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Oregon farmers switch to hemp cultivation

Prices for legal marijuana in Oregon are falling fast, leading many farmers in the state to make the switch to hemp instead. Oregon farmers have cultivated more than one million pounds of cannabis in the past 12 months, 300 percent more than the state can toke through. With distributors stocked up with world-class cannabis, farmers are finding it very tough to shift their surplus.

With federal law stopping growers from exporting their cannabis out of state, there is speculation that much of the excess bud will simply have to be destroyed. Not even fellow legal states like California and Colorado can help with the oversupply. Therefore, with cannabis no longer the cash cow it once was in the Beaver State, farmers are taking advantage of the recent decriminalization of hemp in several states. Hemp has many uses, but in the cannabis industry it is used to make CBD products which are low in psychoactive THC.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular therapeutic cannabinoid derived from hemp and cannabis, as it doesn’t produce the intoxicating, psychoactive effects that THC does. The compound is most commonly used to make vape juices, edibles and concentrates, although users can smoke or vape the high-CBD bud as it is. Many self-medicate with CBD to manage chronic pain and inflammatory conditions, but the cannabinoid is also an integral part of modern epilepsy medication, often proving more effective than current pharmaceutical treatments.

Demand for hemp-derived CBD products has increased rapidly of late, since unlike marijuana-derived CBD products, these comply with federal and state law and can be shipped to all 50 states.

Hemp cultivation has been gradually increasing in Oregon for a while, but production spiked by more than 300 percent on 2016 levels last year. More than 350 cultivators are now licensed to grow hemp in Oregon, a rise from just 12 back in 2014.

The fast growth of Oregon’s hemp industry is largely thanks to the relaxed licensing regulations set by the state – there’s no limit to how many can apply or be approved for a license. The huge increase in suppliers has led to a remarkable drop in prices, with some dispensaries charging customers as little as $4 per gram of flower.

Much of the Oregon-grown flower is being used to make potent extracts, but no one is quite sure how much. This comes from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the body in charge of the recreational marijuana market in the state. However, an Associated Press investigation suggests that more than 350,000 pounds of cannabis extracts have been made with the excess flower.

Final thoughts

Many growers thought that the cannabis industry would be a goldmine – Oregon shows this isn’t always the case.

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