Marijuana growers turning to hemp as CBD extract explodes


In this April 23, 2018 photo, a sign designates the type of crop grown in a field as it stands ready to plant another hemp crop for Big Top Farms near Sisters, Ore. A glut of legal marijuana has driven pot prices to rock-bottom levels in Oregon, and an increasing number of nervous growers are pivoting to another type of cannabis to make ends meethemp. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

By Gillian Flaccus | Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A glut of legal marijuana is driving Oregon pot prices to rock-bottom levels, prompting some nervous growers to start pivoting to another type of cannabis to make ends meet — one that doesn’t come with a high.

In this April 23, 2018 photo, a sign designates the type of crop grown in a field as it stands ready to plant another hemp crop for Big Top Farms near Sisters, Ore. A glut of legal marijuana has driven pot prices to rock-bottom levels in Oregon, and an increasing number of nervous growers are pivoting to another type of cannabis to make ends meet–hemp. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Applications for state licenses to grow hemp — marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin — have increased more than twentyfold since 2015, making Oregon No. 2 behind Colorado among the 19 states with active hemp cultivation. The rapidly evolving market comes amid skyrocketing demand for a hemp-derived extract called cannabidiol, or CBD, seen by many as a health aid.

In its purified distilled form, CBD oil commands thousands of dollars per kilogram, and farmers can make more than $100,000 an acre growing hemp plants to produce it. That distillate can also be converted into a crystallized form or powder.

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“Word on the street is everybody thinks hemp’s the new gold rush,” Jerrad McCord said, who grows marijuana in southern Oregon and just added 12 acres (5 hectares) of hemp. “This is a business. You’ve got to adapt, and you’ve got to be a problem-solver.”

It’s a problem few predicted when Oregon voters opened the door to legal marijuana four years ago.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

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