When the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its interim hemp regulations, much of the public reaction was centered around how it would affect those cultivating for CBD production. Yet, the hemp industry is much more diverse than CBD. While many of the CBD industry’s objections have been raised, some stakeholders warn that issues affecting hemp fiber producers have been often ignored.
Hemp Fiber vs. CBD
Bob Escher is the founder of the U.S. Hemp Building Association. An architect by trade, he has spent much of his career designing homes, entering the hemp industry in 2017. That same year, his Denver-based Escher Design Inc. built the first permitted structure made with hempcrete, a biocomposite material made of hemp hurds and lime.
His son, Alex Escher, is the founder of Hemp Hollow Consulting, a company dedicated to creating a network of farmer facing businesses and establishing a reliable, global supply chain for the green building sector. While the 2018 Farm Bill was an historic piece of legislation, the younger Escher said, both the Farm Bill and the subsequent USDA regulations fail to account for the diversity of industrial applications that hemp has to offer. “There’s no differentiation in the regulations of the CBD plant versus the fiber plant,” he explained. “In fact, the farm bill doesn’t mention CBD at any point. All of them are lumped together in the same regulatory framework.”