50 years after hemp was labeled a Schedule 1 federally controlled substance, legislation could finally be changing to open up doors for this climate-smart crop. The 2018 Farm Bill, if passed later this month, would make growing hemp legal in all 50 states, enabling farmers to enter a lucrative business that is predicted to earn 22 billion by 2022, if legalized. Some farmers already report earning $90k per acre just from harvesting CBD alone.
Hemp, which is the non psychoactive cousin of marijuana, can be cultivated to produce many sustainable products. These products range from food, like hemp seeds which are high in protein, building materials like hempcrete and hemplime, cloth made from hemp and cotton blends, lotion and CBD oil which have been an alternative treatment for patients with arthritis, seizures, Crohn’s disease and more. Hemp is also a resilient crop. It can grow in a variety of soil conditions and uses only half the amount of water that it takes to harvest corn, making it more tolerant to droughts, a growing concern in the face of climate change. And because of its resistance to bugs and rapid growth, sometimes as much as 20 ft in 100 days, hemp doesn’t require a ton of pesticides like many other crops. Do you think there would be positive impacts from legalizing hemp?
Photo credit @hempitecture: a house built with hempitecture building materials.