Cannabis businesses have long struggled with the excessive packaging their products are required to use, employing extra layers of plastic and paper to ensure that flower or vape products are child-proof and don’t fall into the wrong hands.
But that struggle might be nearing its end: New plant-based paper and plastic packaging options are coming to market at a price point that’s comparable to conventional packaging.
That’s all thanks to the ingenuity of a few innovative minds that are working to use hemp and marijuana waste to make cannabis bio–circular.
And cannabis companies are here for it, said Erica Halverson, founder and CEO of Tiny ePaper, the Long Beach, California-based company that makes 100% hemp paper. Halverson said the interest in and need for sustainable packaging in the cannabis industry was the green light she needed to launch her company.
“We are selling this medicine, these healing products, but we’re selling it in one of the most irresponsible ways pos [...]
HempFlax’s acquisition of Germany’s natural fiber insulation manufacturer Thermo Natur last month provided an example of how an established hemp growing and processing operation can further diversify its product portfolio and protect itself from volatility in specific markets – namely CBD.
Hemp-based building materials have captured the imagination of innovators and activists for their potential to reduce construction industry emissions and create the carbon-neutral economy that the EU is striving for.
But before hempcrete insulation can become more than a niche market, it needs to overcome the hurdles presented by the global dearth of processing facilities and missing hemp-building standards in the U.S.
One of the barriers to expanding the use of hemp fiber in construction materials in Europe and the United States is the relatively small amount of hemp grown compared to other commodities crops, said Steve Allin, director of the International Hemp Building Associat [...]
HempFlax, Europe’s largest independent hemp grower and processor, entered the construction space last month when it bought an insulation manufacturer in Germany and launched its own sustainable building supplies division.
Hemp insulation is a niche market: According to HempFlax, it represents less than 0.5% of the 3.3 million tons of insulation used each year in the construction industry. But the long-term potential, especially in Europe, cannot be ignored, Reinders said.
“I am convinced that renovating houses will be bigger than building houses,” the executive said. “That will be done by people doing it themselves, and they will care about the materials that they use. A private home owner is looking for sustainable materials.”
Reinders predicted a long life for the hemp construction sector.
“I think this is the right moment to step in, because we will be the industry to rebuild the economy,” he said. [...]
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If you’re a hemp farmer who is sitting on flower and biomass produced in 2019, you aren’t alone, says Casey Flippo, CEO of Little Rock, Arkansas-based hemp extraction firm Natvana LLC.
Because the hemp market, which already had been seeing a shortage of processors and extraction facilities, is seeing more of these firms going offline because of cash-flow issues, there are still many farmers who still have surplus of product on their hands going into the 2020 planting season.
What to do about it is “the billion-dollar question,” Flippo told Hemp Industry Daily.
The options are limited because the demand for flower and biomass is still low, there is still an oversupply of hemp on the market and the bottleneck at the processor level exists, Flippo said.
However, a few things farmers should consider when deciding what to do with their current inventory include:
- Contract tolling – an option for farmers who don’t have the minimum potency level that processors are looking for d [...]
Now the industry faces the added, colossal challenge of the COVID-19 crisis, which is having a particularly hard hit on farmers and startups.
The good news is, the fact that hemp is federally legal means that there is available financial relief and support for the industry.
Legal hemp businesses are eligible for Small Business Administration loans, federal stimulus funds, federal and state agricultural grant programs and tax relief, among other benefits.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) provides relief for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. But SBA policy precludes marijuana and ancillary businesses from eligibility.
SBA loan programs include the:
cPaycheck Protection Program (which quickly exhausted funds but was replenished by Congress last week by $321 billion).
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and advances.
- The latest stimulus bill included clarity on the eligibility of agricultural enterprises for EIDL funds, spec [...]
What types of marketing or claims should CBD companies (or other companies that sell herbal products) avoid, so they don’t get a warning letter from the FDA?
Simply put, companies should avoid the use of the words COVID-19, coronavirus, Wuhan virus, and corresponding language. As a general rule, anything a drug is indicated for is most likely a claim (e.g. aspirin indicated for fever).
Hashtags are also claims. Using #coronavirus, for example, on an otherwise compliant marketing campaign can alert the FDA and give the appearance you are insinuating your product is useful for the coronavirus.
The recent warning letters cited companies not just for making claims, but also for insinuating them. [...]
We had the opportunity to visit with industry expert Bill Brill and get his take on where the industry challenges and opportunities are.
If you want to skip forward to specific questions use this guide:
Questions and Answers:
Bill's Background | Minute 1:20
Industrial Hemp Genetics? | Minute 3:50
Working with Hemp Farmers? | Minute 7:00
Oil Extraction? | Minute 11:18
Other ingredients in hemp plant and pharma? | Minute 14:20
The Need for Information & Education? | Minute 18:00
Where's the Finished Goods Marketing Going? | Minute 21:45
Future of the Industrial Hemp Industry? | Minute 29:00
Where can you find Bill Brill? | Minute 33:20 [...]
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Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution
These days, it pays more to be in the hemp business than the tobacco business.
Salaries for employees at hemp companies are far outpacing those of their counterparts in the tobacco industry, according to an analysis by Hemp Industry Daily.
At the top of the list, hemp CEOs are being paid an average of $255,000 annually, while CEOs in the tobacco industry earn $156,660.
