Tennessee hemp farmers start planting highly regulated seeds

ONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (AP) - Farmers in Tennessee have started receiving highly regulated hemp seeds to produce the state's first legal harvest of the crop in more than 70 years.

The Johnson City Press reports that 46 farmers are receiving the seeds this year through a pilot program offered by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Officials hope to learn what varieties of hemp will grow best in which areas of the state.

Washington County farmer Wayne Smith says he expects to harvest the crop in four months and sell hemp oil at a local farmers market.

Careful count is being kept of the seeds each farmer receives and will be compared to the number of plants he grows. The crops will also be subject to testing for levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

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