The U.S. hemp industry grew from 3,933 acres planted in 2015 (primarily in 4 states) to 9,649 acres planted in 2016 (across 19 states). Acreage increased nearly 150% with Colorado, Kentucky and Oregon leading cultivation on a state by state basis.

Our analysts project North Carolina, California and Washington are “states to watch” in 2017 for rapid adoption and acres planted. Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, Vermont and Nevada are expected to lead cultivation in 2017 and with Colorado’s 61% share of the cultivation market reducing to 40% in 2017. Early estimates for 2017 project 17,000-21,000 acres of hemp will be planted across the United States.

By comparison, 81,500 acres of hemp were grown in Europe in 2016 representing an 8:1 advantage for the European continent verses the fledgling U.S. market.

HBJ is currently analyzing the Canadian market to compare North America to Europe. Initial estimates suggest 30,000-50,000 acres of hemp were grown in Canada. Further research and data collection is needed to establish final values for Canada and China.

There were 10 U.S. universities conducting hemp research in 2015, and there were 30 U.S. universities that studied hemp in 2016 under Section 7606 of the 2014 Federal Farm Bill. Research continues to advance on a national scale.

In 2015 states reported a combination of 538 “applications, registrations and licenses.” In 2016, states reported 817 licenses were issued, representing a 50%-75% increase in licensure from the year previous.

In total, the U.S. Hemp industry grew to $688 million in retail sales in 2016 and is projected to grow to a  $1.8 billion dollar market by 2020. Hemp Business Journal will publish more in-depth data and market analysis in its upcoming State of Hemp 2017 Market Report.

> More data charts on the U.S. hemp industry