Despite unconstitutional federal restrictions on industrial hemp farming, the industry last year netted half a billion dollars in sales in the United States.
The Weed Blog reports:
The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has released final estimates of the size of the 2015 U.S. retail market for hemp products. Data from market research supports an estimate of total retail sales of hemp food, supplements and body care products in the United States at $283 million….The HIA has also reviewed sales of clothing, auto parts, building materials and various other products, and estimates the total retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S. in 2015 to be at least $573 million.
The next step is very obvious, according to Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association.
“We need Congress to pass federal legislation to allow commercial hemp farming nationally, for this ripe industry to finally be able to bloom,” he said.
But congressional action anytime soon seems unlikely. The best way to move forward is for states to simply ignore federal prohibition and open the door to hemp farming within their borders. By removing one layer of law, states open the door to create a market. Experience in states with legal hemp production has shown many farmers will risk the very small threat of federal enforcement when states when they eliminate state prohibition.
Technically it is “legal” to grow hemp, but farmers must obtain a permit from…