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Cultivation Archives - Hemp Market Report

StaffStaffNovember 7, 2019


The USA has a new boom for hemp farmers. Though it is forbidden to consume cannabis at the federal level, 33 states legalized its usage for medical purposes and 11 states don’t mind about you smoking hemp for your personal advantage. 

Let’s distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana. There are over 50 thousands of goods that have hemp as one of the ingredients. They include clothes, cosmetics, beverages, food, construction supplies, etc. These two types of crops are cultivated from one sort of plant, Cannabis sativa L. However, hemp has only 0.3% of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the addictive component of marijuana. This means, that hemp can’t make you high and doesn’t have a similar effect as smoking a joint of marijuana. 

According to Barclays Bank and EssayShark, the size of the legal cannabis market reached $28 billion in the past year. If the USA legalizes the full cannabis market, it will enhance to $41 billion by 2028.  In case the medical usage is legalized in Europe and at the federal level, the market will grow to $55 billion. It’s logical that such perspectives attract lots of investors. This fact led to the appearance of many hemp-related startups in 2018. At the beginning of 2019, their total value was worth $1.2 billion.

It’s not surprising that these tendencies and potential increased the number of new hemp farmers. There are limits to growing cannabis, but they are quite ridiculous. For example, you can’t grow more than three sorts of the plant. A person can freely grow up to 6 bushes of hemp. People who managed to “catch the wave” of planting cannabis have now grown to the earning millions of dollars. The average price for their final product is seven thousand dollars per one kilo. Farmers are sure that it’s better to work legally and the prohibitions only support the drug dealers and the development of the black market.

The product that had been illegally brought to the USA turned into legal goods. Authorities imposed taxes and customs on them. Workers involved in the hemp industry obtained official employment, government establishments started checking the quality of the product. As a result, the price for legal cannabis increased by 5-6 times in comparison to the illegal options. Many people with low budgets prefer purchasing under-the-table weed instead of paying more. Thus, the new hemp farmers who want to have a stable income must sell their product almost without any retail margin to compete with the existing offers until they have a stable audience of customers. 

Due to the high demand and the global madness over an opportunity to earn money in this industry, many people attempt starting their own production of hemp. Those people who have never had experience with anything related to agriculture (it is agriculture by any measure) have a strong belief that it’s a piece of cake. New hemp farmers usually make the same mistakes. They don’t compile a harvest plan and take into account the weather conditions. As a result, they might lose their yield or have a smaller amount of crop than expected.

Another reason that influences the new businessmen is their confidence in finding the customers or contractors for selling their products. Experienced and considered farmers search for the contractors prior to planting the crop. Therefore, they can estimate the approximate number and the workforce required to cultivate and process the product. The majority of new farmers rely on independent contractors who have to cultivate, harvest, and dry their crops. Unfortunately, many such contractors make only verbal promises and don’t satisfy their customers’ needs. As a result, farmers fail to yield and process hemp to have a final product for sale. 

It’s difficult for amateur farmers to enter the market and beat the competition. The huge processing and harvesting companies in the industry leave almost no chances for small businesses. Thus, even if you consider all the negative factors like unfortunate weather, low prices, lack of labor, and create a perfect harvesting plan, there is still a high possibility that you might push your income into the red. The industry is facing the oversupply of hemp which leads to the decreased rates. Many farmers hurry to fire-sale their crops to anyone not to lose all the money and efforts put into the cultivation, harvesting, and processing. 

The hemp market is definitely flourishing in the USA. Unfortunately, the equipment, workforce, knowledge, skills, and time required to grow cannabis might be too much for the newbie farmers. They tend to underestimate the efforts and financial risks for entering this sphere. 

Guest post by Kelly Pethick

StaffStaffNovember 5, 2019


Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam announced that the first commercial hemp fiber processing plant, Vitality Farms, LLC, will soon be launched in Wythe County. According to the statement, the facility is currently operating as Appalachian Biomass Processing with plans to invest $894,000 and create 13 jobs.

