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Michigan hemp farmer educating others to clear the air of common misconceptions about the crop

Mike Gaynier is about to harvest his first hemp crop after seeing a growth in the CBD market. He wants people to know a few key things about hemp.

ERIE, Mich. — It's a weed, but not the weed your thinking of.  

In Erie, Michigan, farmers are learning about the reality and misconceptions of growing hemp in the Midwest.

Mike Gaynier's background is in agriculture insurance, but since the 2018 Farm Bill passed opening up the door so more people can grow hemp, he's been interested.

"I saw where this was going and I thought it was an opportunity for my customers, for me -  I own land, but for my customers to diversify a little bit," Gaynier said.

In a few weeks, he'll be able to harvest his first crop with Green Farms Company where the hemp will be used for their line of CBD products.

"There's salves, there's balms, there's CBD oil, there's gummies for people, there's gummies for animals to remove anxiety," Gaynier said.

Families that have been farming for generations are also switching over to the crop seeing how quickly the industry has grown.

"There is just a little extra something here in this area and we've tried to put our finger on it, but it's just the weather patterns and the soil conditions and everything, so we're hoping to get something a little bit different, something special out of our hemp plants," farmer Darren Koraleski said.

Gaynier says while it might look the same, stealing hemp plants from farmers like him won't give you that desired buzz, since there's close to no THC.

"We had some curious people come in the back of the field and chop out 20 plants because I'm sure they thought it was marijuana. I'm here to tell you, you could eat that entire plant and not get high," Gaynier said.

Once these plants are heavier and ready to harvest, it's going to be another three years before this same land can be used for hemp again.