You Need an Armed Guard to Plant These Seeds
For the first time in 80 years, a farm in New York State is legally growing cannabis. But no one could get high from these plants.
The farm, JD Farms, roughly 230 miles north of New York City, is actually growing industrial hemp, which can be used to make everything from flour to building materials to clothes to plastic.
“Industrial hemp and marijuana are actually the same species, but they have bred and evolved to be quite different from each other,” said Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, a professor of agriculture at Morrisville State College, which has paired with JD Farms on a hemp research pilot program.
Still, industrial hemp remains on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of illegal Schedule I drugs, though its content of THC — the chemical that gets marijuana users high — is below 0.3 percent. Because of that status, JD Farms had to adhere to stringent federal regulations just to get the seeds to grow the crop. “We had to jump through hoops to get a D.E.A. permit to import our seeds from Canada,” Mark Justh, an owner of the farm, said.
Photo: Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times