Hemp acreage in America more than tripled in 2018 over 2017, and will probably increase more now that legal ambiguity has been removed, according to a hemp advocacy group.
Vote Hemp reports that acres planted in hemp reached 78,176 in 2018 across 23 states, an increase of more than 200% over 2017 (which itself was an increase of 163% over 2016). State licenses to cultivate hemp were issued to 3,544 farmers and researchers, and 40 universities conducted research on the crop.
- See how food and beverage formulators are working with this emerging ingredient in our Cannabis section
Growth is expected to continue with the Farm Bill that President Trump signed into law in December. That legislation removes hemp from the category of federally controlled substances and authorizes banking, insurance and other necessary agricultural services.
Hemp is defined as cannabis that contains no more than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Potential food industry uses include omega-class fatty acids, fiber and cannabidiol (CBD), a component said to ease pain and promote general feelings of wellness.