Dreaming of an American Hemp Industry

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 14 2013 8:38 AM

Dreaming of an American Hemp Industry

A raw hemp and flax seed cracker topped with olive tapenade, shaved fennel slaw, and chive oil from Elizabeth's Gone Raw in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images for Girl Behind the Camera.

The United States is the world's leading consumer of hemp products—derived from the fibers of low-THC cannabis plants unsuitable for getting high—but while intoxicating marijuana is illegal almost everywhere, we're very unusual in not allowing any kind of hemp agriculture. Consequently, our hemp is overwhelmingly imported from Canada. But the United States has a lot of great agricultural land and a very productive agricultural sector, so now that many states are reforming their marijuana policies, proponents are hoping to bring hemp agriculture back to the United States.

To be clear, with total 2011 sales of $43 million, the hemp products market is not very large in the scheme of things. The total trade deficit for the United States in November was about $47 billion, so it's not as if reshoring hemp production is some kind of economic game changer. But at the same time, it seems like a total no-brainer as a policy reform.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Business Insider
Oct. 21 2014 11:27 AM There Is Now a Real-life Hoverboard You Can Preorder for $10,000
Oct. 21 2014 11:37 AM What Was It Like to Work at the Original Napster?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 11:34 AM Germans Really Are More Punctual. Just Ask Angela Merkel.
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.