Justin’s note: President Trump has been an ally of the legal cannabis markets… He’s rolled back a bunch of restrictions and signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law. If you’ve been following the Dispatch – or any of Crisis Investing chief analyst Nick Giambruno’s work – you know this is a huge deal. Industrial hemp is legal at the federal level – for the first time in over 70 years.
But people still don’t grasp how big of a deal legal hemp is… or why it’s going to send a niche market soaring. Early investors have a huge opportunity in this space.
Read on for details on this money-making sector… and how you can profit.
By Nick Giambruno, chief analyst, Crisis Investing
In today’s essay, I’m going to show you another major milestone on the road to full cannabis legalization in the U.S.
It centers on one of America’s forgotten cash crops…
The applications for this crop greatly exceed those of regular cannabis. And the potential upside is almost impossible to calculate.
I’m talking about hemp, which is now legal for the first time in over 70 years after the government legalized it last year.
I’ll explain all the details about this big opportunity in a moment. But first, let me back up and explain what hemp is.
What Is Hemp?
Hemp and marijuana are from the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. They look similar, which leads to some confusion. But hemp and the type of cannabis that people smoke have different chemical compositions.
The cannabis plant contains over 100 different cannabinoids. These are chemical compounds that react with cannabinoid receptors in the nervous and immune systems.
The two most common cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Regular cannabis contains a lot of THC. That’s the chemical that gets you “high” when you ingest it.
Hemp, on the other hand, has almost no THC. It’s next to impossible to get high from smoking it. But it’s high in CBD, which has medicinal properties and no intoxicating effects.
CBD has been proven to help epileptics control and reduce the number of seizures they have. That’s according to two peer-reviewed studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet.
In December, I showed you the remarkable story of Charlotte Figi. After only one day of treatment using CBD oils, Charlotte went from having 40 seizures every day to going a week without one.
Charlotte is 12 now. She still takes daily CBD treatments. She still has some seizures. But they aren’t nearly as frequent or as severe as they were before she started her CBD treatments. Today, she can eat, walk, talk, and live a mostly normal life.
However, even with all of these incredible benefits, the feds don’t see the big picture…
Why the Feds Have It All Wrong
Even though hemp has next to no THC, it’s a strain of the cannabis plant.
That’s why the feds used to classify it – along with regular cannabis, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote – as a Schedule I substance, its most severe category.
Hemp’s former classification was patently ridiculous.
Even if you buy the argument that high-THC cannabis should be illegal – which I don’t – it made no sense to outlaw hemp as well. Nobody was getting high on hemp. But the CBD it contains is helping people like Charlotte Figi escape the hell of severe epilepsy.
Now, hemp wasn’t always illegal. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both cultivated it. And it used to be one of the main cash crops that American farmers grew for more than a century.
Congress treated hemp like any other agricultural commodity until it passed the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Cannabis prohibitionist Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics, drafted it. His bill put punitive taxes on hemp and cannabis production… and made it illegal to be in possession of either without a license.
The feds temporarily lifted these restrictions in 1942. At the time, the industrial fibers used to produce rope, cords, and cloth were in short supply. The feds wanted farmers to grow as much hemp as possible, in order to produce more of these materials and support the U.S. military in World War II.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture even produced a movie called Hemp for Victory explaining the benefits of hemp cultivation to farmers. It also highlighted the history of hemp and hemp products as well as the best hemp-growing practices.
Obviously, the government was aware of hemp’s industrial uses. But it reinstituted the effective prohibition of hemp after the war ended – despite its medical and non-medical applications. It was one of the most boneheaded things the government has ever done.
Growing hemp remained illegal for the next 70 or so years… until recently.
That’s because President Trump signed the Farm Bill into law this past December, which legalized hemp at the federal level. Now, hemp is treated as an agricultural commodity, not a Schedule I substance.
Today, there are an estimated 25,000 non-medical products that can be created from hemp. It can be used in food and beverages, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, clothing, textiles, paper, and insulation materials… to name just a few.
In fact, before legalization, nearly $700 million worth of hemp-based goods were already sold in the U.S. every year. These products were made with hemp imported from China and Canada… the latter of which legalized growing hemp in 1998.
It was one of those odd legal loopholes. You couldn’t grow hemp in the U.S., but you could import certain parts of the hemp plant that weren’t illegal. In other words, the U.S. was needlessly subsidizing foreigners… not exactly an “America First” deal, which is one reason why I suspect Trump legalized hemp and will eventually legalize cannabis outright.
How Big the Market for Legal Hemp Is in the U.S.
Americans already spend more than $700 million on products that contain hemp every year… See the graph below for the breakdown:
But that’s just a snapshot of where the market is right now. Now that hemp is legal, the market will truly explode.
It’s worth noting that the oracles at Whole Foods say hemp will be a “Top 10” product this year.
Drugmakers will be able to openly research other uses of CBD derived from hemp.
There’s no telling what medical treatments they’ll develop. What we can be sure of is that all of this will increase demand for CBD and the plant it’s extracted from – hemp.
How You Can Gain Exposure to Legal Hemp Stocks
Now that President Trump has legalized hemp at the federal level, the floodgates have opened for hemp production – as well as CBD oil extraction – on a massive industrial scale in the U.S.
I expect the CBD oil market to explode (recall that industrial hemp is used for its rich CBD content.)
Market research suggests that the U.S. CBD market was worth around $500 million last year.
But it could easily skyrocket to over $10 billion within the next three years. That’s 20 times its current size.
As impressive as that sounds, I think it’s probably conservative. Sales of Epidiolex, the CBD drug the FDA approved to treat epilepsy, are expected to reach $1.3 billion over a similar time frame. And that’s just one CBD product.
I think the U.S. CBD market could easily grow 20 times larger in the years ahead.
Shares of select publicly traded companies in the CBD industry could surge even higher.
This is presenting investors with another new, huge opportunity to profit from the legal cannabis megatrend. The time to position yourself is now.
You must remember to be cautious when investing in legal hemp and cannabis stocks. Some of them are quality companies. But there are also plenty of bad actors out there trying to ride a wave of the mania.
Chief Analyst, Crisis Investing
P.S. Only one CBD oil stock is uniquely positioned to ride the crest of this wealth wave. This is the most lucrative opportunity I have seen in a long time. That’s why watching my new video presentation is imperative. Go here to view now.
Do you think legal hemp is a good thing or a bad thing? Will you be investing in the sector, or sitting on the sidelines? Let us know at [email protected].
We at Casey Research…
Would like to cordially invite you to join Doug Casey, Nick Giambruno, and all of your favorite Casey Research gurus at the second annual Legacy Investment Summit.
It’ll be in southern California from September 23-25… and it’s bound to be one of the most exciting investing conferences this year.