The U.S. hemp industry saw some major, if unwelcome developments occur in 2023, while other much-anticipated milestones continued to be slow in coming. Overall, the CBD sector continued to face tough sledding last year, fiber production and related product manufacturing expanded slowly, and the U.S. hemp grain sector continues to be overshadowed by Canada’s longer-standing industry. Meanwhile, psychoactive cannabinoids derived from hemp continued to proliferate across the country and scored several wins in court regarding their legality.
Before diving into 2024, we take a look back on the articles that Hemp Benchmarks readers clicked on the most in 2023, along with some selected pieces that help fill out the picture of the last year in hemp.
1) Anticipating the Impact of the 2023 Farm Bill on the Hemp Industry (September 13, 2023)
Hemp industry insiders and regulatory experts offered their perspective on industry priorities and what might make it into the Farm Bill. Ultimately, however, Congress failed to even formulate drafts of the legislation that’s typically renewed every five years, instead extending the 2018 Farm Bill through the end of September 2024. Maybe they’ll do their jobs this year?
2) How Did Hemp CBD & THC Sales Kick Off 2023? (July 12, 2023)
Hemp Benchmarks monitors several publicly traded companies in the hemp-cannabinoid sector as a gauge on demand and other market fundamentals. Read the article to see how sales trends fared in the transition from 2022 to 2023. An overview of trends for 2023 as a whole can be found in our December Hemp Spot Price Index Report.
3) Beyond Delta-8 THC: A Deep Dive into the Hemp-Derived Cannabinoid Market (December 13, 2023)
Nearly four years after emerging from what some call a “loophole” in the 2018 Farm Bill, the hemp-cannabinoid sector – which manufactures and sells products such as delta-8 and delta-10 THC, HHC, CBN, and dozens more – is still going strong. Hemp Benchmarks spoke to Bret Worley, CEO of MCN Nutraceuticals, for perspective on the large and quickly-growing hemp-cannabinoid market. He provided detailed insight on supply and demand, as well as prices for various types of hemp-THC and other hemp-cannabinoid molecules.
4) Is Hemp Any Closer to Being Approved as Animal Feed? A 2023 Update (July 19, 2023)
What are the current policies in the United States regarding the use of hemp and hemp byproducts as feed for livestock and other animals? When we examined this issue nearly three years ago, it appeared that the nation’s agricultural sector was actively considering hemp as a new and important source of livestock feed and that stakeholders were poised to make progress on the issue. However, any movement towards the full approval of hemp products as livestock feed in the U.S. has been, at best, glacial. Read the article above for an update on where this issue stands heading into 2024.
5) Perspectives on the State of the Hemp Fiber Sector (November 8, 2023)
In both 2022 and 2023, fiber hemp boasted the most planted acreage of any hemp type. Although fiber hemp production is trending upward, those acreage totals remain miniscule relative to traditional staple crops. For example, 2023’s fiber hemp acreage constituted 0.01% of the almost 95 million acres planted with corn in 2023.
Still, hemp fiber market participants soldiered on, encouraged by increasing interest in and production of the crop. They are also hopeful for a more favorable regulatory environment in the wake of the new Farm Bill, which is expected to be finalized some time in 2024. This article includes interviews with two operators in the hemp fiber sector who provide an overview of the state of the market, along with challenges and opportunities they are currently facing.
FDA’s CBD Announcement Rankles Industry, Leaves Hemp-Cannabinoid Sector in Limbo (February 1, 2023)
Early last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dashed hopes that the agency would regulate CBD similar to dietary supplements. In a January 26 statement, FDA announced, “after careful review, the FDA has concluded that a new regulatory pathway for CBD is needed.” The statement added that the agency did not have the authority to develop the new pathway on its own, but it is prepared to work with Congress “on a new way forward.” The FDA’s definitive refusal to regulate CBD without further action from Congress led to anxious responses from some hemp advocates. Hemp Benchmarks spoke to attorneys who specialize in hemp-related regulatory issues about their concerns, as well as what might happen next for CBD.
The View from the Top: Officials in Major Hemp Producing States Provide Perspective on the Industry (May 17, 2023)
Hemp Benchmarks reached out to hemp program officials at several state agriculture departments around the country in regions where hemp production has a strong presence. We found optimism that the industry will continue to make gains, as well as the sentiment that the U.S. hemp sector’s toughest years may be behind us.
How South Dakota Became a Leader in Industrial Hemp Production (October 11, 2023)
In just its third year of hemp farming, South Dakota was the second-largest hemp producer in the United States, after only neighboring Montana. It did so in the midst of a tough market that’s seen hemp production contract across much of the country. In this article, we provide data on South Dakota hemp production and wholesale prices. An industry insider in the state also provided key insight into how and why hemp is on the rise in the northern plains.