Just this week, the always-hip folks at Seven Days published not one, but two stories featuring Vermont food producers who are now offering CBD-products at their respective restaurants.
In December, Forbes published an article with the headline, “The Cannabis Market That Could Go Up 700% By 2020” with some serious stats and figures that reinforce your — and the Seven Days editors’ — perception that the CBD industry is absolutely blowing up:
The Hemp Business Journal estimated that the CBD market will grow to a $2.1 billion market in consumer sales by 2020 with $450 million of those sales coming from hemp-based sources. That’s a 700% increase from 2016.
This week’s Seven Days article is another signal of what many smart entrepreneurs figured out a few years ago: the interest in cannabis, and cannabis in Vermont products is huge. And until there’s a legal way to produce and sell full spectrum cannabis products, entrepreneurs, artisans, and agricultural product producers in Vermont are rightfully going to put legal CBD in absolutely everything and sell the shit out of it.
The lesson is this: CBD products are exploding in popularity, but many CBD products are made with oil that comes from other states, or a distillate powder that comes from other states or even other countries as far away as China and Bulgaria.
That being said, assuming that it’s a quality product without heavy metals, pesticides, mold, or illegal amounts of THC, and that the origin of the CBD is disclosed, in my mind there’s nothing inherently wrong or immoral with putting foreign CBD into a Vermont product, especially as the supply of Vermont-grown hemp for CBD is literally still growing.
HOWEVER, Vermont is one of only seventeen states in the United States where hemp cultivation is legal under state law. And with the strength and reputation of the Vermont brand (and how well that Vermont brand compliments the cannabis plant in value-added, earthy, artisanal products), Vermont hemp products and CBD oil already do, and will continue to, have an advantage over the competition. UNLESS, they miss the boat, break the laws, or are scaled out by larger competitors who — unlike THC-laden cannabis producers — can move their products across state lines.
Part of the reason that we decided to organize a hemp-specific event, The Vermont Hemp Festival, is that whether it’s CBD in a truffle, beer, kombucha, juice, honey, maple syrup, apple cider, cheese, or any other Vermont product, there’s clearly an opportunity to diversify and build your Vermont business with hemp.
Additionally, the state, regional, and national hemp and CBD markets need every single acre of American-grown hemp to compete with the $500 million market of international producers. And with the legal ability to grow hemp, Vermont landowners and farmers can be the ones to supply those same Vermont artisans with the raw hemp materials to produce Vermont hemp products, whether hemp fiber wedding dresses or CBD-infused cold brew coffee. Knowing that we’ve got a need and an opportunity to promote the growth of Vermont hemp, the first sponsor we approached when organizing this festival was the UVM Extension, who provide farmers with practical research and resources in growing their crops.
In the future, we’ll continue to grow the Vermont Hemp Festival as we learn from experiences, but we’re very intentionally keeping the prices low for both exhibitors and for public in order to get as many people up to the NEK as possible to share education, inspiration, and real resources – including putting up a $1000 cash prize for a Vermont startup at the Business Pitch Competition sponsored by Purple Fox Engineering.
We’ve reached out to specific types of sponsors and speakers specifically to provide the full range of information related to cultivating hemp in Vermont, processing hemp, CBD pharmacology and potential, how to make a variety of hemp products, and a showcase of the Vermont hemp and CBD products like those featured in Seven Days that are already on the shelves.
View the full schedule of workshops and presentations below, check out the Vermont HempFest web page, and feel free to contact me directly with questions about getting a table to exhibit (and vend) for public attendees, applying for the $1,000 prize at the business pitch competition via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t miss the cannabis bus!
VERMONT HEMPFEST WORKSHOPS
Session I: Introduction to Hemp
Hemp 101, including the difference between hemp and marijuana, the laws regarding hemp cultivation in Vermont, and the necessary conditions for the cultivation and processing of various hemp crops in the northeast.
Session II: The Hemp Landscape and Industry in 2017
The Hemp Industry in 2017 and Beyond – What are the processing requirements for hemp and what markets exist for hemp-based products?
Session III: The Pharmacology of Hemp… What is CBD and How are Hemp Products Being Used for Health & Wellness?
What is the endocannabinoid system and how does it interact with various cannabinoids? What is ‘cannabidiol’ or CBD and how is it being used for health and wellness? What kind of products are being produced currently?
*Includes live demonstration
Session IV: Growing a Hemp Business in Vermont & Beyond
Information and inspiration for starting an agricultural or (any) business in Vermont, including where to find resources for starting a business, how to create a business plan, where to look for collaborators and much more…
Session V: Hempcrete, Hemp Fiber, Hempanol, and Hemp Fiberglass
While CBD is getting more national attention, ground-breaking research is being conducted in labs and fields across the country to explore the potential for hemp products to become cheaper, more sustainable alternatives for building materials, fuels, plastics, fibers, and much more … Learn from the pioneers and industry leaders cultivating new markets for the diverse hemp plant.
Session VI: Vermont Hemp Product Showcase
Presentations some of the Vermont pioneers presently growing hemp businesses in Vermont.