Farm bill could bring billions into the hemp industry

By  | 

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) -- The House signed off on the farm bill so it's now in President Trump's hands. The hemp industry is already seeing the dollar signs.

Major hemp manufacturers, like Hemp Inc, report it could bring about $20 billion into the industrial hemp industry.

"Industrial hemp" is any part of the cannabis plant with no more than .3 percent of THC. It doesn't give the high that marijuana does. Instead, it can be used to make products like rope, textiles, paper and plastic. Johnson County Supervisor Mike Carberry told TV-9, he's excited about the potential economic impact it could have in Eastern Iowa.

"Hemp is a great product," said Carberry. "The many uses are fiber in the oil, they make rope out of it, they make clothes. It's a very, very strong fiber. The deep roots are good for soil and good for farmers."

CBD, or cannabidiol, is also derived from hemp but the FDA still considers it an illegal food ingredient. The farm bill could inspire regulation to change, though. Researchers with the Brightfield Group said the legalization of industrial hemp could make the CBD market 40 times larger by 2022.

Before, hemp could only be grown in the U.S. under a pilot program established in 2014.