By Steve Elliott
One entrepreneur is warning that few Colorado farmers will plant hemp this spring if a federal ban on shipping hemp seeds across state lines and national borders isn't changed soon.
Hundreds of Colorado farmers have contacted her in recent months asking where to get hemp seeds for the coming season, said Barbara Filippone, whose Glenwood Springs-based company, EnvironTextiles, imports and sells hemp and other natural fibers, reports Nelson Harvey at the Aspen Daily News.
"I have a notebook with contacts for at least 100 interested farmers, and three to five more calling me every day," Filippone said.
Filippone said she recently heard from an eastern Colorado farmer who got a mysterious shoebox full of seeds in the mail from someone called "The Hemp Stork" who didn't list a return address. The farmer planted some of the seeds, Filippone said, before realizing it was illegal to ship hemp.
"He was terrified," Filipone said, adding that the seeds probably came from a hemp activist "who was not considering things like federal regulations, federal subsidies or crop insurance."
Sourcing hemp seeds from inside the state is next to impossible, since only one Colorado farmer, Ryan Loflin of Springfield, harvested a major hemp crop last year. Under federal law, which regards hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance just like marijuana, shipping unsterilized hemp seeds in from other states or countries is illegal.