Those interested in finding out about the potential of industrial hemp can learn more at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the Pine City High School Seventh Grade Commons.
Industrial hemp is legally required to contain less than 0.3% THC, the chemical that produces the “high” associated with marijuana smoking. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture gives out licenses to grow industrial hemp, and state inspectors run compliance tests to make sure the plants are under the THC limit.
In a class called “The Art of Sustainable Living: Industrial Hemp,” Jane Leverenz will explain how industrial hemp can help the local economy, the different ways industrial hemp can be used and how to apply for a license to grow it.
Leverenz said that she has been looking into the possibilities of industrial hemp for the past 54 years.
“I have a bucket of information to share with people from researching,” she said. “Many materials can be made out of hemp. It’s a very unique product.”
Industrial hemp can be used to make a wide variety of materials and items, including CBD oil, food products, paper, rope and even composites and plastics.
Currently, there are three current industrial hemp license holders in Pine County: Bumbleberry Farm LLC, Joseph Richardson and Twin Cities Hemp LLC.
Leverenz has been researching a new means of harvesting that utilizes more of the plant for use. She said that hemp is weed resistant because it germinates quickly and covers the ground before weeds can get a foothold.
“Farmers have to put in less effort to grow the crop,” she said.
Leverenz noted that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other famous Americans from history were hemp farmers.
“It’s so exciting when you find an answer to a problem,” she said. “There’s a possibility here that we could help farmers grow a secondary crop. This is part of the future of farming in America.”