Farmers in Colorado made history this month when they harvested a hemp crop -- the first in the United States since the late 1950s.
Led by Springfield, Colo. farmer Ryan Loflin who planted the 55-acre hemp crop back in May, Loflin and hemp advocates across the nation came to his farm in October to harvest the historic crop.
Technically, Colorado won't be granting hemp growing-cultivation licenses until 2014, but Loflin just couldn't wait.
"It's time for this to happen," he said.
It happened. And this is what the end of hemp prohibition looks like:
Derek Cross, a chef who specializes in cooking with hemp, helps harvest the plant in Springfield, Colo. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)
A girl in the Colorado hemp field. (Photo courtesy Ben Droz)
Volunteers harvest hemp at a farm in Springfield, Colo. during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)
America's first hemp harvest in almost 60 years. (Photo courtesy Ben Droz)
A volunteer walks through a hemp field at a farm in Springfield, Colo. during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)
Hemp seeds. (Photo courtesyBen Droz)
Derek Cross, a chef who specializes in cooking with hemp, demonstrates the burning properties of hemp oil, which he touts as a digestible bio fuel, during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s, at a farm in Springfield, Colo. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)
The faces of Colorado's hemp harvest. (Photo courtesy Jason Lauve)
Hemp is a genetic "cousin" to marijuana, but contains little to none of the THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana associated with the "high" sensation. And although hemp hasn't been grown domestically for decades, in 1998 the U.S. began to import food-grade hemp seed and oil for various uses.
In the 1700s, American farmers were required by law to grow hemp in Virginia and the other colonies. It was a widely used crop for hundreds of years in the United States. Cut to 1957 when the U.S. government banned hemp over confusion about its relationship to marijuana, and the plant from which the paper for the The Declaration of Independence was sourced remained absent from America's soil until now.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recorded the peak of industrial hemp production in America in 1943, with more than 150 million pounds on 146,200 harvested acres.
Check out more photos from the historic harvest at Ben Droz' website and on Jason Lauve's Facebook page.