|A Tale of Two Countries: Hemp Farming|
|Topic||Supply and Demand/Equilibrium|
|Key Words||Price, Costs, Profitability, Demand, Income|
U.S. wheat farmers are worried. The price of spring wheat is $2.91 a bushel and, if a bumper crop transpires, the price could go lower. Costs are also rising, and farmers may be unable to plant in April.
The farmers are envious of Canadian farmers who can plant hemp, a non-intoxicating cousin of marijuana grown for its seed, oil, and fiber. Hemp is profitable, partly because it requires few pesticides. However, American farmers are prevented from growing it because it is identified with marijuana. The oil and clothes made from hemp are often sold in stores where drug paraphernalia is sold. However, planted hemp crops can be distinguished from marijuana by drug enforcement agencies, and, when hemp is grown in quantity, cross-pollination reduces the potency of any marijuana plants.
Tobacco farmers agree with the wheat farmers. They are faced with lower demand and much lower incomes this year. They could use their tobacco farming equipment to farm hemp. The crop could be used as bedding for cattle.
(Updated May 1, 1999)
|Source||Christopher S. Wren, "U.S. Farmers Covet a Crop That Policy on Drugs Forbids", The New York Times, April 1, 1999.|
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