Crop failure: Why a Montana jury gave hemp growers $65.5M

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Beau and Amber Anderson look out over bales of hemp left behind from their 2018 harvest. The bales were central to a recent jury award in favor of the Andersons and dozens of other farmers for over $65 million. 

AJ Etherington AJ Etherington

Three years ago in northeast Montana the oil wells pumping in the Bakken field were surrounded by the budding production of another kind of oil — CBD oil.

It wasn’t known at the time that the boom-bust cycle of crude oil would be mirrored in the emerging CBD market, and what was once thought to be a future commodity is now a pariah for area farmers who gave it a shot.

Beau and Amber Anderson were among those farmers. They saw industrial hemp as a way to put their family farm on the cutting edge of something new. They knew the recently legalized crop was key to producing over-the-counter remedies and an FDA-approved pharmaceutical to treat seizures. It helped that the Andersons had been looking for a

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