I spent the morning of Feb. 26, 2018 at the 1st Central US Hemp Growers Conference and Expo at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in downtown Madison.
Doug Fine led off the conference off with an hour of powerful preaching about the American hemp industry and the potential it offered to farmers in Wisconsin and other states where it is now able to be legally produced.
Early on, Fine, a true believer in the power of hemp, noted every piece of clothing he was wearing, down to his underwear, was hemp, lovingly made by his wife.
Commenting on a slide showing 23,343 acres of hemp were grown nationally in 2017, Fine asked, “Do you know 5 years ago, how many acres were planted legally in the United States?”, answering the question with an emphatic, “Zero!”
“It’s really, really happening, however it’s a teeny weeny industry. Everyone of you here who gets on this today is 100% a pioneer.”
Fine also discussed the .03% THC U.S. federal standard for hemp, noting it is artificial and other hemp-producing nations have no such threshold, citing China. He also noted that while CBD has become an industry, that other cannabinoids, mentioning CBC as an example, also have a range of therapeutic/medicinal properties and work together with the entourage effect.
The conference trade floor had a host of hemp industry businesses from Wisconsin and other states exhibiting their wares. Attendees sampled hemp products rich in CBD and other cannabinoids at several booths vending these items.
Fine offered copies of his books for sale at his booth along with other items including a Vermont-produced hemp oil concoction in a distinctive two-ounce jug type bottle that he had mentioned in his presentation as an example of the kind of niche products found today in different states.
While that product was thick and green, another exhibitor offered bottles of hemp CBD tinctures in several strengths that were a transparent yellowish color.
At 11am there was a panel discussion covering federal and new state laws moderated by David Bush, Esq. Senior Attorney with the Hoban Law Group of Denver, CO. The panel featured Rob Richards of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Jennifer Heaton-Amrhein, Policy Analyst for the Plant Industry Bureau, WI Division of Agricultural Resource Management, DATCP, Courtney N. Moran, LL.M. from EARTH Law, LLC of Portland, OR, and a last minute addition, Samantha Walsh from Tetra Public Affairs.
Jennifer Heaton-Amrhein from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) discussed the agency’s forthcoming emergency rules on hemp cultivation, due March 2. Slides from her presentation, shown in the very short video below, lay out how DATCP will manage the industrial hemp program.
In another short clip from the Tuesday morning panel, Wisconsin native Courtney N. Moran, LL.M., founding principal of EARTH Law, LLC, and a leading expert on industrial hemp law, discusses the “Interplay Between State and Federal Regulations”.
The 1st Annual Central US Hemp Growers Conference and Expo brought a wealth of hemp learning to Madison, and as the state’s hemp industry matures and grows, Cannabadger looks forward to to future conferences in Madison and around the state. The next such event will be the First Annual Wisconsin Hemp Expo in Milwaukee on March 9.