By Joanne Lovato

Source: StarTribune

Hemp was a booming cash crop in Minnesota before the federal government banned hemp production in 1957, and the plant still grows wild all around the state.

For the first time in generations, Minnesota farmers are planting hemp.

“We’re the first ones putting seeds in the ground since the 1950s,” said Ken Anderson, watching as a bottle-blue tractor trundled across a field near Hastings on a sunny Friday afternoon. The 8.5-acre tract is the first of at least half a dozen hemp fields to be cultivated this summer under the Minnesota Department of Agriculture‘s new industrial hemp pilot project.

The seeds should have been in the ground a month ago, but bureaucratic delays and shipping companies leery of carrying a cargo of cannabis delayed delivery. The seeds, and the entire hemp project, had to navigate a maze of federal regulations and red tape that treat this state-sanctioned crop like a narcotic.

Hemp was a booming cash crop in Minnesota before the federal government banned hemp production in 1957, and the plant still grows wild all around the state.

To get back into the hemp business, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture had to register as a narcotics importer. Even after the Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Department of Justice approved the state’s pilot program, a series of shipping companies balked at delivering Anderson’s seed, even though the delivery address was that of a state agency.

“This is a nightmare we have to jump through,” said Anderson, a Minnesota native who has spearheaded hemp start-ups in other states.

Even though Anderson could get hemp seeds from, say, his operation in Kentucky, federal guidelines require states to buy hemp for cultivation from other countries — Canada and Ukraine, in Minnesota’s case.

Despite having all the proper state and federal permits, and the blessing of U.S. and Canadian customs, Anderson said he couldn’t coax FedEx or UPS to deliver the hemp seeds. In the end, a small Canadian shipping company delivered the seed bags to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture loading docks on Thursday.

Read this full story…..: Minnesota Is In The Hemp Business Again