Legal hemp, CBD stir more farmers to grow unfamiliar crop

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In this Aug. 21, 2019, photo, Jeff Dennings, left, and Dave Crabill, industrial hemp farmers, check plants at their farm in Clayton Township, Mich. The legalization of industrial hemp is spurring U.S. farmers into unfamiliar terrain, tempting them with profits amid turmoil in agriculture while proving to be a tricky endeavor in the early stages. Up for grabs is a lucrative market, one that could grow more than five-fold globally by 2025, driven by demand for cannabidiol. The compound does not cause a high like that of marijuana and is hyped as a health product to reduce anxiety, treat pain and promote sleep. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

CLAYTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The legalization of industrial hemp in the U.S. has sparked interest from both traditional farmers and newbies.

The early stages are proving tricky. Producing the now-legal cousin of marijuana is labor-intensive. But up for grabs is a market that could grow more than five-fold globally by 2025 — driven by demand for CBD.

The compound doesn’t cause a high like that of marijuana. It’s hyped as a health product to reduce anxiety, treat pain and promote sleep.

Even before hemp was fully legalized federally, some states ran pilot programs under the 2014 farm bill. Last month, the U.S. government finalized an interim national regulatory framework that’s expected to pave the way for the crop’s widespread commercialization starting as early as 2020.

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