State Sponsored Hemp Studies

Numerous state governments have commissioned studies examining hemp’s feasibility as an agricultural product. Virtually all of these have praised hemp’s economic potential and concluded that the crop’s viability is challenged not by agronomic factors, but rather by legal ones. The summary conclusions of these studies appear chronologically below.

“There is no guarantee for a future of hemp in the U.S. or in Hawaii, but given hemp’s versatility there is a fair chance of success. Legislators, seeking to minimize the political risk associated with the hemp issue, are looking for commitments by large and respectable companies interested in investing in the new industry. That, however, may be putting the cart before the horse. What is needed first is a better understanding of the issues involved and small scale experimental cultivation to generate some of the data that businesses would like to have in hand before committing themselves.” – G. Roth-Li. 1996. Industrial Hemp – Economic and Political Concerns (White Paper prepared for Representative Cynthia Thielen). State Capitol: Honolulu.

“Based upon the review of literature and testimony presented before the task force, the members find that there is potential for industrial hemp to be an important alternative crop in Illinois. [Therefore,] the task force believes that the General Assembly should enact immediately upon the following recommendations: Encourage Congress to make the necessary changes in the United States Codes: 21 U.S.C. 812 (10), 21 U.S.C. 841, and 21 U.S.C. 844 that relate to cannabis sativa L. (industrial hemp) for production, possession and delivery [and] recommend the Drug Enforcement Agency and the National Office of Drug Control Policy to adopt a new definition of industrial hemp that would allow a 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level in industrial hemp and to make it legal to produce, possess, and deliver industrial hemp in the United States and internationally.” – Illinois Industrial Hemp Investigative and Advisory Task Force. 2000. Report of the Illinois Industrial Hemp Investigative and Advisory Task Force. State Capitol: Springfield.

“Using current yields, prices, and production technology from other areas that have grown hemp, Kentucky farmers could earn a profit of approximately $320 per acre of hemp planted for straw production only or straw and grain production, $220 for grain production only and $600 for raising certified seed for planting for other industrial hemp growers. In the long run, it is estimated that Kentucky farmers could earn roughly $320 per acre when growing industrial hemp for straw alone or straw and grain, and $340 an acre from growing certified hemp seed.” – E. Thompson et al. 1998. Economic Impact of Industrial Hemp in Kentucky. Center for Business and Economic Research at University of Kentucky: Lexington.

“Legal prohibition of Cannabis cultivation is the overriding obstacle to reintroduction of hemp fiber in Kentucky. Significant progress on agronomics, marketing, or infrastructure development is unlikely, and of relatively little importance, unless legal issues are resolved. Legislative reaction would be required at both the state and federal level. Such consideration would likely receive strong diverse reactions from both private and public sectors.” – 1995. Report to the Governor’s Hemp and Related Fiber Crops Task Force as cited by the USDA in Industrial Hemp in the United States 2000: Status and Market Potential. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC.

“Large crops are grown and marketed in Europe. With current interest in natural fiber clothing, hemp’s advantages of strength and absorbency suggest it could establish a viable place in American textile markets. Human and animal food uses are another traditional market for exploration. Missouri farmers could gain an early advantage in such markets.” – R. Miller. 1991. Hemp as a Crop for Missouri Farmers: Report to the Agricultural Task Force. Missouri House of Representatives. State Capitol: Jefferson City.

North Dakota
“[P]roduction and processing of industrial hemp has the potential to be a viable industry in the United States and possibly North Dakota. Advantages from an agronomic standpoint seem to be that it requires few pesticides or herbicides, is relatively disease free, and is a good rotation crop because it may enhance yields in crops that follow it. It is recommended that the North Dakota Legislature consider legislation that would allow controlled experimental production and processing.” – D. Kraezel et al. 1998. Industrial Hemp as an Industrial crop in North Dakota: A White Paper Study of the Markets, Profitability, Processing, Agronomics and History. The Institute for Natural Resources and Economic Development at North Dakota State University: Fargo.

“There is little doubt that hemp can be successfully cultivated in some areas of the Pacific Northwest. Application of agricultural technology such as intensive plant breeding and improvement in harvesting technology could increase hemp yield and enhance production efficiency. Development of these improvements will take time and resources. Until legislative restrictions are removed from hemp, it is unlikely that investments in improved production technology will be made or that the required industrial infrastructure will be developed.” – D. Ehrensing. 1998. Station Bulletin 681: Feasibility of Industrial Hemp Production in the United States Pacific Northwest. Agricultural Experiment Station at Oregon State University: Corvallis.

“This study examines public attitudes toward industrial hemp based on information gathered through a random survey in Vermont. Major findings about public attitudes from the study include: (1) 87% have heard about hemp and 50% know the difference between hemp and marijuana; (2) 59% believe hemp and marijuana should be controlled by different laws, and 63% do not think legalizing hemp would lead to marijuana legalization; (3) 72% indicate that legalizing hemp would not negatively affect drug education efforts; and (4) 77% support changing the laws so that farmers can grow hemp in Vermont.

Analysis of willingness to buy hemp based products reveals: (1) if hemp jeans were price competitive with cotton jeans 53% would substitute all current purchases and an additional 12% would substitute between 1% and 99% of their purchases; (2) 36% would pay more for hemp jeans; (3) 39% would buy hemp based computer paper if price competitive; and (4) 66% would pay up to 10% more for hemp based writing paper. – C. Halbrendt et al. 1996. Alternative Agricultural Strategies in Vermont: The Case of Industrial Hemp. University of Vermont: Burlington. Original source.

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