LOVELAND — The organization behind the NoCo Hemp Expo, Southern Hemp Expo and others around the country has decided to suspend the Southern Hemp Expo for 2023.
We Are For Better Alternatives, the Loveland-based umbrella organization for the hemp expos, said that the event held in the southeast has not regained momentum since the pandemic and the most recent event in 2022 did not reflect the broad spectrum of hemp uses that the organization wants to encourage.
The Southern Hemp Expo was launched in 2018. It was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic and struggled from that point to regain its footing, the organization said in a press statement. The 2021 and 2022 shows “ended up being dominated by the rise in the intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoid category, including Delta-8, HHC and other derivatives that have come to be popular with the consumer market in areas of the United States where adult-use cannabis is not yet legal.
“Both NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo were founded on the decades-long mission and mantra that hemp is for health and wellness for humans and animals and an environmental benefactor for the planet in being able to produce eco-friendly, carbon-neutral to carbon-negative materials for a variety of industrial applications. These include commercial and residential construction products, textiles, automotive components, paper and packaging, bioplastics and biocomposites, animal bedding, biochar and more,” the organization said.
The organization wants to maintain its “long-standing mantra” that “hemp does not get you high.” “The lack of regulatory oversight kept major retailers and major consumer brands on the sidelines as well as investment money out of the industry. This in turn was a factor in the increased oversupply and the eventual development of the synthesized, hemp-derived cannabinoid market that is proliferating today. This market has opened up a variety of concerns, from consumer safety issues to state product bans as well as state legislation approving of these products, and other various regulatory murkiness around the country. To put it simply, it’s a mess and extremely complicated to navigate in this new category of the hemp industry,” We Are For Better Alternatives said.
It called for better guidance in the upcoming U.S. Farm Bill and, in the meantime, will focus on the NoCo Hemp Expo.