The Hemp Renaissance is in full effect here in the United States and America is closer than it's ever been to becoming more sustainable as a country because of it. Contemporarily more than half of our states operate their hemp cultivation programs under the authority of a provision of the 2014 federal farm bill, 7 U.S.C. § 5940, that permits industrial hemp pilot programs in states where hemp production is permitted by state law. Emerald waves of green are sure to be coming to a state near you.
At his state address New York governor Andrew Cuomo stated that he specifically wants the Southern Tier of New York to spearhead the state’s industrial hemp initiatives. Unfortunately, the initiatives cannot gain much traction until the proposed legislation, removing the current barriers to entry which prevent private farms from growing their first crops of the super plant, is passed. Conversely, due to California’s subtle provision in Proposition 61 making industrial hemp cultivation legal in the state, many believe the bulk of industry leaders will move into California to start their farms. California is definitely not the first state to legalize industrial hemp production, but its sheer size and ample agricultural base has industry investors thinking the Golden State may soon tower over the entire U.S. market.
There are quite a few states on California’s heels however including Kentucky, Colorado and Washington, as well as the newly empowered states Florida, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Very recently the Kentucky Department of Agriculture approved 209 applications from growers for the total cultivation of up to 12,800 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes. In 2017, Kentucky has already approved more than three times as many hemp acres than last year to be grown in the state. Furthermore, more than 525,000 square feet of greenhouse space in Kentucky has been approved for indoor hemp growers in 2017 making it a strong contender in the national race for the budding industry's cultivation top spot. Only time will tell how many other states will follow suit, but nonetheless it is safe to say industrial hemp’s revolutionary impact on the American economy will continue to develop and expand.
Written by: Mic Khan