That’s prompting some growers to pivot to another type of cannabis to make ends meet — one that doesn’t come with a high.
Applications for state licenses to grow hemp — marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin — have increased more than twentyfold since 2015 and Oregon now ranks No. 2 behind Colorado among the 19 states with hemp cultivation.
The rapidly evolving market comes amid skyrocketing demand for a hemp-derived extract called cannabidiol oil, or CBD, that is seen by many as a health aid.
Like marijuana, CBD is still considered a controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
But eager farmers say in its purified distilled form, CBD oil can command thousands of dollars per kilogram.