Plant To Buy $1 Million in Hemp 

The plant intends to purchase at least 6,000 tons of industrial hemp valued at $1 million or more from farmers in Virginia in the following three years.

Governor Northam further said that his goal is to pursue every avenue meant to bring economic prosperity to the communities. He also noted that industrial hemp production opens the state of Virginia to a sea of opportunities such as new jobs and businesses. Governor Northam added that Virginia is dedicated to developing a booming and sustainable hemp industry, and he believes that by establishing the processing plant, a market will be opened for the farmers and growers of industrial hemp.

In March, Governor Northam aligned Virginia’s hemp law to the 2018 Farm Bill by signing the bill legalizing commercial farming and processing of industrial hemp. The announcement was marked as the first economic development in the hemp industry in Virginia.

The Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Bettina Ring, said that farmers in the Southern and Western regions if Virginia could benefit highly from the hemp as it has much potential. She further noted that for areas growing industrial hemp to benefit from the crop’s great potential, they must have a processing facility and robust markets for selling hemp products. In Virginia, the number of registered industrial hemp farmers is more than 1,100 and the local hemp market is growing, said Ring.

The governor’s announcement noted that the Appalachian Biomass Processing will use a specialized decorticator to process bales of hemp stalks into two raw agricultural products. The company will sell bast fiber to a North Carolina company for further processing and sale to the textile industry, while the woody core of the plant, or hurd, will be sold to a Virginia company for use as animal bedding. A native of Wythe County, company founder Susan Moore has cultivated substantial industry knowledge and relationships through experience conducting research in partnership with VDACS and the University of Virginia.

Working with Wythe County to snag the project for the Commonwealth is the Department of Agriculture in Virginia and Consumer Services. Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development, through Governor Northam, awarded the project a $25,000 grant. Wythe County was supposed to match the grant amount with local funds.

The Governor’s office released a statement saying that the company will process hemp stalk into agricultural products with a specialized decorticator. Appalachian Biomass Processing will sell the processed bast fiber to another company in North Carolina for further processing, which will later sell the finished product to the textile industry. The woody core of hemp will be used as animal bedding.


Kaitlin DomangueKaitlin DomangueOctober 29, 2019


The United States Department of Agriculture has released a draft for the regulation of hemp in the US. The official rules will not be released yet. Geoff Whaling, chair of the National Hemp Association, says once the rules are released they will be temporary for the first year. This allows the states to participate in hemp cultivation and processing for the 2020 growing season. It also allows all stakeholders the opportunity to begin to implement the regulations and determine areas that need to be improved. 

From the draft, “under this new authority, a State or Indian Tribe that wants to have primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp in that State or territory of that Indian Tribe may submit, for the approval of the Secretary, a plan concerning the monitoring and regulation of such hemp production. For States or Indian Tribes that do not have approved plans, the Secretary is directed to establish a Departmental plan to monitor and regulate hemp production in those areas.”

The rules also cover other important things like where hemp can be grown, THC testing standards, biomass transportation, licensing regulations, and more. 

“The laboratories conducting hemp testing must be registered by the DEA to conduct chemical analysis of controlled substances (in accordance with 21 CFR 1301.13). Registration is 15 necessary because laboratories could potentially handle cannabis that tests above the 0.3% concentration of THC on a dry weight basis, which is, by definition, marijuana and a Schedule 1 controlled substance.” It also has been stated that there has been consideration to establish a fee associated with hemp testing for THC. 

If a plant exceeds the legal level of THC, it must be disposed of properly. The draft states “if a producer has produced cannabis exceeding the acceptable hemp THC level, the material must be disposed of in accordance with the CSA and DEA regulations because such material constitutes marijuana, a schedule I controlled substance under the CSA. Consequently, the material must be collected for destruction by a person authorized under the CSA to handle marijuana, such as a DEA-registered reverse distributor, or a duly authorized Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer.”

