West Virginia is making Hemp History as a small number of farmers are planting the first hemp seeds the state has seen since World War II.
Because of being a close cousin to marijuana, hemp was made illegal in 1937 and, along with marijuana, added to the list of Schedule I narcotics.
Hemp and marijuana may look identical and have many similarities, but they are distinctly different. The two plants can not be grown in the same area because cross-pollination will compromise the composition and use of each plant. Hemp is grown for its fibrous and seedy qualities, and it has less than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient in marijuana that gives the high.
Robert Kerr, communications director for the West Virginia Hemp Farmers Cooperative, says there are nine hemp farmers across the state that are growing industrial hemp for research purposes. They are part of the pilot program that allows hemp cultivation for study purposes by local universities. The HFC assists farmers with the process of getting permits.
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