There is a revolution surrounding the Hemp Plant and the multitude of uses for Hemp derived products. Whether we are talking fibers, building materials or nutraceuticals, the plant is very diverse. Since Congress passed the Farm Bill of 2014, the number of Hemp planted acres in the United States has risen dramatically each year, and the trend suggests that this aggressive growth will continue. In 2017, U.S. farmers planted over 25,000 acres of hemp.
A quick history shows that in the colonial United States, even before the U.S. became an independent nation, various states passed laws requiring farmers to grow Hemp. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew Hemp on their plantations, and Benjamin Franklin started one of America’s first paper mills with Hemp. Hemp was a valuable commodity in the U.S. up until the 1930s when Hemp was tightly regulated in a 2-step legislative process: first in 1937 with the Marijuana Tax Act and then with the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. While the initial 1937 law didn’t prohibit the growing of hemp, it added a significant taxes and regulations and hindered domestic farming of the crop. The re-emergence of hemp began with the passage of the Federal Farm Bill of 2014. Section 7606 of the act allows individual states to authorize the creation of research programs, overseen by the universities and state departments of agriculture, for the purpose of growing, processing and marketing of hemp. Cultivation of Hemp is now on the rise, with many states passing legislation allowing the cultivation and marketing of hemp and resulting products. Consumers and legislators have become enthusiastic about the unique benefits of the plant.
In 2017, New York State passed legislation allowing issuance of licenses to grow Hemp for the 2018 growing season. They authorized approximately 100 research partners to grow industrial hemp. Approximately half of these licenses were for the purpose of CBD production.