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The 'Green Rush' In North America Is Leading To A Serious Boom In Farmland

More and more farmers are trying to jump into the hemp and marijuana business as industry sales continue to grow.

This story originally appeared on Marijuana Retail Report

While the coronavirus pandemic has caused the collapse of retail businesses across the globe, there is one thing people have been buying more of during months of lockdown: marijuana.

via Marijuana Retail Report

The legal cannabis industry set sales records across the United States and Canada over the past six months, according to cannabis analytics firm New Frontier Data, which partially attributed the market’s growth to the COVID-19 outbreak.

RELATED: Canada Makes Marijuana Farmers Eligible for Government Agriculture Programs

That lucrative revenue stream has caught the eye of cash-strapped local and state officials, but the surge in interest in cannabis has farmers and land experts worried about competition for the land needed to grow the plant.

In recent years, leasable farmland has been harder to come by “because cannabis farmers could pay so much more,” said Maud Powell, an associate professor in the Small Farms Program at Oregon State University.

RELATED: American Hemp Farmers May Prosper During The Pandemic

“It’s like a land grab … the green rush, they call it,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Top officials in at least three U.S. states have discussed the potential for the legalization of cannabis to create new revenue streams, said Erik Altieri, executive director of advocacy group NORML.