Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Category: Hemp News

Waste Not, Want Not: Recycling Hemp & Cannabis Bio-Waste

As the hemp industry booms, it will inevitably product more waste. We looked at two startups recycling hemp and cannabis waste into useful products.

In a world of increasing pollution, two startups are trailblazing new techniques to reduce waste by recycling hemp.

The community based around hemp is famous for its holistic approach to life. Hemp advocates care about living cleanly, reducing their environmental impact, and trying to reduce waste as much as possible.

Industrial hemp is now fully legal in the United States thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. As a result, we can expect the hemp industry to grow and produce more waste. Companies like 9Fiber and Kindness 3D see this as an opportunity.

Previously, we reported on Sana Packaging, who use hemp to create sustainable packaging for the recreational cannabis industry. 9Fiber and Kindness 3D differ in that they’re recycling hemp and cannabis waste after it’s produced. They’re helping reduce pollution and helping their fellow human beings at the same time.

9FIBER: RECYCLING HEMP STALKS & FIBER INTO USEFUL PRODUCTS

9Fiber, based out of Silver Spring, Maryland are an agricultural technology company focused on recycling hemp stalk and stem waste. This startup takes hemp bio-waste that’s been put aside by other companies and processes it into raw materials that can be used to make a variety of products.

First, 9Fiber decontaminates any biowaste from federally illegal substances, removing the THC. Next, they process the waste further by removing fiber from the hurd, which is the woody core of the hemp plant. Then, the fiber undergoes final processing before it becomes usable for production. With the recycled fiber and gum-free hurd, 9Fiber is able to make paper, rope, textiles, fuel, bioplastics, fiberglass, hempcrete, and even livestock bedding.

In November, the Colorado Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program gave 9Fiber a $250,000 grant. The process to get the grant was a lengthy one, as many startups. With this new funding, 9Fiber plans to expand their operations into Pueblo, Colorado in late 2019. Hopefully, this grant can also help 9Fiber scale with the inevitable boom in hemp production. With the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, 9Fiber’s future is looking bright.

A cluster of stringy hemp fiber separated out from the rest of the plant, photographed against a plain white background. 9Fiber is recycling hemp by separating out the hemp fibers and woody core (hemp hurd). After processing, 9Fiber can reuse these materials in hemp plastic, hempcrete, animal bedding and more.

9Fiber is recycling hemp by separating out the hemp fibers and woody core (hemp hurd). After processing, 9Fiber can reuse these materials in hemp plastic, hempcrete, animal bedding and more.

Adin Alai, 9Fiber’s CEO, told us, “our main goal is to create an entire circular economy.”

While the hemp industry inevitably produces waste, companies like 9Fiber can use that waste to produce other products. Not only is Mr. Alai passionate about his startup, but he believes that the cannabis industry has the potential to be a leading zero-waste industry.

KINDNESS 3D PRINTS PROSTHETIC LIMBS FROM CANNABIS WASTE

Meanwhile, up north in Nova Scotia, Canada, a prosthetic limb production company recycles plastic waste from local psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) shops. After Canada legalized recreational use of marijuana, there has been a dramatic increase in plastic container waste. Based out of Halifax, Kindness 3D turns plastic packaging from psychoactive cannabis products into prosthetic limbs.

A student tries out a 3D-printed grabber hand at a school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kindness 3D takes plastic waste from recreational cannabis containers and turns them into prosthetic limbs.

A student tries out a 3D-printed grabber hand at a school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kindness 3D takes plastic waste from recreational cannabis containers and turns them into prosthetic limbs. (Photo: Kindness 3D Facebook)

Starting as a 3D printing enthusiast, Jake Boudreau started Kindness 3D after coming across templates for prosthetic limbs in an online 3D printing community. Since the creation of the non-profit, he’s been able to send hands to a girl in Costa Rica and a woman in Brazil. He aims to not only recycle reusable plastic waste, but to help people who can’t afford the expenses that come along with prosthetic limbs.

Donate to Boudreau’s GoFundMe and check out the Kindness3D Facebook page!

A GREENER FUTURE THROUGH RECYCLING HEMP

As industrial hemp and cannabis legalization spreads around the world, companies like 9Fiber and Kindness 3D fill an important niche. Efforts like these are vital for reducing hemp waste, and to increase the utility of the hemp plant. Hopefully, recycling hemp will become commonplace, and recycled hemp biomass products can become part of our everyday lives.

Hemp’s future is green, in more ways than one.

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Hemp By Mail: Recent Court Rulings Enable Mailing Industrial Hemp

Recent court rulings make it clear that it’s fully legal to send hemp by mail. We spoke with Courtney Moran of EARTH Law, LLCabout her court battles over shipping hemp.

Recent court rulings make it clear that it’s fully legal to send hemp by mail.

History has been made in recent weeks. With industrial hemp becoming federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, new rules and regulations surrounding the industry will begin to appear. Another important change? New rulings from the Judicial Officer and the Federal Court for the U.S. Postal Service now allow shipments of industrial hemp — specifically, hemp-derived CBD derived products — through USPS.

Courtney N. Moran, founding principal of EARTH Law, LLC, has vigorously fought multiple battles for these rights. Still, as can be expected, there remain problems and misunderstandings about legal hemp. And Moran will have to continue her battle until these issues are fully solved.

Point of view photo of a person mailing a cardboard box hands it off to a worker. Although there may continue to be court challenges, recent court rulings clearly establish a solid precedent making it legal to send hemp by mail.

Although there may continue to be court challenges, recent court rulings clearly establish a solid precedent making it legal to send hemp by mail.

We recently had the opportunity to have a conversation with Moran in which we sought to learn more about these battles, their resolutions, and what people can expect when attempting to ship hemp in the future.

THE LEGAL BATTLE OVER SENDING HEMP BY MAIL

After Moran received complaints from clients entailing how their hemp products weren’t being shipped to their respected destinations, she filed multiple cases. The goal of these cases was to establish a federal judicial precedent which:

  • Defines laws surrounding transportation of industrial hemp.
  • Clarifies the intent of Congress.
  • Halts misinformation and misinterpretations by the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Cases like the recent “KaB, LLC v. USPS” established these necessary precedents. In this case, USPS seized a package of CBD derived from a hemp agriculture pilot program with the excuse, “the parcel [was] emitting an odor of a controlled substance.”

When this case was brought to court, the question arose whether or not “CBD grown or cultivated from industrial hemp pursuant to a pilot program established by Congress under the Agriculture Act of 2014 is nonmailable as a Schedule I controlled substance.”

Moran’s argument was that the hemp was grown in compliance with an agricultural pilot program established under the 2014 Farm Bill. This hemp is exempt from control under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Therefore, the hemp is not a controlled substance and is allowed to be mailed.

There was a lot of legal back and forth. For though it’s confirmed legal to ship hemp in accordance with agriculture programs, there remains much confusion in postal service policy. At the end of the day, the entire country hasn’t woken up from decades of hemp prohibition. Solving this confusion ultimately lies in separating hemp from psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”).

