GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Industrial hemp - it has a long history, but has only been in the Grand Valley for a few years.
However, it has potential of growing into a multimillion dollar industry.
"It's life changing. Every single day, we're finding more and more uses for it. Hemp was so widely used back in the day, just the amount of paper we can save converting, its really awesome," said Tanner Willis, Owner of Colorado Hemp Solutions.
Today, leaders from economic and government agencies from around the Western Slope came together to discuss using hemp as an economic development tool.
"Most of our counties on the Western Slope are still predominantly agriculture communities, so being able to grow and diversify it is very important to us," said Rose Pugliese, Mesa County Commissioner.
However, there are still misconceptions surrounding the hemp industry.
"The hemp product has a .3% or less THC and hallucinative factor. Marijuana, on the other hand, has 12 to 15 or more percent," said Sandy Head, Executive Director for the Montrose Economic Development Corporation.
Right now, Colorado has the largest acres of hemp in the United States. Members of the industry hope that number will continue to grow.
"As the years progress and farmers are able to see how this stuff works, I think it will get bigger and bigger," said Willis.
"The louder our voice is, the more united we are, and the better chance we have," said Head.