Hemp market’s potential blossoming in Alberta

Second annual Western Canada Hemp Industry Conference brings all aspects of industry to Olds

Hemp can be easily grown by farmers in Alberta, and the crop has almost endless applications. PIXABAY PHOTO

Jesse Hahn is one of thousands of Albertans benefiting from the so-called green rush that came with the end of cannabis prohibition, but his industry isn’t involved in recreational pot.

Hahn is vice president of Natural Fiber Technologies – a company that makes building materials from hemp.

He’s also on the board of the Alberta Council of Technologies, which is holding its second annual Western Canada Hemp Industry Conference on March 15 in Olds, Alta.

Hahn is hoping that anyone with an interest in hemp – from growing it to processing it to making products with it – will be at the conference.

Although hemp has long been legal to grow in Canada, the legalization of more potent cannabis plants has removed some of the stigma around the less understood cousin known as hemp, and now dozens of businesses across Alberta are coming together to take advantage of the opportunity.

“We want to give people perspective of every aspect of the value chain,” said Hahn. “As a consumer or an entrepreneur – we want to clear up conceptions and stigmas around the plant.”

The day-long conference is designed to reach anyone with a potential place in the market for hemp – from farmers and investors to entrepreneurs and innovators.

The morning sessions will focus on the current opportunities in the industry, and on bringing people up to speed about hemp’s many applications. It will also feature a key note speaker from the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance.

Hahn said in the afternoon, they hope to bring everyone to the table to focus on industry-wide concerns and questions, such as how to encourage research into hemp’s environmental benefits, and how to attract investment.

Hahn explained that unlike the medical and recreational cannabis industry, which still has many unknowns, hemp is poised to find a spot in existing markets that are well understood.

“We’re looking at developing productions that are disruptive to markets that we know and understand,” he said. “Forestry, construction automotive, textile – these are incumbent industries that we have a lot of data on. So, I think it’s easy to measure the economic benefits in this industry.”

Seats are still available at the Western Canada Hemp Industry Conference. Registrants can save 10 per cent by using the promo code LiveW20.

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