Jean-Sebastien Gros has been involved in agribusiness for decades, including a long stint farming salmon in the south of Chile. He relocated his agribusiness to Putnam County several years ago to introduce what he calls a “farm-to-fork” culture in his central Florida agriculture community.

Now, Gros’ newfound interest in medical marijuana is evolving into full-fledged evangelism for producing a new cash crop: industrial hemp. And like many farmers in the Sunshine State these days, he’s hoping he can begin planting seeds for the product by the end of this year.

A variety of the cannabis plant, hemp has been cultivated for thousands of years. It can be used for fiber, grain, building materials, paper, animal feed and pain relief as a topical oil – known as CBD.

CBD (an abbreviation for cannabidiol) is the compound in marijuana plants that its advocates say can reduce anxiety, pain and a whole host of other maladies.  By law, hemp extract can’t contain more than 0.3 percent of THC concentration (the principal psychoactive part of cannabis).

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