CANDLER COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - One surging crop in Georgia that few could have expected years ago - hemp.
A handful of high-regulated growers have permits to grow the crop, but many say the demand has just begun.
A generation ago, the only government help this kind of business would get would be deputies chopping and burning down the plants. Now, they’re working hand in hand with government agencies like any other business.
Reggie Reese and Dwayne Hirsch check on their hemp crop in Candler County. They started their operation last year and say this was their prime location.
“I looked around the country for the best place to start a hemp farm and Candler County came across my desk. It was a blessing in disguise,” said Reese.
They credit local leaders from the city of Metter and it’s Georgia Southern business incubator and the Georgia Grown brand from the state department of agriculture for helping them start here. They also know not everyone understands the difference between this hemp and marijuana.
“It’s a benefit to relieve anxiety and tension and such and even pain. But it’s not psychoactive so when you consume it you don’t get high,” said Hirsch.
They’re growing their hemp and selling most to a manufacturing company for lotions, oils and other treatments. In Metter, they also have a shop that sells hemp directly to customers as well as shops to dry and process the hemp to individual use.
“The FDA has not approved CBD oil for food or drink yet. When it does, there aren’t enough licensed growers on the planet.”
Only a small hand full of operations grow hemp in our part of Georgia but they say you could see more as people realize the uses.