State regulators licensed farmers and researchers to cultivate over 500,000 total acres of industrial hemp in the first half of 2019, according to data compiled by the organization VoteHemp.com.
“Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp cultivation in the US has grown rapidly,” the group summarizes in a press release. “The number of acres of hemp licensed across 34 states totaled 511,442 in 2019 – more than quadruple the number of acres licensed from the previous year. State licenses to cultivate hemp were issued to 16,877 farmers and researchers, a 476 percent increase over 2018 [totals].”
Congress enacted legislation in December removing industrial hemp (defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC) and products containing cannabinoids derived from hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, the United States Department of Agriculture is still in the process of finalizing federal regulations to oversee the plant’s commercial production.
Currently, 46 states have redefined hemp as a crop distinct from cannabis, according to VoteHemp.
The full text of VoteHemp’s 2019 crop report is online here.
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Author: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director