(Photo: MGN Online)

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) – After federal legislation opened the door for the wide-scale cultivation of hemp, hundreds of people in Virginia have signed up to grow the crop.

 

The Roanoke Times reports that as of July, more than 800 growers had registered with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

 

Elaine Lidholm is director of communications for the department. She says if the farmers plant as they told the department they intend to, there will be more than 8,500 acres (3,439 hectares) of hemp this season.

 

She says licensees include farmers looking to diversify but also first-time farmers drawn specifically to hemp.

 

The plant was long banned because of its association with marijuana.

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