Hemp

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Page last updated July 8, 2021 by Doug McVay, Editor.

1. Economic Viability of Hemp as a Crop in the US

"After a hiatus of almost 45 years, the Agricultural Act of 2014, Public Law 113-79 (the 2014 Farm Bill) reintroduced industrial hemp production in the United States through State pilot programs. U.S. industrial hemp acreage reported by State pilot programs increased from 0 in 2013 to over 90,000 acres in 2018, the largest U.S. hemp acreage since the 146,200 acres grown in 1943. While the U.S. hemp industry grew rapidly and commercial hemp production was legalized again by the 2018 Farm Bill, the industry’s long-term economic viability is uncertain.

"This study documents outcomes and lessons learned from the State pilot programs and examines legal, agronomic, and economic challenges that may affect the transition from the pilot programs to economically viable commercial production. Competition with alternative crops for acreage, global competitiveness, market transparency, and the ability to manage regulatory and market risks will determine patterns of development in the emerging U.S. hemp industry."

Mark, Tyler, Jonathan Shepherd, David Olson, William Snell, Susan Proper, and Suzanne Thornsbury. February 2020. Economic Viability of Industrial Hemp in the United States: A Review of State Pilot Programs, EIB-217, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

2. Hemp Hurds, Fibers, and Seed Oil

"The global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products in nine submarkets: agriculture, textiles, recycling, automotive, furniture, food and beverages, paper, construction materials, and personal care (Table 1). Hemp can be grown as a fiber, seed, or dual-purpose crop.6 The stalk and seed are the harvested products. The interior of the stalk has short woody fibers called hurds; the outer portion has long bast fibers. Hemp seed/grains are smooth and about one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch long.7

"Hemp fibers are used in fabrics and textiles, yarns and spun fibers, paper, carpeting, home furnishings, construction and insulation materials, auto parts, and composites. Hurds are used in animal bedding, material inputs, papermaking, and oil absorbents. Hemp seed and oilcake are used in a range of foods and beverages (e.g., salad and cooking oil and hemp dairy alternatives) and can be an alternative food and feed protein source.8 Oil from the crushed hemp seed is used in soap, shampoo, lotions, bath gels, and cosmetics.9 Hemp is also being used in nutritional supplements and in medicinal and therapeutic products, including pharmaceuticals. It is also used in a range of composite products. Hempcrete (a mixture of hemp hurds and lime products) is being used as a building material. Hemp is also used as a lightweight insulating material and in hemp plastics and related composites for use as a fiberglass alternative by the automotive and aviation sectors.10 Hemp is also promoted as a potential biodiesel feedstock11 and cover crop."

Johnson, Renée. Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018.

3. Estimated Size and Value of the US Retail Market for Hemp Products

"No official estimates are available of the value of U.S. sales of hemp-based products. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) reports total U.S. retail sales of hemp products of nearly $700 million in 2016,12 which includes food and body products, dietary supplements, clothing, auto parts, building materials, and other consumer products (Figure 2). HIA claims that U.S. hemp retail sales have increased by about 10% to more than 20% annually since 2011. Much of this growth is attributable to sales of hemp-based body products, supplements, and foods. Combined, these categories accounted for more than two-thirds of the value of U.S. retail sales in 2016.

"Little detailed information is available on some other hemp-based sectors, such as for use in construction, biofuels, paper, textiles, or other manufacturing uses. Data are also not available on existing businesses or processing facilities."

Johnson, Renée, "Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity," Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018), pp. 2-3.

4. Federal Policy Regarding State-Legal Hemp Production

"The 113th Congress considered various changes to U.S. policies regarding industrial hemp during the omnibus farm bill debate.46 The 2014 farm bill (Agricultural Act of 2014 [P.L. 113-79], §7606)47 provides that certain “institutions of higher education”48 and state departments of agriculture may grow industrial hemp, as part of an agricultural pilot program, if allowed under state laws where the institution or state department of agriculture is located. The farm bill also established a statutory definition of industrial hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” The provision was included as part of the research title of the law. The provision did not include an effective date that would suggest any kind of program rollout, and there appears to be nothing in the conference report or bill language to suggest that the states might not be able to immediately initiate action on this provision."

Johnson, Renée, "Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity," Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018), pp. 2-3.

5. DEA and Other Federal Agencies Versus Congress and the States Regarding Hemp Production

"Federal law prohibits cultivation of cannabis without a permit, and DEA enforces standards governing the security conditions under which the crop must be grown. In other words, a grower needs to get permission from DEA to grow cannabis or faces the possibility of federal charges or property confiscation, regardless of whether the grower has a state-issued permit.67

"Prior to the 2014 farm bill, although many states had established programs under which a farmer may be able to grow industrial hemp under certain circumstances, a grower would still need to obtain a DEA permit and abide by DEA’s strict production controls. This situation resulted in some high-profile cases in which growers applied for a permit but DEA did not approve (or denied) a permit to grow hemp, even in states that authorize cultivation under state laws.