There also many details within the drafted rules regarding licensing. “To produce hemp under the USDA plan, producers must apply for and be issued a license from USDA. USDA will begin accepting applications 30 days after the effective date of this interim rule. USDA is delaying acceptance of applications for 30 days to allow States and Tribal Governments to submit their plans first. This is to prevent USDA from reviewing and issuing USDA licenses to producers when there is a likelihood that there will soon be a State or Tribal plan in place and producers will obtain their licenses from the State or Tribe.”

It is exciting to see these rules finally being put into place so hemp can be well regulated in the United States. These guidelines should clear a lot of the gray areas that have been causing confusion about US hemp production, allowing for a better-regulated industry that will benefit the economy and community.


Kaitlin DomangueKaitlin DomangueOctober 21, 2019


Industrial hemp with a THC content of less than 0.3% was removed from its classification as a Schedule I substance in the United States, per the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. The crop was removed from a federal list that classified it as harmful and addictive as heroin and ecstasy. It was removed from the scheduled substances lists entirely and is now categorized as an ordinary crop, though it does have some different regulations. 

Before the bill was passed, hemp and CBD businesses operated in a quasi-legal status depending on the states’ individual laws. Hemp has been used in everything from topical products, food, pet care, and beauty. 

Now that federal restrictions have been lifted, many are wondering how they can get in on growing hemp. 

Before you start planting seeds in your backyard, there are some steps you need to take to ensure everything is done legally. 

Here is what you need to do to get started: 


  • Make sure hemp is legal to grow in your state, and be sure you can comply with your states’ regulations for growing


Despite the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing industrial hemp cultivation on a federal level, each state is able to decide exactly what that means for their particular state. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mississippi, South Dakota, Idaho, and the District of Columbia prohibit the cultivation of hemp in any form. 

The states that do allow hemp cultivation to have different regulations concerning the ways it can be grown. Some states only permit it for research purposes, and other states allow industrial hemp to be grown for commercial purposes, as well. For example, according to the NCSL “Missouri created an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program, in accordance with federal law, to be implemented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) to study the growth, cultivation, processing, feeding, and marketing.” This is a wide range of allowances for hemp cultivation in Missouri. Nebraska on the other hand only “allows a postsecondary institution or the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to grow hemp for research purposes.” There are other states like Nebraska who have a limited scope when it comes to growing hemp. 


  • Ensure you have space, time and patience to give to hemp cultivation


According to Industrial Hemp Farms, hemp plants can be grown about four inches apart, making roughly 15 to 30-inch rows. Think about your purpose for wanting to grow hemp and determine if you have the space to grow what you need. If you’re growing hemp in hopes to turn a large profit, you’ll likely need a lot of space. 

Industrial Hemp Farms says irrigation is important, especially in the first six weeks of the seed being planted. Hemp is easily able to be grown organically because it does not require a lot of supplementary nutrition and is virtually pest and disease-resistant. 

The plant will grow for 90 to 100 days before being considered fully mature. The hemp plant can be harvested at approximately 100 to 120 days from the seeds being sown. This is usually around September or October. 


  • Submit an application to grow industrial hemp in your state 


Each state has its own individual process to begin growing hemp legally. For example, according to Missouri’s laws, “Industrial hemp may not be grown in Missouri and individuals may not possess seeds or propagules without an applicable Producer Registration and/or Agricultural Hemp Propagule and Seed Permit.” The MDA website lists the following criteria for growing hemp in Missouri, “The applicant must be a Missouri resident or the entity must be domiciled in Missouri; and the registered location cannot be within a residence; and the applicant must pass an FBI fingerprint background check; and the applicant must not have been found guilty of or pled guilty to a felony offense under any state or federal law regarding the possession, distribution, manufacturing, cultivation, or use of a controlled substance in the ten (10) years immediately preceding the application date.” The Missouri Department of Agriculture says there will be fees established to participate in the industrial hemp program. These fees will help with the costs of establishing a new industry. There are also annual renewal fees to keep permits and registrations valid. 


  • Wait for your state to approve your application


As mentioned above, Missouri will not even begin accepting applications for industrial hemp cultivation until December 2nd, 2019. This is because many states’ industrial hemp programs will not begin until 2020. Until then, potential hemp farmers will be getting their ducks in a row to apply for the program. 

