Hemp cannabidiol (CBD) products accounted for $65 million of the total $573 million in U.S. hemp sales in 2015, according to a new report from the Hemp Industries Association.
The U.S. hemp market racked up $573 million in sales in 2015, according to a new report from the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and market research firm SPINS.
The calculated total includes sales of hemp clothing, auto parts, building materials, food, supplements, body care supplies, and various other products. HIA added that the report likely “significantly underestimates” sales, as it doesn’t include totals from certain retailers like Whole Foods Market and Costco.
The report found that sales of hemp food, supplements, and personal care products was up by 10.4 percent from the previous year and accounted for $283 million of the sales total.
“Sales of popular hemp items like non-dairy milk, shelled seed, soaps, and lotions have continued to increase, complemented by successful hemp cultivation pilot programs in several states, and increasing grassroots pressure to allow hemp to be grown domestically on a commercial scale once again for U.S. processors and manufacturers,” said HIA in its press release of the report.
The increase in domestic hemp farming is likely one of the major causes of the marked growth of the U.S. hemp market. Following the passing of the 2014 Farm Bill, which defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana and authorized universities and state department’s of agriculture to cultivate hemp for research and pilot program purposes, an estimated 3,997 acres of hemp crops were planted over seven states in 2015. Colorado, Tennessee, and Kentucky accounted for a majority of agricultural hemp in 2015, the Daily Camera reports.
Colorado’s hemp harvest is used primarily to produce CBD, the natural, non-psychoactive compound found in high concentrations in hemp. CBD hemp oil products include nutritional supplements in the form of oils, capsules, and gums, as well as various types of skin and beauty products.
Hemp cannabidiol (CBD) products, which include products like Real Scientific Hemp OilTM and Dixie Botanicals Dew DropsTM that are produced by Medical Marijuana Inc.’s subsidiary companies, accounted for $65 million (11 percent) of the total retail sales.
Sean Murphy, publisher of the Hemp Business Journal, told the Daily Camera last fall that he believes CBD is the main reason for the big boost in the hemp market in 2015.
“That’s the real story — the CBD market,” Murphy said. “A couple of years ago, there was no CBD market,” Murphy said. “(Look) how fast that emerged in a year or two.”
The HIA believes that federal legislative changes that would allow for commercial hemp farming would lead to an even more marked boost to the domestic hemp industry. “To date, 28 states have passed legislation that allows hemp farming per provisions set forth in the 2014 Farm Bill, and new businesses representing all industrial fields from foods to car manufacturing are looking to American farmers to meet the growing demand for hemp. Entrepreneurs, manufacturers, farmers, consumers are all on board to expand the hemp market,” said Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the HIA. “We need Congress to pass federal legislation to allow commercial hemp farming nationally, for this ripe industry to finally be able to bloom.”
In an effort to bring attention to their efforts to ease federal restrictions on commercial hemp farming, the HIA and non-profit organization Vote Hemp recently staged an “all hemp” midday meal and press conference at the nation’s capital. Invited were journalists and those interested in industrial hemp legislation. Attendees, which included Elizabeth Kucinich, a speaker on the roster, and her husband, former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, were served foods like hemp milk cheese with smoked paprika, baby kale salad with hempseed vinaigrette and shaved asparagus, and hempseed and cumin tortillas with portobello mushrooms and cabbage slaw.
Last year, bipartisan groups in both the House and Senate introduced their own versions of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015. If passed, the act would remove hemp from the controlled substances list, provided it contained no more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and would allow American farmers to produce and cultivate hemp. Farmers would no longer have to be certified by and registered with their state. The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary on January 8, 2015, but has seen no activity since that time.
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