With big agriculture and food concerns showing interest in hemp products such as CBD oil, tech players are also targeting the crop.
Originally grown in China, hemp has been cultivated across the world for hundreds of years. In the United States, it was a legal crop, grown by such luminaries as George Washington, for decades. The The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 killed the industry. But it is resurgent now, as Congress has loosened rules on cultivation and may fully legalize the crop in the near future.
That resurgence has sparked interest in everyone from farmers to Coca-Cola, which is eyeing the creation of a CBD-infused drink.
So it’s not terribly surprising that tech companies would also become interested in hemp. In Kentucky, a startup company called Space Tango has formed a subsidiary focused on the biology of hemp. According to SpaceNews:
The new startup, which has not been named, will look for ways to enhance and bioengineer hemp for biomedical applications on Earth. Space Tango attracted new partners for the venture, including Atalo Holdings, a Winchester, Kentucky, company that develops and distributes hemp seeds, and Anavii Market, a Lexington, Kentucky, firm that sells hemp-derived cannabidiol therapeutics.
Space Tango announced the spinoff “to build awareness that we are quickly evolving into more than a space service company,” Kris Kimel, Space Tango founder and chairman, said by email. “Our plans include a significant focus on product development and value creation. We also want to make the wider biomedical community aware of this in part to raise awareness of microgravity as a new frontier for medical solutions for Earth.”
Space Tango isn’t the only startup with plans for hemp. Forbes reports that Front Range Biosciences in Colorado has raised $10 million for lab-grown cannabis using genetic science. Front Range concentrates on both marijuana and industrial hemp.