The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill was a tipping point for the hemp industry. The hemp industry, already well underway outside of the US, is set to move into an entirely new era of growth thanks to the blessing of the US federal government. As such, hemp-focused bootstrappers and innovators are hitting the ground running.
What we are witnessing now, especially in the US, is a frantic race for market space. Who are the key industry players and innovators to watch? Where can business network, better understand market trends, and learn about budding new technologies?
Cannabis conferences are crossing over into hemp, meeting the demand for knowledge and new opportunities. These hemp-centric conferences and expos are already well underway in 2019, with many new events celebrating their inaugural first year.
While few outdo the NoCo Hemp Expo in Colorado, if you missed out on that one this year, here are a few to take note of for the remainder of 2019. They are sure to be well worth the cost of attendance.
Upcoming Hemp Conferences
June 7-8, 2019 \| Portland, OR
Kevin Kenly, representing the Oregon Hemp Convention, said during an interview with Cannabis Tech, he expects this year's convention “to be a little grander than previous years with the passing of the Farm Bill.” He continued, “We plan to celebrate legalization by providing consumers and members of the industry an opportunity to come out and grow their business or learn more about hemp and CBD products.”
With 135 vendors, an extensive guest speaker series, attendees can expect a wide variety of topics over the course of the two-day event. Consumers and entrepreneurs alike can learn about all the possibilities of hemp including hemp materials and building companies, food companies, pet wellness, extraction processors, and ancillary services like insurance, packaging, and breeders and geneticists.
At just $20 for a full two-day pass, the conference is already quite affordable. However, Kenly also mentioned the Oregon Food Bank will be on site accepting a donation of five, non-perishable food items in exchange for free admittance.
June 12-14, 2019 \| New Orleans, LA
A unique partnership between MJBizCon and Hemp Industry Daily, this first-ever event parallels the MjBizCon happening over the same weekend. For entrepreneurs with business interests in both cannabis and the hemp industry, this conference provides the best of both worlds.
Anat Baron, Founder, and CEO of Stashwall is the keynote speaker this year, highlighted by both sides of the conference. Her experience, especially the years within the alcohol and beer industries, is worth noting for the similarities to the booming hemp industry. She has successfully navigated highly competitive sectors, internal upheavals, and significant market disruptions – all topics of interest in the world of hemp.
Other featured speakers include the Michael Bronstein (President, American Trade Association for Cannabis & Hemp), Holly E. Johnson (Chief Science Officer, American Herbal Products Association), and Kristen Nichols (Hemp Editor, Marijuana Business Daily).
Eastern Conference \| June 3-4, 2019 \| Albany, NY;
Western Conference \| August 19-20, 2019 \| Portland, OR;
Southern Conference \| December 2-4, 2019 \| Myrtle Beach, SC;
Central Conference \| February 23-25 2020\| Rochester, MN
Starting in New York, the US Hemp Conferences and Expos continue in June. The Eastern conference is mandatory for any hemp focused or hemp-curious businesses in the region, as it aims to develop the Eastern seaboard as the destination for hemp agriculturalists.
Kicking off the conference is the annual Hemp state of the union, by longtime advocate and President of the Hemp Industries Association, Joy Beckerman. The event's schedule is evenly split between a focus on hemp fibers/building innovations and CBD developments.
Each regional expo brings together advocates, cultivators, and business associations relevant to the area. It's a valuable destination for local producers and farmers, seeking connections in the region and knowledge about local issues, legislation, and business opportunities. The schedules for the remaining US Hemp Exposes are awaiting finalization.
Heilongjiang Province, China \| July 3-4, 2019
China is a force to be reckoned with in the global hemp industry. Heilongjiang alone produces more than the Canadian and European total yields combined, that's roughly 74000 acres. The opportunity for growth is unprecedented in the region. By hosting the International Hemp Industry Foryn, the province seeks to attract new business opportunities and global connections to develop a complete supply chain from seed to sale. The forum focus revolves around “Drive, Exchange, and Development” in a global industry. The forum covers a wide array of hemp-related topics, from cultivation to CBD to fiber opportunities (and much, much more). This is an unprecedented international networking opportunity for high-level players to expand their influence beyond strictly state-level interests.
London, UK \| July 12-13, 2019
An event with a therapeutic focus, it covers developments in CBD, cannabinoids and medicinal cannabis more generally. This event will be of particular interest for those seeking knowledge about the latest trends and technological developments in cannabis as medicine. With 80 exhibitors, 30 speakers and four unique workshops, the Expo appeals to both cannabis businesses and curious consumers.
The current agenda covers two main topics: the regulatory developments across Europe (Day 1), and the state of research medicinal cannabinoids (Day 2). The event has strictly curated their exhibitors by subjecting products to a blind testing protocol. This ensures the exhibitors' legitimacy and full compliance within the UK legal requirements. For those with continued skepticism about the claims and qualities of certain CBD products, the Europe CBD Expo has taken essential steps to remove these producers from the lineup.
San Francisco, California \| July 25, 2019
Market projections for cannabis-infused drinks are expected to reach $260 million in the US by 2022. Even more exciting, the predictions for CBD drinks expect sales of $600 million. The excitement in the industry is near bursting point, and there is no better place to see this than at the Cannabis Drinks Expo.
For the first time, key players in drinks production, manufacturing, distilling, and brewing will meet to discuss how to move towards legalized cannabis. If cannabis is the new category to beat in consumer beverages, surely this is the event to attend as the industry sits at the precipice.