Hemp policy in the United States is more exciting now than it has been for many, many decades.
The hemp plant was prohibited in the United States starting in 1937, with few exceptions. The 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to implement hemp farming pilot programs and/or research programs.
That policy resulted in some states allowing hemp cultivation, while others did not.
Late last year the 2018 version of the Farm Bill was passed which provided for legalization nationwide, which was obviously fantastic.
Hemp production exploded in the U.S. in 2018
According to Vote Hemp, there was a total of 9,770 acres of hemp grown in states that permitted legal hemp cultivation in 2016.
That number jumped up to 25,713 acres in 2017, which was very inspiring. But both of those years combined paled in comparison to 2018.
2018 saw a whopping 78,176 acres grown in states that allowed hemp cultivation in the United States.
That’s more than a three-fold increase in just one year. But which state grew the most hemp in 2018?
Montana led the way in 2018
For multiple years the state of Colorado grew the most acres of legal hemp in the country.
In 2017 Colorado cultivated well over twice as many acres of hemp (9,700) than the next closest state (Oregon, 3,469 acres). In 2018 Colorado grew 21,578 acres, which was a massive jump.
However, the increase was dwarfed by the state of Montana, which grew 542 acres of hemp in 2017, but then grew an eye-popping 22,000 acres in 2018!
According to Erik Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, at least 125,000 acres are expected to be cultivated in the U.S. in 2019.
But to be fair, that’s just an estimate. It’s quite possible that the actual figure surpasses that estimate by a large margin because of how popular hemp cultivation is.
It will be very interesting to see if Colorado reclaims the title in 2019, or if Montana extends its lead, or if another state jumps to first place.
The future of hemp is extremely bright
Nationwide hemp legalization will take some implementation work, and farmers in many states are already on board.
Once hemp legalization is fully implemented from sea to shining sea, farmers everywhere will finally be able to cultivate one of the most versatile crops on the planet.
Hemp has been found to be useful in creating tens of thousands of products, beyond just rope and paper.
The rise in popularity of cannabidiol (CBD), and the abundance of CBD found within the hemp plant, has increased demand for all types of hemp-derived products and supplements.
CBD is being added to almost anything these days, and that is a trend that is likely to continue well into the future.