AURORA, Ore. -- Oregon State University opened its Global Hemp Innovation Center Thursday which will serve as the largest research grounds for the rapidly developing commodity.
Alan Sams, dean of Agricultural Sciences at the university, said the center is one of a kind.
"The unique thing about OSU's center is it is the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind," Sams said.
The center is made up of more than 40 faculty over 19 different colleges as well as collaborators from four countries.
"It's interesting back from the 1880s to the 1930s ... OSU was the center -- the national center -- for hemp research. It's interesting to be coming back full circle and kind of re-exerting ourselves as the nation's leader in hemp research," Sams said.
Last year the federal government dropped hemp from its list of controlled substances and that opened up a huge window for research and cultivation of the plant.
So what can hemp be used for?
Jay Noller, director for the center, said it has thousands of uses, but the most popular are medicinal.
"It can produce amazing different types of plant products -- fiber, floral matter, which can be used for extract including cannabidiol (CBD) and then seed which can be used to propagate the next generation," said Noller.
Noller said even though it's global in nature the center has roots that are deep in Benton County.
He also said it will work to serve surrounding counties like Lane and Linn as well as businesses that are interested in the cultivation of hemp.