CSU’s hidden hemp research farm

Rachel Musselmann

Colorado State University is growing a small plot of hemp hidden inside a field of corn at an undisclosed location.

The production of hemp, a genetic cousin of marijuana, was legalized under Amendment 64, but is still regulated by the federal government. CSU researchers had to obtain permission from the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a press release. 

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More than 1,000 hemp seeds shipped from Europe were planted in June at the hidden plot by researchers of CSU’s Southwestern Colorado Research Center, a 158-acre farm located 15 miles north of Cortez, Colorado. 

In the real world, hemp materials can be used in clothing, soap, bio diesel and as a substitute for plastic. This particular crop will be tested in CSU labs for genetics, oil content, biomass, fiber content and seed yield.

Although Colorado farmers are permitted to tour the secret garden, researchers have attempted to maintain a low profile for a very specific reason: to avoid thrill-seekers raiding the crops, according to Abdel Berrada, a senior researcher with the Southwest Agriculture Research Station.

“We (want) … to avoid any trouble, like vandalism or theft by youth mistaking it for marijuana,” Abdel said.

Collegian Reporter Rachel Musselmann can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @rmusselmann.