Evidently, Aims Community College in Colorado recognizes the potential of hemp/marijuana/cannabis industry, otherwise it probably wouldn’t have launched the agricultural program.

The course is open to the public, too — so one doesn’t have to be enrolled at Aims to attend and learn.

While there is a legal difference between hemp and cannabis/marijuana, this course at Aims could end up inspiring other institutions to offer similar classes — either geared toward hemp, or even toward cannabis/marijuana.

The following is a re-post of an article written by Trevor Reed of the Greeley Tribune 

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Following the 2018 Farm Bill’s federal legalization of hemp, or the “re-legalization,” as Kirk Goble puts it, business opportunities are opening at every level of the industry.

With more than 25,000 uses for hemp, it doesn’t appear those opportunities will slow down anytime soon. For farmers, the crop’s hardiness is an added plus. Goble, an agricultural instructor at Aims Community College, said farmers of traditional Weld County crops are turning to hemp as an alternative crop. It’s been a component of Goble’s crop production class at Aims over the past three years.

Starting Tuesday, Goble will start teaching a weekly evening class at Aims’ Greeley Campus entirely focused on industrial hemp, from propagating the plant to processing, as well as compliance and regulations. The class is provided through the college’s workforce development program, so it’s open to the public for a standalone tuition fee of $299, no Aims application required.

Goble hopes the class will help meet the needs of an industry many believe is set to explode on the heels of federal legalization. According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s hemp division, the number of applicants to grow hemp is four times the number the same time this past year. Just the market for CBD, which can be extracted from hemp and carries with it a number of health benefits, could grow from an estimated $591 million in 2018 to $22 billion in 2022, according to a report from the Brightfield Group, a market analysis company.

The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as any part of a cannabis plant with 0.3 percent or less THC content, the component of cannabis that gets users high. Essentially, Goble explained, marijuana and hemp are like sweet corn and sileage corn: the plant is the same, but farmers breed and raise the plants for different purposes. A marijuana grower looks to keep the THC content far above 0.3 percent — most strains found in Colorado dispensaries typically have a THC content of 15 percent or above. A hemp grower, however, would have to destroy the crops if the THC content reached beyond 0.3 percent. As a result, hemp growers and marijuana growers are keen to make that distinction and keep cannabis plants grown for hemp and cannabis plants grown for marijuana totally separate.

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This article was first published on https://www.cannabisimp.com.

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