A WIN FOR THE INDUSTRY

Ultimately, the court agreed with Moran’s argument about sending hemp by mail. She won a great leap forward for this industry with this important ruling. Here’s how she described her success:

“I’ve covered 16 cases with the Postal Service,” Moran explained. “All of them had been decided in our favor. And all of those folks either received their packages back already or they’ve gone on their way to be received from the recipient.”

Most recently, on December 11th, Moran won another case which added a new twist to this story. Up until that point, most of the cases she fought for were in regards to hemp-products or hemp-derived CBD. However, this particular case was focused around hemp seeds.

A pair of cupped hands holds a handful of hemp seeds. One of Courtney Moran's most recent court cases protected the right to send hemp seeds by mail.

One of Courtney Moran’s most recent court cases protected the right to send hemp seeds by mail.

Moran added:

“That’s what’s really thrilling about these cases. For the very first time, [we] have a judge upholding the intent of Congress versus the guidance that was put out by federal agencies and clearly reiterating agricultural hemp is exempted and not scheduled.”

PROBLEMS TO CONTINUE

Still, even though these cases establish a precedent for sending hemp by mail,  people shouldn’t expect all problems with the postal service to simply vanish. As mentioned, there’s still plenty of confusion in the public’s perspective. Until more people understand hemp’s legal status and its difference from psychoactive cannabis, cases such as these will continue to appear.

“The US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has law enforcement authority and capability,” Moran tells us. And the truth of the matter is, there are still plenty of people trying to ship illegal marijuana and hemp through the postal service.

With that in mind, Moran informs, “Only this agricultural pilot program hemp is lawful. So, let’s say somebody grew industrial hemp domestically but was not part of a pilot program and did not have their proper registration or license through their state’s authorizing agency — that would not be legal and not be compliant.”

And even for those who are legally growing and shipping it, the problems stem from those who continue to abuse the U.S. Postal Service in an illegal manner. Moran says that people attempting to send illegal products through the mail are causing harm to the people trying to do it right.

YOUR RIGHT TO SHIP HEMP IS DEFENDABLE IN COURT

Luckily, the postal service is developing a standard operating procedure which gives people the authority to legally ship hemp in advance. The goal is to prevent continuous court cases over hemp.

A USPS mail truck parked by the side of the road. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill and Courtney Moran's recent legal victories, the law will protect your right to send hemp by mail.

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill and Courtney Moran’s recent legal victories, the law will protect your right to send hemp by mail.

Furthermore, with the legalization of hemp just hitting the entire country, new rules and regulations are bound to arise. Just as with psychoactive cannabis legalization in various states, lawmakers are still figuring out how to make this all work. Back in July, California saw a complete shelving of CBD products due to new cannabis labeling regulations. This same uncertainty is almost certain to hit the hemp industry.

However, with people such as Moran defending hemp farmers and distributor alike, we can trust the fight for these rules and regulations will go in the right direction. In terms of this recent win, she proclaimed:

“We’re not intimidated and really look to the letter of the law. And made a very clear determination based on what the letter of the law says and the intent of Congress.”

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Hemp Supercapacitors Bring Green Tech To A Higher Level

Outperforming standard supercapacitors up to 200 percent, hemp-based supercapacitors could be the future of green technology. Hemp could be a key part of making our energy needs more sustainable.

Outperforming standard supercapacitors up to 200 percent, hemp-based supercapacitors could be the future of green technology.

At the Ministry of Hemp, we’re a little biased about our favorite plant in the world: hemp. But it seems like everyday we find newer and better ways that it can be used.

One innovation we recently discovered? Scientists discovered how to use hemp in supercapacitor electrodes. A supercapacitor is the lesser-known alternative to traditional electrical energy storage. Right now, a supercapacitor is the second best option for storing power, after batteries. However, more research could change that.

An illustration of a seemingly infinite number of batteries, with a small cluster rising above the others. A green colored battery is higher than the rest.

Supercapacitors could be the future of energy storage, and hemp supercapacitors could prove even more efficient than other materials.

Below we’ll introduce you to hemp supercapacitors and how hemp could play a part in our energy future.

WHAT’S A SUPERCAPACITY, ANYWAYS?

The most famous form of energy storage is the battery, an object that contains two opposing electrical terminals separated by electrolytes. When you turn on the power, a chemical reaction occurs between the electrolytes and electrodes, producing electric energy for your device. Since batteries rely on electrolyes, and electrolytes wear out, all batteries need to be replaced. In addition, batteries take a very long time to fully charge. Today, we use batteries everywhere; in our phones, laptops, and more recently, our cars.

Capacitors work very differently from the traditional battery. In short, a normal capacitor is comprised of two metal plates and an insulating material between the plates called a dielectric. In a capacitor, positive & negative build up on the plates. Rather than electrolytes, capacitors store electrical energy within the plates.

Supercapacitors on the other hand, are different for two ways. Their plates have a “bigger” surface area and the distance between the plates is much shorter. Supercapacitors are usually coated in a porous substance such as activated charcoal. These coatings are called the “supercapacitor electrodes.”  The electrodes serve as more storage on the plates, giving them more surface area to store electricity. Think of normal non-coated capacitors as mops; which can only absorb so much water, and supercapacitors as sponges, soaking up much more water than its surface area. The website Explain That Stuff published a great explanation of supercapacitors in August.

Unlike batteries, supercapacitors charge almost instantaneously and last much longer than batteries. Their biggest drawback, preventing them from being the popular choice, is the amount of energy that is able to be stored within them. Right now, supercapacitors only store a fraction of the power of a traditional battery, but scientists are working hard to find a way around this problem.

THE MIGHTY HEMP SUPERCAPACITOR

Today’s supercapacitors commonly use graphene, a carbon nanomaterial to create electrodes. But making graphene costs up to $2000 per gram.

In 2013, Researchers at the University of Alberta National Institute for Nanotechnology found a more economical material in hemp. These scientists discovered how to process raw hurds (the plant’s woody core) into activated carbons through hydrothermal processing and chemical activation. The final product is one that’s able to soak up more electricity, providing better energy capacity. The solution produces not only a cheaper material — $5000 per ton — but one that performs up to four times better than graphene. Better yet, the solution uses the hemp stems, the part that is often left unused during other forms of hemp processing. With this, the entire plant is used, and no part is left to waste!

A handful of dried hemp cores, looking a lot like wood chips. Hempcrete building material is one common use for hemp hurds or shivs, the woody core of the plant. Someday, they could be used in hemp supercapacitors too.

Hempcrete building material is one common use for hemp hurds or shivs, the woody core of the plant. Someday, hurds could be used in hemp supercapacitors too.

If this solution can be easily reproduced, it would affect far more than just the electronics industries. Supercapacitors represent a fundamental shift in energy storage. Imagine if every battery powered object used hemp powered instead! It would mean that hemp would be undeniable in its utilitarian value. Remaining anti-hemp governments would be hard-pressed to keep the plant banned from commercial use.

