Industrial hemp in full bloom in Missouri as local growers prepare to cash in on crop

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LEXINGTON, Mo. — Budding plants mark history for Jay Humfeld‘s first hemp harvest. In Missouri, growing hemp has been illegal the last 80 years.

“People think it’s marijuana, and it’s not marijuana,“ Humfeld said.

Humfeld and his Hemp Haven team are pioneers in the industry. He said times are changing in an eco-friendly way.

“This is the future of the industry. With over 20,000 users, our grandkids will be using more hemp than they use any plastic at this time,” Humfeld said. “So being in the forefront at this time is kind of exciting.“

The 900 plants in the greenhouse make up three different strains of hemp flower. The stock they cut Thursday will be used for a smokeable type of CBD.

But the sky’s the limit with hemp. Certain strains can make furniture, sneakers, plastic and clothes.

“It’s harvesting. So it’s not like we’re going out and cutting trees and making paper. You can make paper from these guys,” said Hemp Hill COO Victor Santos, pointing to the head flowers. “So if it’s done properly, you can cut a lot of what we’re doing out there in the world, cut it back here to this, which is eco-friendly.”

It was about 100 degrees in the greenhouse Thursday. Humfeld said they don’t want the temperature to go below 70 degrees, but it also can’t get too hot.

Dealing with Missouri weather is one of their biggest challenges.

“It went from being a beautiful day of 77-78 degrees to all of a sudden we’re at 94,” Santos said. “So you know that’s a big shift in less than a week, which is not good for the plants.“

Before it’s sold to retailers across the metro, they bag the buds then hang the plants in a dryer room for 5-14 days.

“Now we have ours. We can sell our own and people can actually smoke Missouri-ground flour,“ Humfeld said.

As this industry continues to flourish, there’s no telling what Missouri-made products we will see that start with growing hemp.

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