"Even if DEA were to approve a permit, production might be discouraged because of the perceived difficulties of working through DEA licensing requirements and installing the types of structures necessary to obtain a permit. Obtaining a DEA permit required that the applicant demonstrate that an effective security protocol will be in place at the production site, such as security fencing around the planting area, a 24-hour monitoring system, controlled access, and possibly armed guards to prevent public access.68 DEA application requirements also include a nonrefundable fee, FBI background checks, and extensive documentation. It could also be argued that the necessary time-consuming steps involved in obtaining and operating under a DEA permit, the additional management and production costs from installing structures, and other business and regulatory requirements could ultimately limit the operation’s profitability.

"There was also ongoing tension between federal and state authorities over state hemp policies. After North Dakota passed its own state law authorizing industrial hemp production in 1999,69 researchers repeatedly applied for, but did not receive, a DEA permit to cultivate hemp for research purposes in the state.70 Also in 2007, two North Dakota farmers were granted state hemp farming licenses and, in June 2007, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court (North Dakota) seeking “a declaratory judgment” that the CSA “does not prohibit their cultivation of industrial hemp pursuant to their state licenses.”71 The case was dismissed in November 2007.72 The case was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals (8th Circuit) but was again dismissed in December 2009.73

"As some states began to allow U.S. producers to grow hemp under state law, some growers were foregoing the requirement to obtain a federal permit. For example, in 2009, Montana’s Agriculture Department issued its first state license for an industrial hemp-growing operation in the state, and media reports indicated that the grower did not intend to request a federal permit.74 Such cases posed a challenge to DEA of whether it was willing to override the state’s authority to allow for hemp production in the state.

"There is limited information about DEA’s permit process and on facilities that are licensed to grow hemp, even for research purposes. Previous reports indicate that DEA had issued a permit for an experimental quarter-acre plot at the Hawaii Industrial Hemp Research Program from 1999 to 2003 (now expired).75 Most reports indicate that DEA was reluctant to grant licenses to grow hemp, even for research purposes.76 Some land grant university researchers have been granted licenses to conduct hemp research under certain conditions.77"

Johnson, Renée. Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018.

6. DEA Versus Farmers and States Over Legal Hemp Production

"Federal law prohibits cultivation of cannabis without a permit, and DEA enforces standards governing the security conditions under which the crop must be grown. In other words, a grower needs to get permission from DEA to grow cannabis or faces the possibility of federal charges or property confiscation, regardless of whether the grower has a state-issued permit.67

"Prior to the 2014 farm bill, although many states had established programs under which a farmer may be able to grow industrial hemp under certain circumstances, a grower would still need to obtain a DEA permit and abide by DEA’s strict production controls. This situation resulted in some high-profile cases in which growers applied for a permit but DEA did not approve (or denied) a permit to grow hemp, even in states that authorize cultivation under state laws.

"Even if DEA were to approve a permit, production might be discouraged because of the perceived difficulties of working through DEA licensing requirements and installing the types of structures necessary to obtain a permit. Obtaining a DEA permit required that the applicant demonstrate that an effective security protocol will be in place at the production site, such as security fencing around the planting area, a 24-hour monitoring system, controlled access, and possibly armed guards to prevent public access.68 DEA application requirements also include a nonrefundable fee, FBI background checks, and extensive documentation. It could also be argued that the necessary time-consuming steps involved in obtaining and operating under a DEA permit, the additional management and production costs from installing structures, and other business and regulatory requirements could ultimately limit the operation’s profitability.

"There was also ongoing tension between federal and state authorities over state hemp policies. After North Dakota passed its own state law authorizing industrial hemp production in 1999,69 researchers repeatedly applied for, but did not receive, a DEA permit to cultivate hemp for research purposes in the state.70 Also in 2007, two North Dakota farmers were granted state hemp farming licenses and, in June 2007, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court (North Dakota) seeking “a declaratory judgment” that the CSA “does not prohibit their cultivation of industrial hemp pursuant to their state licenses.”71 The case was dismissed in November 2007.72 The case was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals (8th Circuit) but was again dismissed in December 2009.73

"As some states began to allow U.S. producers to grow hemp under state law, some growers were foregoing the requirement to obtain a federal permit. For example, in 2009, Montana’s Agriculture Department issued its first state license for an industrial hemp-growing operation in the state, and media reports indicated that the grower did not intend to request a federal permit.74 Such cases posed a challenge to DEA of whether it was willing to override the state’s authority to allow for hemp production in the state."

Johnson, Renée. "Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 22, 2018.

7. Value of US Hemp Imports

Hemp imports to the United States—consisting of hemp seeds and fibers often used as inputs for use in further manufacturing—totaled $67.3 million in 2017 (Table 1). Although hemp imports have declined from a record high of $78.1 million in 2015, U.S. hemp imports have steadily increased since 2005 when hemp imports totaled $5.7 million. This increase in trade followed the resolution of a legal dispute over U.S. imports of hemp foods in late 2004 (see “Dispute over Hemp Imports (1999-2004)”) and also prior prohibitions on U.S. domestic production.

"In 2017, nearly two-thirds (64%) of the value of all U.S. hemp imports were of hemp seeds, which were used mostly as inputs and ingredients for hemp-based products. Other ingredient imports—hemp oil, seed cake, and solids—accounted for another 28% of the value of total imports. Import hemp yarns and fibers accounted for about 8% of total import value in 2017 (Table 1). Trade data are not available for finished products, such as hemp-based clothing or other products including construction materials, carpets, or paper products.

