Applications for hemp licenses continue to balloon across US

The number of applications to grow hemp received by states has continued to increase rapidly in the wake of the 2018 passage of the Farm Bill.

The West Virginia Agriculture Department reported that the number of licenses issued so far this year has more than tripled to 158, compared with 46 in 2018.

The agency said the amount of acreage farmers plan to use for cultivation also saw a steep increase, from 155 acres (63 hectares) last year to 1,532 acres (620 hectares) this year.

A change in state law will allow farmers to grow the plant in Illinois for the the first time in decades – and response in the Midwestern state has been strong.

Applications to grow and process hemp in Illinois opened Tuesday, and 295 applications to grow the plant on 7,100 acres (2,873 hectares) were filed that day.

Another 74 applications to process the harvested crop arrived.

– Associated Press