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtOctober 8, 2019


A new report from the Brightfield Group titled “Hemp Cultivation Landscape” was released this month that suggested, “On average, hemp could command revenues of over $40,000 per acre planted, depending on quality and yield.”

Here’s how the math works according to the report:

  • The average number of plants per acre was between 1,500-2,000
  • The conversion of flower to CBD averages 40 lb/kg
  • The yield per acre is on average 20 kg/acre
  • This brings a range of revenue per acre to between $30,000-$50,000 per acre.

Top Cultivators

The report also gave a sample list of the largest U.S. cultivators that have planted over 100 acres.

Lilu’s Garden is the largest hemp manufacturer. The company said that its 2019 harvest is on track to bring in 50 million pounds of hemp or 1 million kilograms if isolated CBD. The hemp is processed in a 175,000 square foot plant in Owenton, Kentucky. Lilu has planted 75,000 acres, which is a record quantity achieved by partnering with numerous farmers.

Eureka 93 has 19,000 acres planted and is a combination of several companies. LiveWell Canada, Acenzia and Vitality CBD Natural Health make up this company that farms in Montana. It has extraction facilities in Montana and New Mexico.

Integrated CBD farms 10,000 acres in Arizona  using organic farming processes. The report said that Integrated has the ability to process 200,000 pounds of biomass per day. and 1.3 million liters of distillate per year.

Australian company Elixinol has 4,942 acres in Colorado and Crop Infrastructure Corp. farms 2,115 acres in Nevada.

Farming Challenges

The report did not shy away from the challenges of growing hemp. “There is a lot of
manual labor involved in hemp cultivation, especially during harvest. Due to the newness of the industrial hemp industry in the U.S., there are limited choices in machinery for harvesting hemp so some farms are retrofitting their machinery to harvest hemp floral material (where the CBD content is highest).”

     provided by Brightfield Group

The plant requires space between the plants, much like tobacco and unlike corn, which can be grown in rows.  The report also noted that some companies promise farmers to buy their hemp and then renege on the deal. There is also the issue with the plant’s sex and cross-pollination. Farmers apparently have to make sure the male hemp plants aren’t too close to the female plants.

“Despite these challenges, hemp offers a chance for family farms facing low commodity prices for corn and dairy to increase their incomes. On a per acre level, hemp for CBD is many times more profitable than hemp.”

Home Grown

Brightfield looked at where the top U.S. CBD companies were getting their hemp and of the 21 top companies, 69% sourced their product within the U.S. The report noted that consumers feel strongly about hemp from the U.S. The four companies that get their hemp outside of the U.S. were Epidiolex (GW Pharmaceuticals), PlusCBD Oil (CV Sciences), Medical Marijuana and Nature’s Plus made by Hempceutix.

As the U.S. grows more hemp, Canadian acreage has declined from 140,000 acres in 2017 to 78,000 in 2018. In Asia, China leads the way with 250,000 acres of hemp. In Europe, France and Romania each farm about 40,000 acres.

Looking Ahead

Brightfield Group predicts “growth in acreage from 2019-2020 will be significant because of the 2018 Farm Bill and the additional states that enacted hemp regulations and legislation before, during, and after the hemp growing season in 2019 (e.g., Ohio, Georgia, Florida). Prices will decline as more hemp enters the market and value will move to process and branded products.”

The company also believes the U.S. will stop importing hemp giving more opportunities for U.S. farmers. There may even be a demand for the U.S. grown hemp, creating a market for the farmers in the states.

StaffStaffSeptember 18, 2019


Vote Hemp released its 2018 U.S. Hemp Crop Report. The group, which is a grassroots hemp advocacy organization found that to date, forty-one states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. These states are able to take immediate advantage of the industrial hemp research and pilot program provision, Section 7606 of the Farm Bill.

