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3 years into nation's hemp experiment, crop's future is hazy

PUEBLO, Colo. – Three years into the nation’s hemp experiment, the crop’s potential is still hazy.

Hemp was authorized for research and experimental growth in the 2014 Farm Bill. But marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin hemp is being grown this year on only about 6,900 acres nationwide. That’s according to industry tallies based on state reports.

The crop is still too new to be tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has no recent estimate of market prices or commercial uses for hemp.

Growing hemp was illegal from 1937 until 2014 because the plant can be manipulated to enhance a psychoactive chemical in the plant’s flowers, called THC, to produce the drug marijuana.