Cash Crop: Will Hemp Eclipse Marijuana by 2020?


Farmers are all for this new brand of reefer madness as the cannabis market continues to grow, because hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) are occupying an increasingly large share of the escalating industry.

  • Hemp, the form of cannabis without psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is an important part of the cannabis market.
  • Hemp is common in many health and wellness products.
  • Total sales of hemp-derived products are expected to exceed $1 billion this year.
  • Some industry experts expect hemp products to soon exceed marijuana for their share of the cannabis industry.

Chuck Adams, the CEO of Frogsong Farm in the Willamette Valley, outside of Portland, Oregon, says scores of farmers in his area are now planting hemp. “They’re making 10 to 50 times as much per acre as they would if they planted wheat or onions,” he says. Adams says that on just 10 acres, one can easily grow hemp worth $25 million on the retail market, where a vial of CBD goes for as much as several hundred dollars. “It’s like a gold rush,” he says.

Yet, a key reasons why more farmers aren’t taking a seed-to-CBD approach is that a career in agriculture doesn’t equip them with the laboratory skills required to extract herbal compounds from plant material and transform them into a marketable product.

Those profit margins will be a flash in the pan for farmers,” Adams says. “That’s why we decided that if we’re going to do this, we’re going to grow it, extract it, turn it into products and sell them directly to consumers. I think it’s the only way that hemp will be sustainable.”

Read more about Frogsong Farm's Seed-to-CBD approach at Modern Farmer.