At the time, Chris thought industrial (or agricultural) hemp would be legal to grow in the US in a few years. We’re now 20 years later and hemp is still not legal to grow in the US, despite being legal to grow in Canada, China, England, France, and Russia, among others.
The Canadians control most of the food market, Europeans control the CBD market, and the Chinese control the textile market.
The US is one of the few industrial countries that doesn’t grow hemp. It is, however, legal to import industrial hemp and sell products based on it.
Industrial hemp, by US legal definition, contains less than 0.3 percent THC.
Imported hemp products — because there’s no other way to get them in the United States — represented a $580 million market in 2013 with double-digit annual growth, according to Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industry Association. All kinds of jobs, from positions in agriculture to manufacturing would be created in the United States if it were legalized here, he said.
Hemp is already legal to produce in at least 30 countries, including Canada. If it becomes legal to cultivate in the U.S., production could reach 100,000 acres or more nationwide in the next decade, Steenstra predicted.
Kentucky is leading the charge towards legalization in the US, thanks to the strong will of Kentucky politicians such as Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, and Thomas Massie, who are willing to fight the DEA and the federal government for their states right to grow and sell hemp.
Kentucky is currently researching hemp production as a way to revitalize its farming communities. Farmers participating in the project determined that they made three times more than they made growing tobacco, and ten times what they made growing corn.
Chris believes that full scale commercial production will happen in 2016 / 2017 in Kentucky. And farmers will be able to sell to all 50 states.