"Canada is the single largest supplier of U.S. hemp imports, accounting for about 90% of the value of annual imports. Other leading country suppliers include China (about 3-5% of annual imports) and Romania (2-4%). Remaining imports are supplied by other European countries, India, the Dominican Republic, and Chile. Canada is the primary source of U.S. imports of food-grade hemp seed and oilcake, with supplies also from China and Europe. China and some European countries are major suppliers of raw and processed hemp fiber and yarn.

"Three forms of seed are imported:13 (1) dehulled seed, often referred to as hemp hearts, hulled seeds, or hemp nut, used in a range of food products; (2) nonviable whole seed, rendered nonviable through a sterilization process, usually through temperature exposure; and (3) viable whole seed, capable of germination under suitable conditions. Most hemp seed cultivars originate in Europe (France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Romania), Russia, Ukraine, and China."

Johnson, Renée. Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018.

8. Hemp Compared With Marijuana

"Botanically, industrial hemp and marijuana are from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa, but from different varieties or cultivars that have been bred for different uses.2 However, industrial hemp and marijuana are genetically distinct forms of cannabis3 that are distinguished by their use, chemical makeup, and differing cultivation practices in production. While marijuana generally refers to the psychotropic drug (whether used for medicinal or recreational purposes), industrial hemp is cultivated for use in the production of a wide range of products, including foods and beverages, personal care products, nutritional supplements, fabrics and textiles, paper, construction materials, and other manufactured goods.

"Both hemp and marijuana also have separate definitions in statute. While marijuana is defined in U.S. drug laws, Congress established a statutory definition for industrial hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis” as part of the 2014 farm bill.4 Hemp is generally characterized by plants that are low in delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC), the dominant psychotrophic ingredient in Cannabis sativa.5

"For more background information, see CRS Report R44742, Defining “Industrial Hemp”: A Fact Sheet. However, joint guidance issued in August 2016 by DEA, USDA, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that there continues to be questions about what constitutes industrial hemp and its oversight under federal law."

Johnson, Renée. Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018.

9. Potential Cross Pollenation of Drug-Crop Cannabis With Industrial Hemp During Cultivation

"Hemp fields, in fact, could be a deterrent to marijuana growers. A strong case can be made that the best way to reduce the THC level of marijuana grown outdoors would be to grow industrial hemp near it. An experiment in Russia found that hemp pollen could travel 12 kilometers. This would mean that a hemp field would create a zone with a 12-kilometer radius within which no marijuana grower would want to establish a crop.

"The reciprocal also applies. Growers of hemp seed would not want Cannabis of an 'off type' (i.e., not the intended genetic type) mixing its pollen with their flowers. The isolation of genotypes is a common procedure used by the seed industry to preserve the genetic integrity of varieties. Valued strains are created by plant breeding, at substantial expense. Marijuana pollen would destroy this value."

West, David P., PhD Hemp and Marijuana: Myths & Realities. North American Industrial Hemp Council, 1998.

10. Hemp Bast Fibres

"Hemp bast fibres are among the strongest and most durable of natural fibres, with high tensile strength, wet strength, and other characteristics favourable for various industrial products. It has been estimated that hemp produces three to four times as much useable fibre per acre per year as forests, and the bast fibre contains a low amount of lignin (the natural polymer that binds plant cells together), which allows it to be bleached without the use of chlorine. Hemp bast fibre is used in the production of a wide range of products where its strength and durability are advantageous, including cordage (rope, twine, etc.), specialty papers, fabrics for clothing and other applications, and industrial textiles such as geotextiles and carpeting. The strength of hemp fibre also makes it ideal for use in a range of composites for applications such as moulded car parts and fibreboard for construction."

The Agricola Group. "National Industrial Hemp Strategy. The Agricola Group. Ottawa, Canada: Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiative Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, March 30, 2008.

11. Nations (Other Than Canada and the US) Which Grow Hemp

"Leading global hemp producers include Europe, China, South Korea, and Russia. Some countries never outlawed production; other countries banned production for certain periods in the past and later lifted these restrictions. Hemp production across these countries and regions account for nearly all the reported production and acreage reported in the U.N. database.

"According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations data, Europe is the world’s single largest hemp producing market. In 2016, European countries produced hemp on more than 80,000 acres—a record high20 and accounting for about 40% of FAO-reported global acreage. The EU has an active hemp market, with production in most member nations. Production is centered in France, the Netherlands, Lithuania, and Romania.21 Many EU countries lifted their bans on hemp production in the 1990s and, until recently, also subsidized the production of “flax and hemp” under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.22 Most EU production is of hurds, seeds, fibers, and pharmaceuticals.23 Other non-EU European countries with reported hemp production include Russia, Ukraine, and Switzerland.

"China is another major producer, mostly of hemp textiles and related products, as well as a major supplier to the United States. In 2016, China’s hemp was grown on about 20,000 acres. FAO data also report hemp production in Chile, China, Iran, Japan, South and North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, and Turkey. Other countries with active hemp grower and/or consumer markets not included in FAO’s annual compilation are New Zealand, India, Egypt, South Africa, Thailand, Malawi, and Uruguay."

Johnson, Renée. Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018.

