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The hemp revival: why marijuana's cousin could soon be big business

Monday, Jun 11, 2018

Long associated with the hoariest hippie stereotypes, hemp is now chic.

The crop – which is a cannabis plant very similar to marijuana, but lacking its best-known property: getting you high – is a versatile raw material, and like its more notorious relative, it could once again become very lucrative.

The spread of marijuana legalization has sparked renewed interest not because of hemp wallet fanatics – but due largely to demand for CBD, a chemical both it and marijuana produce in which some see potential as a pharmaceutical and nutritional supplement.

For decades US anti-marijuana laws have made it very difficult to experiment on and develop new uses for hemp, though, according to the US government, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, the plant’s primary psychoactive ingredient.

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But the climate is changing. In recent weeks, the US Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, a conservative Republican who opposes marijuana legalization, has called for hemp to be legalized, a move which would benefit farmers, though McConnell still opposes marijuana legalization.

Pinterest Beyond its use in clothing, hemp has attracted attention for its chemical content. Illustration: George Wylesol Read more Topics