What do you know about industrial hemp?
First things first: hemp is not marijuana. It is often confused with the psychoactive form of cannabis currently being used for recreational and medicinal purposes, but it’s very different in use, chemical makeup, and cultivation. It contains less than 1% of THC (the ingredient in marijuana that people use to get “high”).
Why is industrial hemp a good option for farmers? There are many opportunities for it to be a valuable crop in SC.
Industrial Hemp products in the United States account for a total of $620 million in annual retail sales. Unfortunately, the raw materials to make these products are imported to the US because industrial hemp is not yet approved to grow in the US.
Industrial Hemp is a rotational crop that’s environmentally friendly and can be a viable cash crop for farmers in South Carolina to diversify farms around the state. The crop prevents soil erosion, detoxifies the soil it grows in, and provides nutrients in the soil after harvest.
As a renewable source for raw materials, industrial hemp seeds and flowers are used in body care products, health foods, and nutraceuticals. The plant’s fibers and stalks are also used in construction materials and biofuels.
Several South Carolina lawmakers have rallied behind House Bill 3559 for industrial hemp cultivation. We appreciate their continued support of our farmers and urge them to move this bill forward.