US (VI): Growing hemp amidst new laws

With the rising popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) oil and hemp-related products, its agricultural production is a growing revolution across the country.

Industry estimates in 2018 reported U.S. hemp product sales at nearly $700 million annually, and according to a study by cannabis industry analysts the Brightfield Group, the hemp-CBD market could reach $22 billion by 2022.

As of Tuesday, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services had issued 955 grower registrations, 191 processor registrations and 55 dealer registrations. Hemp is projected to cover 10,100 acres, or 10 million square feet, in Virginia, according to VDACS.

Until recently, only researchers at Virginia universities could grow hemp for making CBD, but with changes in state laws, a Stanardsville farm is among those producing the naturally occurring chemical that some say has mental and physical health benefits.

While other states have allowed farmers to grow hemp and manufacture CBD products for years, Virginia farmers were barred from doing so until House Bill 1839 passed in February. Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill into law on March 21 and it took effect immediately due to an emergency clause.


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