“We’ve seen hemp cultivation significantly expand in the U.S. in 2018, with over triple the number of acres planted in hemp compared to last year and the addition of 4 more states with hemp programs,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp.“Now that we have lifted federal prohibition on hemp farming, it’s time to invest our energy in expanding hemp cultivation and the market for hemp products across the country so that all can reap the benefits of this versatile, historic American crop.”

The 2018 Farm Bill, which was signed into law by the President in December removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and moved the regulatory authority of hemp from the DOJ to the FDA. It also allows state departments of agriculture to submit hemp program plans for approval and regulate hemp cultivation per state specific programs.

Vote Hemp said that the number of acres of hemp grown across 23 states totaled 78,176 in 2018—more than triple the number of acres from the previous year.  State licenses to cultivate hemp were issued to 3,544 farmers and researchers; and 40 universities conducted research on the crop, more than double the number of licenses issued in 2017.

The organization also noted that hemp is among the fastest-growing categories in the natural foods industry. The report stated that hemp seed is a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), providing both SDA and GLA, highly-digestible protein, and naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and iron. Advancements in hemp research and manufacturing demonstrate the remarkable versatility and product-potential for hemp.

To view the complete 2018 U.S. HempCrop Report, please visit:

StaffStaffAugust 23, 2019


Cannabis companies have gone global, and with that expansion comes additional legal considerations. Canadian cannabis company Aurora cannabis just announced that they will now be operating in Germany, Italy, and Australia, expanding their current international portfolio. Tilray distributes its products globally across Canada, Europe, Australia and Latin America. This post will explore some of the key legal provisions to include in an international cannabis (or hemp) contract — whether it be for supply, consulting services, or a joint venture.

Due Diligence

Due diligence is an essential step in any cannabis agreement — a brand new industry and a rapidly expanding market mean that opportunities abound. That being said, it’s essential to conduct thorough due diligence of any potential business partner, and if anything, international deals should be subject to even further review since you will often be dealing with legal regimes that differ from your own. As a start, make sure you have visited the facility, met with the business owners in person, thoroughly reviewed all company documents produced, and communicated with local regulatory agencies.

Choice of Law & Dispute Resolution

When you are pursuing a joint venture or supply agreement across borders, you will need to choose which country’s laws will govern the contract. Perhaps most important, you need to decide on a forum where any potential disputes arising out of the agreement will be resolved. You can take a blended approach and have the laws of both states govern and allow for resolution in either state. Consider this carefully as you are in the beginning stages of negotiation and make sure the clause is clearly drafted.

Conflict of Law

Given that operations will be held in different states, conflict of law provisions should clarify which laws govern which operations. If for example, you are one of the seven licensed Canadian producers setting up shop in Colombia, you will want the greenhouse operations to be governed by Colombian law first and foremost and perhaps additionally you will require certain regulatory standards that comply with Canada’s laws as well.

Waiver of Sovereign Immunity

Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine which varies between countries but which as a general principle states that nations are protected from lawsuits, unless they have waived their immunity. The difficulty here arises when you have a company that acts like a private one, but which when a lawsuit is presented after a breach of contract, claims to be a state actor that cannot be sued. This is a simple clause to include in your international agreements and can become especially important in cases of breach or insolvency.

When negotiating or drafting international agreements for cannabis corporations, as with any contract, you should ensure that the agreement is valid, enforceable, and clear. Ultimately the negotiation of many of these terms will come down to the bargaining power of the parties, but some of the international considerations should be given additional attention so that the contract does end up in fact being enforceable in a practicable way.

Lauren Estevez is a Los Angeles based attorney advising cannabis and CBD companies, investors, and brands.

Lauren Estevez, Esq.
Attorney & Founder

(c) 617-945-8032
4470 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMay 14, 2019


Hemptown Organics Corp. raised  C$24 million in a round of financing from Canaccord Genuity Corp.who served as the lead agent on the brokered portion of the financing on behalf of a syndicate of investors that included Sprott Capital, Beacon Securities, and Pacific International.

The investment will allow Hemptown to embark on a multi-state expansion, purchase $5.5M in Oregon CBD seeds, begin the build-out of its processing and extraction facilities, research team, as well as planting and harvesting of its 2019 crop of feminized hemp seeds.

