The USA has a new boom for hemp farmers. Though it is forbidden to consume cannabis at the federal level, 33 states legalized its usage for medical purposes and 11 states don’t mind about you smoking hemp for your personal advantage.
Let’s distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana. There are over 50 thousands of goods that have hemp as one of the ingredients. They include clothes, cosmetics, beverages, food, construction supplies, etc. These two types of crops are cultivated from one sort of plant, Cannabis sativa L. However, hemp has only 0.3% of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the addictive component of marijuana. This means, that hemp can’t make you high and doesn’t have a similar effect as smoking a joint of marijuana.
According to Barclays Bank and EssayShark, the size of the legal cannabis market reached $28 billion in the past year. If the USA legalizes the full cannabis market, it will enhance to $41 billion by 2028. In case the medical usage is legalized in Europe and at the federal level, the market will grow to $55 billion. It’s logical that such perspectives attract lots of investors. This fact led to the appearance of many hemp-related startups in 2018. At the beginning of 2019, their total value was worth $1.2 billion.
It’s not surprising that these tendencies and potential increased the number of new hemp farmers. There are limits to growing cannabis, but they are quite ridiculous. For example, you can’t grow more than three sorts of the plant. A person can freely grow up to 6 bushes of hemp. People who managed to “catch the wave” of planting cannabis have now grown to the earning millions of dollars. The average price for their final product is seven thousand dollars per one kilo. Farmers are sure that it’s better to work legally and the prohibitions only support the drug dealers and the development of the black market.
The product that had been illegally brought to the USA turned into legal goods. Authorities imposed taxes and customs on them. Workers involved in the hemp industry obtained official employment, government establishments started checking the quality of the product. As a result, the price for legal cannabis increased by 5-6 times in comparison to the illegal options. Many people with low budgets prefer purchasing under-the-table weed instead of paying more. Thus, the new hemp farmers who want to have a stable income must sell their product almost without any retail margin to compete with the existing offers until they have a stable audience of customers.
Due to the high demand and the global madness over an opportunity to earn money in this industry, many people attempt starting their own production of hemp. Those people who have never had experience with anything related to agriculture (it is agriculture by any measure) have a strong belief that it’s a piece of cake. New hemp farmers usually make the same mistakes. They don’t compile a harvest plan and take into account the weather conditions. As a result, they might lose their yield or have a smaller amount of crop than expected.
Another reason that influences the new businessmen is their confidence in finding the customers or contractors for selling their products. Experienced and considered farmers search for the contractors prior to planting the crop. Therefore, they can estimate the approximate number and the workforce required to cultivate and process the product. The majority of new farmers rely on independent contractors who have to cultivate, harvest, and dry their crops. Unfortunately, many such contractors make only verbal promises and don’t satisfy their customers’ needs. As a result, farmers fail to yield and process hemp to have a final product for sale.
It’s difficult for amateur farmers to enter the market and beat the competition. The huge processing and harvesting companies in the industry leave almost no chances for small businesses. Thus, even if you consider all the negative factors like unfortunate weather, low prices, lack of labor, and create a perfect harvesting plan, there is still a high possibility that you might push your income into the red. The industry is facing the oversupply of hemp which leads to the decreased rates. Many farmers hurry to fire-sale their crops to anyone not to lose all the money and efforts put into the cultivation, harvesting, and processing.
The hemp market is definitely flourishing in the USA. Unfortunately, the equipment, workforce, knowledge, skills, and time required to grow cannabis might be too much for the newbie farmers. They tend to underestimate the efforts and financial risks for entering this sphere.
Guest post by Kelly Pethick