New heights but no high - why hemp sales are soaring

When Margaret MacKenzie heard that President Trump had legalised the cultivation of hemp across the US just before Christmas, she immediately thought: "Oh boy, here we go! Things are going to move very fast."

The Colorado farmer tends to about 15 acres (six hectares) of hemp, the species of the cannabis plant that doesn't have any psychotropic effect - it cannot be used to make a person "high".

Hemp, or cannabis sativa, to give it its Latin name, is the straitlaced cousin of cannabis indica, which is better known as marijuana.


"At some point we'll see American hemp production eclipse China," says Bob Hoban, a commercial lawyer who represents growers of both types of cannabis across the US.

"We're already seeing a massive investment in production infrastructure, and that takes time.

"We'll eventually reach the point where hemp will not just appeal to the cannabis industry and their consumers."