Letter: A chance to back industrial hemp
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.
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 30 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 here 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. at 6:30 p.m. Thursday for the first meeting to form the Valley Hemp Cooperative Association, or make contact at http://www.valleyhempco-op.org
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