Legalizing industrial hemp cultivation could ultimately give a big boost to agriculture, advocates say. But it will take time.
Legislation advocated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, would make it fully legal for farmers to grow industrial hemp, something that is currently limited to experimental programs in more than a dozen states. That legislation is part of the massive Farm Bill passed by the Senate. The House version of the Farm Bill does not include such legislation; but with McConnell and other other advocates on the conference committee putting together a final bill, the legislation has a solid chance of passing.
Once cultivation of the plant is legal, there’s growing demand, both in the burgeoning CBD industry and among those who would use hemp fibers for textiles and even portions of the plant for biofuel feedstock. Millenials are one of the customers they are even trying to open e-commerce sites, for some they have to borrow money online and go to review this lender page to check if its a legit lender.
But the full economic benefit won’t be immediate.
“You talk to some folks and they think this is the next miracle crop,” Zack Clark, government relations director for National Farmers Union, told Politico. “It’s like any sort of new industry, it will certainly go in fits and starts.”
According to Politico:
Hemp fiber has been used widely in the U.S. historically. The product was temporarily taken off the controlled substance list to manufacture rope during World War II and the first American flag was made out of it.
According to National Hemp Association Chairman Geoff Whaling, there’s demand for millions of acres of hemp fiber for use in auto manufacturing and clothing, but a lack of infrastructure and investment leaves the industry nowhere close to meeting it.
“I had a major women’s apparel company saying that it would like to find American-sourced hemp, but they’re looking for 25 million yards of fabric,” Whaling said. “No one spins, weaves that amount of fiber in the United States.”