LEGAL HEMP MEANS MORE HEMP RESEARCH

With the passing of the Farm Bill — making industrial hemp a lawful agricultural commodity in the United States — hemp research is ready to take a big leap. Someday, we could be driving hemp-powered cars and using phones that are powered by hemp!

Not only will consumer products change with legal hemp, but if hemp supercapacitors are adapted to a larger scale, we might see a shift in the infrastructure of the entire country. The possibilities for this greener, cleaner, and sustainable crop seem limitless! With legal hemp, countless industries stand to benefit.

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Kit O’Connell On The 2018 Farm Bill, The FDA, & Nebraska Hemp Arrests

Ministry of Hemp Editor in Chief Kit O’Connell appeared on the CBD Talk Podcast to talk about the 2018 Farm Bill and other recent CBD news. Find CBD Talk on your favorite podcast apps!

Ministry of Hemp Editor in Chief Kit O’Connell spoke with Dawn Peacock, host of CBD Talk Podcast about recent hemp news in the U.S., including the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill, recently signed into law, fully legalizes industrial hemp in the United States.

While the Farm Bill represents a huge win for hemp advocates, there’s still more to do before hemp and CBD are fully accessible to everyone. A recent FDA statement about CBD’s legality after the Farm Bill has left people confused and concerned about the supplement’s future in the U.S. Dawn and Kit talk about what the memo really means, and why it could show the FDA is actually warming up to CBD.

In addition to the video above, this episode of CBD Talk is available as an audio file on Soundcloud:

Some of the links mentioned in the podcast:

CBD Talk is available on all your favorite podcast apps — give them a listen!

 

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Marc Grignon: Hemp Can Help Sustain Native Americans

When you begin to look into the fight for hemp legalization, you start to unearth stories you weren’t expecting to find. That’s exactly what happened when we talked with Marc Grignon and learned about the 2015 police raid on the Menominee hemp fields.

When you begin to look into the fight for hemp legalization, you start to unearth stories you weren’t expecting to find. That’s exactly what happened when we talked with Marc Grignon and learned about the 2015 police raid on the Menominee hemp fields.

Currently, Grignon is the spokesman for Hempstead Project Heart, which raises awareness about the benefits of hemp for everyone including tribal communities. Previously, he worked as  staff assistant for the Office of Native American Affairs under Obama’s Small Business Administration.

Grignon developed a passion for hemp as his tribe’s casino ambitions failed. For years now, the Menominee have been fighting for a way out of dependence on government assistance. For a way to provide their reservation with a sufficient income.

Grignon is one of the 8,700 members of the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin. Their history is believed to span back 10,000 years where they dominated 10 million acres of modern-day Wisconsin and the upper half of Michigan state.

John Trudell, wearing sunglasses, smiles at the camera. Hemp activist John Trudell co-founded Hempstead Project Heart with musician Willie Nelson, before passing leadership of the organization to Marc Grignon in his final days.

Hemp activist John Trudell co-founded Hempstead Project Heart with musician Willie Nelson, before passing leadership of the organization to Marc Grignon in his final days. (Photo: Tara Trudell, used with permission)

Despite the dramatic circumstances of the raid, Marc Grignon remains a steadfast advocate of hemp. We caught up with him recently to learn about how he got involved with hemp and how he believes hemp can help support Native American tribes.

OVER TIME, TRIBAL ATTITUDES TOWARD HEMP HAVE SOFTENED

It was during Grignon’s final semester at college when he began to look into his tribe’s background — studying the language and digging deep into their culture. As he went about this research, a piece of information “fell into my lap,” he told us.

The Menominee have a word called “Shaeqnap” and it means wild hemp. The definition talked about a plant that could grow anywhere from 5 to 8 feet high. The tribe used it for fiber, basket making, bowstrings, and so on and so forth.

Grignon was so fascinated by the discovery, he brought it to the Menominee Language and Culture Commission. They were less enthusiastic about his discovery. When he asked about shaeqnap, they simply insisted, “No. We never used cannabis.”

This was a bit of a blow to Grignon as he’s been a long-time hemp advocate. His goal has been to use the plant to provide the Menominee people with a stable source of income. Though not everyone agreed with this idea, Grignon held a determination which would prove to be worthwhile.

And over time, he said attitudes are shifting. “With the evidence we’ve brought to light, more Menominee cultural people see our future in hemp.”

PLANTING THE SEEDS: HOW MARC GRIGNON GREW HEMP WITH THE MENOMINEE

In the summer of 2015, Grignon was working on an Agricultural and Research Project through the College of Menominee Nation and his tribe. One particular day, a former legislature approached him and asked if he’d be interested in working with hemp. Since the Menominee had just passed a law allowing for the reservation to grow industrial hemp for the sake of research, Grignon was very interested.

Part of the reason for this law was due to the fact the Menominees were trying to get the legal paperwork to start a casino. They fought for twenty years only to have Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor at the time, kill the idea.

Grignon saw hemp as holding the possibility of being a “natural economic drive.” He recalled:

“So, I was brought on. We planted on July 7th, 2015. 3 acres. I was kind of in charge of monitoring the plants and taking care of them. I was on weed control and I’d go into the fields and pull them out by hand with other Menominees. That’s how I got into the whole thing.”

MENOMINEE HEMP FACED CONSTANT THREATS FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT

The Menominees took all legal precaution prior in order to make this happen. They informed law enforcement of their laws and the fact that they had plans to grow that cultivation season. However, upon hearing this, the feds felt the need to come out and see the fields.

“There were some strong words between the attorney and my tribal leaders,” Grignon remembers.

“The feds were like, ‘we want you to uproot this stuff.’ And we said, ‘No, man. We abided by our government to government relations where we told you we were gonna do it, we passed the law, we had our community’s input on this law, nobody has an issue with it, and now we’re gonna move forward with it.’”

A densely packed hemp field grows tall under a partly cloudy sky, a forest in the background of the field. Marc Grignon helped legalize hemp in Wisconsin after police raided a Menominee hemp field in 2015.

Marc Grignon helped legalize hemp in Wisconsin after police raided a Menominee hemp field in October 2015. (Photo: Marc Grignon)

Which is just what Grignon did. Nearly three months went by. He and the Menominees continued tending their 3 acres of hemp. Throughout this time, law enforcement sustained their efforts to stop the tribe from cultivating these crops.

OCTOBER 23, 2015: POLICE RAID MENOMINEE HEMP FIELDS

In fact, the tribe had a strong suspicion that they would be raided. Even though they followed all rules and regulations, Grignon says, “It’s a real cluster-fuck when it comes to federal Indian policy and federal Indian laws.”

On October 23rd, just when everything was in full bloom, Grignon drove to the fields to find police dressed in camo, fully armed with automatic weapons. He stood and watched as a bulldozer destroyed all his hard work.