There’s also a large disparity between hemp and tobacco workers in lower-ranking jobs. For instance, a master of hemp extraction makes an average of $100,000 a year, while the extraction lead and the hemp extraction technician make $88,750 and $70,000 respectively. Meanwhile, the pressing and compacting machine setters at tobacco companies, along with operators and tenders, make an average of $42,110.
A reason for the wage gap is that, unlike tobacco, hemp is an emerging market, which carries some risk and higher salaries are necessary to attract the top talent to leave Fortune 500 companies behind, according to Tom Si [...]
For an idea of how federal prohibition skews a labor market, look no further than the boom-boom hemp industry.
The end of prohibition caused seismic shifts to a labor landscape with aftershocks that continue to unsettle the industry more than a year later – and offer new job opportunities for folks who haven’t previously considered careers in cannabis.
Hemp entrepreneurs hoping to take immediate advantage of legalization launched broadacre hemp cultivation in 2019. Cannabis-industry recruiters saw an incredibly tight market for farm managers with experience overseeing large outdoor farms of any crop.
One recruiter saw placements of:
$140,000-$160,000 per year for farm directors in Nevada.
$110,000-$130,000 per year for cultivation directors in Florida.
$95,000-$105,000 for field managers in California.
Salaries were driven even higher because the overall job market for experienced managers is so tight. [...]
Hemp production has been classified as “essential” by the federal government during the coronavirus pandemic. But the classification doesn’t extend to retailers selling hemp and CBD — and some retailers told to shut down during the coronavirus response are asking authorities to reconsider and designate them “essential” businesses. They point out that many states classify medical … [...]
By Theresa Hegel
The legalization of industrial U.S. hemp cultivation in the 2018 farm bill has already had an impact on the promotional products industry – namely in the growing desire for CBD-infused products – but suppliers are also seeing a rising demand for apparel and accessories made from hemp.
“We’re getting more requests for hemp products than ever before,” says Kriya Stevens, marketing manager for econscious Apparel (asi/51656). “Retail companies like Patagonia and Prana have used hemp in their lines for a while, but now we’re seeing hemp content become more readily available in the imprintables market because there’s a real thirst for them.”
Hemp is sometimes referred to as a “golden fiber” because of its beneficial qualities, according to Sion Shaman, owner of Expert Brand (asi/53404). “It naturally offers properties such as high moisture absorbency, heat conductivity and excellent abrasion tendencies; it’s also shown to offer some antibacterial pr [...]
The new normal that we’re all adjusting to as a result of the global pandemic has implications for a wide range of industries, hemp included. Hemp prices in 2020 were not projected to see much upward movement without a major regulatory change by the FDA that would drive demand by larger industry. Overall volume is down, with very little biomass trading hands. Extractors have deep inventories of extracts, too deep, and many facilities are idle, or pivoting to THC remediation. Tolling fees are very competitive in markets like Colorado, where extraction capacity is highest. T-free distillate – and distillate in general – is moving more than anything, and this in turn drives some demand for crude.
Certified organic products are increasing in volume, for biomass, flower, crude and distillates. This and cGMP practices can have an impact on hemp pricing and CBD prices, with the market bifurcating over processes using premium inputs and manufacturing practices and those that are not [...]
Several Colorado CBD companies are offering free products during the coronavirus pandemic, giving CBD oils, capsules, gels and even hand sanitizer to customers, health-care workers, people who've been laid off and others facing hard times financially.
Not that the owners of those companies are in much better shape.
Chris Bedrosian, founder of Lakewood hemp and CBD shop Flora's Mercantile & Hemp Emporium, says that she has about eighty bottles of CBD tincture that represented the profit from her latest batch. Although she can still sell products online, business has slowed significantly since her shop was forced to temporarily close under a statewide stay-at-home order from Governor Jared Polis. Even so, instead of selling her bottles of 2,000-milligram CBD tincture, she wants to donate them to people affected by the coronavirus.
"I can't just sit here and do nothing, but unfortunately, that's all I can do," Bedrosian says. "I'm not saying CBD will save them, but introducing CBD to your [...]
The U.S. military and researchers at a Wisconsin university are discussing making hemp fiber to replace imported polyester and polymer in Army vehicles – a potential partnership that would return the state to the days it was the epicenter of fiber production during both World Wars.
To make it a reality, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are working to create a textile that the military can test. Two state lawmakers, meanwhile, are leading the charge to pass legislation that would grant $250,000 to the research effort.
“Let’s reposition Wisconsin as the No. 1 hemp fiber state in the nation,” said Paul Fowler, executive director of the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology at UW-Stevens Point. “Let’s make sure that we’re using the entire plant and all the potential that it has built in.”
Most U.S growers raise hemp to create CBD products, but the plant can be transformed for many uses.
The military wants to use it for seat belts, seat cover [...]
The key to regenerative agriculture is that it not only “does no harm” to the land but actually improves it, using technologies that regenerate and revitalize the soil and the environment.
Regenerative agriculture leads to healthy soil, capable of producing high quality, nutrient dense food while simultaneously improving, rather than degrading land, and ultimately leading to productive farms and healthy communities and economies.
It is a dynamic and holistic, incorporating permaculture and organic farming practices, including conservation tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, composting, mobile animal shelters and pasture cropping, to increase food production, farmers’ income and especially, topsoil.
The loss of the world’s fertile soil and biodiversity, along with the loss of indigenous seeds and knowledge, pose a mortal threat to our future survival.
According to soil scientists, at current rates of soil destruction (i.e. decarbonization, erosion, desertification, chemical [...]