Elevate Northeast, the workforce and community education, advocacy, and networking powerhouse hosted their 4th annual What the Hemp? forum. Northeast industry experts provided current analysis of issues and opportunities in hemp.
Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, divided by law by the amount of THC they contain. Hemp are cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% THC, the compound in cannabis responsible for the euphoric effects. Although hemp is well known as a fiber plant, interest has grown with the popularity of CBD.
Unlike highly regulated cannabis, hemp is now an agricultural product, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp and enabled the explosion of CBD products. Hemp was removed from the controlled substances list and is regulated by state Departments of Agriculture and the FDA.
The panelists discussed some of the current issues facing the hemp industry including the importance of building good relationships as businesses begin to specialize in farming, extraction, and product manufacturing. Initially, firms were required to do it all from seed to sale, known as vertical integration. The industry is maturing and firms are specializing. The panelists emphasized the need to build good relationships with vendors to ensure quality supplies and productive sales outlets.
In addition, CBD has many cousins. Cannabis plants produce over 500 compounds, including over 100 cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Labs are beginning to isolate other cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, THCV, and delta-8 THC. Hillary King, of Northeast Alternatives, suggests that Delta-8 THC provides her clear-headed relief from pain.
Other extracts show promise to help people with sleep and weight management. The global sleep aid market is $79 billion and weight management $250 billion. John Nathan of Bay State Cannabis projects that there will be many new cannabinoid extracts used as ingredients in new products.
Once again, Elevate Northeast gathered the local experts who provided an information-packed program. There were many take-aways and great contacts. Looking forward to seeing everyone again when live events resume.