Interest in hemp and CBD is growing faster than ever, and the crowds at the NoCo Hemp Expo prove it.

On April 6 and 7, thousands of people flocked to the Ranch Events Center in rural Loveland, Colorado, for the fifth and largest ever annual NoCo Hemp Expo. The sold-out event featured a crowd of 6,000 people in attendance over the two days, according to a press release issued by the event organizers.

6,000 people attended the NoCo Hemp Expo over two days, overflowing the space at the Ranch Events Center in Loveland, Colorado. Next year’s event will take place in Denver. (Ministry of Hemp)

With almost 1,500 more people than in 2017 and 150 vendors, the NoCo Hemp Expo has gotten so large that organizers will move it to Denver next year. Vendors ranged from the best of hemp fashion to innovative foods infused with CBD oil, as well as new offerings for hemp farmers.

“The interest level for this plant and all that it can do was overwhelming,” said NoCo Hemp Expo co-founder Morris Beegle.

Ministry of Hemp attended the NoCo Hemp Expo this year, conducting interviews with some of the top figures in the hemp industry, and sampling new products for review. We’ll have much more in upcoming weeks, but below is a short synopsis.

NOCO HEMP EXPO REVEALS EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE FUTURE OF HEMP & CBD

The Expo took place at a virtual “crossroads” for industrial hemp in the United States. Enabled by provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp growers in 19 states produced over 25,000 acres of hemp last year. However, the industry is still plagued by government interference over issues like water rights and the DEA’s interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act as it pertains to CBD.

Hemp products from around the world on display at HempToday’s “global village” booth at the NoCo Hemp Expo. (Ministry of Hemp)

Many attendees, whether hemp advocates, vendors, or representatives of nonprofits, felt that these hurdles could soon be removed, leading to explosive growth for hemp in the U.S. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which was just introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell, could fully legalize hemp, and the industry seems ready to take advantage of this change should it occur in 2018.

“This is really the beginning of a strong new movement,” declared Arran Stephens, co-founder of Nature’s Path Foods and one of the NoCo Hemp Expo’s keynote speakers.

U.S. HEMP IS TAKING OFF LIKE A JETPACK

At the culmination of the NoCo Hemp Expo’s second day, Apollo Flight Labs launched a jetpack for a brief flight around the Ranch Event Center, sponsored by Willpower Products, makers of a new CBD-infused protein powder.

Kris Morwood, co-author of the Hana Hemp and Callie Cannabis parents’ guidebooks, poses with one of her books at the NoCo Hemp Expo. (Ministry of Hemp)

At the expo, Ministry of Hemp met diverse members of the hemp industry. We interviewed the creators of the Callie and Friends series of parents guides to hemp and cannabis, and representatives of Sana, creators of sustainable packaging that aims to replace disposable, single use paper and plastic with hemp. We took in panels on indigenous use of hemp and the development of hemp fashion. We even sampled Hempway Foods vegan hemp veggie burgers and queso and Steepfuze CBD-infused coffee.

In all, industrial hemp feels like a jetpack, ready to blast off, if we just can remove the final legal barriers to its success.

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