Research into hemp cultivation and production to be ramped up in the US

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Research into hemp cultivation and production to be ramped up in the US
Research into Hemp cosmetics ingredients could soon be given a significant booster in the United States as new Federal laws are readied to bring the country in line with the rest of the industrialized world.

Currently hemp seed oil is used in a number of cosmetics products, mainly as an emollient and in skin care products for its anti-oxidant properties, but it has yet to become a mainstream ingredient.

That might be because the cultivation of Hemp for industrial applications - also including textiles, food products, fuel and building materials - is currently restricted in the U.S., while research into the area is also limited by current legislation.

Making the distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana

Critics say that this is because the US government and regulatory authorities have still not managed to make the full distinction between the types Cannabis plant that are grown for industrial purposes and that which is grown for marijuana.

The Cannabis Sativa plant is most widely cultivated for its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but for industrial applications, strains of Cannabis plants with very low levels of THC are only permitted by regulatory authorities.

In most developed countries worldwide, Cannabis plants with low levels of THC can be cultivated legally for hemp, with the United States currently being one of the few countries where significant restrictions still apply, according to the Hemp Industries Association.

New regulation set to revitalize hemp production

However, all of that could be set for change as an amendment to revitalize industrial hemp production was included in the Farm Bill that was presented last week and is excepted to be voted in by both the Senate and the House, soon.

The Bill, presented by senators Jared Polis, Thomas Massie and Earl Blumenauer, proposes a hemp cultivation project for hemp cultivation in 10 states, a move that should pave the way to bring the US in line with regulations worldwide.

"This is an important victory for farmers, manufacturers, and consumers in Kentucky and across the country,”​ said Massie, who is the Republican representative for the state of Kentucky.

“Our amendment paves the way for production of industrial hemp by first allowing America's academic and research institutions to demonstrate that hemp and the products derived from hemp present a great economic opportunity for our country."

Industrial production of hemp extended to 11 states in 2014

In the current legislative season new regulation governing industrial production of Hemp has been introduced in 11 states: Hawaii, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire,New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin

"With the U.S. hemp industry estimated at over $500 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal law to allow for colleges and universities to grow hemp for research would mean that we will finally begin to regain the knowledge that unfortunately has been lost over the past fifty years,"​ says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra.

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