Hemp products saw total retail sales in the U.S. of $688 million in 2016, a rise of nearly 25% from the previous year, Vote Hemp reported this week.
Hemp is used in food, personal care products, auto parts, building parts, clothing, and other products, according to Vote Hemp, a Washington, D.C.-based group that works for the legalization of commercial hemp farming. Commercial hemp is a non-intoxicating variety of the Cannabis sativa plant.
Hemp use by category in 2016 included personal care, accounting for 24% of sales, food 19%, hemp-derived CBD 19%, industrial applications 18%, consumer textiles 14%, supplements 4%, and other consumer products 2%.
Vote Hemp reached the $688 million total by combining reports from retailers that disclose hemp product sales with estimates for such merchants as Whole Foods Market and Costco, firms that don’t share the sales data.
Virtually all the hemp used in the U.S. is imported due to federal laws against its cultivation here. A provision in the 2014 Farm Bill allows for some growing of hemp for research purposes by US universities and other approved growers. Thirty-two states have removed barriers to the production of industrial hemp.
Vote Hemp estimates 9,650 acres of hemp crops were planted in 15 states last year, while 30 universities conducted research on the crop, and 817 state hemp licenses were approved. Colorado accounted for about 60% of the 9,650 acres.
Market research firm Spins conducted the study for Vote Hemp.
Graphic by Vote Hemp and Hemp Business Journal.