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Hemp production more than doubled in 2017

US Hemp Production More Than Doubled This Year

According to data compiled by the advocacy organization Vote Hemp, production in the US increased dramatically from fewer than 10,000 acres of hemp in 2016 to more than 23,000 in 2017.

Although still technically illegal to grow in the US because of its Schedule 1 Drug label—which is reserved for only the hardest of drugs—cultivation of hemp is allowed under House Bill 3530: The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2014, as long as it is being grown as part of a university-sponsored pilot program. Only hemp strains with less than 0.3 percent THC are allowed.

So far, thirty-two universities in nineteen states – including Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Tennessee – are participating in hemp cultivation projects.

“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,” Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra said in a prepared statement. “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.”

While personal care products hold the greatest share of the market, derived cannabidiol (CBD) represents the fastest growing subset of the US hemp market. According to a new report by Brightfield Group, hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) is projected to be a billion-dollar market in just three years. The data company estimates that hemp CBD sales have already hit $170 million in 2016 and a 55% compound annual growth rate over the next five years will cause the market to crack the billion-dollar mark. Hemp sales reached $688 million last year, according to the Hemp Business Journal, which estimates that the hemp market has been growing at a 22% compound annual growth rate over the past five years.

Currently, the vast majority of hemp products sold in the US—such as hemp foods, healthcare products, textiles, and building materials—are imported from other countries where hemp production is fully legalized. As domestic restrictions continue to ease, more and more of that money is expected to remain in the US, creating a massive opportunity for US companies investing in hemp.