Acreage of hemp crops in the U.S. more than doubled from 9,770 acres in 2016 to 23,346 in 2017, according to advocacy group Vote Hemp’s 2017 U.S. Hemp Crop Report. The report indicates that 32 universities conducted hemp research this year, and that 1,456 state hemp licenses were issued to researchers and cultivators.
The largest gains were made in North Dakota, which planted just 70 acres of hemp in 2016 and 3,020 in 2017. Four states – Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington – planted zero hemp crops last year, but this year grew 542 acres, 965 acres, 36 acres, and 175 acres, respectively. Two states cultivated less than 10 acres this year, as Indiana grew just five and Nebraska just one – its same output from 2016. Just one state, Tennessee, saw a decrease in hemp production, from 225 last year to 200 this year.
“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,” said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, in a 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.”
Thirty-three states have removed barriers to hemp production and defined industrial hemp as a distinct crop. The states cap THC levels in hemp at 0.3 percent – falling in line with federal guidelines defined under Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill.