America’s hemp industry may be young, but it is brimming with potential just a couple of years after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation and sale of hemp and its derivatives. But while the American hemp industry was valued at $5.66 billion in 2020 and is projected to see major growth over the next decade, it hasn’t received much government support. And given that hemp is a versatile product with a wide variety of applications ranging from cloth, cosmetics, and rope to printer’s ink, wood preservative and a construction material called hempcrete, government investment could turn the nascent hemp sector into a juggernaut.
As such, a national hemp trade organization that claims to represent 90% of Americans with state hemp licenses has asked the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives to include $1 billion in funding to support hemp innovation and research in a budget reconciliation legislation. According to a letter written by the National Hemp Association (“NHA”) to leading lawmakers, the funding would help prop up the young industry as it tries to find its footing. The proposed amendment would allocate money to allow federal officials to “empower hemp farmers, processors, and related businesses” to help them compete globally, sequester a lot of carbon, repair contaminated soil, and provide funding and job opportunities to underserved communities, among others.
In a press release, NHA chair Geoff Whaling said that America has always been the catalyst for global change, be it industrial, cultural or environmental. With the world battling heat waves and wild fires thanks to more than a century of human industrialization, America could lead the charge in finding solutions for this global threat. “American ingenuity” will drive many of those solutions, he says, and hemp will be at the forefront of the plant-based technologies that help combat the greenhouse gas emissions crisis. Hemp has the potential to clean out the air and soil, introduce new sustainable products, and help create new jobs as the world tries to recover from the coronavirus recession.
Of the proposed $1 billion fund, $100 million apiece would go to regional super sites for hemp production in New York, Michigan and Oregon, as well as $120 million for farms in historically underserved communities; the remaining $380 million will be divided according to hemp farm-acreage calculations. The hemp industry may be young, but it has plenty of potential, the letter says, and hemp may inadvertently help in the development of infrastructure and new markets.
Supporting the U.S. hemp industry and making it more competitive on the global scale may open up a whole new set of opportunities for companies such as The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER), which are already thriving under the existing conditions.
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