The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking to help the economy of Ukraine by bolstering imports of its hemp seed. While hemp is in the cannabis family, it has little to no psychoactive constituents (THC) and it therefore prized for its commercial applications, for which is has a multitude.
Ukraine is a major producer of hemp seed, and is seeking aid from the IMF as it slpis deeper into political crisis, capped by Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The currency has plunged almost 25 percent against the dollar this year.
While President Obama has urged Russia to de-escalate the crisis over Ukraine or face more sanctions, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an interview today that they are trying to use the industrial hemp seeds created in the Ukraine more widely in the US. Ukraine in 2012 was the world’s fourth-biggest producer of hemp seed after France, China and Chile, according to the United Nations. Currently, only 10 U.S. states allow cultivation of industrial hemp. In addition, a farm bill Congress passed last month will allow colleges, universities and state agriculture departments to grow hemp for research purposes if allowed by the state.