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Hemp/CBD Industry Review and Forecast from the Winter Hemp Summit in Boulder, CO — January 2020

At the 2nd annual Winter Hemp Summit held on January 16th, 2020, industry leaders assembled and discussed the state of the hemp/CBD industry. As sponsors of the event, it was great to be amongst our people and share insights as to where we are going and revel in how far we’ve come as an industry.

2019 was a pivotal and exciting year for the hemp/CBD industry. We kicked it off with a fresh perspective and wide-open space provided by the 2018 Farm Bill, signed into federal law on the final days of 2018.  This Bill, among other things, legally separated hemp from other cannabis plants, effectively removing hemp from the Controlled Substance Act and federally legalizing the plant and its constituents.

This seismic federal movement left a regulatory gap in the federal procedures and enforcement moving forward. In order to fill this gap, the Farm Bill laid out a shared state-federal regulatory power over hemp production and cultivation. US Department of Agriculture asked the individual states to come forward with their hemp related policies for federal approval and as a possible framework for the yet undeveloped federally-regulated portion of the program.

As the title wave of consumer demand for hemp/CBD engulfed the country, each state had to quickly consider if they would create their own interim regulation for approval or comply with the yet undeveloped federally-run hemp regularity program. States’ preparation varied wildly as some already had well developed regulations and some opted to wait for federal legislation before allowing any legal hemp sales in the state.

At a recent industry event, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, one of the trailblazers for the industrial hemp movement, revealed that ‘every one of their offices is swimming in CBD’ which shows the leading edge of the incredible reach of hemp as an agricultural commodity, from CBD to animal feed to building materials as an example.

In summary, 2019 was a year of possibility, growth and creativity at the state level. From this exciting place, we start 2020. We would expect the federal government to approve state plans and develop a federal plan as well as continue the march forward in all aspects of industrial hemp. Unfortunately, with the Federal focus on the impeachment inquiry and the presidential election, we don’t expect to see a large amount of movement forward in 2020. The flip side of this delay is that it gives states more time to grow into the new industry prior to an increased degree of federal involvement. Regardless of the growing pains, Forbes Magazine reported that the CBD market could explode into a $20B industry by 2024. With an industry growing this quickly, expect big moves from the federal government in 2021!

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