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Hemp prolific in both licenses and uses

I know that hemp can be used for CBD oil to try to treat all these different maladies, but how much is it being used for other things? And is this as diverse of a market of growers as our legal marijuana market?

— Shelley

You might recall a few weeks ago, Shelley, when we reported the numbers of acres that this lucrative and newly legal crop takes up in Jackson County.

If not, though, here it is again: 8,578.9 acres. Josephine County comes next but trails us by almost half: 4,328 acres.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture, which regulates the non-high-inducing cannabis plant, lists the number of licensed growers at 378, which is almost 21 percent of all the growers in Oregon.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission regulates recreational marijuana licenses. Between wholesalers, producers, retailers, processors and laboratories in this county, we had almost 330 as of July.

A glut of legal marijuana — some now say the glut has dried up — left the state scrambling this year to control the supply, including restricting licenses. Gov. Kate Brown signed a law June 17 that gives OLCC discretion to refuse licenses.

Hemp can be used for an even more diverse range of products than marijuana. According to one 2018 Congressional study, it has more than 25,000 uses. Those products break into nine submarkets, including textiles, furniture, food, paper, beverages and more, the study found.

One Oregon company, Oregon CBD, told the Oregonian last month that he plans on trying to incorporate the terpenes from hemp plants into beer in the future.

CBD is by far the most popular use for today’s farmers.

For other uses, such as textiles, experts warn that the U.S., which saw its own textile mills gutted, would need time to create the infrastructure needed to turn an influx of crop into usable fabric.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.