Not only was this a giant blow to the operation, but it was an even bigger blow for the next season’s grow. For those plants contained the seeds the Menominees hoped to plant the following year.

Though Grignon was deeply upset, he wasn’t discouraged. In fact, in the months prior — when the Menominees were anticipating the raid — Grignon had reached out to an activist that would not only change his life but hemp’s future in the state of Wisconsin.

MARC GRIGNON’S HEMP ADVOCACY CONTINUES AFTER MENOMINEE HEMP RAID

This certain someone was John Trudell, a Native American author and political activist. Grignon reached out to Trudell in hopes of saving his 2015 harvest. Less than two weeks after feds destroyed it, he received a call from Hempstead Project Heart in which they wanted to carry out an education campaign.

When Trudell found out about the feds destroying the Menominee’s fields, he was very upset.

“He wanted to set up a legal defense fund and do whatever in his power to help us,” Grignon said. “And we took his help. But two weeks later, his cancer spread and he was taken into hospice.”

Grignon had gotten a phone call explaining this and how Trudell wanted to hire him onto Hempstead Project. Being that Trudell had been an idol of Grignon for most of his life, he felt the need to meet the man. Purely for the sake of discovering what the future held for both hemp and Native American culture.

“I flew out there and met him and he basically told me my reputation was on the line,” Grignon explains.

“When we talk about how screwed Indian country is and how dependent we are on the government, I look at hemp and I see a solution.”

“[He said] if I couldn’t get hemp legal in Wisconsin within a year then I wasn’t the person I say I am … everyone will tell you he’s the most intense individual you’ll ever speak to. And they’re absolutely correct.”

Trudell’s perspective on hemp was that “it couldn’t save us, but it could help us.”

Grignon admits he wasn’t able to make Trudell’s wish come true alone nor within a year. However, with the help of a coalition, he made hemp legal in Wisconsin.

CAN HEMP HELP BRING PROSPERITY TO INDIAN COUNTRY?

During Grignon’s time as a staff assistant for the Obama administratio, he saw many real problems he hopes to solve with hemp. This was during one of the previous times the government didn’t sustain proper funding and, in turn, partially shut down for a period of time.

Grignon saw how this affected Native American tribes who weren’t making big bucks off casinos. He knew those tribes depended on government grants. Not only does Grignon not agree with this, but it frightens him to think the Menominees can lose the ability to finance themselves whenever the government shuts down.

Grignon sees hemp as a way for the Menominees to financially sustain themselves. As a source of sustainable profit which may just bring the tribe back to their original roots.

“When we talk about how screwed Indian country is and how dependent we are on the government, I look at hemp and I see a solution.”

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UPDATE: Drug Charges Against Nebraska CBD Shop Owners Dropped

Last week, police raided a Nebraska CBD shop and arrested the owners. Now co-owners Heather Beguin and her son Dreyson Beguin face felony charges. Despite hemp’s recent legalization, police inside CBD is a “controlled substance.”

Update JANUARY 14, 2019: The state dropped all criminal charges against the Beguins. Charges were dropped “without prejudice,” meaning the state could choose to reintroduce them again at a later date. 

“We are thankful the development,” said attorney Maren Chaloupka in an emailed statement. Chaloupka, from the Scottsbluff-based firm Chaloupka, Holyoke, Snyder, Chaloupka & Longoria, represented the Beguin’s in the case, thanks to the financial assistance of CBD vendors Medterra. Chaloupka told us:

“The Beguins want to provide a homeopathic alternative that is drug-free, to help customers avoid addictive pharmaceuticals. We hope that the Nebraska Legislature will clarify that products that don’t contain THC and don’t get the user high are not illegal, and that the small businesses offering those products are not criminals.”

Update DECEMBER 26, 2018: A second Nebraska CBD shop, located in Bellevue, Nebraska, just south of Omaha, is now under threat from authorities. Though the American Shaman store operated without issue for the past 3 months, police gave owners 2 weeks to close down or face legal action. We’ll continue to update this article as this situation develops.

Last week, police raided a Nebraska CBD shop and arrested the owners.

KB Natural Alternatives, a CBD store in the small city of Scottsbluff, was only open for a day when about a dozen officers arrived to shut them down, according to owners Heather Beguin and her son Dreyson. Now, the pair face felony drug charges. Police accuse them of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to sell it to the public.

The arrests occurred just days before the December 20, 2018 passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which fully removed hemp and all hemp-derived substances like CBD from the Controlled Substances Act.

The Beguins’ store sold products by Medterra, a well-known CBD company that creates products from legal industrial hemp. Medterra’s products are rigorously tested to show that they don’t contain illegal amounts of THC, the active ingredient in psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) which makes people feel high.

In an email, Medterra leadership told us they’re standing by the Beguins and will cover the pair’s legal expenses.

“As a company, Medterra stands behind the legality of our products and our partners right to sell it,” wrote Jay Hartenbach, Medterra’s CEO. “The CBD industry is one of compassion and we fully intend to support our partners as they help us raise awareness to those in need.”

Dreyson and Heather Beguin pose in front of their Scottsbluff, Nebraska CBD shop. Dreyson and his mother Heather Beguin, co-owners of a Nebraska CBD shop, now face felony charges. Police claim that CBD is a "controlled substance."

Dreyson (left) and his mother Heather Beguin, co-owners of a Nebraska CBD shop, previously faced felony charges. Police claimed that CBD is a “controlled substance.” (Photo credit: Beguin family)

Despite this welcome assistance, the Beguins are still struggling with the emotional, physical, financial and legal consequences of their arrests.

“I know and believe in what we’re doing, but this has set me and my body back after I worked so hard to recover,” said a distraught-sounding Heather, when we spoke by phone.

SHOP OWNER DISCOVERED CBD AFTER CAR WRECK

Heather discovered the benefits of CBD in the painful aftermath of a July 2018 car accident. As a recovering opiate addict, she wanted to avoid using the pain medication doctors prescribed after the wreck.

“I wasn’t really thrilled about putting [opiates] back into my body because of the risk that maybe I still like that feeling.”

Trying to “tough it out” through the pain only slowed her healing, however. Dreyson, who was living in Florida at the time, suggested CBD.

“If you can’t rest, you can’t heal,” she recalled Dreyson telling her. After she found that topical CBD helped ease her lingering pain and inflammation, she wanted to find a way to share CBD with others. Soon, Dreyson moved back home to Scottsbluff to help her open KB Natural Alternatives.

NEBRASKA CBD SHOP ARRESTS HIGHLIGHT COMPLEXITIES OF US HEMP LAWS

Scottsbluff is a city of about 15,000 people, about 450 miles west of Omaha. At the same time as police were handcuffing the Beguins in Nebraska, people were freely smoking legal recreational cannabis just over two hours away in Colorado without fear of legal reprisal. In Austin, Texas, where this reporter lives, you can buy similar CBD oil supplements at Whole Foods’ flagship store.

