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As the hemp industry ‘matures’, the future is in new products, less CBD

The Hempsters know the mighty Cannabis-sativa the plant is more than CBD and weed. As the hemp side of the trade met at the annual Southern Hemp Expo, the word was “ripe.”

It means more than CBD. To that end, growers and innovators are already at the helm of hemp for use in everything from from plants, bioplastics, fibers and building materials to plant-based protein foods, textiles and even guitars.

Along the way, nature’s most perfect plant holds the promise of maturing to become a climate savior as well.

“As an industry, we need to rethink how we are going to extract hemp from where it is now,” said Morris Beegle, President and Co-Founder of We Are for Better Alternatives (WAFBA), who also produces the exhibition. “We are taking the steps necessary to create a truly robust industry that can change the world.”

Steps are pretty much mandatory at this point, as CBD hemp fortunes have gone through the boom cycle and are not firmly in crisis territory.

Market leader Charlotte’s Web, for example, filed its latest quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the quarter ending June 30. Its total revenue for the six months of 2022 was $38.2 million, down 19.6% from the six months ended June 30, 2021.

Charlotte’s Web ranks #1 among major retail channels including food/drug/mass retail, natural grocery and vitamin retailers, and e-commerce.

With this grim news surrounding CBD hemp, the 4e The annual Southern Hemp Expo aims to diversify the fortunes of the plant.

Held in Nashville, Tennessee, the Southern Hemp Expo is the largest hemp trade show and conference in the Southeastern United States covering the entire supply chain. It brought together the booming hemp industry from August 18-20.

The event brought together more than 70 speakers at Fairgrounds Nashville. The exhibit showcased hemp’s range of applications—fibers and building materials if not also medicinal cannabinoids.

Southern Hemp Expo keynote speaker Dr. Charlie Hatcher, DVM, Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, commented on his vision for hemp in Tennessee and beyond.

“While the future remains uncertain due to pending regulatory actions and legislation, the State of Tennessee continues to support hemp agriculture for economic growth, the development of alternatives to plastic, and much more” , did he declare.

As the hemp industry has matured, especially in the Southeastern United States, the Southern Hemp Expo has created opportunities for attendees to make connections for the future.

Patrick Brown, a 4th generation farmer based in North Carolina, shared his successes with the audience.

“While I try to stay in my lane as a farmer, I also understand what it takes to be a good business partner,” Brown said. “Producing a quality product is the first step to a successful hemp farming business. Hemp from our family farm is now made in our home state of North Carolina all the way to Montana.

Renowned author and regenerative hemp grower Doug Fine has led conversations on the importance of regenerative agriculture, including the carbon cycle, pollution reduction, bioremediation, and sustainable agriculture.

“A commitment to soil health and regenerative agriculture is essential for the future of hemp. Producing organic and sustainable hemp crops will support long-term business growth and protect our earth.

Soil health expert and agronomist Christie Apple would stress the need for regenerative agriculture in the hemp industry. “When done correctly, regenerative hemp cultivation can heal our soils and save our planet,” Apple said. “The hemp growing community has the opportunity to lead the way in regenerative agriculture and leave behind monoculture and conventional agriculture.”

Meanwhile, beegle concluded, “As the industry matures, we are even more confident that the hemp revolution and this platform will deliver solutions that will restore this planet and bring economic prosperity.”