This year looks to be a pivotal one for hemp, with the potential for greater legal certainty and more financial stability that could dramatically improve the market.

First, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are looking to finalize important hemp regulations. These regulations will allow for greater certainty by providing more permanent, uniform federal regulations on crucial issues such as the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) threshold for hemp crops.

Pending legislation also could ease regulatory burdens on the hemp industry. This legislation holds promise because, while Congress is deadlocked on many issues, hemp has bipartisan support.

The Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act of 2020, recently introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), addresses common industry concerns, such as the current 0.3% THC threshold, which the act proposes raising to 1%. There is also the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2020, which was introduced in September and would allow CBD (and potentially other non-intoxicating hemp derivatives) to be lawfully marketed as dietary supplements.

In addition to promising regulatory and legislative efforts, growers may see greater financial security in 2021. For example, a November report by Hemp Benchmarks shows hemp biomass prices stabilizing and possibly increasing after declining in 2020.

The incoming Biden Administration also holds great promise for hemp with its focus on climate change and sustainability. The crop’s environmental benefits, including the ability to absorb carbon dioxide and its limited water use, could make hemp even more valuable.

Meanwhile, we are happy to announce that Hemp Grower will be publishing monthly beginning with this issue. This allows us to provide even more coverage of the topics that matter to you in navigating the emerging hemp market. We will also be expanding our coverage of the business opportunities and challenges of growing hemp in response to the feedback you provided to our November reader survey.

Long-time contributor Jolene Hansen addresses these topics in the first of her two-part feature on lessons hemp farmers learned during their first few growing seasons. In this issue, she focuses on farmers’ business-related tips. In the February issue, she will provide their recommendations on cultivation best practices.

This issue’s cover story also highlights these topics as Colby Johnson and Jackee Beck, who are partners in both business and life, mix effective cultivation and business practices with advocacy to succeed while helping develop Montana’s hemp industry.

So, here’s to 2021! This year holds great promise for hemp, and we are looking forward to being with you every step of the way.