The Business of Hemp

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The Business of Hemp

 In 2017, $820 million worth of legal hemp products were sold in the United States

 A Growing Industry

  • In 2017,
    • Hemp was grown in 19 states, covering 25,713 acres
    • States issued 1,456 licenses to grow hemp
    • 32 US universities conducted hemp-related research

Hemp commonly refers to cannabis strains grown for legal, industrial use

Hemp can be found in many products from foods and textiles to medical treatments

  • Hemp-based products by market share
    • Hemp-derived CBD: 23%
    • Personal care: 22%
    • Industrial applications: 18%
    • Food: 17%
    • Textiles: 13%
    • Supplements 5%
    • Other: 2%
  • Benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp or marijuana, with numerous potential health benefits

  • CBD may reduce
    • Acne
    • Cravings
    • Inflammation
    • Chronic pain
    • Insomnia
    • Anxiety
  • Benefits of Hemp: Food or Supplement

Hemp seeds are a source of complete protein, and offer healthy fats, essential fatty acids, vitamin E, and minerals

  • Soluble & insoluble fiber promote digestive health
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids improve skin and relieve eczema
  • Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) may reduce symptoms of PMS and menopause
  • Arginine and GLA may reduce the risk of heart disease

By 2021, legal cannabis will be a $40 billion industry in the United States

Legal Challenges

  • A History of Hemp
    • 1600s: Growing hemp was encouraged for use in rope, sails, and clothing
      • Hemp was considered legal tender in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland
      • In 1619, the Virginia Assembly passed a law REQUIRING every farmer to grow hemp
    • 1800s: Marijuana became a common ingredient in over-the-counter medicines
    • 1900s: Recreational marijuana use grew across the US
      • By 1931, 29 states had outlawed the “Marijuana menace”
      • In 1937, Marijuana Tax Act banned hemp & marijuana cultivation

1940s: “Hemp for Victory” program encouraged farmers to grow hemp to supply rope, parachutes, and other necessities for WWII

  • 2014: US Farm Bill authorized states to start pilot programs for hemp cultivation, provided all grow sites were registered and certified by the state
  • Hemp Laws by State, 2018
    • Licensed growing for commercial use
      • California, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, West Virginia
    • Authorized research by universities or state agencies
      • Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington,
    • Both commercial and research programs
      • Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

In 2018, Wisconsin agreed to let the St. Croix Chippewa grow hemp on tribal lands without state interference

  • Continuing Legal Issues
    • Seed Certification
      • Problem:
        • Long-term prohibition has made it difficult to find viable seeds
        • Available seeds may not be legal (having less than 0.3% THC)
        • As a controlled substance, seeds can’t cross state lines
      • Solution: Some states certify seeds with low THC content to help growers
    • Decriminalization & Legalization
      • Problem: Hemp is legally defined as a narcotic, putting growers at risk
      • Solution:
        • Growers may be required to register with the DEA
        • States may provide an affirmative defense for registered growers
        • Some laws require a change in federal law before they take effect

The 2018 US Farm Bill could legalize hemp production nationwide

legalization rushes forward, industries look for new applications for a versatile crop

 The Future of Hemp

  • Hempcrete: Carbon Negative Construction
    • Offers the same benefits as concrete
      • Energy efficient
      • Fire resistant
      • Durable, low maintenance
      • Cost-effective
    • Supercapacitors: Powering Electric Vehicles
      • Capacitors support batteries with short bursts of high power
      • Hemp-based capacitors may outperform traditional options by nearly 200%
      • Hemp is more cost-effective than traditional graphene
        • Cost of graphene: $1.8 billion per ton
        • Cost of hemp: $5000 per ton
      • JAZ Tank, CannaVation: “Shark Tank for Hemp”
        • Sponsored by Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, PA)
        • Welcomes startups in cannabis and hemp
        • Winner gets a cash prize, plus consulting services to help patent their idea
          • Grand Prize: $10,000
          • Runners-Up: $5,000
        • More CBD

By 2022, CBD will be the most popular hemp product on the market, selling $646 million of product

The business of hemp isn’t just for stoners — From CBD to supercapacitors, legal hemp can make us healthier and the world greener


1 Comment
  1. Incredible and informative!

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