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New hemp market taking shape in rural Minnesota

Seventy-five years ago, a May newspaper article reported 5,000 tons of hemp were stacked at the site of the Hutchinson hemp plant — where 3M now stands — with 2,000 more yet to be hauled there. Another article in October reports the Hutchinson plant is one of 11 to be closed in Minnesota following the end of World War II.

A lot has changed since farmers were encouraged to grow hemp to help in the war effort, most notably a 1970 law that formally banned the production of industrial hemp. Prior to that, a 1937 tax law made production effectively impossible outside the demand during the war. Fast forward again, and the 2018 Farm Bill opened the door for the production of industrial hemp once more. Such hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, which is the plant’s primary psychoactive component.

Since the Farm Bill was approved, farmers have signed up to join the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s hemp pilot program. The names of participants are private information, but some license holders opted in to a public list for networking purposes. The public list includes four license holders in McLeod County, two in Meeker County, one in Renville County and 10 in Wright County. [Read more at Litchfield Independent Review]

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