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Missourians take advantage of hemp harvest despite pandemic

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    LEXINGTON, MO (KCTV) — For more than 80 years, hemp hasn’t been allowed to be grown in the state of Missouri. That all changed in 2018 after President Donald Trump signed a bill legalizing industrial hemp.

Many Missourians are taking advantage of that opportunity this year with their first hemp harvest despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Hemp Hill in Lexington Missouri has been doing everything they can to get their hemp in the ground.

The group was part of a small pilot program last fall that allowed universities to team up with producers to research how to successfully grow hemp in Missouri.

“We were the first successful harvest in over 80 years in this specific area”, said Hemp Hill COO Victor Santos.

The pandemic hasn’t changed operations much, as they’re putting seedlings in the ground.

Santos said that in about two months the plants should be between 4 and 6 feet tall. He said that by four months, some of them will be as tall as 12 feet.

”We really hope and look forward to that part of the season,” said Santos. “It’s actually when everything here smells like perfume in the air.”

Eventually, their hemp will be dried and either processed or directly stored, then sold in various forms. Santos said the pandemic really hasn’t impacted the agricultural side of things.

“We did some things such as social distancing, work outside, things along those lines to help the safety matters of everything”, said Santos.

The same can’t be said about the retail side.

One of Hemp Hill’s partners is Jay Humfeld, the owner of Hemp Haven in Missouri. He has seen his plants bud for his first hemp harvest.

“This is going to be used for smokable hemp that will be sold at our retail locations around the state,” said Humfeld.

Retail locations, including their spot in the Crossroads, have seen changes during the pandemic though.

“We are only allowing so many people in, we did curbside, we are doing deliveries,” he said. “So, we are kind of following the norm of everybody else in the stores.”

Despite those changes, the business continues to bud.

“We’ve taken a little bit of a dip in the initial part of it, but now our numbers are actually climbing and we are on pace to beat last year’s numbers,” Humfeld said.

It’s a positive sign many in the hemp industry are starting to see and smell.

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