By Dan Shapley
Hemp is staged for a leap from niche to mainstream, as food makers get a taste for the plant's nutritious (but not psychedelic) seed, oil and flour. Long in the shadows as an outlaw, or at best the darling of a tie-dye subculture, hemp is emerging as the next big thing in the health food world. The still-small $8.6 million industry landed 50 percent more products on grocery stores shelves in the past couple years, according to the May 14 story in the LA Times. Remember when soy milk sounded strange? Expect hemp to make the same transformation.