For a single weekend, Dallas became the destination for cannabis lovers from all across the country to meet one another. Farmers, doctors, entrepreneurs, lawyers, growers and cannabis enthusiasts attended the two-day expo, which included seminars and panel discussions led by cannabis industry professionals.
The Lucky Leaf Hemp Expo took place last weekend at the Irving Convention Center and boasted over 80 booths where exhibitors sold their hemp products, farming tools and even cannabis-related bankers.
Everything Texans could need to get their hemp operation started was placed in a single room that stretched about half the length of a football field. We’re talking lotions, concentrates and frosty flowers that were grown to perfection and nurtured with love.
About 2,100 people stormed into the convention center over the weekend to learn about the booming business of cannabis. Event organizer Chad Sloan said, “Everybody was surprised of the turnout. … We did really well; a lot of people left Texas really happy.”
There were a few local speakers like Heather Fazio, director of the Texans For Responsible Marijuana Policy. She spoke to a packed room of over 60 people about what her organization does and how Texans could take their next step from advocacy to action. She covered the expansion of the Texas Compassionate Use Program that now allows more than just epilepsy patients to receive medical cannabis.
Fazio said the medical cannabis used in the program cannot exceed .5% of THC, while .3% of THC is now legal in the state of Texas. She said the Texas Compassionate Use Program has served less than 100 Texans so far, and after jumping through all the hoops to get into the program, you will not be allowed to own a firearm anymore.
And seriously, .2% of anything only matters if you’re talking about money. People in the cannabis community know that a .2% difference in potency is nothing. It will be interesting to see how long the Compassionate Use Program lasts now that patients can order their hemp from local distributors or have the really good stuff mailed to them from California or Colorado. Fazio said, “With the legalization of hemp, the Compassionate Use Program is largely irrelevant.”
Vern Mathis had a booth set up with his Area 51 branded hemp for sale and he spoke at one of largest and most intriguing discussions Lucky Leaf had to offer, “Growing Cannabis For Profit.” He is the chief operating officer of NICE CBD, and over 100 people attended the panel discussion.
Attendees had a hard time hearing questions that were asked by other people in the crowd because the room was so big. Generational and family farmers asked important questions about the process of farming hemp for flower and for fiber. Some farmers are willing to convert their corn or cotton fields into hemp fields where they could really generate some serious cash. Other Texas farmers have land and wanted to know about leasing their land out to cannabis growers.
Victoria Wylde, co-founder of Colorado Hemp Connection, was a speaker on the panel for “Growing Cannabis for Profit,” and answered the leasing question for the farmers. “People often do lease out their land. … I know a particular landowner, he got like $50,000 for leasing out 15 acres and he didn’t have to lift a finger. The farmer came in there and did everything and paid upfront.”
Right now, it is legal to buy, own and consume hemp, but it is illegal to grow hemp in the state of Texas. But the Lone Star State is expected to have a plan in place for 2020 that will catapult Texas into the top tier of cannabis production. Mathis said, “The rules that are here today will probably not be the rules tomorrow. … Be ready for change.”
Growing cannabis is an art form and can be a fulfilling career, and the distinguished speakers said it is important to remain compliant with your state, because the government will come out and throw your art away. Mathis said, “When you guys get into this and realize how much love and effort goes into these plants, they become part of your family and your soul. That’s just the way it is.”
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Over the course of the weekend, there were over 30 other seminars and discussions that people attended. Nothing but smiles and the sweet smell of freshly trimmed cannabis kept the energy in the convention center buzzing. People left the expo with confidence that Texas is headed in the right direction, and they can continue to pursue their cannabis business ventures.
Randy Streig currently works in real estate and attended the “Cannabis For Profit” discussion to learn more about the business. He has a passion for cannabis and is looking to help and invest in the development of a partnership with his friends. “Of course, I want to help my friends, but I’m helping because it’s something we have an interested passion for,” Streig said. “And we want to pursue it together.”
Sloan said Lucky Leaf will organize and be back in 2020 for round two of the expo, in hopes it will exceed expectations again. Farmers who made the trip from the rural parts of Texas, headed home with inspiration and hope to one day take part in this “labor of love” cannabis business.