April 23, 2020 Articles

Hemp and the 2018 Farm Bill—Part 2: Implementation

The hemp industry has grown exponentially over the past five years, and it will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

By C. Adam Foster
It is difficult to find any comparison in recent memory for such rapid growth in an industry based on an agricultural commodity.

It is difficult to find any comparison in recent memory for such rapid growth in an industry based on an agricultural commodity.

iStock.com/Tinnakorn Jorruang

People have been using hemp, a non-psychoactive form of cannabis, for thousands of years. But hemp was criminalized in the United States between World War II and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, which authorized U.S. states to develop hemp pilot programs. It is difficult to find any comparison in recent memory for such rapid growth in an industry based on an agricultural commodity. For example, cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that shows promise as an anti-inflammatory agent. Analytics firm Brightfield Group estimated that year-over-year CBD product sales grew in the United States from $620 million in 2018 to an estimated $5 billion in 2019, with estimated sales in $23.7 billion in 2023. And the amount of acreage devoted to hemp production in the United States increased from zero acres in 2013 to over 90,000 acres in 2018 and 146,065 acres in 2019. As discussed below, there is a lack of comprehensive economic data regarding the hemp industry. What is clear is that the industry has grown exponentially over the past five years, and it will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The first article in this two-part series provided an overview of section 10113 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), which authorized the cultivation, processing, and sale of hemp and hemp products in interstate commerce. H.R. 2 115th Congress (2017–2018). This article discusses key developments in the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill at the federal and state levels. 

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