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Tenn. farmers backing out of hemp farming after 2015 struggles

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Many Tennessee farmers who participated in the state's return to industrial hemp farming are not going to try to grow the highly regulated seed again.

In 2015, the state had about 50 farmers sign up to grow the crop for the first time in more than 70 years. This year, with two weeks left to apply for a growing permit, WBIR-TV (http://on.wbir.com/1ScR0Sw) reports that 25 farmers have applied.

Cocke County farmer Chuck Mason says he thought the crop would be a "gold mine," but when seeds were more than a month late in arriving because of customs delays, the crop turned into a bust. Mason says he will return to growing hay this year.

Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant and is low in the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC.