In a place like Colorado, in a year like 2016, any seed that’s drought-hardy is going to draw some interest. Include the word “hemp” in the conversation, and you’ll raise even more eyebrows. That’s where we stand now, a day after Colorado certified the nation’s first domestic hemp seeds.
The linchpin in the technology is that the seeds produce no more than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, known more commonly as THC. After years of work, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, with the help of other industry groups, has reached that point.
The seed certification “is vital to the long-term growth of the industry,” Duane Sinning told The Denver Post. The Colorado Department of Agriculture oversees about 400 hemp growers in the state. None of the growers is required to use the state-certified seeds, doing so just helps to ensure that the grower stays under the THC threshold. Any seeds found to be above that 0.3 percent mark are destroyed, leaving the farmer with a total loss.
From an agricultural perspective, hemp is enticing, in part, because it produces well in drier weather — many hemp fields in Colorado are looking healthier than corn at the moment. Beyond food, hemp can be used for fiber or therapeutic oils, so the opportunities are widespread.