The 2021 Southern Hemp Expo

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The third annual Southern Hemp Expo #SHE just took place, and this time it happened in North Carolina. The undeniable energy of in-person events returning was there, along with all of the usual excitement from this kind of trade show and educational summit. Here are some of the highlights from this year’s SHE.

Seeking Out Common Ground

During times of prohibition, it’s easy for people in the industry to seek whatever little common ground there exists. Ironically, as legalization advances, people from different sides of the industry sometimes have more trouble finding that common ground as they strive to advance their own business interests.

At the SHE in 2021, presenters, panelists, vendors, and even event organizers all emphasized the need for trade groups and other industry participants to seek grounds for collaboration and unity without letting competition or unrealistic demands for perfection stall collective industry progress. Safety standards, transparency, and professionalism within the industry continue to be a burden we all share equally.

Innovative New Products

The cannabis industry continues to lead other markets in developing innovative new products and generating commercialization opportunities. Companies like Appalachian Standard, Bhūmi, Carolina Hemp Company, Longleaf Provisions Company, Merry Hill Hemp, and many others launch exciting new products regularly, ensuring the Carolina hemp market is exciting and competitive.

Craft hemp flower as a saleable product continues to hold a critical piece of the retail market. And delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8 THC) is changing the face of the cannabis industry, for better or worse. Ultimately, industry operators of all sizes must keep scaling, increasing their cost efficiency, focusing on the right plant genetics, and appealing to the right skills and talent to build up their teams.

Increased Industrial Use

#SHE3 was a great place to catch up on the latest in food, fiber, and industrial use applications for hemp. The National Industrial Hemp Council was there as always, as well as the Southeast Hemp Association. Groups like the U.S. Hemp Building Association and HempWood showcased the fantastic potential hemp has as a sustainable building material. And the Hemp Feed Coalition, Victory Hemp Foods, and others were there to highlight some of the lesser-known but equally fascinating applications for hemp.

SHE3 was a great event for anyone interested in cannabis and hemp. It was also a thrilling prospect for North Carolina, especially on the eve of legalization.