Being hemp so easy, sustainable and economic to grow, one would expect it to be much cheaper than it is at the moment. Why, therefore, is it so expensive compared to cotton?

Is it because of the scarce economy of scale in the current market?

4 Answers 4


Cotton industry produces hundreds of time more volume than the Hemp industry does.

  • Cotton: world production estimate is about 25 million tonnes.
  • Hemp: approximately 37000-45000 tonnes fiber - most of it used by the specialty paper's industry

It allows cotton industry to do huge Economies of scale, making the size of the primary intrans and transportation low in the final price. I guess economies of scale are largely linked with size of the market anyway.

Moreover, basic hemp clothes that were built back in the ages were rough. It must require more complicate processing to become smooth, and that would explain why it was abandoned and quickly replaced by cotton.

Also Consumers have to pay the price for thus new industry to start.

  • Sorry but these arguments don't wash. Hemp is at least 4 times cheaper to produce and it's by products are saleable also. The clothing made from hemp are at least Twice as expensive in the finished product to 10 times more expensive. The reasons given do not make sense?
    – user4643
    Jun 16, 2017 at 22:10
  • @user4643 In this Dutch article they mention the exact same reasons as in the above answer: 1) hemp costs 2 - 5 times as much to produce as cotton because of the small scale of production 2)) it is not yet possible to process hemp fibers with machines into a something that is as soft and thin as cotton fibers (it can be done, but only if you process by hand). Consequently machine-processed hemp cannot be used in existing spinning and weaving machines.
    – THelper
    May 13, 2019 at 9:42

Fed says inflation will rise but not fast enoughAs a hemp clothing retailer I can tell you that I mostly just get the product from the manufacturer and pay about 50% of what they sell it for. I dont mark it up to the full 100 though but nobody is really buying that stuff right now so in that way it is more of a novelty.

Because the manufacturer knows I will pay those prices, but their sales probably aren't as consistent as a corporate chain. Another thing is inflation, most economists agree that deflation is like the worst thing that can happen to the economy. But is it possible that the old bubble has to burst in order to begin the cycle of renewal? I don't always find the prices at the groccery store that sustainable either. For vegan living the portions and quality of the produce... sometimes I'd rather just grow my own.

The hemp brands which are made in the USA sustainably, fair trade and everything are $70 dollars for swim shorts these days but they're stitched together in the U.S. I've thought about making my own line of hemp clothing but I can assure you I have no experience and it wouldn't match the quality of Hempys goods.

Many Hemp companies will require additional revenue for lobbying efforts and court fees as well, everythings more expensive in California (designer fashion), and people feel entitled to the wages that will make the dream a reality. But with every industry too big to fail(jail) we have all these economists telling us the economy is doing good inflation is a good thing. For some maybe, idk about the middle class.

But much like natural treatment options for disease management, The main financial interests in our society just dont always align what's right with what's economical or "mainstream" I tried getting used to modern living only to find I had to return to a more plaeo frugivore lifestyle. The best things in life money just can't buy. I always wonder, if there was a Johnny Appleseed what on earth happened to all the apple trees?


Probably because it's currently more of a novelty. Until hemp use goes mainstream again the cost of production on a small scale will be higher than it would be on a larger scale.

  • This answer does not add much to the ones already given. Please don't repeat answers.
    – user2451
    Jul 21, 2017 at 18:06

What can you wear all your life? Then give to your son to wear the rest of his life? It is hemp trousers. Good hemp you may only need buy 2 outfits in your life. So you have a change to wear.

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