November 1, 2023 – 1st Hemp USA – Florida
As many know, 2022 was a mixed bag for the cannabis industry. While new markets showed healthy growth, legal cannabis sales declined in many mature markets, slowing, or even reversing, growth in those markets. While some of this might be attributable to parallels experienced by the broader economy in the wake of COVID-19, it nevertheless resulted in numerous companies across the sector being hit by layoffs, cash crunches, and increased debt.
But 2022 wasn’t all bad news. Three more states enacted laws legalizing adult-use cannabis, while recreational sales kicked off in several other states. On the federal level, the Biden administration took steps toward reform, pardoning federal offenses of simple marijuana possession and directing review of cannabis’s classification under federal law. Congress also enacted the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act.
Below, we recap some of the biggest developments of 2022 and what we are currently experiencing in 2023. Possible 2024 predictions.
Market headwinds slowed down growth in 2022 and will likely persist throughout 2023.
After enjoying a sales surge during the early stages of the pandemic, the U.S. cannabis industry showed signs of slowing down in the face of regulatory and economic challenges, including declining demand. As a result, legal cannabis markets across the country, particularly mature markets, are facing a supply glut that is driving down wholesale and retail prices.
In California, for example, wholesale prices are reported to have crashed by as much as 95% since the state voted to legalize cannabis in 2016. (“How falling cannabis prices killed a 3rd generation family cannabis farm,” KSBW-TV Action News 8, Monterey Hearst Television Inc., Updated Dec. 14, 2022). And in Massachusetts, the retail price of an ounce has decreased from roughly $400 to under $250 over the last two years. (“Recreational cannabis prices in Mass. plummet as dispensary owners weigh future,” Boston.com, Dec. 13, 2022).
At the same time, legal retailers continue to struggle with onerous taxes, regulations, and competition from the illegal market. Many of these same challenges are likely to persist throughout 2023, including the slump in wholesale and retail cannabis prices.
Federal legalization stalled in 2022, but there are glimmers of hope for 2023 and beyond.
While Congress once again failed to pass meaningful cannabis reform — and federal legalization remains unlikely in 2023 — federal reform efforts made incremental progress in 2022.
In October, President Biden released a statement pardoning federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. In addition, the president asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to review cannabis’s classification as a Schedule I drug — the highest level of classification — under federal law. Although not without drawbacks, rescheduling to Schedule II would be an overall boon to the medical marijuana industry, as (among other things) it would likely allow medical cannabis to be grown in one state and sold in another.
While the announcement marked the biggest shift in federal cannabis policy since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970, its effects are not immediate. Administrative review of cannabis’s status under federal law does not have a set timetable and is unlikely to be completed in 2023. Moreover, because state cannabis convictions far outnumber federal convictions, most pardons will have to happen at the state — not the federal — level.
In December, Congress passed its first standalone piece of cannabis-related reform: the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (MMCREA). The bipartisan legislation paves the way for more research into cannabis’s medicinal uses by rolling back federal restrictions on research and the cultivation of research-grade cannabis (which are presently conducted exclusively at the University of Mississippi). The MMCREA also promotes the development of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs using CBD and cannabis.
We anticipate that several federal legalization bills will be re-introduced in 2023. Congressional Democrats are likely to re-introduce the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) in the Senate and the Marijuana Opportunity and Reinvestment (MORE) Act in the House. Both bills were introduced in previous legislatives sessions and aim to end the federal prohibition on cannabis.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act is also likely to be re-introduced in 2023, which would provide protections to financial institutions and various other professional service firms doing business with state-legal cannabis businesses and is likely to get the most attention (as has been the case in previous years). The bill has now passed the House seven times and enjoys both bipartisan and industry support.
Another likely candidate for re-introduction is the States Reform Act (SRA), which would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level while deferring to state powers over prohibition and commercial regulation.
FDA guidance on CBD may finally be on the horizon.
It has now been nearly four years since the FDA asserted regulatory oversight over cannabidiol (CBD). Despite repeated calls for regulations from lawmakers and industry participants, the agency has yet to comprehensively address rules relating to CBD, leaving manufacturers and distributors without much guidance (aside from the periodic release of warning letters). 2023 is likely to be the year this finally changes.
