Colorado hits another cannabis 1st with certified hemp seed

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2013 file photo, volunteers harvest hemp during the first known harvest of the plant in more than 60 years, in Springfield, Colo. Colorado is expected to reach another national first on cannabis Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, when state agriculture officials show off the first domestic certified hemp seeds. The Colorado Department of Agriculture has been working for years to produce hemp seeds that consistently produce plants low enough in the chemical THC to qualify as hemp and not its intoxicating cousin, marijuana. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda, File)

DENVER (AP) — Colorado reached another national first on cannabis Wednesday when state agriculture officials showed off the first domestic certified hemp seeds.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has been working for years to produce hemp seeds that consistently produce plants low enough in the chemical THC to qualify as hemp and not its intoxicating cousin, marijuana.

Hemp production was authorized by Congress in 2014. But farmers who want to grow it must have state certification to raise the crop. The industry estimates that fewer than 7,000 acres are being grown nationwide this year.

Colorado says it has six varieties of certified seed, proven to be genetically pure and to produce hemp and not marijuana.

Farmers in states that allow hemp production can buy the seeds in 2017.

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