Industrial hemp is an attractive global industry. The crop, related to marijuana, is an excellent introduction commodity to a better general understanding of the cannabis industry. Industrial hemp has high amounts of CBD and low amounts of THC, and hemp has excellent potential for significant nutritional and medicinal purposes. Hemp is one of the only plants that contain Omega 3, 6 and 9 – which are essential fatty acids. Promoted as a super food, the world is starting to realize the benefits of the hemp plant. New opportunities are presenting themselves as countries and states begin to lift regulations for growing this amazing plant. This article is a report on the progress the global hemp industry has made over the past month.
Hemp-infused beverages are now available in the United Kingdom. Although cannabis is illegal everywhere in the U.K., CBD (cannabidiol) is not. As a result, beverage companies in the country are releasing the first hemp-infused water and beer. The region’s first CBD oil-infused spring water hit UK supermarket shelves in February. One month later, the country’s first hemp-infused beer has made it to market as well. According to the U.K. publication Metro, there are at least two bars serving CBD beer.
Australian hemp farmers are harvesting their first hemp crop for human consumption. In November of last year, the Australian government passed a new set of laws that allowed residents to consume and grow hemp. Earlier this month, the hemp farmers harvested their first legal crop of edible hemp. This is an exciting time for a local hemp farmers.
New Zealand is not far behind Australia. Their season started in January of this year. As a result, they aren’t ready to harvest their crops just yet.
The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) wants to turn back the clock on Europe’s industrial hemp laws. In 1984, the legal THC limit was .5% in Europe. Three years later, they lowered it to .3%. They decreased it again in 1999 to .2%. Fast forward to today, and the EIHA is demanding the European Parliament, European Commission and Members of State revert THC restrictions to the limits of the 1980s. If Europe wants to stay competitive in the international hemp market, their government will have to consider what the EIHA is proposing.
States continued their united front here in the U.S., pushing their right to define and develop their own hemp industries through the Farm Bill of 2014. The federal government passed the Farm Bill in 2014, allowing states the opportunity to create their own hemp pilot programs. This bill was designed to inspire states to execute their right to build and develop their own plans. The latest statistics seem to confirm this notion. According to the National Conference of State Legislator (NCSL), there are 27 states with hemp pilot programs.
Africa is the next frontier for the hemp industry. Hemp is nothing new to Africa. The continent was producing 10,000 tons of hemp back in 2007. A South African company, Hemp House, has investors waiting in the wings as they stand by for the government to give the company a commercial growers license.
Indian hemp could be one of the reasons they are taking their time with their decision. In Malawi, marijuana is called ‘Indian hemp’. It’s easy to get Indian hemp and industrial hemp confused, and getting caught with marijuana in Africa comes with a high price.
China is a massive player in the global hemp marketplace. While other countries have outlawed the plant, they never did. Their history with the plant goes back over 5,000 years. In 2014, Independent UK reported that, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Chinese firms have filed 309 of the 606 patents relating to the hemp.
Recently, Guangxi Botanical Garden of Medicinal Plants in China and Middle Tennessee University have partnered to build a new $147 million building on the university’s campus in Murfreesboro, TN to study hemp. (Yes, it’s the same town that conducted legal hemp raids in February.)
Recently in Bardwell, Kentucky, the Chairman of China Corporation specializing in hemp processing technology, HMI, Carlise County Judge Greg Terry, and the COO of King Royal Biotech of Capistrano, California joined together to break ground for the country’s first hemp processing plant.
The global hemp industry is starting to be defined and developed. As a result, it is an exhilarating time to get involved in the industry – especially since governments on the local, state, federal, and international level are conversing about hemp and how it can help their economies. Industries such as hemp beverages, food, and research are forming in this new marketplace and investors have more options than ever.