Up to this point, the FDA has generally pursued limited enforcement activity regarding CBD, focusing primarily on food and beverage products that make unsubstantiated health claims. But recent shifts in the agency’s internal and external approach to regulating CBD products and other cannabinoids could be an indication of what’s in store for 2023, and beyond.
For example, in September, the FDA hired Norman Birenbaum — an experienced cannabis policy expert — as a senior public adviser at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Industry watchers speculate that this could indicate that the agency is finally gearing up to develop a regulatory framework for cannabis-derived products, including CBD.
In addition, the FDA issued warning letters in the first half of 2022 to companies selling products containing Delta-8 THC, an intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoid that is currently being sold on the unregulated market in certain states. And in November, the FDA again issued a series of warning letters, this time to companies selling CBD-infused food and beverages.
The FDA also announced in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal that it is aiming to reveal its oversight plans in the coming months. (“FDA, Concerned About Safety, Explores Regulating CBD in Foods, Supplements,” WSJ.com, Updated Dec 29, 2022) The ultimate effect of the FDA’s forthcoming oversight plans remains uncertain, but will likely have a significant impact on the existing CBD industry. So, stay tuned!
States continue to lead the way on legalization and reform despite facing challenges.
According to a recent report by NORML, lawmakers and voters enacted more than 40 cannabis-related reform laws in over a dozen states in 2022. On the adult-use front, three states — Rhode Island, Maryland, and Missouri — enacted laws legalizing and regulating the market. Meanwhile, Mississippi enacted legislation legalizing medical cannabis.
2022 also saw recreational cannabis sales kick off in New Jersey, Rhode Island, and (to a very limited extent) New York. Retail sales in Connecticut also began earlier this month. Retail markets in Maryland and Missouri are expected to launch later this year. As it stands, 39 states have legalized cannabis in some capacity, with 21 states (plus the District of Columbia) permitting recreational adult-use.
Given that public support for reform remains at an all-time high (See “Americans overwhelmingly say marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use,” Pew Research Center, Nov. 22, 2022), we expect legalization and reform at the state level to continue in the year ahead. For example, lawmakers in Minnesota introduced a pair of bills earlier this month that would legalize recreational cannabis. Minnesota’s newly elected governor, a known cannabis legalization advocate, has stated that he could see legalization happening in the state in the coming year.
Pennsylvania also recently elected a pro-cannabis governor and saw Democrats Retake the State House, improving the Keystone State’s chances of legalization passing in 2023. Oklahoma has an opportunity to legalize recreational cannabis in March. Ohio’s Legislature is also considering a bill to legalize recreational cannabis, and lawmakers in several other states have already filed a handful of bills in the first few weeks of 2023 aimed at liberalizing cannabis laws (including Indiana and Kentucky).
But legalization is just the first step. The roll-out of state-legal cannabis programs can be complicated, time-consuming, and does not always progress in a linear fashion. For example, it has taken New York almost two years to launch its adult-use program, with the first sales occurring just at the end of December at a single location. To date, only 36 retailers in the state have been granted provisional licenses. Meanwhile, regulators have approved 318 conditional licenses for adult-use cultivators and processors, stoking fears that there may not be enough state-sanctioned stores, and that growers could be facing an oversupply issue. Early-stage growth of New York’s market has also been blunted by competition from the “legacy” (i.e., unregulated) market.
Several other states’ cannabis programs, including New York’s social equity component, are facing legal challenge on the basis that their licensing requirements violate the dormant commerce clause (DCC) of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from discriminating against interstate commerce by favoring citizens of their states over others.
In August, a split 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed that the DCC applies to the federally illegal cannabis industry and that a Maine law mandating local ownership of cannabis businesses is unconstitutional. The decision throws into question states’ ability to safeguard their cannabis industries from out-of-state competition and has been used as the basis for a New York federal court to partially enjoin New York’s Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program.
