Smokeable flower, edibles, and concentrates may receive most of the attention when it comes to cannabis, but hemp may be the true rising star of the industry. In Oregon, for instance, many growers are shifting toward hemp cultivation as traditional cannabis growing has become over saturated. Below, check out our list of states with the most acreage dedicated to growing hemp.
Sure Colorado is known for being among the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis use. But it has quietly become the largest producer of hemp in the United States. Hemp was legalized by voters in 2012 and the industry became operational the following year. There are no limits on how much hemp can be produced and growers do have to be licensed.
12,042 outdoor acres/ 2.35 million square feet indoor
Kentucky has long been associated with hemp farming but its production was only legalized in 2013. Currently, there are 209 licensed hemp growers and 43 processors in Kentucky. Farmers are getting between $20-50 per pound of dried hemp flower in the Bluegrass State.
12,800 outdoor acres
Oregon legalized hemp in 2009 but the state’s Department of Agriculture did not issue its first license to cultivate until 2015. Separate licenses are issued for growing and cultivation. Background checks are not required to become licensed in Oregon but the hemp itself is scrutinized. All hemp produced must be checked by labs for THC levels. Hemp is typically grown for CBD extraction in Oregon. Officials have licensed 233 growers, 170 processors, and 119 seed farmers.
3,500 outdoor acres
Hemp was legalized in way back in 1999 in North Dakota. However, the first licenses to produce were not issued until 2016. There were five licensed growers. That number quickly rose to 35 in 2017. Hemp is only allowed to be grown for fiber and seeds and cannot be used to extract CBD. There is only one licensed processor in North Dakota, though this only applies for turning seeds into oil. Processors are not required for growers producing fiber.
3100 outdoor acres.
In 2015, hemp was legalized in Minnesota and the number of growers has risen rapidly. In 2016, there were only 6 licensed growers using 40 acres of land. In 2017, 38 growers have been licensed and utilize about 1200 acres for cultivation. However, there are no licenses processors so farmers are struggling to sell for industrial use.
2,000 outdoor acres.
While not typically associated with the booming cannabis market, New York is certainly changing things quickly. Hemp was legalized in New York in 2015 but was initially limited to 10 growers. Last year, the limits were removed and now an unlimited number of growers can apply for a license. NY state has even issued grant money for farmers to purchase equipment for cultivation. Currently, there are 21 licensed growers and 7 producers in New York.
2000 outdoor acres.