“Successful companies in this sector will be those with the ability to build a scalable, vertically integrated multi-state company,” stated Rod Wolterman, Founder and Chairman, Hemptown USA. “We have assembled a well-respected team that has already produced some of the highest quality feminized hemp in the country here in Southern Oregon’s Emerald Triangle. The capital infusion will allow us to expand operations to Colorado, Kentucky, Northern California, ramp up processing capabilities and develop disruptive product formulations in the CPG sector. Needless to say, we’re very excited to be executing on our vision and delivering sustainably grown feminized hemp flower and biomass on a commercial scale.”

With this capital infusion, Hemptown USA is now poised to become a formidable multi-state operation within this rapidly growing industry. Hemptown reported that it had a first-year yield of 110,000 lbs of feminized hemp biomass. The company said it is one of the largest CBG producers in the U.S. with our purchase of 1 million rare CBG seeds for the 2019 growing season. It also said that it is producing some of the world’s most coveted strain profiles containing 15% – 20% full spectrum CBD, CBG and other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Currently, the company is growing 1500 acres in Oregon, Kentucky, and Colorado with the capability to more than double the acreage in 2020 and each year after.

Looking Ahead

Hemptown plans to continue farming more novel cannabinoid strains in large quantities. Such as CBC, CBDV, and CBGV. The company also plans on acquiring a cGMP nutraceutical facility to develop unique cannabinoid products for the health and wellness industry.

“Successful companies in this sector will be those with the ability to build a scalable, vertically integrated multi-state company,” stated Rod Wolterman, Founder and Chairman, Hemptown USA. “We have assembled a well-respected team that has already produced some of the highest quality feminized hemp in the country here in Southern Oregon’s Emerald Triangle. The capital infusion will allow us to expand operations to Colorado, Kentucky, Northern California, ramp up processing capabilities and develop disruptive product formulations in the CPG sector. Needless to say, we’re very excited to be executing on our vision and delivering sustainably grown  feminized hemp flower and biomass on a commercial scale.”

StaffStaffApril 29, 2019


Canopy Growth Corporation  (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) announced a key milestone in establishing its Hemp Industrial Park in the Southern Tier region of New York State. It has secured a 308,000 sq. ft. facility on a 48-acre property in Kirkwood, NY.

The company said that design development would begin immediately with construction expected to start this summer. Canopy said in a statement that its vision for the property is to build the infrastructure necessary to support hemp-derived cannabinoid extraction and related manufacturing together with providing an opportunity for participation by other businesses in the hemp industry.

“As we establish a stronger foothold in the exciting US market, we want to do so in a way that prioritizes local vendors and creates meaningful career opportunities for people in the communities where we operate,” said Bruce Linton, Chairman & co-CEO, Canopy Growth. “The vision for our investment is to create an eco-system that inspires new entrepreneurs and generates more economic stimulus than a single company can offer. As we build the facilities, we’ll also attract like-minded businesses who share our excitement for the emerging hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoid markets.”

New York State of Mind

In a boost to the New York cannabis industry Canopy said it will begin hiring senior leadership in late 2019 and recruit the full workforce in mid-2020. Canopy Growth also noted that it has also begun securing farm capacity to supply enough hemp for its own future extraction and formulation activities within the park. The company intends to prioritize farms within New York State for the supply of hemp at this site.

“We welcome Canopy Growth to Broome County with open arms. We haven’t seen an investment like this in Broome in some time, and we’re so excited a company like them is setting up shop in our area,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. “With Canopy Growth coming to Broome County we look forward to seeing the benefits in job investment.”

Now that Canopy Growth has secured its building, the company said it expects to begin work quickly on Pine Camp Drive and with local construction teams retrofitting the facility, operations will scale-up quickly. It was once a vacuum parts building. It is expected that the operations will create hundreds of new local full-time positions, in addition to the contracted construction workers.