2023 still could be the year as the 2nd and 9th Circuits weigh in on this issue (as the same Michigan-based applicant has initiated litigation in New York and California on this ground).
Probably more importantly to the “Cannabis Future” is how we are using Hemp, the cousin of Cannabis, to impact our future in the industrial world. Something that is being missed, in the mix.
WHY HEMP IS IMPORTANT TO OUR FUTURE, AS IT WAS TO OUR PAST.
Hemp, In the Mix.
Hemp is not called the wonder crop for no reason. It is possibly the most important plant on earth. It offers many different uses that promote a more sustainable world. Hemp products can be recycled, reused, and are 100% biodegradable. Industrial hemp is a very robust, competitive plant that can out-compete weeds. Its cultivation and usage have significant environmental benefits.
In a time when we are not-so-gradually moving towards the destruction of our planet, the need for sustainable alternatives has increased. While the world is busy thinking of possible alternative solutions, Mother Nature has already provided us with one. All that is left to us is to make the most of it.
What are sustainable practices?
Sustainability is defined as the ability to maintain a balance of a certain process or state in any system. In recent times, the phrase sustainable practices is used in association with biological and human systems. Sustainability is expressed in human organization concepts such as eco-municipalities and sustainable cities, and for human activities such as sustainable agriculture and renewable energy.
For humans to live sustainably, it is imperative to use the Earth’s resources at a rate at which they can be replenished. But as is no surprise, the humans aren’t currently doing this. Let’s understand what sustainable practices truly mean.
The finest way to define sustainable practices is through the three pillars of sustainability.
Sustainability depends on three independent areas that are equally important–social implications, economic implications, and environmental implications.
Sustainable practices must ensure that global human rights are always respected. This spreads over areas such as inequality, poverty, social injustice, fair wages, and other human rights matters. True sustainability is achieved when farming and industrial practices must always leave a positive social impact.
The mass adoption of sustainable agriculture has been, for some part, put off by its economic effect. While the benefits of sustainability don’t always translate to swift economic growth, they do prove safe for the environment and mankind. Sustainable practices can only be adopted when they fuel economic development.
Sustainability is, more often than not, synonymous with environmental impact. And there is a good reason for this association. The Earth is rich but it only has so many natural resources that we can exhaust. To ensure our survival as a species, it is important to manage them carefully.
Therefore, producers, cultivators, and consumers must pay attention to the impact they are leaving on the environment. It then becomes obvious that we need to adopt renewable energy and sustainable agricultural practices, among other things.
Hemp — the Sustainable Crop
Hemp can, for the most part, alleviate the need for many other mass-produced modern raw materials. The large amounts of toxins and waste produced by fuel industry and other pharmaceutical products can be largely reduced by hemp. When compared to common resources (for example, cotton), the roots of the hemp plant not only result in environment-friendly fibers, cosmetics, fuels, and medicines but also protects the earth and enriches the land where it grows.
Hemp is a crop that leaves minimal or no footprint on the earth while addressing many of mankind’s present needs.
Growing Hemp — Environment-friendly Cultivation
Hemp is a more sustainable and eco-friendlier crop than the majority of crops dominating the human cultivation today. While many people feel that hemp propagates are against traditional crops such as cotton, they fail to understand that we are for environment. Though these crops have been growing on the land forever, the environment of the land has changed, and this has necessitated for a sustainable solution.
After its much controversial fate, hemp is beginning to the see the light of the day in people’s life yet again. And almost all the reasons for that are rooted in the crop’s sustainable and eco-friendly characteristics.
Competitive in Nature
Hemp is inherently a competitive plant that grows densely and literally chokes out the competing plants. Hemp naturally reduces pests and therefore does not require pesticides and herbicides.
Hemp is naturally resistant to pests, fungi, and diseases so cultivators do not have to focus on excessive amounts of chemicals for cultivating their crops.
Enriches the Soil where it grows.
Careless agricultural practices extract water and nutrients from the ground without allowing the soil to replenish itself. This results in soil degradation and soil pollution which in turn results in deforestation as well as threatens the productivity and overall health of our food crops.
