Industrial Hemp Facts
Industrial Hemp Facts
Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species as marijuana. However, hemp is genetically different and distinguished by its use and chemical makeup. Industrial hemp refers to cannabis varieties that are primarily grown as an agricultural crop. Hemp plants are low in THC (marijuana's primary psychoactive chemical). As established in 7 U.S.C. § 5940, industrial hemp must have a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. THC levels for today's marijuana average about 10 percent but can go much higher.
Industrial hemp products, production, and markets
Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products, including:
- fabrics and textiles
- yarns and raw or processed spun fibers
- home furnishings
- construction and insulation materials
- auto parts
- animal bedding
- foods and beverages
- body care products
- nutritional supplements
- industrial oils
- personal care
An estimated 55,700 metric tons of industrial hemp are produced around the world each year. China, Russia, and South Korea are the leading hemp-producing nations. They account for 70 percent of the world's industrial hemp supply.
Canada had 38,828 licensed acres of industrial hemp in 2011. Canadian exports of hemp seed and hemp products were estimated at more than $10 million, with most going to the U.S.
Because there is no commercial industrial hemp production in the United States, the U.S. market is largely dependent on imports, both as finished hemp-containing products and as ingredients for use in further processing. More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not allow industrial hemp production. Current industry estimates report that U.S. retail sales of all hemp-based products may exceed $300 million per year.
U.S. law governing hemp
Under the current U.S. drug policy, all cannabis varieties, including hemp, are considered Schedule I controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA, 21 U.S.C. §§801 et seq.; Title 21 CFR Part 1308.11). Hemp production is controlled and regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
- UK Extension Paper: Industrial Hemp – Legal Issues
- Kentucky Historical Society