As legalization continues to expand with hemp sales rising everywhere, the total hemp acreage has grown as well, particularly in a few select states.
While this year’s hemp sales data won’t be available for a few more months, statistics indicate that hemp fields around the country grew by 163% in 2017. That’s a staggering total of more than 25,000 acres of hemp grown throughout 19 states, and there’s only more expansion to be expected.
Although its federal status remains illegal, economists predict that hemp sales will continue to grow and the total market value should reach $2 billion by 2022. Other research predicts that the CBD retail market will reach $3 billion by the same year. As of last year 25,713 acres were grown in 19 different states, 32 universities conducted various studies on the benefits of hemp, and 1,456 state hemp licenses were issued.
Of course, certain states will have a much larger market than others, and surprisingly, it has little to do with the legal status of medical or recreational cannabis.
5 States With The Largest Hemp Crops:
#5 – New York – 2,000 Acres
#4 – North Dakota – 3,020 Acres
#3 – Kentucky – 3,271 Acres
#2 – Oregon – 3,469 Acres
#1 – Colorado – 9,700 Acres
The above states have the most substantial crops for now, but a lot of other states are experiencing exponential growth as well. The following states had some of the biggest increases in hemp cultivation: Washington went from 0 to 175 acres, Vermont went from 180 to 575 acres (+395 total), Montana went from 0 to 542 acres, and Minnesota went from 51 to 1,205 acres (+1,154 total).
While this sudden growth might lead some to believe the hemp industry is a new (and possibly temporary) trend, its use actually dates back centuries. From the early 1600’s to the mid 1900’s, hemp was used for boat sails, ropes, clothing, and paper goods. It was banned as part of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
In 1942, the government enacted the “Hemp for Victory” program which allowed farmers to grow hemp to use for ropes, parachutes, and other wartime essentials during WWII. After the war ended, however, it was re-banned, and for the most part its benefits on both an industrial and medical level were forgotten.
A lot happened since the 40’s, and in 2014, the United States Farm Bill was passed. This allowed hemp cultivation with the proper licensing. The farm bill has been amended year after year since then, and though there has been debate over what it actually allows for in terms of the usage of hemp, it has opened the door for hemp cultivation once again in America. While it is not currently considered a staple crop at the moment, the increase in growing (along with its known history and varied uses) indicate it could once again – and very soon – be a primary crop for the States.