The Hemp Industry: A Rising Powerhouse
The legal marijuana industry isn't the only promising sector powered by the cannabis plant. An agricultural commodity with approximately 20,000 uses that's not subject to the same heavy international or domestic restrictions as marijuana, hemp is emerging as a major industry in its own right. Hemp's recent white-hot status is fueled in part by mainstream demand for products containing CBD (cannabidiol) , the non-intoxicating chemical compound being embraced by the wellness community.
Now, hemp's somewhat murky regulatory status in the US is slated to become clearer, paving the way for the American industry's rapid growth. As reported by Kyle Jaeger at Marijuana Moment, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell has guaranteed that the 2018 Farm Bill will include industrial hemp legalization. Under the new farm bill, the industry will be “lightly regulated” by the Department of Agriculture - not the Justice Department.
Hemp has moved further into the mainstream move in recent months. In June, the FDA approved GW Pharmaceutical's CBD drug Epidiolex for treatment of two severe forms of epilepsy, marking the first time the agency has approved a cannabis-derived drug. And over the past several months, major international companies like Coca-Cola have reportedly been eyeing opportunities in the space.
Given the recent flurry of activity, analysts are projecting major growth in the hemp sector, with Brightfield Group estimating the market's total value at $22 billion by 2022, outpacing its projections for the marijuana industry.
Hemp holds major promise as an industry and a consumer good, and recent developments make it clear that it's important to stay informed. Watch here for updates on the hemp industry and sign up to receive my cannabis business insights by email.