Photo by: Remedy Review
Pirate (not his real name) has been working with cannabis his entire adult life, a trajectory that took him from getting his fingernails dirty at a clandestine outdoor grow in the underground economy to serving patients as part of California’s gray market in medical marijuana, and then on into a job at a state-licensed cannabis dispensary.
So he’s kinda seen it all.
Except now he’s in a whole new field—an Oregon hemp field to be exact—working for a company that grows, markets, and distributes a product you probably haven’t encountered yet. But you may soon, because 2019 is going to be a bumper crop for high-CBD hemp flower.
“It’s mind-blowing,” Pirate tells me. “Some of my mentors from when I was an outdoor grower are now asking for advice on how to set themselves up as CBD hemp farmers.”
Now, no doubt you’ve heard plenty about CBD by now. It’s trendy! It’s helps children with severe seizure disorders. It’s in capsules, oils, vape pens, gummies, coffee, salves, rubs, and lotions. Hell, it’s even been infused into a corporate hamburger!
Angela Post wasn’t supposed to study hemp. The North Carolina State agriculture researcher focuses on small grains like wheat and barley. But after the 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to investigate hemp, it became clear the seeds were lucrative. Post had the right equipment to study them, so the job was hers.
The bill legalizes the crop, allowing any farmer to grow it — whether or not they know how.
At first, Post thought hemp would get as much attention as the other alternative crops she and her colleagues dabble in. “We didn’t know how fast it would grow,” she says. Once the work garnered the attention of hundreds of would-be hemp farmers, “that’s when we got a sense it was something bigger than anticipated.”
Since then, Post’s work has expanded beyond hemp seeds — and her expertise — to fiber and flowers, which contain cannabidiol, or CBD, which is extracted for use in seizure medications and over-the-counter tinctures. But there’s no turning down hemp studies if you’re an agricultural researcher in one of the states where residents might want to grow the crop, including North Carolina, Vermont, and Kentucky.
Hemp holdout Texas is taking a big step toward embracing the federally legal plant, with one agency announcing a rule change to remove the plant from the state’s definition of marijuana.
But entrepreneurs hoping that Texas will allow a hemp industry before federal agencies take action say that the April 5 change isn’t enough to allow the booming industry to take root in the nation’s second-largest state.
The change was quietly announced earlier this month, when the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) added a notice to a state register that it would amend its definition of marijuana to carve out hemp with no more than 0.3% THC.
The agency said the change would align Texas’ definitions with the new federal standard adopted in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Hemp activists applauded the change, noting that the agency changing its definition was the same one that said last year it would yank CBD products off shelves.
That crackdown was put on hold pending a legal review.
New Frontier Data estimates the US hemp sales will jump to $2.6 billion. Projections divide the market into CBD sales and food, fiber, fuel.
Estimates suggest CBD values to reach $1.3 billion
A veteran executive of both the biomass and hemp industry blasted the use of the term “biomass” by the nescient hemp industry during an interview with Cannabis Tech Media.
“Increasingly, I see companies refer to the dried hemp flowers as ‘biomass’ as they seek to buy or sell hemp bud, but the correct definition of biomass is the stalk and potentially spent bud (post extraction),” noted Ask A Hempster host Carell, also known as Carl Lehrburger. “Typically ‘biomass’ refers to non-food plant matter, including hemp and corn stalk residues, straws like wheat straw, coconut husks and seed hull, and woody biomass, which are all distinguished from the hemp flower and hemp seed, corn, and wheat kernels”, he continued.
This has been a transformational year for the cannabis industry, one that investors will possibly never forget. Although it’s been a bit rough on the investment front, with the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF, a basket of more than four dozen pot stocks, losing approximately 40% of its value, 2018 has been a year of gained validity for the cannabis industry.