The amount of land being used to grow industrial hemp in the United States has more than doubled in 2017 compared to 2016.
According to figures provided by Vote Hemp, 23,343 acres were under cultivation this year; up significantly from 2016 when just 9,770 acres of land were being used to grow the plant.
The states with the largest amount of land under cultivation were Colorado (7,500 acres), Oregon (3,469 acres) and North Dakota (3,020 acres).
“The majority of states have implemented hemp farming laws, in clear support of this crop and its role in diversifying and making more sustainable our agricultural economy,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp.
33 U.S states have enacted industrial hemp legislation to date.
In 2017, licenses to cultivate industrial hemp were issued to 1,424 farmers in 19 states; and 32 universities conducted research on the crop.
While pleased with progress in the USA, Vote Hemp wants to see federal level support – or at least for the Feds to get out of the way. Currently, industrial hemp is lumped in with marijuana under federal law; even though it has zero value as a recreational drug.
“It’s imperative that we pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in Congress, so that we can grant farmers full federally legal rights to commercially cultivate hemp to supply the growing global market for hemp products,” said Mr. Steenstra.
Passage of Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.R. 3530) would result in the Controlled Substances Act being amended to exclude industrial hemp with a THC concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis from the definition of “marihuana”.
While the Act has strong bipartisan support, it doesn’t guarantee success. The 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 proposed Industrial Hemp Farming Acts were never passed.