Thoughts and ideas from C-Trax
Why Many See Hemp as a More Promising Field Than Marijuana
July 10, 2019 at 12:00 AM
by C-Trax
Hemp Salve jar

America’s economy is booming as never before. Unemployment has dropped to historically low levels while job openings now outpace the number of those seeking work. With wealth creation also rising, opportunities abound like never before to try new fields that promise great potential.

Due to its ease of growth and a wide variety of potential applications, some lucrative, hemp offers a great opportunity to entrepreneurs and established business owners alike to diversify or earn significant profits. Much of the media focus stays on marijuana, the intoxicating version of the cannabis plant, and its growing recreational and medically based opportunities. Many in the business, however, see more advantages in cultivating hemp.

The 2018 Farm Bill Set the Stage

By the 21st century, even anti-marijuana policymakers started to question the wisdom of the hemp ban. In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill passed by Congress which, among other things, opened the federal legal door for hemp. Not only could hemp producers grow their product legally for industrial use, but they could also gain access to USDA and state programs designed to spur growth in agriculture across the board.

After its passage, hemp production received bipartisan support. Democrats have backed hemp reform for years. Elected Republicans, such as West Virginia’s state agriculture commissioner Kent Leonhardt, have commenced programs designed to cultivate a modern crop of hemp producers.

Marijuana has served as a tougher legal sell, however. While many states have cracked the door open for medical use and a few for recreational, it remains more heavily regulated and stigmatized.

Hemp Will Impact a Variety of Economic Sectors

Hemp and marijuana both grow exceptionally well. Hemp's durable fibers and useful oils can help to create a variety of products. 

While hemp is taxonomically the same plant as marijuana and carries many of the same properties (the difference lies in the amount of THC, the compound that is responsible for marijuana's psychoactive effects), hemp won't make someone 'high'. It also requires few, if any of the security measures necessary at marijuana farms, as well as mandates on retail outlets to have advanced dispensary management software. Fences, guards, and other measures involve skyrocketing overhead costs relative to hemp. Though you can extract high value products such as CBD oil from either, hemp provides more value at a lower cost.

CBD oil serves as the hemp product with the highest potential profits. Beyond that, the product still brings enough versatility to craft a number of products. It provides fibers stronger than most natural or man made products for rope production. Since it comes from an all natural source, it also has a better environmental impact than those formed from plastic fibers.

Some have taken hemp oils and introduced them into brewing beer and ale. Though it often has a negligible effect on taste, it has helped boost price points on some products.

Textile manufacturers have spun hemp fibers into a cloth that matches the durability and comfort provided by cotton. Since the hemp plant has a higher resiliency than cotton, it potentially costs much less to grow and produce.

CBD oils, however, will likely consume much of the hemp produced in the United States. Its proven medical benefits come without intoxication and create few, if any, side effects. Researchers currently are working to determine the full scope of its medical applications. 

As hemp production, especially if it enjoys continued government support, expands, the prices of the product will come down enough for entrepreneurs to explore the full potential of this plant.

As both hemp and marijuana gain social and legal acceptance, support businesses can also gain market share and earn profits. Technological companies, such as those that create and distribute dispensary management software will find a lucrative niche in the hemp and marijuana industries.

Who to Reach Out to If You Want to Learn More

Those interested in exploring hemp opportunities should reach out to their local Farm Bureau, USDA service representatives, state agriculture extension agents, and local economic development authorities to learn the best path to hemp production success.