Hemp is a sustainable crop because it returns a significant percentage of nutrients back to the ground during the process of retting. This results in healthier soil that helps in decelerating erosion and keeps our lands healthy for a longer period of time.
Can reduce Carbon emissions.
Industrial hemp is a high biomass crop that possesses the ability to sequester higher amounts of carbon through the process of photosynthesis. This carbon is then stored in the roots and the body of the plant. This carbon is then transferred into processed bio-fiber products.
Bio-products made from hemp are environment-friendly that can easily be replaced in compost or in landfills. Majority of hemp-based products are free of toxics, biodegradable, and renewable.
Requires less amount of Water.
Industrial hemp has a large tap root that is capable of penetrating deep into the soil profile to pick up the water and nutrients required by the plant for development. This is a benefit because hemp can recover the nutrients that might otherwise be leached below the root zone and enter the groundwater.
Moreover, hemp’s deep roots open up the soil and enhance it for future crops. Hemp requires one-third of the amount of water required by cotton and similar traditional crops. This value considerably cuts down on the water we dedicate to traditional crops for clothing and textile needs all the while producing more comfortable and durable products.
Can be made into biofuel.
Hemp can be made into biofuels which can easily be used in the existing transportation vehicles. Gasoline produced from hemp is 85% greener than petroleum gasoline. Hemp biodiesel, as studies have found, are 97% more efficient than traditional gasoline (i.e. 97% of hemp oil can be converted to biodiesel) and can be used at lower temperatures than other biodiesels.
Carbon neutral buildings
Through its green concrete alternative, Hemp gives us an opportunity to produce carbon neutral building supplies including but not restricted to insulation, pressboard, flooring, wall, and concrete. Hempcrete is energy-efficient, non-toxic, and resistant to mold and, insects and fire.
Produces Higher Yield from the Same Space
One of the most interesting and beneficial characteristics of hemp is that it can grow in different soils and climates and thrives in small spaces. Multiple studies suggest that one acre of hemp can yield as much as 8.7 tons given the right conditions. This way, the hemp crop opens up a way for farmers to decrease their land usage without compromising on their yield or finances.
Can replace plastic.
We are all aware of the way plastic is destroying the earth. The need for an alternate solution to plastic is supercilious to all other needs. Hemp helps us here too. Hemp provides an option to create a non-toxic and completely bio-degradable plastic that can be used in the stead of regular plastic.
A hemp plastic bottle degrades within 10 days of discard.
This is not the first time that the world is hearing of hemp plastic. In fact, Henry Ford built a car out of hemp and soy plastic in the early 1940s. In 2008, the Lotus Eco Elite employed hemp in its composite body panels and spoiler. And since, many car manufacturers have switched to hemp composites for different parts of their cars such as door panels, columns, seat backs, instrument panels etc.
Hemp and Deforestation
The timber industry has been paramount in the production of jobs and manufacture of products in the world. But this income and these convenient products come at a heavy cost to our environment. In order to cater to the demands of the timber industry, our forests are destroyed, streams are hurt, flora and fauna are killed, species are wiped out, and environment is polluted.
In the present time, more than 90% of world’s paper is made from trees. Almost 60% of the world’s forests are used for timber. This fills the natural water sourced with nitrates which leaves terrible effects on the ecosystem. This is not even the entire tip of the iceberg.
What can be the solution?
Cannabis or industrial hemp gives us environment-friendly products to replace timber. Hemp grows like other industrial crops but with fewer necessities and in lesser space. This means that switching to hemp would save our forests from being needlessly wasted thus saving our waters, wildlife, and the environment on the whole.
Not only will hemp offer a softer and better paper, but it will also offer more yield per acre as well. This makes hemp one of the very few sustainable crops that are not heavy on the producer’s pocket.
Hemp and Global Warming
Another battle that the wonder crop can help us fight is the battle against the rising temperature of the planet. Hemp begins sequestering carbon the moment it is seeded. Conservatively, hemp yields an approximate sequestration ratio of 1.5 units of sequestration per unit produced. That is to say, 1 ton of harvested hemp fiber should ideally sequester 1.62 tons of carbon dioxide.
