A lot more Oregonians will be introduced to hemp products very soon. That's because the Oregon Liquor Control Commission just started handing out licenses and required pesticide testing for certain hemp products to be sold inside pot shops.
Hemp is made from the exact same looking marijuana plant as you're used to seeing. Except it can't get you high. Hemp doesn't have THC, the psychoactive compound. With Oregon's legal market, many hemp producers want to sell edible products, oils or medicated lotions in pot shops to capitalize on all of the business.
The OLCC will be making sure there are no pesticides used to grow the hemp and that it has virtually no THC. Hemp products sold anywhere outside of OLCC-licensed stores will not be regulated.
Ben Christensen loves to show people the unlimited world of hemp.
"Sometimes I call it a hemp petting zoo where they can pick things up," said Christensen, who sells all kinds of products on his website, Oregon Hemp Works.
While growing marijuana plants is not federally legal, the U.S. has always allowed makers to import hemp from other countries to make into whatever they want.
"For fabric or a textile-type product you would use the stalk. And for a body care or food products, you would use the seed that's pressed and the oil comes out. It's just like any vegetable oil," Christensen explained.
Christensen is excited for a new crop of customers to explore the uses of a product he's loved for years.
"With people more accepting of the legal market, maybe they'll be in tune with finding out there are other uses to this plant and they'll be more understanding that we can do amazing things with it," he said.
Starting in a couple weeks, once licenses have been approved, you'll see hemp products sold in marijuana shops.