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Virginia Sees First Hemp Harvest in Decades

Among the many crops grown on Glenn Rodes’ family farm in Rockingham County this summer was one that hasn’t been cultivated in Virginia for decades, but which may have a chance at a comeback now thanks to a slow shift in attitudes and the law.

Hidden behind rows of corn in one field, Rodes grew a small plot of hemp, a hardy, fiber-rich plant that can grow eight feet tall, and which has been used for thousands of years to make textiles, ropes, paper, animal feed and food products.

In September, Rodes’ farm was part of Virginia’s first hemp harvest in decades. Hemp was once a mainstay crop in Virginia, until it ended up being banished as part of the long U.S. war on drugs starting in the 1930s.

Though it is grown in many other countries and used in numerous products—even some automobile parts contain hemp—the crop vanished through guilt by association. It is a variety of Cannabis Sativa, the same species as the marijuana plant. [Read more at Culpeper Star-Exponent]

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