Current issues facing the hemp industry in the USA are helping to drive record signups for this spring’s NoCo Hemp Expo, set March 31-April 1 in Loveland, Colorado, organizers say.
“Some uncertainty in the current political realm is creating more interest than ever in the work we’re doing to teach people about and support industrial hemp,” said Expo Founder Morris Beegle.
Questions over CBD
The uncertainty primarily centers around the U.S. CBD market, which was roiled by a recently published U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) notice many interpreted as an Agency attempt at “banning” or “rescheduling” CBD.
“Hemp-derived cannabinoids have proven therapeutic and nutritional value and are not psychoactive. We’re paying a huge price because bureaucrats who don’t know the industry and its value lump hemp and marijuana – and all cannabinoids – together,” Beegle said.
“Those who represent us and refuse to acknowledge that threaten a myriad of businesses and jobs across the country, and deny hard-working U.S. citizens the significant opportunity to create jobs and revenue.”
Colorado-based Hoban Law Group and two hemp firms filed suit last month opposing the recent DEA notice, which would codify all cannabinoids derived from marijuana or hemp as Schedule I controlled substances, the parties say.
NoCo is sold out
Beegle said NoCo, in its fourth year, sold out all of its exhibition space in record time, reflecting a growing general interest in hemp in North America and around the world. This year’s NoCo Expo for the first time features a special “Global Hemp Village” section where international vendors will showcase their hemp products and services.
“Our event, and the hemp industry, have built tremendous momentum over the last few years,” Beegle said.
The U.S. consumes $580 million in products made from imported hemp annually, but regulations that make it challenging to grow and process the crop mean that jobs and revenue related to hemp production and processing go to the 30 countries that grow it without burdensome government regulations, Beegle noted. Hemp farmers in Canada are finding they get better return per acre than most any other commonly grown grain, he added.
“Where other nations are moving forward to support and expand growing this important crop, the U.S. seems to be moving backwards,” Beegle said.
CBDRx heads sponsor lineup
U.S.-based CBDRx returns to NoCo this year as presenting sponsor, while other key sponsors include: EnerHealth and Sub-Zero Extracts, Canna Pro Series, Hemp Biz Journal and Hoban Law Group. (Full list of sponsors).
In addition to the Global Hemp Village, NoCo features a Hemp Summit with a CannaPro Series (CPS) for attorneys, accountants and professional services; a Fashion Alley, an Artists & Activists Tent; workshops and demonstrations. Vendors will pack two exhibition halls over the two-day event.
A detailed formal agenda, complete with the lineup of this year’s speakers and panels, will be announced soon, organizers said.