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Smokable Hemp Demand Draws Debate at 6th CBOutLook

The 6th CBOutLook conference hosted by West420 News Aug.14-15 at the University of Denver featured an array of industry experts speaking on a wide variety of topics related to hemp and CBD. One of the hot topics at this event was the surprising demand for smokable hemp.

Hemp flower is not only popular with consumers, but also with producers as the product provides immediate revenue and does not require additional processing.

Speaking to an attentive audience, Ian Terry, CEO at Cannaissance Creative of Colorado said, “It is a high-margin product for growers which requires little processing or third party handling.”

That argument was countered by Brett Goldman vice president for government affairs at GenCanna. Goldman claims hemp-cigarette sales are sending a bad signal to Congress and regulators.

Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill makes hemp — in all forms legal to possess and consume — however state lawmakers in Indiana and the Carolinas are pushing legislation that would criminalize smokable hemp. The move comes in response to local law enforcement expressing concern that the sale and use of such products complicates the enforcement of state marijuana laws.

USDA economist Bill Richmond provided some insight into “highest level” discussions related to complex issues such as a national THC testing pre- and post-decarboxylation. Richmond discussed the implications of anticipated hemp/CBD guidance and rules from federal agencies the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture which are expected by mid-October. A 60-day comment period will likely follow. Stakeholders are anxious to see finalized rules before for the Spring, 2020 planting season.

Richmond’s agency estimates that hemp farms in the U.S. have surpassed 120,000 acres. That number is almost four times the acreage reported in 2018 with just short of 30,000 acres.

Some other comments worth noting:

  • According to Keith Holocek, managing director of Hemp Benchmarks, prices for CBD-rich flower have been garnering as much at $3000 per pound.

  • Josh Hendrix, director of US Hemp Production for CV Sciences predicted total sales of hemp products in the U.S. topping $2 Billion for 2019.

  • Steve Mueller, president of Mile High Labs stated his company’s plan to spend more than $60 Million on 2019 U.S. biomass purchases for processing into finished goods at its Longmont, Colo. facility, formerly owned by pharmaceutical maker, Novartis.

  • Tim Gordon, founder of Functional Remedies predicted that companies that continue to research and innovate “will gain strong market share.”

  • Bolivar Hemp CEO Larisa Bolivar talked about developments in deliver methods and the growth of vaping, sprays, lotions, pills and edibles.

  • Veterinarian Dr. Rob Silver presented results scientific data confirming favorable results achieved via CBD therapies for canine and equine animals. According to Silver studies have shown horses are particularly helped by CBD.

  • Mark Bolton , U.S. senior policy director for GW Pharma and subsidiary Greenwich BioSciences talked about the company’s dedicated to building on its FDA-approved Epidiolex drug by continuing to develop new formulations to treat spasticity, pain and certain brain cancers. GW reported second quarter revenue of $72 Million, up from just $3.3 Million first quarter sales.

In addition to serious discussions, awards were presented at the event for best CBD products in topicals, special formulations, and pet CBD products. Winners were chosen by delegates with Florida's Green Roads garnering the highest number of votes for its Terpene Juice collection.

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