The future of hemp based medicine in the US

The hemp based medicine industry in the United States is set for a massive financial boom after the government passed new legislation that removes trading restrictions.

Farmers will now be able to grow the crop and legally trade across state lines, while existing companies in the industry can begin to expand their operations.

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 had effectively outlawed the possession of cannabis – including hemp after hundreds of years of growth and use dating back to British colonization.

Cannabis was included as a Schedule 1 drug – the most “dangerous” class including heroin – in the Controlled Substances Act during the 1960s.

However, the 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law by President Donald Trump, has removed the shackles on an industry that appears to have unlimited potential.

Farmers and businesses set for huge windfall

The new legislation is expected to spark a huge growth in the hemp-CBD industry, with experts predicting it could be worth $22 billion by 2022.

Hemp farmers and entrepreneurs in the US have faced many barriers to doing business, largely due to the product’s status as a Schedule 1 drug.

Interstate commerce for hemp products was almost non-existent and financial support from banking institutions was impossible to come by.

The 2018 Farm Bill will allow hemp to be regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which opens up a plethora of possibilities.

Interstate hemp commerce will be legal, financing and research opportunities will increase and farmers will be guaranteed water rights.

The US will no longer need to import an estimated $100 million of hemp products every year, with that money set to go to American farmers and entrepreneurs.

hemp

What can hemp be used for?

Hemp already has dozens of uses, although many more are likely to be uncovered as companies pour additional resources into research.

Textiles, plastics and home cooking are amongst the household uses, while its potential impact on the health industry undoubtedly offers a wealth of untapped opportunities.

The growth of high-quality CBD products is one of the most exciting areas where hemp could make a massive difference to people’s lives.

Studies have already found evidence that the compound can treat epilepsy as well as a range of other illnesses, including depression, heart disease and cancer.

The new legislation will allow CBD to be regulated and researched further, to truly understand the medical possibilities for a wide range of conditions.

After over 80 years of prohibition, these developments are undoubtedly a major boost to the hemp-based medicine industry in the US.

US states quickly joining the hemp rush

The Georgia House overwhelmingly approved the bill at the end of February 2019 with a view to allowing farmers to grow hemp for CBD oils and other products. The 163-3 vote called for Georgia to join the 41 other states that already permit hemp cultivation.

“As a farmer, this is a great bill,” state Rep. Robert Dickey told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “This is another tool in the belt of farmers that we can diversify.”

CBD droplets, capsules and creams are already widely available in nutrition stores in Georgia, but these are imported from other states.

The law would provide Georgia farmers with another crop to commodify and give 6,000 registered patients easier access to hemp based medicine.

Georgia has allowed patients to use marijuana since 2015 to treat medical conditions, but state law still bans buying, selling and transporting it.

With over 40 states ready to take advantage of the expected financial boom from the hemp industry, it is likely to be only a matter of time before the remaining few follow suit.

hemp products

What does the future hold for hemp based medicine?

A sector that has been predicted to grow into a $22bn industry over the next few years is likely to prove hugely attractive to some of the world’s biggest brands.

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have already been tipped to join the revolution by introducing CBD beverages into their respective ranges in the future.

Coca-Cola was linked last year with a Canadian company, Aurora Cannabis, with a view to developing new products, although CEO James Quincey attempted to distance the company from the rumours.

However, with a former leading executive, Eugenio Mendez, leaving the firm to move into the hemp based medicine industry, it is probably naïve to think that Coca-Cola isn’t giving serious thought to joining the party.

Mendez has joined Colorado-based Charlotte’s Web as chief growth officer, having previously served as Coca-Cola’s vice-president of global marketing for water, enhanced water and sport drinks.

A share in a $22bn industry is not the sort of thing that Coca-Cola or similar companies will pass up easily and their involvement could catapult the hemp based medicine industry into a completely different stratosphere.

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