In 2017, $820 million worth of legal hemp products were sold in the United Stares, from medicinal purposes, to textiles, and everything in between. It is the focus of studies in 32 universities across the US and over 1400 licenses were issued to grow hemp. This booming business is deterred only by laws, many of them almost a century old.
Aside from being the cousin to marijuana and sharing the same legal status as a controlled substance with no medicinal value and a high risk for abuse, hemp gets a bad rap. Fortunately, public sentiment has grown curious and more open minded on the crop, encouraging industry growth and even influencing law changes. This is not the first time in American history that necessity influenced change in this particular area. Back during WWII era, a program called Hemp for Victory encourages farmers to use their land to grow hemp and use it to supply necessary textiles like rope and parachutes to aid the US in the war effort. Though today this program is oft forgotten, it stands as a testament that change is possible. Today its the medicinal properties and environmental factors that have caught on. CBD supplements have been shown in numerous studies to alleviate chronic pain, anxiety and depression, digestive health, and more. Hemp offers a solution to farmland issues as it requires a reduced acreage, water demands, and labor needs compared to cotton, and stands as one of the most environmentally friendly crops. It’s no wonder that at one point hemp was a farming staple and even considered legal tender in the early years of US history.
Modern hemp is a growing industry, so to speak. Useful for industries like textiles, medicine, paper, and even industrial applications, the uses for hemp have exceeded 25,000. Take a look at this infographic for the current state of hemp production, it’s legal challenges, how smart business leaders are standing up to old fashioned laws, and what to expect for the future of hemp in the United States.