2021 was, to put it mildly, an interesting year in hemp. High hopes for federal regulation of CBD eventually came to naught as our esteemed U.S. senators and representatives did, well, something else, we suppose. Meanwhile, delta-8 THC and other intoxicating compounds manufactured from hemp-derived CBD rose to the fore, generating millions of dollars in revenue for those willing to risk stepping into the legal gray area. In the background, individuals and businesses continued to put the pieces of viable hemp fiber and grain supply chains in place, laying the groundwork for what many hope will be powerhouse industries in the years to come.
Before diving into 2022, Hemp Benchmarks is looking back at the year that was with a selection of some of our most-read Hemp Market Insider articles from 2021.
Hemp Industry Advocates & State Officials Grapple with Delta-8 THC (April 14, 2021)
It is safe to say that delta-8 THC and other intoxicating compounds manufactured from hemp-derived CBD were one of the hottest topics in the cannabis space in 2021. This piece from April illuminates how hemp advocates and regulators were attempting to wrap their heads around the unintended legalization of hemp products that get users high.
Is Hemp Insulation a ‘Game-Changing’ Housing Technology? (September 22, 2021)
One of the challenges for those in the hemp fiber sector is developing products that are competitive with those used traditionally for various applications, both in terms of functionality and cost. This article from September looks at work being done by Hempitecture, an Idaho company that specializes in sustainable building materials, to develop its hemp insulation product and eventually make it standard in new construction.
Carbon Sequestration, Carbon Credits, and the Hemp Industry (June 23, 2021)
As prices for CBD hemp biomass and extracts remained extremely depressed in 2021, stakeholders looked for new ways to generate value from hemp crops. Due to hemp’s ability to sequester carbon and enrich soil, advocates of sustainably grown hemp are looking to utilize federal government initiatives, particularly those regarding support for carbon credits and exchanges, as new opportunities to boost production of the recently-legalized crop.
Hemp 2021: Industry Insiders Offer Projections for the Year (January 20, 2021)
At the start of last year, Hemp Benchmarks reached out to industry veterans for their expectations for 2021. While bullish predictions did not materialize, many of those interviewed offered trenchant insight and correctly noted that the industry would begin to shift increasingly toward fiber and grain, warned against speculative production, and preached caution in regard to the selection and evaluation of hemp genetics.
Will Hemp Production Decrease Again in 2021? (March 3, 2021)
Just over two months into last year, Hemp Benchmarks outreach to state regulators and market participants indicated that nationwide hemp production would see its second consecutive year of fewer producers and contracting acreage.
The question posed by the article’s title would eventually be answered with a resounding “yes.” Hemp Benchmarks documented over 580,000 acres licensed for hemp production in 2019, a figure that decreased to roughly 430,000 in 2020. An even larger decline occurred in 2021, when only about 200,000 acres were registered for hemp production by U.S. farmers.
Based on data reported by individual state agriculture departments and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hemp Benchmarks estimates that the actual amount of acreage planted with hemp also shrank by roughly half from 2020 to 2021. As we reported last week, some are positing that 2022 may see a further pullback in hemp production, especially if the regulatory environment around CBD remains unchanged.
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