For the first time since marijuana was banned in the U.S., Massachusetts farmers can now grow hemp.
A little-known consequence of the state’s 2016 marijuana legalization was the legalization of hemp — a crop that is made from the same plant as marijuana, but cannot cause a person to get high. Hemp is most often used in fibers and fabric.
The Republican / MassLive.com spoke to Massachusetts Commissioner of Agricultural Resources John Lebeaux about what hemp is and how Massachusetts is regulating it.
What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same plant, cannabis sativa.
Lebeaux compared it to different types of roses. “There are all different kinds of rosebushes, different colors, shapes, flowers, different fragrances, different degrees of hardiness … but they’re all roses,” Lebeaux said.
Unlike marijuana, hemp has no psychoactive qualities. That is because hemp does not have a significant amount of THC, which is the compound that causes someone to get high.
Massachusetts regulations define hemp as cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent THC. Marijuana plants tend to contain 5 to 25 percent THC. [Read more at Mass Live]