The Economy of Hemp
Updated: Jan 21
Hemp is making a name for itself as it gains more and more attention from people all over the world. With the United States striving towards cannabis regulation reform, we could see a resurgence of this plant used to create paper, cotton, fuel and more. Hemp serves as natural substitute for these everyday products, it is an extremely efficient crop and this versatile raw material has the potential to create a massive market for employment and monetary opportunities.
Hemp has the ability to serve as an alternative to many products, especially cotton; hemp fabric was used for thousands of years in the past to create industrial textiles and clothing all over the world. It is a much more practical alternative to cotton since hemp fabric is more durable when wet and can stand more wear and tear after longer use. Hemp can also be made into everyday products like paper, cardboard, plastic, and even building materials, furthering environmental sustainability efforts in decreasing deforestation and plastic pollution.
Not only is hemp a sustainable alternative to everyday items, but it’s also an efficient crop. Growing hemp requires half the amount of land that cotton does for comparable yield sizes, decreasing exhaustion to larger areas of soil. Many farmers use this crop to help heal their land before beginning a new crop growing cycle since hemp has the ability to absorb harsh toxins from the soil; a process called phytoremediation. Due to its natural ability to deter weeds, hemp eliminates the need for further harmful pesticides that can pollute the soil. As a rotational crop, hemp can help increase soil fertility and heal the soil since it gives certain nutrients time to return to the ground after other agricultural grows. It’s great for the environment since it requires less maintenance during drier grow periods, therefore less water usage, and minimizes the amount of chemical runoff from farming.
In addition to being a sustainable alternative to several everyday products and furthering environmental efforts, hemp is also creating a whole new market for business opportunity. In countries like China, where commercial growing of the plant is legal, hemp is predicted to be a $15 billion industry by 2022. The plant helps farmers and farming businesses thrive and assist the community with products for industrial use, nutritional use, and medical use; CBD, derived from the hemp plant, is predicted to reach a $2 billion industry by the year 2020. Along with the growing popularity of hemp seed oil and hemp seeds, for their nutritional values, and alternative construction materials like ‘hempcrete’, this plant may be seeing a large industrial shift in the near future.
Hemp has the capacity to create discourse about environmental economy and new sustainable alternatives for mass produced items. This power plant can help heal soils and lead to booming business and job markets if commercial growing is reintroduced in the United States.