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Hemp Farming as an Emerging Industry in the U.S

Cannabis has been making waves in the news for the past few months now and progressively this subject is set to gain more coverage. The main reason for this coverage is that the United States has been gradually legalising cannabis across the states. The subject that has been eluding the headlines is that of hemp and the cultivation of this plant. Hemp and CBD extraction are both also developing into a steadfast industry with promises of business for the future.

Industrial hemp contains little to non THC levels and this has allowed this plant to gain huge popularity amongst the nature health and alternative health industries. CBD oil obtained from industrial hemp is a popular alternative for growers that want to get into the market but cannot with marijuana plants that contain THC. Also, CBD oil from hemp is popular amongst users that wish to benefit from the potential medical benefits but wish to avoid the psychoactive effects that come from THC. The growth that is expected from this market has high expectations. The hemp industry in the United States is expected to be higher than $3 billion at the end of 2021.

One of the most important factors in the emerging hemp industry is the farming and cultivation of the plant. Hemp farming has the potential to offer many people new economic opportunities. It also brings the potential for communities to add to their economic growth. This industry has had slow gains in the past however with the onset of the new regulations across the states the hemp industry is set to continue to grow, this could bring in a lifetime of business opportunities for prospective farmers and businessmen.

Both Hemp plants and marijuana plants are part of the same family. They are both cannabis sativa however the main difference to note is that hemp contains minuscule amount of the psychoactive compound, THC. Ingesting CBD oil manufactured from the hemp plant does not cause any ‘highs’ yet it will still come with the potential health benefits. The hemp plant has been through more than eighty years of government regulations and law.

The industry hemp market is set to open up as the regulations begin to change across many state laws. The agricultural cultivation of hemp can not only bring in money for the government it can also be used as an alternative for many materials. The hemp plants do not need an excess of water to thrive and thereof it is a good, sustainable option for farmers. additionally, hemp plants need a lower amount of pesticides and sprays. The products that come from hemp, including hemp paper, could assist in reducing deforestation. This sustainable option also needs fewer chemicals for processing paper than the current popular wood pulp option. Hemp also has certain antibacterial aspects to it that can assist in treating staphylococcus infections.

In addition to some of these materials hemp seed oil also has proteins and essential fatty acids. The protein content is higher than soy and the fatty acids are also amongst the highest. The saturated fat content is low as well in comparison to other oils. The CBD present in hemp have also been used by many patients in the successful treatment of inflammation, depression, anxiety, and other brain injuries.

At present, the United States of America are already using almost $580 million of hemp derived CBD products. This hemp is imported from other countries, mainly because it has been illegal in America to grow hemp from seeds. There are over thirty different countries that are supplying the market in America and all the potential jobs of cultivation and processing.

The misconception around hemp started around 1037, when the Marijuana Tax Act was created. This act came with strict regulations that related to all forms of hemp and the cultivation and the retail thereof. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act classified all forms of cannabis as illegal by classifying it as a schedule 1 drug. After this act was declared, all use of any form of cannabis was illegal.

Fast forward fifty odd years and today we are seeing many progressive changes. So far thirty four states have dramatically altered their hemp regulations and nineteen states were growing hemp plants on 2017. In one year the the number of acres of hemp farms nearly tripled. In 2016, there were 9770 acres of hemp farms recorded. While in 2017 there were 25 541 acres recorded.

There is still, however, an issue of misconception that needs to be flattened out.   In 2015, there was an act introduced called the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. This act would remove hemp from the schedule 1 drug list. In addition to this it also removes any federal restrictions on the farming and agricultural nature of hemp. The problem is that hemp is still listed among LSD and cocaine as a ‘controlled substance’.

Hemp farming holds huge economic potential for the American economy, as well as on the individual state level. The hemp plant offers many economic benefits, sustainable industrial materials and health benefits.

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