This isn’t the first time that police launched a crackdown on a local CBD business selling otherwise legal products. During the summer of 2017, state police raided 57 stores selling CBD products in Indiana. In March of this year, Indiana passed a new state law clarifying that CBD oil supplements are legal.

 “I just hope our public officials learn from the other states that hemp is clearly different from marijuana.”

The timing of the Nebraska CBD shop arrests makes the severe treatment faced by the Beguins even more shocking. On December 13, a full week before the President signed the Farm Bill, the Alabama state Attorney General announced they would back down from threats to prosecute CBD vendors. Today, Michigan legislators passed a pair of bills supporting hemp, one of which clearly affirms the legality of CBD oil products.

In an interview with local news, Gunhee Park, an Omaha hemp entrepreneur, called the arrests “sad” and suggested Nebraska police and politicians should follow other states’ examples.

“I just hope our public officials learn from the other states that hemp is clearly different from marijuana,” Park told KETV anchor David Earl.

(Ministry of Hemp launched in 2014 with the help of Park’s Libertas Ventures LLC.)

Photo shows the roof and part of the light bar on a police cruiser, against a blurry urban background. Medterra CBD offered legal and financial assistance to Nebraska CBD shop owners Heather and Dreyson Beguin after their arrest. A friend also created a crowdfunding site to support the family.

Medterra CBD offered legal and financial assistance to Nebraska CBD shop owners Heather and Dreyson Beguin after their arrest. A friend also created a crowdfunding site to support the family.

POLICE RAID LEAVES NEBRASKA CBD SHOP OWNERS TRAUMATIZED

The Beguins knew opening KB Natural Alternatives posed a legal risk, but neither expected police to respond with arrests or felony charges. Heather said she even knows of people in Scottsbluff selling CBD online.

Before opening, Heather and Dreyson visited the local police chief. The pair brought along a sample of Medterra’s CBD products and lab tests proving that Medterra is free from illegal THC. Though the chief insisted CBD is illegal in Nebraska, he refused when Heather offered to leave the products behind. Now, the pair are facing felony charges for possessing the same supplements.

KB Natural Alternatives opened on December 13. The following afternoon, police arrived in force, arresting both owners. Police even detained and interrogated Heather’s friend that was visiting the shop. Officers refused to show the Beguin’s a search warrant, then spent hours coming through the shop.

Heather was bonded out of jail after just a few hours, because her mother and Heather’s youngest son unexpectedly dropped by the store to find police there instead of Heather and Dreyson. The younger son had a “bad feeling” that led them to check on his mother.

“We’re a very connected family,” Heather said. “We’re very close.”

The family couldn’t afford to do the same for Dreyson, so he spent the weekend in jail. He wasn’t released until late afternoon on Monday.

Dreyson and Heather were clearly shaken by their experience. Both sounded near tears at various points during our phone conversation. Though Dreyson said spending the weekend in jail was hard, he sounded more upset about seeing his mother arrested.

Even after just one day of business, other Scottsbluff residents worry about losing access to CBD.

“I have customers calling me crying, texting me,” Heather said.

MEDTERRA OFFERS LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO NEBRASKA CBD SHOP OWNERS

We interviewed Heather and Dreyson Beguin on Wednesday, December 19. By Thursday, Medterra had been in touch to offer their support.

“We started this company to create products that help our friends and family, Medterra cofounder J.P. Larsen told us. “Our core value of helping people will always be our number one priority.”

Hartenbach told us he was helping the Beguin family find an attorney, and that Medterra would cover their attorney fees. Larsen seemed confident that they would win the case. Both legal precedent and the newly passed Farm Bill are on their side.

“We feel way more confident now, just the humiliation is taking a toll.”

“The Beguins took every step possible to ensure that they were selling Federally-compliant and quality CBD products,” Larsen wrote. “We hope that this case, such as many others, will be dismissed once the proper facts are conveyed.”

Reached today by Facebook messenger, Heather said she feels relieved.

“We feel way more confident now, just the humiliation is taking a toll.”

WILL NEBRASKA EMBRACE A HEMPY FUTURE, OR REMAIN STUCK IN THE PAST?

Nebraska officials seem unmoved by the landmark hemp legalization signed into law this week, at least according to Suzanne Gage, spokesperson for Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson.

“Unless amended by the Nebraska Legislature, all CBD products in Nebraska are still illegal under the Nebraska Uniformed Controlled Substance Act,” Gage told KETV. “The recently passed Farm Bill did not alter existing Nebraska law on this issue at this point in time.”

Statements like these make Gunhee Park afraid that his state is going to miss out on a billion dollar industry, along with hemp’s numerous other benefits.

“For our state to so staunchly say no, especially being an agricultural state, is confounding.”

Although Medterra is stepping up to support the Beguins, they’ll still have numerous additional expenses to deal with in the aftermath of their arrests and the closure of their business.

A close friend, Melinda Walsh, established a GoFundMe fundraiser to support Heather and Dreyson Beguin. Ministry of Hemp donated, and we encourage our readers and others in the hemp industry to help out if they can.

Both Heather and Dreyson will return to court later this month for preliminary court hearings. We’ll continue to update this story as it develops.

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Bees Love Hemp: 23 Species Of Bees Attracted To Colorado Hemp

With bee populations dwindling worldwide, hemp presents a tantalizing possibility. A graduate student studied bees in a University of Colorado hemp field, and the results are intriguing.

Preliminary research suggests bees love hemp, creating the potential that hemp could help save the bees.

According to Greenpeace, there’s been an alarming decline in bee populations since the 1990s. The main causes seem to be bee-killing pesticides often used for industrial agriculture. Though there’s lots of speculation on how to solve the issue, a recent study has found that hemp might offer a prominent source of pollen for bees.

Colton O’Brien, an entomology student at Colorado State University’s Graduate School, got involved with two experimental hemp plots. O’Brien was lucky enough to have access to the fields during the first year’s experiments as they were originally kept in secret.

He recalled the first time he stepped onto the university’s hemp fields, he became overwhelmed by “lots and lots of buzzing.”

STUDYING BEES AND HEMP

A lightbulb struck within O’Brien as he became aware that bees were using hemp, that they “find it attractive.” What O’Brien wanted to know was how hemp fields contributed to the ecosystems of these bees.

A closeup of a swarm of dozens of honeybees. Do bees love hemp? Preliminary research found 23 different bee species were attracted to Colorado hemp fields.

Do bees love hemp? Preliminary research found 23 different bee species were attracted to Colorado hemp fields.

“I had asked if I could set up a couple of traps while [the hemp] was in full bloom,” O’Brien tells us, in regards to the second year of these experimental plots. “And I happened to know a couple of folks in the hemp lab and they said sure.”

Since O’Brien works out of a Pollination Biology lab at his university, his main interest for these traps was finding out what bees are attracted to the pollen given off by hemp.

