Marijuana growers diversify with hemp amid CBD boom

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (AP) — An over-supply of legal marijuana has driven pot prices to record lows in Oregon.

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.