12. Hemp Hurds

"Hemp hurd is composed of cellulose-rich, short fibres, and make up approximately 75% of the hemp stalk. They are spongy and absorbent, ideal characteristics in applications such as animal bedding and industrial absorbents. They may also be used to produce low-quality paper. More recently, hemp hurd has been used to produce a concrete-like substance for use in building applications, as well as for insulation and to produce fibreboard."

The Agricola Group. "National Industrial Hemp Strategy. The Agricola Group. Ottawa, Canada: Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiative Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, March 30, 2008.

13. Hemp Stalks

"The whole hemp stalk can also be used to produce various biofuels such as bio-oil (or pyrolytic liquid), cellulosic ethanol, syngas (synthetic gas) and methane. Alternatively, the bast fibre can first be removed for use in high-value fibre applications, and the remaining hurd can then be processed into biofuel. The processes by which hemp is converted to biofuels may also produce valuable chemicals and other materials as bi-products."

The Agricola Group. "National Industrial Hemp Strategy. The Agricola Group. Ottawa, Canada: Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiative Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, March 30, 2008.

14. Hemp Oil

"Hemp oil is extremely nutritious, and is used in foods and nutraceutical products for humans and animals, as well as in personal care products. Hemp oil is also suitable for use in industrial products such as paints, varnishes, inks and industrial lubricants, and can be used to produce biodiesel. The crushed seed meal left over from oil production is frequently used for animal feed."

The Agricola Group. "National Industrial Hemp Strategy. The Agricola Group. Ottawa, Canada: Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiative Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, March 30, 2008.

15. Hemp vs. Marijuana

"Breeders and producers of sweet corn go to great lengths to isolate their crops from the pollen of field corn. The same applies to hemp and marijuana. People who grow strains of Cannabis for smoking try to avoid pollination of the flowers. The superior quality material is obtained from seedless plants, the so-called “sinsemilla.”

"Hemp fields, in fact, could be a deterrent to marijuana growers. A strong case can be made that the best way to reduce the THC level of marijuana grown outdoors would be to grow industrial hemp near it. An experiment in Russia found that hemp pollen could travel 12 kilometers. This would mean that a hemp field would create a zone with a 12-kilometer radius within which no marijuana grower would want to establish a crop.

"The reciprocal also applies. Growers of hemp seed would not want Cannabis of an “off type” (i.e., not the intended genetic type) mixing its pollen with their flowers. The isolation of genotypes is a common procedure used by the seed industry to preserve the genetic integrity of varieties. Valued strains are created by plant breeding, at substantial expense. Marijuana pollen would destroy this value."

West, David P., PhD Hemp and Marijuana: Myths & Realities. North American Industrial Hemp Council, 1998.

16. Hemp and THC

"The THC levels in industrial hemp are so low that no one can get high from smoking it. Moreover, industrial hemp, while low in THC, is high in another kind of cannabinoid, CBD, which counteracts THC’s psychoactivity.

"As William M. Pierce Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine notes, “Industrial hemp does in fact contain a psychoactive substance, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and thus the question appears at first reading to be a reasonable one. Upon closer consideration, however, using the most fundamental principles of pharmacology, it can be shown that it is absurd, in practical terms, to consider industrial hemp useful as a drug.”27

"According to Professor Pierce, to obtain a psychoactive effect with even 1 percent THC hemp (industrial hemp and feral hemp, the wild hemp the DEA aggressively harvests and burns28, contain less than 0.5% percent THC29 ), would require the user to smoke 10-12 cigarettes containing hemp in a “very short period of time. . . . This large volume (and) high temperature inhalation of vapor, gas, and smoke would be difficult for a person to withstand, much less enjoy.” Professor Pierce goes on to note that anyone who ate hemp hoping to get “high” would be consuming the fiber equivalent of several doses of a high-fiber laxative. In other words, the very unpleasant side effects would dissuade anyone from trying to use industrial hemp as a drug.

"Dr. Pierce points out that beer sold as “nonalcohol” contains measurable alcohol. So does mouthwash. Even nutmeg contains a psychoactive substance. But the authorities are not aggressively concerned about the abuse of these products because the side effects are so severe as to discourage such abuse.

"Critics have alleged that the marijuana of the sixties had THC levels comparable to those of industrial hemp. But when Lynn Zimmer, Ph.D., and John Morgan, M.D., examined this assertion they found it lacked substance."

West, David P., PhD Hemp and Marijuana: Myths & Realities. North American Industrial Hemp Council, 1998.

17. Possibility of Positive THC Test Through Exposure to Hemp Products

"Results of the hemp products tested indicate the amount of THC present in commercially available products is significantly less in products available today than those reported in the past (15-22). As a result, the probability that these products will produce urine THC metabolite levels greater than the DoD and HHS confirmation cutoff of 15 ng/mL is significantly reduced and should not be considered as a realistic cause for a positive urine analysis result."

Holler, Justin M., Bosy, Thomas Z., et al., "Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Content of Commercially Available Hemp Products," Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Vol. 32, July/August 2008, p. 431.
http://jat.oxfordjournals.org/...

