Hemp is on the cusp of a breakthrough, thanks to looser cultivation bans and the food industry's hunger for nutritious plants, reports Bloomberg News. The stoner stigma is abating as hemp gets recognized for its ability to deliver protein, rather than psychoactives. Hemp is not a drug. It's a variety of the cannabis plant with less than 0.5 percent of the mind-bending compound tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
This year, the U.S. government recognized hemp as distinct from its seedier cousin, though a federal ban on commercial cultivation remains in place.The ban hasn't stopped imports flowing in from Canadian companies. Fourteen U.S. states have removed barriers to its cultivation, and the farm bill Congress passed in February will allow hemp growing for research purposes in those states. The stigma is hard to shed. Last year, the U.S. Air Force told its pilots to steer clear of a variety of Chobani Greek yogurt that came with a side packet of hemp seeds to be tipped into the pot. The Air Force said the product could have enough THC to be detectable under its drug-testing program.