Hemp in North Dakota

Several farmers in North Dakota have been growing industrial hemp under tight restrictions.

It can be used for a wide variety of products, but since it's similar in appearance to marijuana, widespread expansion is still a problem.

Hemp is grown here in North Dakota, but when it comes to selling it, things get complicated.

"Right now the problem with hemp and marijuana, without taking it to a lab and testing it for its THC levels, you cannot visually tell the difference," said Clarence Laub, farmer.

Hemp is derived from Cannabis sativa, which is why there are so many regulations. Lawmakers don't want people transporting things viable for marijuana seeds.

"But to get the higher CBD levels you have to cross pollinate it with marijuana varieties which is why there are problems because you can't tell the difference out here," said Laub.

The people growing hemp in the U.S. are licensed, which farmers pay for.

"It would be nice to get it passed federally, because with the pilot program it was to get the understanding of getting it to grow and get some of the stuff marketing. So, I think we're kind of past that now, to where if we could go full on without regulations its just going to help it expand better," said Laub.

The issue is, getting it sold outside of North Dakota. If its deregulated, Clarence believes it will help farmers.

"There's restrictions on movement of product on state lines it has to be devitalized or it has to be changed, this removes all that and it makes it just easier for someone who wants to grow it or just process it," said Doug Goehring, agriculture commissioner of North Dakota.

Goehring says the value of hemp has gone down and if they deregulate it they could see otherwise.

What happens in the farm bill if we deregulate? If anyone can just grow it now, are we going to flood the market with even more product which is going to drive the price down more?" said Goering.

They both agree with the proper marketing opportunity is possible.