Pubdate: Sun, 08 Jun 2014
Source: Aspen Times, The  (CO)
Copyright: 2014 Aspen Times
Author: Sue Gray


The recent passing of a provision in the 2014 Farm Bill allowing
agricultural hemp to be grown in certain states presents an exciting
new opportunity for the Roaring Fork Valley and rural surroundings.
Now for the first time since World War II, it's legal to grow
industrial hemp in Colorado, and many farmers already have planted
their first crops.

Hemp is the non-psychoactive version of the cannabis plant. It is not
marijuana. It's a versatile, sustainable, economically profitable
agricultural crop that is grown in thirty countries. China is the
biggest producer of hemp, and the U.S. is the largest importer.

American businesses use various parts of the hemp plant in
manufacturing clothing, building products, paper, food and pet
bedding, among thousands of other products. But all of that hemp must
be imported, which drives up costs and reduces profit, so
manufacturers are desperate for American-grown hemp.

With the agricultural land and pioneer spirit we have in the Rocky
Mountains, it seems a natural fit for a thriving industrial hemp
operation. By growing and processing hemp locally, we have the
potential to revitalize our agricultural community and our local
economy with a new source of income and employment.

People who are poised to enter into this profitable new venture are
landowners, farmers, investors, clothing and food manufacturers,
salespeople, merchants and anyone interested in being part of this
sustainable local agricultural and economic revolution.

Because this is a new industry with no recent precedent, organizers,
fundraisers, attorneys, accountants, publicists and more are also
needed to explore and develop a successful business model.

To get involved, please come to the Carbondale Public Library at 320
Sopris Ave. on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for the first meeting to form the
Valley Hemp Cooperative Association, or make contact at

Sue Gray

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