Gov. Susana Martinez is apparently OK with tripling the state’s medical marijuana harvest, but adamantly opposed to growing hemp.
The variety of cannabis commonly known as “industrial hemp” is cousin to marijuana, but without the psychoactive components. You could burn a bushel in your bong without inducing anything more than a dull headache.
Although lacking medicinal value or recreational appeal, hemp is an enormously useful plant. The seeds are a high-protein food source, and the oil can be used in cooking as well as in paint, wax and numerous other applications. The fiber from the stalks is similar to linen and is used in clothing, insulation, carpeting, paper and rope.
Hemp could be “a hugely beneficial cash crop” for New Mexico farmers, according to Stuart Rose, founder of the Bioscience Center, a business incubator in Albuquerque.
It requires much less water than cotton and literally grows like a weed, without expensive pesticides and fertilizer.
“You can grow twice the value of alfalfa for half the water,” Rose said.