Thousands of conventional farmers, marijuana growers and novice businessmen rushed to plant hemp in the hopes of profiting from the newly legal crop. Unfortunately, many of them lost money due to failed crops and an oversupply of hemp that drove down prices. Now, many farmers are readjusting their expectations and looking for new ways to make money from hemp. Obtaining a hemp license in your state is the first step to building a hemp processing plant.
Hemp can be used to make a wide variety of products, from rope to floorboards, granola and dog treats. Most producers in the United States are growing and selling plants for their CBD content, although some farmers grow hemp for its grain or fiber. The indoor space authorized for hemp production has grown significantly this year, reaching more than 168 million square feet. However, this is still only 3,800 acres, which is not enough to make a dent in the decline of the industry.
The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stifled the industry by not allowing the sale of CBD as a food product or dietary supplement. In response, some states have tried to help farmers find new markets for hemp.
Colorado allows hemp CBD to be added to foods, while Montana allows it to be added to animal feed. Illinois allows licensed marijuana companies to purchase or process certain hemp products, including CBD oils. Mountains of hemp cultivated over the past two years are now packaged and stored, waiting for better prices. Many entrepreneurs have found a new and controversial use for CBD oil: processing it into delta-8 THC, an intoxicant that can be found in gas stations, convenience stores, health food stores and CBD stores.
California lawmakers are considering a bill that would harden the definition of “industrial hemp” by requiring hemp extracts found in stores to have a THC concentration of no more than 0.3%. CBD foods and beverages are big business, but their legality is still uncertain. Oregon recently passed a bill that would prohibit retailers from selling delta-8 THC to minors, give state marijuana officials more authority to regulate artificial cannabinoids, and require state regulators to limit the concentration of THC in hemp products. Hemp is still so new that producers face a number of basic challenges. Researchers are starting to develop seeds that provide a consistent harvest, but the lack of reliable seeds, planting schedules and tried and true cultivation techniques may also be holding back markets for all types of hemp products.
State policymakers are trying to help make more industrial hemp products trendy by launching pilot projects and buying decorating machines that prepare raw hemp into yarn and other products. Mark from the University of Kentucky believes there is a bright future for the production of hemp fiber and grains. Farmers will re-enter as the industry matures and they become better able to find processors, sign reliable contracts and grow hemp according to buyers' specifications. Kentucky entrepreneurs who manufacture, market or distribute delta-8 THC products must obtain special licenses from the state. Overall, building a hemp processing plant requires obtaining a license in your state, finding reliable processors and signing contracts with buyers who have specific requirements for growing hemp. It's important for regulators to keep in mind that delta-8 THC isn't the only new cannabinoid that exists.