FILE - Hemp

A hemp field in summer.

With several states permitting their farmers to harvest hemp crops, producers in Texas are eager to grow the leafy specimen.

In South Texas, many farmers are pushing to farm hemp, which will make its statewide debut this year.

Hemp is a sister plant to marijuana in the cannabis family. While marijuana has higher concentrations of THC, the chemical that produces a high, there’s still some THC found in hemp.

The federal government removed hemp from the controlled substances list in 2018 and approved interstate transportation and shipment of the crop.

Last year, the Texas legislature approved a bill allowing farmers to grow hemp, with permits slated to be issued sometime this year after the U.S. Department of Agriculture signs off on the measure.

According to Texas Hemp Convention co-head Michael Gordon, Texas has 350 hemp-associated businesses currently in operation. Dallas will host the industry’s largest trade convention later this month.

“The hemp industry is growing,” Gordon told KTRH Radio in Houston. “The real opportunity is still on the horizon, with the Department of Ag yet to release their rules and regs, and the federal roll-out of legal hemp just coming.”

KTRH reported that the U.S. based CDB market could reach $2.75 billion this year, and that The Nielsen Company foresees hemp CBD-products standing in for traditional over-the-counter treatments for arthritis, sleep, and general pain in the next decade.

Hemp advocates believe that south Texas farmers are in need of more resources to grow hemp without too many liabilities. Montes said hemp could increase farm worker employment.