Virginia Hemp Farming Gets Push From Willie Nelson | Community Idea Stations

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Virginia Hemp Farming Gets Push From Willie Nelson

Fans of a long-outlawed multi-purpose crop raised a hemp flag with Willie Nelson before a Charlottesville concert on Wednesday (5/25).

It was on the mind of Willie Nelson, and on the mind of Kentucky farmer Michael Lewis. “Farmers need opportunities,” says Lewis.

Michael Bowman, chair of the Hemp Association, says that unlike those who grow cotton and soybeans, hemp farmers aren’t seeking subsidies. “We’re simply just asking for the right to grow it,” says Bowman.

Another difference is that hemp farmers don’t need pesticides. “None. And I’m not kidding. I kid you not,” says Bowman.

While Virginia has taken steps toward allowing educational hemp plots, a 1970s federal drug law still treats hemp as marijuana, the intoxicating version of the species.