With the traps, they were able to confirm that the bees were collecting pollen from hemp. This is vital as it’s been determined without pollinators like bees, much of the world’s food supply is at risk. In fact, without bees pollinating in general, about one-third of the food we know today would vanish.

THESE BEES LOVE HEMP: 23 OF 66 COLORADO BEE SPECIES ATTRACTED TO HEMP

Colorado is home to 66 unique bee species. O’Brien found that 23 of these 66 gravitated towards the hemp fields and fell into his trap. Though he can’t be certain, O’Brien believes these are the first experiments studying bees within a cannabis field.

“We found bees not only utilizing the pollen, but we also found parasites of certain bees,” O’Brien explains. “Like parasites of digger bees and sunflower bees. And even though they might not have been taken pollen directly from hemp, they were utilizing what the other bees were bringing in.”

O’Brien makes it clear he believes the hemp fields created “the dynamics of an ecosystem” which might not have existed without the cannabis plant.

A close up photo of bees crawling on honeycomb. Many questions remain about how bees and hemp interact, including whether the plant's naturally occurring chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, have any effect on the insects.

Many questions remain about how bees and hemp interact, including whether the plant’s naturally occurring chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, have any effect on the insects.

There still isn’t enough research to be certain as to what hemp pollen does for bees. For example, we don’t yet know whether hemp pollen will be a good source of nutrients to bee larva. All O’Brien can confirm is there weren’t many other plants within the area of these hemp plots producing pollen.

BEES LOVE HEMP, BUT RESEARCH IS JUST BEGINNING

Upon reaching out to O’Brien, he informed us his manuscript was still undergoing a review process. Due to this, he wasn’t able to share all the results he believes he may have found. However, he also admits this was a very baseline experiment.

“I think there’s a lot of questions that have opened up from this. Like, what is potentially the nutritional value of hemp pollen to bees? I understand hemp only contains 0.3% THC, but how does that affect a tiny, tiny organism? Is it the same standard?”

The cannabis plant contains dozens of naturally occurring compounds, or cannabinoids, many of which seem to have distinct effects on humans (and potentially bees as well).

Starting with these questions, O’Brien hopes to conduct more studies on the matter during the 2019 cultivation season. He also hopes that crop scientists creating pest-control strategies for hemp will keep the safety of bees in mind.

With all this in mind, it’s clear there’s still a lot to learn about hemp and its potential environmental benefits.

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Investing In Hemp Stocks: Getting Started With Hemp & Cannabis Stocks

After years of stigma around cannabis, suddenly people are talking openly about investing in hemp stocks. We offer some tips for getting started in this volatile, exciting market.

After years of stigma around cannabis, suddenly people are talking openly about investing in hemp stocks.

A couple weeks back, we overheard a local UPS driver shared how his wife just got her medical marijuana card and that he’s been putting money into cannabis stocks and was making a killing. After hearing about the driver’s huge success, two thoughts came to mind. The first was how cool it was talking so casually about cannabis and marijuana stocks, second was how do we get in on this?

Almost immediately, the writer perused some popular marijuana stocks and learned that many investors were in fact making money hand over fist buying marijuana stocks, but not everyone was. The cannabis market as a whole is extremely volatile, which means it’s very easy to quickly make and lose money.

However, this doesn’t mean one should shy away from these stocks. Ask a stock broker and they will most likely tell you that a diverse portfolio of mixed stocks performs best on average. Meaning, it’s about risk tolerance and balance and volatile cannabis stocks should be a small part of a stock portfolio, not the other way around.

The Wall Street road sign in New York City, New York. In this article, we lay out some basics of investing in hemp stocks. Be careful: We're not investment experts, and can only get you started doing your own research!

In this article, we lay out some basics of investing in hemp stocks. Be careful: We’re not investment experts, and can only get you started doing your own research!

In this article we’re going to share some “hot stocks” in the marketplace, including details on our UPS driver’s stock and share some important market information, as well as things to look out for should one decide to invest. Remember, all investments carry risk and investors need to weigh any and all risks before investing in the stock market.

INVESTING IN HEMP STOCKS: UNDERSTANDING CANNABIS MARKETS

To start, it’s important to first take a look at the entire cannabis market as a whole. This can help answer some very basic questions for investors. For example, is the industry moving in the right direction? Are certain industry sectors doing better than others? Is one more risky than another? Of course, these are just a few questions one should be asking, there are many more.

Let’s take a look at the cannabis market information as reported by Grandview ResearchIn 2016 the U.S. Legal marijuana market size was estimated at 7.06 billion and expected to grow at CAGR of 24.9 percent from 2017 to 2025. Globally the industry is expected to reach $32billion.

Of the two marijuana segments, medical marijuana was the largest segment and estimated to be valued at USD 100.03 billion by 2025.

When it came to products, the marijuana buds segment was estimated to be the dominant type and is estimated to be valued at USD $82.9 billion by 2025.

Cannabis Industry Sectors

Marijuana sector breakdowns were not easy to come by and choices were few. Of all the ones perused, Bloomberg’s chart was the most detailed. Even though these numbers are a few years old and market share has probably shifted some, most likely it hasn’t changed enough to significantly change the order.

    1. Pharma/Research USD $1.5b
    2. Producer USD $645m
    3. Consumer USD $302m
    4. Real Estate USD $216m
    5. Consulting USD $170m
    6. Tech USD $162m
    7. Industrials USD $54m

LOOKING AT CANNABIS STOCK INDICES

We’ve all heard of the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 stock indices. These major stock indices consist of groups of stocks whose combined daily performance is an indicator of how a market is doing without having to track individual stocks. According to Investopedia, “investors and other market participants use indexes to track the performance of the stock market.”

Cannabis stocks have their own stock indexes and there are plenty to choose from. Each index will have their own set of guidelines outlining the requirements a company must meet in order to be listed on that particular index. Below are three major cannabis indices.

Global Cannabis Stock Index (GCSI)

GCSI has been in existence since 2013 and they represent the overall publicly traded market for the medical and legal marijuana sector. There are currently 61 cannabis related companies listed on the index and is rebalanced every quarter.  The last rebalance took place in September and each stock was required to have an average daily trading value in excess of $600,000 and a minimum price of at least $0.25 (10-day average). Lastly, Canadian and Australian companies must have a U.S. listing in order to be included in the index.

North American Marijuana Index (NAMI)

The NAMI tracks leading stocks in the legal cannabis industry in the United States and Canada.  The North American Marijuana Index is broken down by 2 sub-indices: The U.S. Marijuana Index and the Canadian Marijuana Index.  Where a company is primarily operating determines which sub-index they’ll be listed.

The NAMI began on January 2, 2015 with an inception of 100 points.  Both indices are rebalanced quarterly on the last day of March, June, September, and December of each year.

To be included, companies must meet minimum trading requirements. They must have a market capitalization of $80 million, daily trading volume of $2million and a share price of at least $1.00. Companies with $5 million of revenues over the prior years are exempt from the above trading requirements.