18. Hemp and Detection of THC Through Urinalysis

"Hemp seeds represent the manufacturing starting point for the vast majority of hemp products marketed since the mid-1990s. Hemp seeds are a good source of essential fatty acids, primarily alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and ]inoleic acid (omega-6). They are also found in fish, flaxseed, rapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds, and sunflowerseeds. Essential fatty acids (EFA) are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesize, so they must be obtained through diet. EFAs support the cardiovascular, reproductive,immune, and nervous systems. The human body needs EFAs to manufacture and repair cell membranes, enabling the cells to obtain optimum nutrition and expel harmful waste products (9). THC found in manufactured products is present via contamination from resin produced in the leaves and buds that come into contact with the seed shell. Seed decontamination and manufacturing processes including wash steps and cold pressing for hemp products have improved since the mid-1990s, leading to the much lower THC concentrations currently found in today's commercial products.
"The presence of THC in these products has been a source of concern for the military and other workplace drug-testing programs. Ingestion of hemp products has been historically used as a defense in military and civilian trials for many years and continues today despite decreased concentrations of THC in hemp products (10-12). The Division of Forensic Toxicology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology is often asked to analyze hemp products to determine their THC content in addition to rendering an opinion as to whether or not this THC concentration could be a reasonable cause for a positive THC metabolite urine analysis result."

Holler, Justin M., Bosy, Thomas Z., et al., "Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Content of Commercially Available Hemp Products," Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Vol. 32, July/August 2008, pp. 428-429.
http://jat.oxfordjournals.org/...

19. Hemp Oil and Dermatitis

"Skin dryness and itchiness, in particular, are very serious problems in atopic dermatitis, which often lead to additional complications, such as opportunistic infections. In any event, it seems that the reduction of atopic symptomology observed in this study is a direct result of ingested hempseed oil. These preliminary results confirm anecdotal observations of improved skin quality after ingesting modest amounts of hempseed oil on a daily basis over a relatively short period of time."

Callaway, James; Schwab, Ursula; Harvima, Ilkka; Halonen, Pirjo; Mykkanen, Otto; Hyvonen, Pekka; and Jarvinen, Tomi, "Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis," Journal of Dermatological Treatment (London, United Kingdom: April 2005) Vol. 16, No. 2, p. 93.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...

20. Advantages of Hemp Versus Hydrocarbon-Based Products

"Comparisons of industrial hemp to hydrocarbon or other conventional industrial feedstocks show that, generally, hemp requires substantially less energy for manufacturing, often is suited to less-toxic means of processing, and provides competitive product performance (especially in terms of durability, light weight, and strength), greater recyclability and/or biodegradability, and a number of value-added applications for byproducts and waste materials at either end of the product life cycle."

Smith-Heisters, Skaidra, "Illegally Green: Environmental Costs of Hemp Prohibition," Reason Foundation (Los Angeles, CA: March 2008), p. 31.
http://reason.org/files/1030ae...

21. Hemp and Nutrition

"The quality of an oil or fat is most importantly determined by its fatty acid composition. Hemp is of high nutritional quality because it contains high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids, mostly oleic acid (C18:1, 10%–16%), linoleic acid (C18:2, 50%–60%), alpha-linolenic acid (C18:3, 20%–25%), and gamma-linolenic acid (C18:3, 2%–5%) (Fig. 37). Linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid are the only two fatty acids that must be ingested and are considered essential to human health (Callaway 1998). In contrast to shorter-chain and more saturated fatty acids, these essential fatty acids do not serve as energy sources, but as raw materials for cell structure and as precursors for biosynthesis for many of the body’s regulatory biochemicals. The essential fatty acids are available in other oils, particularly fish and flaxseed, but these tend to have unpleasant flavors compared to the mellow, slightly nutty flavor of hempseed oil. While the value of unsaturated fats is generally appreciated, it is much less well known that the North American diet is serious nutritionally unbalanced by an excess of linoleic over alpha-linonenic acid. In hempseed, linoleic and alpha-linolenic occur in a ratio of about 3:1, considered optimal in healthy human adipose tissue, and apparently unique among common plant oils (Deferne and Pate 1996). Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA is another significant component of hemp oil (1%–6%, depending on cultivar). GLA is a widely consumed supplement known to affect vital metabolic roles in humans, ranging from control of inflammation and vascular tone to initiation of contractions during childbirth. GLA has been found to alleviate psoriasis, atopic eczema, and mastalgia, and may also benefit cardiovascular, psychiatric, and immunological disorders. Ageing and pathology (diabetes, hypertension, etc.) may impair GLA metabolism, making supplementation desirable. As much as 15% of the human population may benefit from addition of GLA to their diet. At present, GLA is available in health food shops and pharmacies primarily as soft gelatin capsules of borage or evening primrose oil, but hemp is almost certainly a much more economic source. Although the content of GLA in the seeds is lower, hemp is far easier to cultivate and higher-yielding. It is important to note that hemp is the only current natural food source of GLA, i.e. not requiring the consumption of extracted dietary supplements. There are other fatty acids in small concentrations in hemp seed that have some dietary significance, including stearidonic acid (Callaway et al. 1996) and eicosenoic acid (Mölleken and Theimer 1997). Because of the extremely desirable fatty acid constitution of hemp oil, it is now being marketed as a dietary supplement in capsule form (Fig. 38)."

Small, E. and D. Marcus. 2002. Hemp: A new crop with new uses for North America. p. 284–326. In: J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.), Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.

