Domestic hemp production more than doubled from 2016 to 2017, according to data compiled by the advocacy organization Vote Hemp, which is dedicated to changing state and federal laws to allow commercial hemp farming.
The group calculates that US farmers cultivated over 23,000 acres of hemp in 2017, up from fewer than 10,000 acres in 2016, according to its 2017 U.S. Hemp Crop Report. Earlier this year the Hemp Industries Association visited several hemp fields in Kentucky.
“We’ve seen hemp cultivation significantly expand in the U.S. in 2017, with over double the number of acres planted in hemp compared to last year and the addition of 4 more states with hemp pilot programs,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp.
“The majority of states have implemented hemp farming laws, in clear support of this crop and its role in diversifying and making more sustainable our agricultural economy. It’s imperative that we pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in Congress, so that we can grant farmers full federally legal rights to commercially cultivate hemp to supply the growing global market for hemp products.”
Good and bad changes to federal hemp law
Under a 2014 federal law, states may license hemp cultivation as part of a university sponsored pilot program. Thirty-two universities in nineteen states – Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia – have participated in hemp cultivation projects this year, according to Vote Hemp.
Federal legislation is pending, House Bill 3530: The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, to exclude cannabis strains under 0.3 percent THC from the federal definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. In August, the National Conference on State Legislatures unanimously approved a policy position in support of amending