The Hemp-Derived Market: Too Big to Fail?

The Hemp-Derived Market: Too Big to Fail?

The recent Amendment 35 to the 2004 farm bill has sent shockwaves through the hemp-derived market, threatening to wipe out 90-95% of retail sales in the United States. While this news is undoubtedly alarming for those who have invested their livelihoods in the industry, it's essential to take a step back and analyze the situation objectively.

According to Whitney Economics, the total value of hemp-derived cannabinoids currently exceeds $28 billion, supporting the employment of 328,000 workers who collectively earn $13 billion in wages. The overall economic impact of the hemp-derived cannabinoid industry surpasses $79 billion. These figures are conservative estimates, as they do not account for the demand and employment generated by gas stations, grocery stores, and convenience stores.

To put this into perspective, let's consider the potential loss in sales tax revenue alone. With a conservative average sales tax of 5%, the elimination of this $28 billion industry would result in a staggering $1.4 billion loss in sales tax overnight. This begs the question: is it prudent for politicians to eradicate such a significant contributor to the economy?

The argument for banning hemp-derived products often centers around protecting children and teenagers from access. However, this reasoning echoes the situation faced in South Carolina, where businesses united to propose age restrictions rather than an outright ban. Implementing age limits of 18 to 21 for these products seems a more sensible approach than eliminating an entire industry and the livelihoods of over 300,000 individuals.

Furthermore, the farm bill encompasses a wide range of issues, from the expansion of SNAP benefits to the prohibition of purchasing seafood or poultry products from Russia or China for school lunch programs. With over 50 amendments, the hemp issue may be considered low-hanging fruit in comparison.

Ultimately, the hemp-derived market has become too significant to simply vanish overnight. As the industry continues to grow and contribute to the economy, it is crucial for stakeholders to come together and advocate for common-sense regulation and reform. By working collaboratively and proactively, we can shape the industry into something we can all be proud of, ensuring its long-term sustainability and success.

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