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Facts on Hemp

Hemp Production in the World

  • "Approximately 30 countries in Europe, Asia, and North America currently permit farmers to grow hemp, although most banned production for certain periods of time in the past. The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop. Great Britain lifted its ban in 1993 and Germany followed suit in 1996. In order to help reestablish a hemp industry, the European Union administered a subsidy program in the 1990s for hemp fiber production. "In 1998, Canada authorized production for commercial purposes, following a three-year experimental period and a 50-year prohibition. As a condition of receiving a license to grow industrial hemp, Canadian farmers are required to register the GPS coordinates of their fields, use certified low-THC hemp seed, allow government testing of their crop for THC levels, and meet or beat a 10ppm standard for maximum allowable THC residue in hemp grain products. Agriculture Canada (the Canadian department of agriculture) estimates that more than 100 farmers nationwide are growing hemp, with the majority in central and western Canada. "Despite the number of nations where industrial hemp production is permissible, the number of acres worldwide devoted to hemp production in 2004 was estimated to be 250,000."

    Source: Rawson, Jean M., Congressional Research Service, "Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity (updated)" (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, July 8, 2005), pp. 3-4.

  • "Strictly speaking, the CSA does not make Cannabis illegal; rather, it places the strictest controls on its production, making it illegal to grow the crop without a DEA permit. DEA officials confirm issuing a permit for an experimental plot in Hawaii in the 1990s (now expired), and they confirm that DEA still has not ruled on an application submitted in 1999 by a North Dakota researcher. Hemp industry officials assert that the security measures the DEA requires are substantial and costly, and deter both public and private interests from initiating research projects requiring growing plots. All hemp products sold in the United States are imported or manufactured from imported hemp materials."

    Source: Rawson, Jean M., Congressional Research Service, "Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity (updated)" (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, July 8, 2005), p. CRS-3.

Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana

  • According to David West, PhD, "The THC levels in industrial hemp are so low that no one could ever get high from smoking it. Moreover, hemp contains a relatively high percentage of another cannabinoid, CBD, that actually blocks the marijuana high. Hemp, it turns out, is not only not marijuana; it could be called 'antimarijuana.'"

    Source: West, David P, Hemp and Marijuana: Myths and Realities (Madison, WI: North American Industrial Hemp Council, 1998), p. 3.

  • Although opponents of hemp production claim that hemp fields will be used to hide marijuana fields, this is unlikely because cross-pollination between hemp and marijuana plants would significantly reduce the potency of the marijuana plant. On March 12, 1998, Canada legalized hemp production and set a limit of 0.3% THC content that may be present in the plants and requires that all seeds be certified for THC content.

    Source: West, David P, Hemp and Marijuana: Myths and Realities (Madison, WI: North American Industrial Hemp Council, 1998)., pp. 4, 21.

  • In a July 1998 study issued by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Kentucky, researchers concluded that Kentucky hemp farmers could earn a net profit of $600 per acre for raising certified seeds, $320 net profit per acre for straw only or straw and grain production, and $220 net profit per acre for grain only production. The only crop found to be more profitable was tobacco.

    Source: Tompson, Eric C., PhD, Berger, Mark C., PhD, and Allen, Steven N., Economic Impacts of Industrial Hemp in Kentucky (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, Center for Business and Economic Research, 1998), p. 21.

Hemp and Job Creation

  • In a July 1998 study issued by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Kentucky, researchers estimated that if Kentucky again became the main source for industrial hemp seed (as it was in the past), the state could earn the following economic benefits:

    Scenario Full time jobs created Worker Earnings
    Main source for certified industrial seeds only 69 jobs $1,300,000.00
    Certified seeds, plus one processing facility 303 jobs $6,700,000.00
    Certified seeds, plus two processing facilities 537 jobs $12,100,000.00
    Certified seeds, one processing facility, one industrial hemp paper-pulp plant 771 jobs $17,600,000.00

    Source: Tompson, Eric C., PhD, Berger, Mark C., PhD, and Allen, Steven N., Economic Impacts of Industrial Hemp in Kentucky (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, Center for Business and Economic Research, 1998), p. iv.

  • In February 2004, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Drug Enforcement Administration cannot ban hemp products. The Associated Press reported that "On Friday, the court said that though the DEA has regulatory authority over marijuana and synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the agency did not follow the law in asserting authority over all hemp food products as well. 'They cannot regulate naturally-occuring THC not contained within or derived from marijuana,' the court ruled, noting it's not possible to get high from products with only trace amounts of the mind-altering chemical. Hemp is an industrial plant related to marijuana. Fiber from the plant long has been used to make paper, clothing, rope and other products. Its oil is found in body-care products such as lotion, soap and cosmetics and in a host of foods, including energy bars, waffles, milk-free cheese, veggie burgers and bread." The case is Hemp Industries Association v. Drug Enforcement Administration, number 01-71662.

    Source:  Terence Chea, Associated Press, "Appeals Court Rejects DEA Bid To Outlaw Hemp Foods," Feb. 6, 2004, from the web at http://www.mapinc.org/newscsdp/v04/n231/a07.html, last accessed Feb. 18, 2004.

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