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🔮 The Future of (Hemp Derived) Cannabis
Why more marijuana brands are jumping on the hemp bandwagon
Quick little rant!
I have to be blunt because I see a convergence happening and I’m curious if you do too. I’ve been a licensed cannabis operator in the state of Texas since 2019 (going on 5 years, what!?) I am currently a part of the hemp program which was also legalized federally in 2018 that legalized less than .3 % delta 9 THC on a dry weight basis.
Now in those early moments, it felt like the true wild Wild West, no one really understood CBD from THC let alone Hemp from Marijuana. And if I’m being honest, a lot of people still struggle with those variances today.
But that’s another story for another time, specifically, I want to zone in on this shift that I’m seeing happening.
It’s been interesting, especially putting on the podcast, To Be Blunt, because I’ve always been a part of the overall cannabis conversation trying to help bridge that gap not only for consumers to understand the nuances between these two sides of the industry but also for the industry itself.
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If you can also believe it, the podcast is 3 years old next month, and in these 3 years, the awareness, acceptance, and ultimately adoption of hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids has drastically changed.
I remember early on discussing what I did to my guests and peers and while they were always polite to my face, I couldn’t help but feel their pity as they looked on at what I was doing here in Texas.
And truthfully I don’t blame them, for the first 3-4 years it felt as if hemp was an afterthought, the poor little sibling who wasn’t cool enough to tag along to the rock show, but something has been brewing and a true shift has been happening.
Yes, hemp was perhaps once a dirty word when compared to marijuana, I get it, our industry plays with the likes of delta 8 THC, and we can’t sell truly psychoactive flower (or can we.. more on that another time) or concentrates as that would violate the small window we operate within.
But the limited access we have is actually quite accessible when properly understood and I think that is exactly what is happening between hemp and marijuana right now.
You see, as you may or may not know, marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug federally, it shouldn’t be, but it is, and so every state that has legalized adult use is required to retain that program within the confines of the boundaries of the state.
Have a product in legal California and want to get It in legal Nevada, sorry must set up infrastructure independently in each new state because you better not be crossing any state lines as that would violate federal law.
But what about hemp, she was legalized in 2019 on a federal level, and what appeared to be a very specific and weird string of words is actually a jumping-off platform for a whole new way of looking at cannabis that I just had to talk about.
We’re seeing glimmers of it, states like Minnesota last year had quote-on-quote accidentally passed legislation that would allow for low dose thc products which paved the way for their booming micro-dose beverage scene.
In fact, this is further emphasized by a few points.
I recall some of my marijuana-specific guests on the podcast over the years scoffing at the idea of launching in the hemp market when I would bring it up as an alternative for them to consider.
Clearly, for everything I just mentioned, it was looked down upon as having no real opportunity or runway since everyone seems to think the big finish line is marijuana legalization.
But these days I feel as if we already have a sort of federal legalization, at least from the understanding that presently it is possible to get quality THC delivered straight to your door whether you want to smoke it, sip it, or eat it.
Another piece to bring up is how recently a handful of those same brands that come to mind for me who laughed when I suggested hemp-derived delta 9 are actually operating in the hemp industry.
I started to notice this actually during SXSW this year when I caught wind of a few notorious marijuana brands, in particular, pop-up offering a hemp product and we both know it wasn’t just CBD.
That coupled with a few other conversations specifically after I was tracking and interviewing folks in Minnesota following up on their low-dose THC beverages led me to discover the #1 marijuana beverage is in fact now operating in the hemp-derived delta 9 space and it was shared at the recent Benzinga that hemp-derived delta 9 products are now accounting for 50% of their market share.
Hemp. Hemp. Hemp yall!
I’ve also been observing traditional marijuana-specific conferences evolve to feature and highlight conversations around the hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoid market. Plus whether it’s the main topic or not, marijuana brands are beginning to blur that language and as a result, it’s further confusing the path toward legalization because I would argue we already have federal access to these psychoactive cannabinoids.
Aside from rectifying criminal penalties, THC technically *is* already federally legal and accessible.
I think another angle to this is personally observing how many states’ marijuana programs are super restrictive and what impact that is having on operators whether it’s in licensing and legislation or regulation.
When it’s impossible to enter the market, what alternative do they have?
I believe now everyone is looking to hemp-derived, and this is just the beginning.
But that’s the rant, what do you think? What are you observing? Do you work in marijuana and hear more and more about hemp-derived delta 9 THC? Are you working for a brand that is using hemp-derived THC? Would you have second thoughts about entering the marijuana marketplace considering what is going on in hemp? What are your thoughts on the future of the language being used and do you agree that hemp’s reputation is changing and changing fast?
Would love to hear more of your thoughts, these are just some of my thoughts and speculations, only time will tell, but I had to speak my truth.