Still benefiting from the glow of federal legalization, industrial hemp farming boomed in 2019. The industry’s growth has continued this year, but with some winners and many losers as a spurt of new farmers led to oversupplies of hemp and CBD, which in turn led to plummeting wholesale prices.
With the majority of new hemp farmers growing the plant for CBD extraction and not fiber use, prices for unrefined CBD dropped as much as 83 percent from 2015 to 2020, according to a recent market report from New Frontier Data, while nationwide acreage devoted to hemp farming more than doubled. Colorado Department of Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg, who called hemp farming a “mad rush” in a May interview with Politico, foreshadowed that drop last year:
“This is a bit of a new territory, because there are dollar signs all over the hemp industry, so you get folks who aren’t in it necessarily for the passion of farming, but for the opportunity to make money,” Greenberg told Westword in 2019.
Farmers and botanists have been selectively breeding and growing hemp plants for high CBD content for the better part of the last decade, but the market report suggests that switching lanes to lesser-known cannabinoids such as CBN or CBG could help struggling hemp farmers reduce obstacles going forward. [Read More @ Westword]