In April, 2016 Hemp & Company owners, Bill and Lorna attended the NOCO Hemp Expo in Loveland in North Colorado.
Going down there ( or up topographically) we expected an expo celebrating all the wonders of Industrial Hemp. The two day conference was surprising in its size, scope and quality. 3D printers were creating products from hemp polymer filament while farmers and growers were interacting with CBD (cannabidiol) companies, designers and manufacturers. A wide variety of industrial based hemp products from beer to balms were available everywhere to sample and buy.
Our line of Canadian made H&C Originals was well received and we hope next year to see lots more people dressed in our Hemp duds. A fashion show that ran like the history of hemp couture generated enthusiasm for our Gabriel Conroy designed Solstice dress pictured on the far left below. The creativity and beauty on the runway was inspirational.
Manufactured Industrial Hemp Products (including CBD content) are legal to sell everywhere in the U.S. There are only 14 states ( CA, CO, IN, KY, MA, MO, ND, OR, SC, TN, VT, VA, NC and WV.) where growing industrial hemp is permitted under state law. Federal Law trumps state law every time, so getting raw product across state lines is risky. As a result the processing of hemp fibre can happen only in the state where the hemp is grown or in an adjacent legal state. There are only a few decorticators in the western world ( KY, NC, France). Here's where the chicken and the egg come in.
Without a huge ready demand for hemp fibre, the capital investment for this technology is difficult to justify. Current aspirations include the use of hemp particle for polymer auto interiors. Plants grown for edible seed and CBD's tend to be smaller and bred for their seed yields and not prime decorticating materials. Without proven demand growing the high fibre crops is less practical. That's why we see campaigns like “Everyone in a Hemp Shirt by 2020”.
There are no prohibitions to growing industrial hemp in Canada. The only challenge is demand for fibre. The demand exists in the U.S. and there are no impediments to exporting Canadian grown decorticated hemp to America.
Sunstrands out of Kentucky plan to bring their portable decordicator to CANADA this fall to capture as much fibre as they can from the Canadian Industrial Hemp Harvest. This is good news for hemp farmers if they can find a market for it.
Here's the BIG thing we learned. Something huge is happening south of the border. The Americans have jumped ahead in the area of CBDs.
In Canada, CBD is a controlled substance, making it a legal challenge for residents to use. Currently under Canadian hemp licencing rules, farmers are prohibited from marketing the CBD rich part of the hemp plant which has the largest and most viable cash value.
In the US hemp farmers are cashing in big time- supplying an industry that is making products that people trust to assist with all kinds of chronic pain, inflammation and treatment side affects without experiencing the affects of THC. With a large and ready population of ageing Americans south of the border Canadian hemp farmers could have been supplying that demand already.
See also the video:
Our federal Government will be catching up with the real opportunity for hemp growers by reversing these rules when they put through the promised marijuana legalization bill next year. There's a legal advocacy team working on the CBD component. We met members of that team in Colorado and we're confident they will be successful.