NY Hemp

New York State granted a hemp license to Canopy Growth in January of this year, allowing Canopy to establish operations in the state and build a facility for hemp-derived cannabinoid extraction and processing for various applications. The new hemp facility will be capable of producing tons of hemp extract on an annual basis. In 2018, Canopy Growth acquired leading hemp research company, ebbu, Inc. The R&D, along with ebbu’s Intellectual Property will be applied directly to Canopy Growth’s hemp and THC-rich cannabis genetic breeding program and its cannabis-infused beverage capabilities.

Canopy also said in its statement that it will begin approaching third-party organizations to join the ecosystem. Canopy Growth is eager to attract businesses and researchers focused on every application of the hemp crop such as fibers, seeds, and hemp-derived cannabinoids.

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtDecember 5, 2018


Recently lawmakers said that they have reached a tentative deal on a massive farm bill, breaking a months-long impasse over legislation that doles out more than $400 billion in federal funds for farm subsidies, food stamps and conservation efforts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed hemp legalization would be included in the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Legislators are hoping to strike a compromise on the 2018 Farm Bill before the end of 2018. The big issue holding everyone up is the issue of SNAP, which is commonly known as food stamps. The Republicans want to reduce these benefits and require a work component. The Democrats don’t want any changes. McConnell insists that the the hemp language will remain in the final version.

“Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future,” Senator McConnell said. “I am grateful to join our Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles in this effort. He and his predecessor, Jamie Comer, have been real champions for the research and development of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth. The work of Commissioner Quarles here in Kentucky has become a nationwide example for the right way to cultivate hemp. I am proud to stand here with him today because I believe that we are ready to take the next step and build upon the successes we’ve seen with Kentucky’s hemp pilot program.”

The original Farm Bill said that it was okay to grow cannabis plants that had little ability to get people high. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) did not agree with this definition and has consistently pointed out that both plants come from the same genus and are therefore they are same plant and so subject to the Controlled Substances Act. A court case ruled against the DEA’s stance, but it continues to insist it is in the right.

Declining cigarette sales have caused tobacco crops to become less profitable as sales drop. Kentucky farmers had been searching for a replacement commodity and found it in hemp. In 2014, McConnell spearheaded a provision to legalize hemp pilot programs in the Farm Bill. The program has proved to be popular among farmers who have pressured McConnell to make it easier to farm hemp.

If the U.S. Department of Agriculture approves the plan, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 will help Kentucky take the lead on hemp production by removing the current barriers to full-fledged farming. In addition to opening the fields for hemp, it will give researchers the chance to apply for federal grants from the Department of Agriculture.

“Here in Kentucky, we have built the best Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program in the country and have established a model for how other states can do the same with buy-in from growers, processors, and law enforcement,” Commissioner Quarles said. “I want to thank Leader McConnell for introducing this legislation which allows us to harness the economic viability of this crop and presents the best opportunity to put hemp on a path to commercialization.”

The Hemp Market

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) reported that in 2015, retail sales for hemp products reached $600 million, which is much lower than the $5.4 billion for marijuana sales in 2015 as reported by Arcview. HIA says that hemp sales on average grow by 15% each year and that most of that growth can be attributed to more people buying hemp-based body products and supplements.

Congress has blocked the DEA from interfering with state agencies and hemp growers with regards to hemp. The USDA has been blocked from prohibiting the transportation, sales or use of industrial hemp. Despite these measures, hemp was still subject to drug laws and hemp growers have to get permission from the DEA. In addition to that, harvesting and processing is labor intensive, which can drive up costs. Since the U.S. has been out of the hemp game for some time, harvesting innovations haven’t occurred.

A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison concluded that hemp production “is not likely to generate sizeable profits” and also noted that international competition would affect the U.S. Most of the hemp for these sales was imported from China and Canada. Hemp imports for 2015 were nearly $78.2 million according to U.S. trade statistics.

About Us

The Hemp Market Report will target news from the fast growing worlds of cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp. As a sister site to the Green Market Report, HMR will cover financial stories, but also take a look at lifestyle news as well. The Hemp Market Report will also publish sponsored content as we seek to expand our content offerings.


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