Slow growing: Hemp cultivation stymied by federal rules
A number of Vermont farmers would like to grow hemp, which has uses ranging from cosmetics to biofuel. There’s a catch, however: The federal government could arrest them for growing the plant because it is a variety of the marijuana plant.
The Vermont Legislature endorsed the production of industrial hemp in 2013 when it passed Act 84. The law cites the low-THC strain of Cannabis sativa, or hemp, as useful in producing “high-strength fiber, textiles, clothing, biofuel, paper products, protein-rich foods, biodegradable plastics, resins, nontoxic medicinal and cosmetic products, construction materials, rope, value-added crafts, livestock feed and bedding, stream buffering, erosion control, water and soil purification and weed control.”
It’s a question of opportunity for farmers like Ken Manfredi and his partner, Robin Alberti, who grew a quarter-acre of hemp last year on leased land in the town of Chittenden.