By Jeff Greene

It’s no wonder hemp was made illegal, hemp is the disruptor of the century.

Big Ag has control over strains of corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and virtually every other thing you put on your dinner table. Conversely, hemp is flourishing without their control and our industry is scrambling to ensure they won’t abuse it. However, eventually the best strains will gain notoriety and earn the lion’s share of the money and I expect whomever controls those strains will join the Big Ag community.

Big Pharma uses the FDA to keep natural remedies out of the marketplace with logical concerns of safety and efficacy. CBD has luckily bucked this trend and thanks to the removal of hemp from the controlled substance list, its evident part of the industry will avoid the controlled research necessary to fall under the Big Pharma purview. Excitingly, Epidiolex has advanced through clinical trials and soon other medicines with THC and CBD ingredients will follow this path. The FDA has expressed concern over extended use of these elements for liver toxicity and sedation. In the future, I see low dose OTC CBD widely available and higher dose CBD, by prescription, in the next five years.

Big Tobacco has recognized smokable hemp is the next cash crop and is rolling over into the space. Case in point, over the last two years several tobacco fields in Kentucky have been replaced with hemp. The rapid influx of hemp will cause some short-term pain, but the market will eventually settle, and more Big Tobacco farmers will shift to hemp.

Big Paper is still the outlier. Big Paper may have been a big reason hemp was banished of the 1930’s. The current hemp paper price point tells me Big Paper’s contracts with the various governments around the world are safe for now. As of today, Big Paper sits on the outside looking precariously at hemp, and we’re all watching their next move closely.

And lastly, Big Oil, which isn’t even on the radar for most pundits. Oil has trickled down to $60 a barrel and oil is used to create plastic, which is sadly expected to outweigh fish in our oceans by 2050. Consider, hemp bioplastics which have been around for nearly as long as plastic itself. Plant-based bioplastics break down much faster than petroleum-based plastics, where bulkier items like plastic bottles take over 400 years to break down. Hemp is biodegradable, uses less resources to cultivate, and contains cellulose concentrations (65%-70%). A growing number of investors and entrepreneurs are buying into hemp bioplastics.

All told, there are more questions than we have answers in this wonderful hemp industry, and we are welcoming all entrepreneurs, innovators, and advocators to the Florida Hemp Council.