Hemp is Booming in South Carolina

Categories:Hemp
Chief Smoke 'n Brew

The hemp business has exploded in South Carolina. Hemp is being heralded as the new cash crop for our great state, and it is already having a huge impact on the agriculture business, hemp product manufacturers, and stores like Smoke N Brew. We’re still behind some states like Kentucky that went all-in on hemp a bit earlier, but hemp in showing no signs of slowing down in South Carolina.

Hemp by the Numbers

The Post and Courier reports the acreage devoted to hemp farming has increased by 1,200%in just two years. The state is up to 113 permitted growers with an expected 3,300 acres of hemp planted this year. That’s a big increase over 2018’s 20 growers and 256 acres.

For comparison, Kentucky leads the region with 6,700 acres of hemp and over 1,000 approved growers last year. North Carolina and Tennessee also beat out South Carolina on hemp numbers in 2018, with 3,184 acres and 4,700 acres, respectively. These numbers show our state obviously has some room to grow, but signs are encouraging.

The Future of Hemp in the Palmetto State

South Carolina lawmakers look serious about making the state a competitor in the hemp market. The initial plan was for a very limited growing program. Initial laws for 2019 limited hemp growing to 40 permits, with each farmer allowed 40 acres of hemp. That limit was eliminated in March, opening up hemp permits to anyone who qualifies.

Industry insiders say CBD is the main driver of growth. Farmers recognize the popularity of CBD products and are favoring strains that produce CBD-rich flowers over those that would be suited for industrial textile and biofuel uses. Some long-time tobacco farmers are even shifting their land to hemp growing. Some farmers believe that CBD will eventually level off, but that hemp seed will become the next big commodity, competing with soybeans.

A National Perspective

South Carolina is one of 41 states that licensed hemp farming in 2018. A total of 80,000 acres of hemp were licensed last year, which was an increase over 2017. All signs across the country point towards hemp becoming a staple crop for farmers everywhere, regardless of whether they’re growing hemp for CBD product manufacturing, industrial purposes, or as food.

Hemp and CBD don’t show signs of slowing down either. New Frontier Data predicts CBD will growfrom a $390-million market in 2018 to $1.3 billion by 2022. Before the 2018 Farm Bill, the United States imported the vast majority of hemp, but that’s set to change as well, with the US predicted to make up 32% of the global hemp market by 2020.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you don’t own and operate a farm, these numbers might not mean much to you at first—but they do matter.

Increased hemp production means higher competition, more options, and (most likely) lower prices for consumers. Locally grown and manufactured hemp has a lower environmental impact than products imported from overseas. Opening up hemp farming to South Carolinians keeps money in our local economy, supporting local small businesses (like Smoke N Brew) as they try to make a name for themselves in the industry.

Hemp becoming a mainstream crop means more legitimacy for the industry and a better understanding of what consumers want. More hemp is never a bad thing and greater accessibility to the plant will hopefully lead to more research and higher quality products as time goes on.

We’re excited to be a part of South Carolina’s hemp boom and hope you’ll stop in some time to check out the great products available at Smoke N Brew in Greenville & Charleston SC.

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