A new report published by the Oregon-based firm Whitney Economics says commercial hemp cultivation has the potential to become the nation’s third most lucrative crop in coming years.
But it also warns that 65 percent of the American hemp growers surveyed didn’t have a buyer for their crop.
This raises the possibility of a glut, similar to the oversupply of cannabis that has driven down Oregon’s prices (“Too Much Weed,” WW, April 18, 2019). But it also might just be a “hiccup,” says Beau Whitney, who owns the economics firm and oversaw the report.
Another issue, the report says, is the inconsistent status of hemp regulations and rules across states. Individual states can still prohibit the cultivation of hemp, making transportation across states where it’s illegal a risky endeavor.
“Issues of crop insurance, banking, FDA regulation of CBD, interstate transportation, and confusion by law enforcement have surfaced in recent months,” the report reads.
But despite the setbacks, Whitney says hemp is a “transformative product” and says it’s “just the beginning right now” of a potentially huge revenue-garnering crop in the U.S.