22. Estimated Potential US Retail Hemp Market

"Retail sales of imported hemp products exceeded $70 million in the United States in 2006.62 Given hemp’s wide-ranging utility, supporters of domestic cultivation estimate that it would create a $300 million dollar industry.63"

Kolosov, Christine A. Evaluating the Public Interest: Regulation of Industrial Hemp under the Controlled Substances Act. UCLA Law Review. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA School of Law, 2009.

23. State Laws Regarding Hemp

"Since the mid-1990s, there has been a resurgence of interest in the United States in producing industrial hemp. Farmers in regions of the country that are highly dependent upon a single crop, such as tobacco or wheat, have shown interest in hemp’s potential as a high-value alternative crop, although the economic studies conducted so far paint a mixed profitability picture.

"Beginning around 1995, an increasing number of state legislatures began to consider a variety of initiatives related to industrial hemp. Most of these have been resolutions calling for scientific, economic, or environmental studies, and some are laws authorizing planting experimental plots under state statutes.

"Following enactment of the 2014 farm bill provision, several states quickly adopted new state laws to allow for cultivation. To date, nearly 40 states or territories have enacted or introduced legislation favorable to hemp cultivation (Figure 6). Other states reportedly considering hemp legislation include Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.60 (The status of state actions regarding hemp is changing rapidly, and information differs depending on source.61)

"Requirements differ among the states, and some states have enacted laws that are considered more comprehensive than others.62 Some common provisions across these state laws include

" defining industrial hemp (based on the percentage of THC it contains) and excluding hemp from the definition of controlled substances under state law;

" authorizing the growing and possessing of industrial hemp by creating an advisory board or commission;

" establishing or authorizing a state licensing or registration program for growers and/or seed breeders;

" requiring recordkeeping;

" requiring waivers in some cases;

" establishing or authorizing fee structures;

" establishing inspection procedures;

" allowing state departments to collect funds for research programs;

" promoting research and development of markets for industrial hemp;

" establishing certified seed requirements63 or, in some states, “heritage hemp seeds” (e.g., in Colorado and Kentucky); and

" establishing penalties.

"Some states have well-developed guidelines for growers, covering issues such as registration and reporting requirements, inspection, THC testing and threshold determination, seed availability and certification, pesticide use, production standards, and other information. Other general requirements may apply under some circumstances. For example, in 2016, USDA published guidance on organic certification of industrial hemp products.64 Some are calling for the need to develop more far-reaching consensus standards for a range of cannabis varieties given concerns about the general lack of standards and test methods.65 Production of industrial hemp has been reported in several states (Table 2)."

Johnson, Renée. Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018.

24. Hemp Imports: THC, CBD, the CSA, and the DEA

"Starting in late 1999, DEA acted administratively to demand that the U.S. Customs Service enforce a zero-tolerance standard for the THC content of all forms of imported hemp—and hemp foods in particular. Development of DEA’s rules to support its actions sparked a fierce battle over the permissibility of imported hemp-based food products that lasted from 1999 until 2004.

"DEA followed up, in October 2001, with publication of an interpretive rule in the Federal Register explaining the basis of its zero-tolerance standard.78 It held that when Congress wrote the statutory definition of marijuana in 1937, it “exempted certain portions of the Cannabis plant from the definition of marijuana based on the assumption (now refuted) that such portions of the plant contain none of the psychoactive component now known as THC.”

"In March 2003, DEA issued two final rules addressing the legal status of hemp products derived from the cannabis plant. It found that hemp products “often contain the hallucinogenic substance tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) ... the primary psychoactive chemical found in the cannabis (marijuana) plant.”79 Although DEA acknowledged that “in some cases, a Schedule I controlled substance may have a legitimate industrial use,” such use would be allowed only under highly controlled circumstances. These rules set forth what products may contain “hemp” and also prohibit “cannabis products containing THC that are intended or used for human consumption (foods and beverages).”

"Both the proposed rule (which was published concurrently with the interpretive rule) and the final 2003 rule gave retailers of hemp foods a date after which DEA could seize all such products remaining on shelves. On both rules, hemp trade associations requested and received courtordered stays blocking enforcement of that provision. DEA’s interpretation made hemp with any THC content subject to enforcement as a controlled substance.

"Hemp industry trade groups, retailers, and a major Canadian exporter filed suit against DEA, arguing that congressional intent was to exempt plant parts containing naturally occurring THC at non-psychoactive levels, the same way it exempts poppy seeds containing trace amounts of naturally occurring opiates.80 Industry groups maintain that (1) naturally occurring THC in the leaves and flowers of cannabis varieties grown for fiber and food is already at below-psychoactive levels (compared with drug varieties); (2) the parts used for food purposes (seeds and oil) contain even less; and (3) after processing, the THC content is at or close to zero. U.S. and Canadian hemp seed and food manufacturers have in place a voluntary program for certifying low, industry-determined standards in hemp-containing foods. Background information on the TestPledge Program is available at http://www.TestPledge.com. The intent of the program is to assure that consumption of hemp foods will not interfere with workplace drug testing programs or produce undesirable mental or physical health effects.

