Hemp production in the U.S. has quadrupled since last year, according to Vote Hemp’s 2019 License Report, which estimates 230,000 acres of hemp will be planted this year. The group says that 50 percent to 60 percent of that acreage will be harvested, resulting in 115,000 to 138,000 acres of harvested hemp.
In all, 511,442 acres of hemp has been licensed throughout the U.S. and 16,877 grower licenses have been issued. The licensed acreage increase represents a 455 percent increase over last year, which Vote Hemp says shows “intent.”
“Intent is a useful indicator but we know from previous years that significantly less hemp is planted than what is licensed due to a variety of factors including access to seed and/or clones as well as experience.” – Vote Hemp, 2019 U.S. Hemp License Report
Following the federal legalization of hemp via the Farm Bill, 13 states passed legislation to enact a hemp program, meaning 46 states total now allow hemp cultivation. Idaho, South Dakota, Mississippi, and New Hampshire are the only U.S. states without a hemp program.
Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, said that with federal prohibition lifted, “it’s time to build the infrastructure and expand hemp cultivation.”
The Congressional action last year removed hemp from the federal drug schedule but it left enacting regulations to individual states. Those rules – which are referred to as pilot programs – must be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before becoming permanent. So far, the USDA has not approved a program under the law.
Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe