The plants represent the rebirth of a hemp industry abandoned after World War II, an industry now legal -- with a permit -- in North Carolina.
"We call these our ladies, you know, so we're extremely excited about this, you know, the plants that these are going to generate," Carolina Hemp Co.'s Brian Morris said.
Carolina hemp Co. has been importing hemp-based products for years.
Morris believes industrial hemp needs to be utilized more and the process to grow it ought to be easier.
"If the regulations would loosen up and realize that there's really no threat here and (hemp) really should treated like tomatoes, then the industry will grow like it could and should," he said.
"Twenty-five-thousand different products that are all environmentally friendly, so, I mean, you can't ask for a better, more productive plant."
Industrial hemp was largely replaced by synthetic fibers after the war and banned when people started growing it at levels of potency exceeding the legal limit. 

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