Hemp farmers waiting for delivery of seeds

A little more than an acre on Wayne Smith’s Eastern Star area farm is plowed and fertilized, but the highly regulated hemp seeds he requested from the state Department of Agriculture months ago still haven’t arrived.

“I put my order in and I’m waiting patiently for my seeds to arrive,” Smith said Monday. “It’s going to be late in the growing season compared to what I’d like, but I’m hoping for a good first season.”

Delayed while the state awaited import permits from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency for the seeds, which have been illegal to grow without a permit since 1970’s Controlled Substances Act, some farmers in Tennessee were doubtful the approval would come in time to grow a useable crop of industrial hemp this year.

Corinne Gould, a spokesperson for the Agriculture Department, said the permits were granted on May 7, and the farmers who applied to take...

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