Eric Jensen feels trapped. By now, the 43-year-old thought he’d be able to travel from his home in southeastern Colorado to see his son play college ball in the Midwest. But instead, he can’t cross the border into Kansas. He’s stuck hanging around his home town, where most of the residents have turned their backs on him, believing that he’s a hardened drug dealer. Instead, he’s facing criminal charges for something that’s completely legal in Colorado: hemp.
Eric and his brother, 39-year-old Ryan Jensen, grew up in the town of Holly, ten miles from the Kansas border. Early on, they started working on the family farm, the fourth generation to do so, and by 2007, they’d taken over for their father, Robert. They grew wheat and corn and onions and cabbage, which was harvested and shipped to grocery stores across the country. But their biggest crop was cantaloupe.