The Green Market Report Index

This is the newest of the cannabis indices. The Green Market Report Index officially launched January 31, 2018.  This index consists of 30 stocks selected based on market capitalization, revenue production, plus high standards of company operations. They focus solely on pure cannabis companies with a rebalance review each quarter.

HOW TO INVEST IN HEMP

Now before you go calling your local stockbroker, it’s important to remember that while some investors make money buying cannabis stocks, many others do not. As with any investing, it’s important that you do your own research. The Motley Fool recently published an article on investing in marijuana stocks. Below is a synapsis of some key points.

Understand The Different Markets

There are basically two markets when it comes to cannabis: medical and recreational marijuana.  Medical marijuana is legal in 30 U.S. states and recreational legal in nine states. One of the most commonly used medical marijuana products is cannabidiol (CBD).

Know the marketplace you want to invest in

When it comes to cannabis, there are three type of cannabis stocks

  1. Marijuana growers — These companies cultivate, harvest and distribute to the end customer.
  2. Cannabis biotech’s — These companies focus on developing cannabinoid drugs.
  3. Providers or ancillary products and services — These companies provide products and services to growers, such as; lighting, hydroponic systems, etc.

Understand the risks and what you’re willing to lose

For cannabis stocks, the biggest risk is the legal and political issue facing the industry. While some states have approved either both recreational and medical marijuana, or simply for medical use, but regardless cannabis is still federally illegal.

Supply/Demand imbalance

Imbalances can happen for a variety of reasons. With regards to the marijuana industry, many cannabis stock prices are valued higher than they’re worth. For example, a stock price might be overinflated because of potential future growth that analyst’s price into the present day stock price.

This can pose huge risks to the marketplace later on once the huge growth is achieved. It’s very likely the growth targets will cause a supply gut.

An image of a screen displaying stock prices with a cityscape reflected in the background. Investing in hemp and cannabis stocks can lead to huge profits ... or massive losses in this volatile industry. We picked some top cannabis stocks and promising hemp stocks to get you started.

We picked some top cannabis stocks and promising hemp stocks to get you started.

HOT STOCK PICKS: CANNABIS STOCKS

To give you an idea of how hot the cannabis market is, just take a look at the United States Marijuana Index.

According to Investopedia,As of June 29, 2018 the United States Marijuana Index, despite a lot of uncertainty around regulations, has over the past 1 year gained 71.49 percent, as compared to about 12 percent gain seen by the S&P 500. Given that is not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but it does make a case to at least investigate investments in marijuana stocks.”

Tilray (TLRY)

Tilray is listed on NASDAQ. This stock is interesting because the stock was only issued to the public this past July and has already jumped over 600 percent from it’s first day IPO price. This was the first marijuana stock to go public with only 9 million shares being offered.

Many believe that Tilray could see a steep decline in the future, but for now, it’s being used to speculate the future of legalized marijuana in Canada.

Chart Basics

  1. Average Trade Volume: 8,175,928
  2. Market Cap: 9.406B
  3. Price/Earnings Ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. Earning Per Share (TTM): -.030

Canopy Growth (CGC)

Canopy Growth is listed on the NYSE. So far in 2018 this stock has climbed 100 percent. This cannabis producer has received multiple rounds of investments from beverage specialist Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ). Many are speculating Constellation Brands will eventually buy them outright and add cannabis to its lines of brands like Corona and Svedka.

Chart Basics

  1. Average Trade Volume: 1,984,482
  2. Market Cap: $5.98B
  3. P/E ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. EPS (TTM): $.0950

*Stock information provided by Motley Fool

Aurora Cannabis (ACBFF)

Aurora Cannabis, Inc. is listed on the OTC market. ACBFF is another big Canadian pot company. Last March, Aurora Cannabis acquired rival MedReleaf in a .25 billion all stock deal.  According to the original press release, combined, these two companies expect to produce over 570kg per year of cannabis.

Chart Basics:

  1. Average Trade Volume: 1,857,787
  2. Market Cap: $4.101B
  3. P/E Ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. EPS (TTM): -$.03

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH)***

GW Pharmaceuticals is listed on the NASDAQ as an American Depository Receipt (ADR)This UK Company had a huge win this past June when the FDA approved the first drug of its kind derived from pure plant CBD called Epidiolex. This drug is approved for treatment of epileptic seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Chart Basics:

  1. Average Daily Trading Volume: 463,151
  2. Market Cap: $3.918B
  3. P/E Ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. EPS (TTM): -$9.67

Stock information provided by Investopedia.

HEMP STOCKS TO WATCH

While these two stocks haven’t experienced huge jumps like Tilray and Canopy Growth, both of these hemp companies are poised for breakouts. Also, both have stock prices near $1 per share, which may be a good opportunity for newbie investors to start with.

Global Hemp Group, Inc (OTCMKTS:GBHPF)

Global Hemp Group is listed on the over-the-counter market. GBHPF is a Canada-based company with operations in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Currently Global Hemp Group is completing it’s hemp cultivation projects in New Brunswick, Canada, Oregon and the United States.

Global Hemp plans to develop value-added industrial hemp-based CBD products next.

Chart Basics

  1. Average Trade Volume: 192.17k
  2. Market Cap: NA
  3. P/E ratio: NA
  4. EPS: NA

Hempco Food and Fiber (OTCMKTS:HEMP)

Hemp, Inc is listed on the over-the-counter market. Hempco Food and Fiver is a producer and distributor of hemp-based products. They have a 56,000 sq. ft processing facility in Alberta, Canada, where they produce hemp-based foods. With the legalization of cannabis, Hempco plans to utilize the hemp stalk as a fiber source for industrial building and textile uses.

In 2019, Hempco expects hemp production capacity of 240,000 lbs/month.

  1. Average Trade Volume: 32.13M
  2. Market Cap: 6.68M
  3. P/E Ratio: NA
  4. EPS: $ -0.02

Stock information provided by 420intel.com.

A person uses a laptop keyboard while books on investing sit nearby. While investing in hemp stocks is appealing for many reasons, it can be hard to get started. We've offered some hot cannabis stocks and resource for continued learning.

While investing in hemp stocks is appealing for many reasons, it can be hard to get started. We’ve offered some hot cannabis stocks and resource for continued learning.

WHERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT INVESTING IN HEMP

Hopefully this article has whet your appetite to the huge potential hemp and cannabis stocks have right now and in the foreseeable future. As already stated, it’s very important that investors do their homework and due diligence before taking on any investment. To help get you started, below are some educational resources that offer valuable content.

IN CONCLUSION: HEMP STOCKS REPRESENT AN EXCITING, VOLATILE INDUSTRY

As the cannabis industry continues to evolve there will bound to be more volatility in the marketplace just like we see today, as well as new hot-stocks to buy. We’ve included links throughout this article to help you learn more. It’s the perfect time to learn about this exciting industry. And who knows, you might end up sharing the killing you made trading cannabis stocks just like our UPS driver!

Happy trading!

