Marijuana Business Magazine - January 2017

COLUMN: HEMP NOTEBOOK ¬ t’s going away. Or maybe it’s tak- ing over the world. When it comes to hemp, the plant’s tantalizing potential is a huge mystery. And 2018 is going to see many clues to the mystery fall into place. That’s a big reason Marijuana Business Magazine is dramati- cally ramping up its coverage of the hemp industry – to keep you abreast of what to watch in this emerging market. And you can start with this column for a monthly take on where the hemp industry is headed. How hot is hemp right now? The hemp-derived CBD market is projected to balloon to $1.65 billion by 2021. That’s an increase of more than 400% in just four years, according to cannabis mar- ket analysis firm Brightfield Group. And that doesn’t count hemp’s non-CBD uses. We’re talking building materials. Automotive components. Food toppings (hemp seeds on yogurt, anyone?). One Denver entrepreneur is even planning to start making snow- boards from hemp in 2018. You can see why so many busi- nesses are jumping on the hemp bandwagon, and why states are jockeying to attract more hemp farm- ers and processors. But there are developments brewing in Washington Cash Crop? Why 2018 could see the hemp market soar … or fizzle by Kristen Nichols DC that you’ll want to watch if you’re in the hemp business or considering getting into it. Enter the Farm Bill I’m talking about the Farm Bill, a periodic update to the nation’s agricultural laws, including farmer subsidies and government spending on this crop or that. It’s a routine piece of sausage-making that seems boring, unless you consider how it could make or break America’s place in the global hemp market. The 2014 Farm Bill created the modern U.S. hemp industry, because it ended decades of federal prohibi- tions on growing the plant. More than half the states – 30-plus – have created hemp programs since 2014, each hoping to give its farmers a new revenue stream and a piece of this huge new market. But the 2014 Farm Bill left holes a mile wide, and that’s why the 2018 version is so important for hemp pioneers to watch. Expect intense lobbying by rival hemp producers and states to see their priorities written into law. Four potential changes to keep an eye out for 1. Extract Clarity: The 2014 law didn’t tell states how the hemp plant could be used. Some states limit hemp production to seed and fiber – aka the “soap-and-rope” model. Others permit farmers to grow hemp for the emerging market for CBD extraction. CBD has proved to be far more lucrative Kristen Nichols Expect intense lobbying by rival hemp producers and states to see their priorities written into law. 32 • Marijuana Business Magazine • January 2018