Industrial hemp industry feeling its growing pains
More than 80 Vermonters are now registered to grow industrial hemp this year, state officials said.
Hemp farming appears to be on the rise three years after legalization, Vermont Public Radio reported. But, there were some difficulties.
John Williamson, of State Line Farm in North Bennington, said that people stole large amounts of hemp last year thinking it was marijuana. Those men are now facing felony grand larceny charges.
Meanwhile, University of Vermont's agronomist Heather Darby says she planted another acre at the university's research farm after a challenging though successful harvest.
She said the inaugural hemp harvest taught her not to wait too long to harvest hemp.
Green Mountain CBD is growing 5 acres (2 hectares) of hemp on its Hardwick farm with a focus on the growing market for cannabidiol oil. That market, which includes products made from marijuana, is expected to grow to more than $2 billion by the year 2020.
"There's other farms that are growing it well," says Jacob Goldstein, the cofounder of Green Mountain CBD. "The challenge is to process it, market it, determine a brand for your products and get it out to the people."
The company has created a few wellpaying manufacturing jobs in Vermont and plans to soon invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in new equipment. Most of its sales are online, but it also has capsules in a hundred stores and pharmacies around the country.
The state's first annual hemp fest is set to take place at Burke Mountain on Sept. 9.