Maine boasts a long, rich tradition of lobster dining. Heck, even the drug stores in some Maine towns have lobster tanks where casual customers can pick out a live crustacean before taking it home to cook it.
It was just a matter of time until Maine offered hemp in a similar fashion.
Sheepscot General Farms, an organic farm located near Whitefield, is currently harvesting its first hemp crop of 7,000 plants. Starting September 25th, customers can visit the farm to hand-select which hemp plants they’d like to purchase, while the plants are still alive and in soil. Pricing is still being hammered out, but the farm’s owners, Ben and Taryn Marcus, think they’ll charge about $50 per pound of hemp flowers, which will come with some leaves and stems, too.
“We think most will make into their own tincture or salve, plus there is a growing trend of just freezing and using fresh in food or tea to get CBD-A,” said Taryn Marcus to Modern Farmer.
Gallery — Photos of Cannabis Plants Throughout the Harvest Cycle:
Hemp, which is a variety of cannabis, contains less than 0.3 percent THC. But people don’t buy hemp for THC; they buy hemp for CBD, a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis that has medicinal properties. In recent years, the CBD market has exploded in popularity, with companies infusing everything from lotions to underarm deodorants to cheeseburgers with the hemp-derived compound.
“These plants were tested by the state to make sure [there’s] less than 0.3 percent THC,” Taryn told a local ABC affiliate, “so people will be able to use it for medicine and not have psychoactive elements and not get high.”
Cannabis dispensaries typically let customers inspect cured buds before purchase, and some even sell live clones, but Sheepscot’s “U-Pick” program marks one of the cannabis industry’s first “choose your own mature plant” offerings. Alongside the upcoming choose-your-own-plant program, the farm will also offer classes instructing others on how to safely make their own hemp oils and tinctures at home.
Late last year, the federal government decriminalized hemp nationwide with the Farm Bill, leaving individual states to determine their own hemp laws. Maine legalized hemp under its marijuana legalization bill, which voters approved in 2016.
The Pine Tree State’s previous governor, Paul LePage, vehemently opposed any kind of weed legalization in Maine — even for medical marijuana — but the new governor, Janet Mills, has been friendly to the fledgling industry. In March, Gov. Mills signed legislation that protects Maine’s hemp and hemp-extracts as food products and additives.
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