Colorado is expected to reach another national first on cannabis Wednesday when state agriculture officials show off the first domestic certified hemp seeds.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture has been working for years to produce hemp seeds that consistently produce plants low enough in the chemical THC to qualify as hemp and not its intoxicating cousin, marijuana.
Hemp production was authorized by Congress in 2014. But farmers who want to grow it must have state certification to raise the crop. The industry estimates that fewer than 7,000 acres are being grown nationwide this year.
Colorado is the first state to certify hemp seed, which means the seed has been proven to be genetically pure and to produce hemp and not marijuana.
Colorado farmers can buy the certified hemp seeds in 2017.