November 13, 2018

Hemp in the United States

A Case Study of Regulatory Path Dependence
  • Trey Malone

    Assistant Professor and Extension Economist, Michigan State University
  • Kevin Gomez

    Program Director, Creighton University Institute for Economic Inquiry

The Agricultural Act of 2014 allowed for federally funded research on hemp for the first time since 1937.  Since then, pro-hemp legislation has received increasingly bipartisan support, culminating with the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which would remove industrial hemp from its current Schedule 1 listing and allow hemp to be treated like any other agricultural commodity.  In part because of this legalization, hemp production in the United States has the potential to increase substantially.  This study describes what is known about the economic and regulatory considerations of U.S. hemp agriculture through the lens of path dependency.  Important questions remain regarding the legal and regulatory landscape of hemp and are further complicated by its current listing as a Schedule 1 Drug.