In 2017, over $800 million worth of legal hemp products were sold in the US. Yes, you read that right: legal hemp. After decades of strict prohibition, many originating in the early 20th century, hemp is again becoming the staple crop that it once was. Currently grown across 19 states and covering an acreage of 25,713, public sentiment and government regulations are being challenged.
Once considered legal tender in several states back in the 17th century, the gradual illegality of hemp began in the 19th century and were solidified with an outright ban in 1937, citing it alongside the “marijuana menace.” The 2014 Farm Bill, however, authorized states to start programs for hemp cultivation, provided all growers and sites were registered and certified by the state. Used in products ranging from clothing and textiles to medicines and foods, hemp could be considered a wonder crop as its uses far surpass that of cotton and require much less water and labor to maintain.
The future of hemp and its products in the United States has taken a surprising turn as laws are revisited and overturned, countless industries will benefit. Take a look at this infographic for more on the state of American hemp, how it’s affecting the economy and environment, and what to expect for the future of its legal status and production.