The world wide industry was reignited in the 1990’s, the iHemp industry has been slowly gaining pace. But this has recently been eclipsed by the medical markets.
Traditional markets for the stems were in the specialty papers (Bible, currency and rolling papers) and horse bedding. The seed was mainly used for bird seed.
But then the hippies got people interested in a vast range of other products and the potential is just starting to be realized.
The Worldwide market for iHemp products was up to a US$ billion last year and growing. The US food and cosmetic industry was 640 million alone and has had double digit growth in the USA for the last 10 years and that is set to continue.
Some companies in various countries, mainly in Europe are making parts of the production chain to decorticate the stems. They have been successful in combining the various processes into million dollar operations. Which are being used to supply the growing demand for fibre (composites, especially in the automotive industry ) and hurd in the construction industry.
In 2011 the worldwide cultivation was around 85,000 ha, 60,000 ha for fibre and 25,000 ha for seed mainly in China and Europe (and Canada for seed)
Where the recreational markets have been allowed to develop huge $ are involved. Just ask Colorado whose legal cannabis market turned over $US 750 Million in 2014, which increased to $996 Million in 2015, now there’s a billion dollar industry, providing a huge tax income which the state government has been set aside for specific projects.