"On February 6, 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit permanently enjoined the enforcement of the final rule.81 The court stated that “DEA’s definition of ‘THC’ contravenes the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress in the CSA and cannot be upheld.”82 In late September 2004 the Bush Administration let the final deadline pass without filing an appeal.83

"In January 2017, HIA petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to block DEA’s implementation of its December final rule on marijuana extracts, which would designate certain hemp-derived nonpsychotropic products, such as CBD, as a “marihuana extract” subject to the CSA.84 Then, in February, 2017, HIA again petitioned the court alleging that DEA violated the court’s 2004 order when it indicated that a North Dakota hemp company would need a DEA registration and would be subject to other requirements before it could ship processed hemp products outside the state, even though these products were in accordance with state law and the 2014 farm bill.85

"In May 2018, DEA issued an internal directive to further clarify the ruling in the 2004 court case.86 The directive acknowledges that products and materials made from the cannabis plant that fall outside the CSA’s definition of marihuana—such as sterilized seeds incapable of germination, oil or cake made from the seeds, mature stalks, and fiber from mature stalks—are exempt from CSA and may be “sold and otherwise distributed throughout the United States without restriction under the CSA or its implementing regulations.”87 Exempt cannabis plant material also includes “any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation” of the above items, despite the presence of cannabinoids. The directive further acknowledges that such exempt products and materials may be imported into the United States without restriction (under the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act, 21 U.S.C. §§951-971) or exported from the United States (“provided further that it is lawful to import such products under the laws of the country of destination”). The directive does not address marijuana extracts and resins.

"Some in the hemp industry are interpreting the 2018 directive as providing an indication of DEA’s position regarding extracts such as CBD from exempt plant materials, including industrial hemp. They claim that this could provide an indication that CBD extracted from hemp could be considered exempt from CSA regulation and DEA’s jurisdiction.88 They also acknowledge that some research indicates that meaningful levels of CBD might not be readily extracted from exempt plant materials such as industrial hemp."

Johnson, Renée. Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018.

25. Federal Law and DEA Control Over Hemp Production in the US

"In 1937, Congress passed the first federal law to discourage cannabis production for marijuana while still permitting industrial uses of the crop (the Marihuana Tax Act; 50 Stat. 551). Under this statute, the government actively encouraged farmers to grow hemp for fiber and oil during World War II. After the war, competition from synthetic fibers, the Marihuana Tax Act, and increasing public anti-drug sentiment resulted in fewer and fewer acres of hemp being planted and none at all after 1958. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA, 21 U.S.C. §801 et. seq.) placed the control of select plants, drugs, and chemical substances under federal jurisdiction and was enacted, in part, to replace previous federal drug laws with a single comprehensive statute.43

"The CSA adopted the same definition of Cannabis sativa that appeared in the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. The definition of “marihuana” (21 U.S.C. §802(16)) reads:

"The term marihuana means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound ... or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination."

"The statute thus retains control over all varieties of the cannabis plant by virtue of including them under the term marihuana and does not distinguish between low- and high-THC varieties. The language exempts from control the parts of mature plants—stalks, fiber, oil, cake, etc.—intended for industrial uses. Some have argued that the CSA definition exempts industrial hemp under its term exclusions for stalks, fiber, oil, cake, and seeds.44 DEA refutes this interpretation.45

"Strictly speaking, CSA does not make growing cannabis illegal; rather, it places strict controls on its production, making it illegal to grow the crop without a DEA permit. Regarding industrial hemp, however, growers that comply with the 2014 farm bill provision (discussed in the next section) do not need DEA approval."

Johnson, Renée. Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018.

26. Controlled Substances Act

"The CSA [Controlled Substances Act] classifies marijuana in the first category of schedules, placing it among the most harmful and dangerous drugs.137 Marijuana meets the criteria for a Schedule I controlled substance because of its THC content, which is a psychoactive hallucinogenic substance with a high potential for abuse.138 Another key classification made by the CSA regarding marijuana was its broad definition of the drug.139 The CSA defines marijuana as follows:
"The term ‘“marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.140
"This effectively placed the entire use of the hemp plant, whether for drug use or as industrial hemp, squarely under the control of the CSA.141 Therefore, the DEA views industrial hemp containing .3% THC the same as marijuana grown for drug use which commonly contains a 24% THC level, or eighty times more THC.142"

Duppong, Thomas A. Industrial Hemp: How the Classification of Industiral Hemp as Marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act Has Caused the Dream of Growing Industrial Hemp in North Dakota to Go up in Smoke. North Dakota Law Review. Grand Forks, ND: University of North Dakota School of Law, 2009, Vol. 85, No. 2.

27. Legislative History of Cannabis Sativa L. and Hemp

"Legislative history suggests that Congress accepted the name Cannabis sativa L. for the hemp plant, believing it to be the common description within the scientific community.41 This categorization combined all marijuana-producing Cannabis plants.42 Therefore, any hemp plant capable of producing any amount of THC was classified as Cannabis sativa L. under the CSA.43"

Duppong, Thomas A. Industrial Hemp: How the Classification of Industiral Hemp as Marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act Has Caused the Dream of Growing Industrial Hemp in North Dakota to Go up in Smoke. North Dakota Law Review. Grand Forks, ND: University of North Dakota School of Law, 2009, Vol. 85, No. 2.

