Something as simple as a misunderstanding of plant classification led to decades of legal complications.
When the United States sought to ban marijuana, they made “cannabis” a Schedule I drug. However, what they missed was that cannabis is a genus of plants. Within it lie marijuana (cannabis sativa) and hemp (cannabis sativa L.). Thanks to guilt by association, marijuana’s non-intoxicating counterpart became dragged into prohibition due to its place in the cannabis line.
It is not necessarily wrong to use the words “marijuana” and “cannabis” interchangeably when the reference is clear. However, the legal terminology did not differentiate between hemp cannabis and marijuana cannabis. This inevitably led to regulatory headaches and complications that were not fully clarified until the latest Farm Bill in December of 2018.
Now, hemp and marijuana are recognized as two separate plants – as they should have been since 1937. Following hemp legalization, the industry is eager to take off. According to CNBC, the industry is taking off in spades. Ultimately, this means massive job growth in the near future.
Significant Job Growth
Hemp is one of the most versatile raw materials out there. One of the world’s oldest crops, hemp is useful for making health food, clothing, drinks, rope and clothing – to name just a few. Then, of course, there is hemp’s main attraction – cannabidiol (CBD).
“Another by-product of legal hemp will be tens of thousands of new jobs across multiple sectors in the very near future. Besides hiring workers in agriculture, processing and manufacturing, the still-budding industry — with $1.1 billion in revenues 2018, estimated to more than double by 2022 to $2.6 billion…will need accountants, lawyers, compliance officers, government regulators, IT specialists, financial and insurance experts, transporters, researchers and lab technicians, marketers, CFOs, CEOs and various retail employees.”
It is essentially marijuana legalization on steroids. But unlike marijuana, we will be hard-pressed to find anyone who opposes a plant that does not make users high and comes in handy for so many products.
What makes hemp particularly critical is that its integration into the mainstream economy will create jobs at every level, meaning opportunity for anyone seeking work.
Less Regulatory Roadblocks
A major benefit to the clean split between marijuana and hemp is that hemp can now enjoy complete freedom from the list of controlled substances. This makes everything, from cultivation to processing and sale, much easier. According to CNBC:
“Whereas legal marijuana is expansively regulated — from seed to sale, as they say in the cannabis world — hemp will enjoy less stringent oversight, since its no longer classified as a drug, potentially attracting a much wider variety of established and start-up companies.”
This is definitely an advantage, since many investors and companies – even in legal markets – feel skittish about getting involved with the marijuana industry. Hemp gives them a safer and potentially more lucrative alternative.
Following the passage of the recent Farm Bill, Canadian licensed producer Canopy Growth jumped aboard the hemp train before the ink from President Donald Trump’s signature had even dried.
CNBC reports that Canopy will be investing $100 to $150 million in New York State’s “economically distressed Southern Tier region.”
WeedAdvisor’s Interest in the Hemp Industry
While our main focus is marijuana, hemp is playing an increasingly prominent role in public health and economic growth. It is also a very lucrative source of CBD – a critical cannabinoid with a variety of medical applications (albeit some more proven than others).
With a decision this monumental in the U.S., it is a sign of the ever-increasing inevitability that legalization will come in the near future.