Agriculture

Top States In Hemp Production

By Savannah Hasty

It comes as a surprise to most consumers that hemp, a variant of the cannabis species used for fiber and supplements, is federally prohibited. The FDA and DEA concur that all cannabis plants, including hemp, are a Schedule I substance and ban them outright for commercial production. While some changes have been made to federal law to allow cultivation in research settings, hemp and its associates are considered a controlled substance by those in Washington. States across the country, however, beg to differ.

The Ohio House of Representatives recently passed a bill that allows the cultivation of hemp for commercial purposes. Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, stated, “We think it’s the best bill that’s happening to farmers this year.”

The law has several restrictions, including license requirements for producers of hemp-related fiber and textile products, unlike other states who only require licensing for CBD related products. It also regulates the transportation of hemp and CBD products within the state and across borders.

Ohio isn’t the only state going against the grain of federal mandate. Below are seventeen other states that have specifically signed legislation into effect that allows for industrial production and commercial use of hemp and its related products:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Connecticut removed hemp from its list of illegal substances, making commercial production as legally acceptable as growing herbs in your backyard. Connecticut is one of the few states that doesn’t require additional licensing to produce or sell hemp.

Kentucky, though it claims to follow suit with the DEA and FDA, allows licensed commercial hemp production for any “legal purpose.” The phrase “legal purpose” technically excludes virtually all commercial production under the DEA’s interpretation of federal law. However, it is not enforced as so at the state level.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says that commercial hemp production is growing exponentially in the state. He quoted estimated figures of over 1,000 hemp farmers, 50,000 acres designated for hemp production, and six million square feet of approved greenhouse space designed specifically for hemp in Kentucky. The state’s gross product sales of hemp grew over $41 million from 2017 to 2018, and is projected to grow even more by 2020.

States like Kentucky are following suit with Colorado, the pioneer of cannabis cultivation and commercial use. Over half of the hemp grown in the U.S. is cultivated in Colorado, with over 50,000 acres dedicated to commercial farming. Colorado may have positioned itself as a cannabis-friendly tourist destination, but it is earning equally from commercial hemp sales in 2019.

With 19 states embracing hemp as a powerful money-maker, there will certainly be greater access for consumers to choose this eco-friendly and health-positive substance as part of their lifestyle. As the access to hemp products increases in these states, it will only be a matter of time before the Federal government embraces the health benefits of hemp and CBD products.

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