This past weekend, volunteers gathered in Colorado's Baca County to harvest the U.S.'s first commercial hemp crop since 1957. The crop was grown by Ryan Loflin, a Colorado resident. Hemp, a plant similar to marijuana but with only trace amounts of THC, is used to make cloth, rope, paper, oils, wax, and other products. According to Hemp Industries Association, the U.S. market sold $500 million of hemp products last year alone, but because of U.S. drug policy, all of that hemp was imported.
Hemp is illegal to grow in the U.S. because of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the same legislation that categorizes marijuana as a Schedule I drug along with heroin and PCP. Thanks to Colorado and Washington, growing hemp is back on the table and could be a profitable crop for farmers.