With medical and recreational marijuana quickly becoming a booming business in the U.S., farmers with newly issued licenses to grow hemp are finding it difficult to carve out their own place in the market.
Hemp farmers in several states are beginning their second growing season this year, though regulations could put an end to the development of hemp-based products before they’ve made it to mainstream use.
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Hemp farmers say that they are on the brink of becoming a booming industry, as research and development suggests that the plant, a non-psychoactive cousin to marijuana, has several commercial uses.
The plant requires significantly less water and energy to be made into pulp than traditional raw materials used to make things like plastic and packaging and could eventually replace things like wood and corn for making consumer products.
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The plant is also useful in producing cannabidiol or CBD, an extract that is believed to have several medical applications.
CBD, which can also be obtained from marijuana, has been touted to relieve pain and manage seizures, making it a major part of the reason many states have legalized medical marijuana use.
However, permits for growing and obtaining hemp are difficult to come by, significantly driving up the cost of using hemp.
Additionally, marijuana farmers are fighting the growing number of farms with hemp permits, saying the risk of cross-pollination from nearby hemp farms would be detrimental to their facilities. For that reason, the hemp industry is struggling to develop despite the many benefits the plant brings to the table.
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