28. Hemp and CBD

"Another chemical shared by both industrial hemp and marijuana is Cannabidiol (CBD).48 CBD is unique because it is not intoxicating and it also moderates the euphoric effect of THC.49 Marijuana, which has disproportionately higher levels of THC than industrial hemp, also contains lower levels of CBD.50 The higher THC and lower CBD concentration gives marijuana its psychoactive effect.51 Conversely, industrial hemp’s low THC levels and comparatively high CBD levels produce none of the intoxicating effects of marijuana.52"

Duppong, Thomas A. Industrial Hemp: How the Classification of Industiral Hemp as Marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act Has Caused the Dream of Growing Industrial Hemp in North Dakota to Go up in Smoke. North Dakota Law Review. Grand Forks, ND: University of North Dakota School of Law, 2009, Vol. 85, No. 2.

29. Hemp History

"From the colonial period through the middle of the nineteenth century, hemp was widely grown in the United States for use in fabric, twine, and paper.19 Production dropped by the 1890’s as technological advances made cotton a more competitive textile crop, and coarse fiber crops were increasingly imported.20 Nonetheless, American farmers continued to grow hemp into the middle of the twentieth century, finding it a useful rotation crop because it acted as a natural herbicide21—a dense, rapidly growing crop, it choked out weeds prior to the next planting of corn and other crops.22 At the urging of the government, production to supply fiber for military purposes was expanded enormously during World War I and again during World War II, particularly after the Japanese cut off exports from the Philippines."

Kolosov, Christine A. Evaluating the Public Interest: Regulation of Industrial Hemp under the Controlled Substances Act. UCLA Law Review. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA School of Law, 2009.

30. Hemp in American History

"Hemp was widely grown in the United States from the colonial period into the mid-1800s. Fine and coarse fabrics, twine, and paper from hemp were in common use. By the 1890s, labor-saving machinery for harvesting cotton made the latter more competitive as a source of fabric for clothing, and the demand for coarse natural fibers was met increasingly by imports. Industrial hemp was handled in the same way as any other farm commodity in that USDA compiled statistics and published crop reports37 and provided assistance to farmers promoting production and distribution.38 In the early 1900s, hemp continued to be grown, and USDA researchers continued to publish information related to hemp production and also reported on hemp’s potential for use in textiles and in paper manufacturing.39 Several hemp advocacy groups, including HIA and Vote Hemp, Inc., have compiled other historical information and have copies of original source documents.40

"Between 1914 and 1933, in an effort to stem the use of Cannabis flowers and leaves for their psychotropic effects, 33 states passed laws restricting legal production to medicinal and industrial purposes only.41 The 1937 Marihuana Tax Act defined hemp as a narcotic drug, requiring that farmers growing hemp hold a federal registration and special tax stamp, effectively limiting further production expansion.

"In 1943, U.S. hemp production reached more than 150 million pounds (140.7 million pounds hemp fiber; 10.7 million pound hemp seed) on 146,200 harvested acres. This compared to prewar production levels of about 1 million pounds. After reaching a peak in 1943, production started to decline. By 1948, production had dropped back to 3 million pounds on 2,800 harvested acres, with no recorded production after the late 1950s.42"

Johnson, Renée. Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018.

31. Early Hemp History

"Probably indigenous to temperate Asia, C. sativa is the most widely cited example of a “camp follower.” It was pre-adapted to thrive in the manured soils around man’s early settlements, which quickly led to its domestication (Schultes 1970). Hemp was harvested by the Chinese 8500 years ago (Schultes and Hofmann 1980). For most of its history, C. sativa was most valued as a fiber source, considerably less so as an intoxicant, and only to a limited extent as an oilseed crop. Hemp is one of the oldest sources of textile fiber, with extant remains of hempen cloth trailing back 6 millennia. Hemp grown for fiber was introduced to western Asia and Egypt, and subsequently to Europe somewhere between 1000 and 2000 BCE. Cultivation in Europe became widespread after 500 ce."

Small, E. and D. Marcus. 2002. Hemp: A new crop with new uses for North America. p. 284–326. In: J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.), Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.

32. Hemp in US History

"The crop was first brought to South America in 1545, in Chile, and to North America in Port Royal, Acadia in 1606. The hemp industry flourished in Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois between 1840 and 1860 because of the strong demand for sailcloth and cordage (Ehrensing 1998). From the end of the Civil War until 1912, virtually all hemp in the US was produced in Kentucky. During World War I, some hemp cultivation occurred in several states, including Kentucky, Wisconsin, California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, and Iowa (Ehrensing 1998). The second world war led to a brief revival of hemp cultivation in the Midwest, as well as in Canada, because the war cut off supplies of fiber (substantial renewed cultivation also occurred in Germany for the same reason). Until the beginning of the 19th century, hemp was the leading cordage fiber. Until the middle of the 19th century, hemp rivaled flax as the chief textile fiber of vegetable origin, and indeed was described as “the king of fiber-bearing plants,—the standard by which all other fibers are measured” (Boyce 1900). Nevertheless, the Marihuana Tax Act applied in 1938 essentially ended hemp production in the United States, although a small hemp fiber industry continued in Wisconsin until 1958. Similarly in 1938 the cultivation of Cannabis became illegal in Canada under the Opium and Narcotics Act."

Small, E. and D. Marcus. 2002. Hemp: A new crop with new uses for North America. p. 284–326. In: J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.), Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.