Hemp can also sequester carbon back into the soil through a process called Bio sequestration. The hemp crop captures the carbon emissions from the atmosphere and on slow-smoldering, hemp can be used to create carbon-free biochar which can be mixed with other nutrients and returned to the soil.
When used in the form of bio concrete, hempcrete undergoes calcination overtime and absorbs more carbon dioxide from the environment.
Using Hemp — Environment-friendly Consumption
While hemp is a sustainable option for producers, it is a sustainable and healthier option for the consumers as well. As an industrial crop, hemp provides healthier alternatives to consumers. We have already established that hemp is free of toxins, does not contribute to pollution, and is completely biodegradable. But these are not the only reasons why hemp supports eco-friendly consumption.
While the products made from hemp are stronger, more durable, and biodegradable, hemp in itself can act as a nutrition storehouse for consumers. Hemp consumption is eco-friendly in the sense that the crop grows without any pesticides and herbicides, consumers lesser amount of water, and is a vegan product.
The fatty acid and amino acid profiles of hemp are identically aligned with the human DNA. Therefore, as a food source, hemp offers protein, omegas, and dietary fibre in perfect proportions for our nutritional needs. Hemp is naturally gluten-free and easily digestible in the form of seeds.
Hemp provides the strongest, most durable, natural, and long-lasting fibre compared to the alternative sources. The flexible characteristics of the plant allow for the creation of durable clothing, building materials, shelters, and innumerable products that can satisfy the human needs and wants.
Hemp’s Environmental Impact in a Nutshell
Pollution-free: Hemp is among the fewest plants that can grow anywhere, in any climate. It does not need fertilizers or pesticides and naturally fights against fungus, diseases, and weeds. It cleans up toxins from the ground and can significantly reduce chemical pollution.
Sustainable Agriculture: In addition to using zero fertilizers, hemp replenishes the soil where it grows with nitrogen, carbon, and other nutrients restoring the health and fertility of the soil.
Carbon Sequestration: Hemp grows quickly and absorbs carbon from the air storing it back to the earth.
Clean Industry: Processing hemp fiber for cloth and paper does not require any chlorine which is one of the major polluters.
Eco Fuel: When used as a bio-diesel fuel, hemp emits 80% carbon dioxide, as compared to fossil fuels, with almost no sulphur dioxide. The hemp fuel, therefore, does not destroy the ozone layer and thus generates less greenhouse gas. Hemp fuel also does not contribute to acid rain.
Water-saving: Compared to wood and cotton plantation, hemp requires 1/3rd the amount of water.
Land-saving: 1 acre of usable fiber equates to 4 acres of usable fiber of trees and 2 acres of usable fiber of cotton. Cultivating hemp could save the land cleared for agricultural means and help in deforestation.
Oxygen release: Hemp plants are proven to release a lot of oxygen given their high carbon sequestration percentage.
Durable Products: Hemp produces stronger fiber than cotton and other plants and can be recycled a greater number of times. Efficient Land Use: Hemp yields 4 times an average forest can. A hemp crop is harvested in 90 days as compared to 25 years taken by trees.
We, at Inspirational Technologies are at the forefront of Inspirational and Frontrunners on the frontier of current technology.
We are often faced with our own personal conflicts which directly influence our interactions with our peers and family.
When Inspirational Technologies is an endorsement of the “Cannabis” approach to the medical condition, we say, let’s let the look at the data and the people who say that they benefit for cannabis alternatives.
Beginning in Late November 2023 Inspirational Technologies will promote the long-awaited series, “In the Weeds with Steve “. An Inspirational Technologies production under their own “Background Noise Productions Studios.
Steven M Smith InspirationalTech.org
CEO since 2013.
4 Hemp Club was Inspired by Steven Smith’s vision to “Have an older generation 4H Club, where an older community of adults could carry on what the younger 4H Club envisioned.
Our 4H Platform Uses HEMP as an Agricultural Focal Point, deserving of research, development and with the
4 Hemp key points being Health Hope and Happiness, thru Hemp“.
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