Thursday, December 24, 2015

Legalizing Weed: 4 Financial Predictions of Industrial Hemp Cultivation

By Andrea Miller

Proponents of legalizing industrial hemp note that this crop has the potential to be a huge moneymaker for American farmers, bolstering the economy and the nation’s agricultural trade. While legalizing weed may get more press, the industrial hemp movement is perhaps even more impactful for America as a whole, particularly from a financial standpoint. 

Here are four financial predictions by those who have studied the marketability of industrial hemp:

1. A boon for farmers
United States consumers purchase $500 million of hemp products annually. These goods, which are currently imported from other countries, include health and beauty products, textiles, clothing, food, and many other environmentally sustainable products. If American farmers were able to cultivate industrial hemp, those funds would go into the pockets of American farms rather than the coffers of other nations.

2. Job creation
Hemp has the potential to create jobs where they are needed most. Rural economies were some of the hardest hit during the recession of recent years, and many areas have yet to recover from the loss of jobs and industry. If industrial hemp was legalized as the country is in the process of legalizing weed, it could create a sustainable farming economy in these small towns and provide untold numbers of jobs. 

3. Keeping the money local 
Industrial hemp will continue to be a growth industry. In 2011, the U.S. imported $11.5 million in raw hemp material for production of goods — four times the amount imported just 10 years earlier. As more and more products are made with hemp seed and oil, this plant will continue to be an expensive import until the United States begins growing its own.

4. All signs point to profit 
There is a positive market outlook for growing industrial hemp in the United States. Economists from the USDA and various land grant universities have studied the potential market for this crop in several states and found that the financial outlook for industrial hemp is positive across the board. While normal fluctuations can be expected, all signs point to cannabis sativa as a profoundly profitable crop. 

Data from a University of Kentucky study suggested that the cultivation of hemp seeds, one processing facility, and one industrial hemp paper-pulp plant could produce a minimum of 771 jobs for the state and create an estimated $17.6 million in revenue. Extrapolating these numbers, even to just a few additional states, could make industrial hemp a financial asset to the United States.

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