Disclosure: Rob Railis owns stock positions in various industries. He does not own any positions in the stocks outlined in this article. Our Editor in Chief Kit O’Connell owns two shares of CGC, one of the stocks mentioned in this article, in addition to stock positions in various industries including a small number of shares of other cannabis stocks.

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2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference: Hemp Thriving In America Despite Legal Barriers

The 2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference revealed a thriving industry that’s growing rapidly and passionate about the future of hemp. From discussions of hemp’s legal status to sampling CBD popcorn, we share our highlights of HIACON 2018.

The 2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference revealed a thriving industry that’s growing rapidly and passionate about the future of hemp.

Ministry of Hemp just returned from the Los Angeles Airport Hilton, where “HIACON 2018” took place from November 2 through 5. Hemp will be a billion dollar industry soon, even though this plant still exists in a legal gray area in the United States. Industry leaders and newcomers alike gathered at the conference to share their newest ideas, and get a better understanding of hemp’s future as those laws shift.

A crowd gathered in one of the ballrooms at the Hemp Industries Association Conference. Hundreds gathered at the Los Angeles Hilton for the 2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference, where they discussed the future and potential of hemp in America.

Hundreds gathered at the Los Angeles Hilton for the 2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference, where they discussed the future and potential of hemp in America. (Ministry of Hemp / Kit O’Connell)

In addition, a two day exposition showcased hemp and CBD products ranging from established brands and freshly launched innovators. The expo was open to the public for one day, and numerous LA residents and tourists alike stopped by to see the offerings.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Hemp Industries Association, a sign that they’ve cemented their leadership role in the industry. A packed schedule of workshops and panels brought the highs and lows of hemp to life for the audience. Here are some favorites from our visit to HIACON 2018.

HIACON 2018 LOOKS AT THE FUTURE OF HEMP FARMING IN AMERICA

Of course, one of the biggest topics of discussion at the conference was hemp’s legal status.

After decades of prohibition, hemp was partially legalized in the 2014 Farm Bill which allowed for state-based hemp research programs. U.S. farmers grew over 25,000 acres of hemp last year, but there have still been legal challenges and numerous barriers to the industry’s growth, mostly at the federal level. An effort led by Sen. Mitch McConnell resulted in a historic amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill which would make dramatic changes to U.S. hemp laws by officially taking it out of the purview of the Drug Enforcement Administration and into that of the Department of Agriculture and the Food & Drug Administration.

Unfortunately, political upheaval in Congress, and politicians’ focus on midterm elections, left the Farm Bill’s future somewhat uncertain. Most of the conflict is not about hemp, but rather other controversial provisions in the bill which cover issues like food stamps. In one of many well-attended legal discussions, Jonathan Miller of U.S. Hemp Roundtable joined representatives of Hoban Law Group, who are some of the country’s top cannabis & hemp lawyers. Miller speculated that the midterm elections could be good for hemp.

2018 HEMP INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE: LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF FARM BILL, CANNABIS PODCASTS & MORE

A newly Democratic U.S. House of Representatives could also be the best chance for changing the hemp legalization amendment’s most controversial provision. The Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill contains a clause that bans anyone with a felony drug conviction from growing hemp. Currently, the House version of the Farm Bill doesn’t contain any hemp legalization language at all, opening a window where some fixes could be introduced.

Later, hemp lawyer & lobbyist Courtney Moran explained how the Farm Bill would change 6 different federal statutes and change the policies of multiple government agencies. She also suggested some alternatives to the drug felony provision of the current version of the Farm Bill:

While any felony ban seems regrettable to us, Moran suggested what could be temporary solutions to allow some people to remain in the hemp industry. These include changing the ban to exempt anyone whose felony is more than 10 years old.

Dr. Karyemaitre Aliffe, a biochemist and cannabis expert that works with Charlotte’s Web, gave another great presentation. Dr. Aliffe discussed the similarities between how cannabinoids like CBD work on the brain with the action of everyday pharmaceuticals like Tylenol:

Annie Rouse of Anavii Market introduced us to Harry Anslinger, the first drug czar, the subject of her fascinating “Anslinger” podcast. The second season is about to launch!

We also loved hearing an update from Kris Kimel of Space Tango about their successful effort to send hemp into space.

There were too many other great panels to mention them all, but it’s safe to say everyone came away from HIACON 2018 more informed than they arrived.

HIACON 2018: FROM CBD POPCORN TO HEMP FASHION

We loved seeing the innovation from new CBD brands at the 2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference. We got to meet Brett Levy from Holsticorn, inventor of CBD-infused popcorn:

Kazmira let us sample their delicious CBD vapes:

And all weekend, people were sipping delicious CBD seltzer from Queen City Hemp, with 5 mg of CBD in each can.

Established hemp brands also brought their best to HIACON 2018. We browsed the latest hemp fashions from Vital Hemp:

And basked in the natural vibes of the Charlotte’s Web booth, complete with a fake campfire:

We also enjoyed a sneak preview of Lazarus Naturals beautiful new CBD tincture labels, which should help CBD consumers make more informed decisions about dosing.

And of course, no hemp expo would be complete without Dr. Bronner:

There’s so much happening in hemp that it can’t be contained in any one article, or any one event. More than anything, we saw a hemp industry full of people that are passionate about hemp, and determined to help hemp spread across the planet.

Special thanks to Beowulf Jones for covering HIACON 2018 with us and contributing to this article.

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Hemp Is Back In America: An Introduction To Ministry Of Hemp (Video)

After decades of prohibition, hemp is back in a big way in America. In 2017, sales of hemp products reached a record-breaking $820 million, and that’s just the beginning

After decades of prohibition, hemp is back in a big way in America.

In 2017, sales of hemp products reached a record-breaking $820 million, and that’s just the beginning. Currently legal under state programs, hemp could soon be fully legal from coast to coast, transforming American agriculture.

From hemp food to hempcrete homes to textiles, the uses of hemp are almost limitless.

Among hemp products, demand for CBD oil has exploded in recent years. Unlike THC or marijuana, CBD won’t make you feel high. Thousands of people report CBD helps them relax, relieves pain and anxiety, promotes deeper sleep, and much more.

A farmer silhouetted in the sunlight in his hemp field. Hemp is back in a big way in America, and Ministry of Hemp is America's leading hemp advocate.

Ministry of Hemp is America’s leading hemp advocate. We’ll help you understand the science of hemp & CBD and pick the right products.

But the CBD industry is still unregulated. Products can be misleadingly labeled, contain toxic heavy metals or dangerous synthetic chemicals. New consumers often give up before they find products that work.

That’s where we come in. Ministry of Hemp is America’s leading hemp advocate. We help you understand the science of CBD and review CBD brands so you can pick the best, safest products for you and your loved ones.

As hemp growing returns nationwide, you can count on Ministry of Hemp to be there. From Vermont hemp farms to hemp research on the International Space Station, we’ll bring you the story.

Be a part of our movement. Join the Ministry of Hemp.

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