The past two years have seen a boom in the hemp economy, with consumers of all types increasing demand for hemp products. Companies such as Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, Vitamin Shoppe and GNC are now stocking shelves with hemp products. Hemp cultivation has been legal since 1998, but producers had to receive a special production permit from the Anti-Drug Agency due to its relationship with marijuana. However, there are now fewer transport restrictions on the plant and fewer risks for the farmers and producers involved. Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive ingredient in hemp and marijuana, has been found to have a range of medical benefits.
A recent CNN article reported that CBD could be used to treat opioid addiction, reducing cravings for the illicit drug and anxiety levels. Hemp also has a variety of other uses, including the production of paper, clothing, food, fuel and building materials. It requires much less water and soil to grow than other materials, and its total carbon footprint is about half that of cotton. Given its variety of applications, hemp is a versatile investment that generates a lot of demand and opportunities for market penetration. Prices of raw materials for traditional crops have plummeted to 30-year lows, generating greater interest in hemp in the agricultural industry.
Thousands of conventional farmers, marijuana growers and novice businessmen rushed to plant hemp that year, eager to take advantage of a new legal crop. For investors looking to jump on the cannabis investment bandwagon without waiting to see if marijuana legalization will take place across the country, industrial investment in hemp is a legalized alternative investment opportunity with positive signs of unhindered growth. The licensed interior space for hemp production has grown significantly this year, reaching more than 168 million square feet. This policy has prevented many domestic brands from selling CBD products. Investing in industrial hemp presents a unique opportunity for investors to participate in a new and emerging market. In 1938 Popular Mechanics reported that hemp alone had about 25,000 industrial uses.
Hemp is also much safer than marijuana for cannabis investors who may be concerned about domestic legality and the impact it could have on the growth of the industry.