NOCO 5 Hemp Expo comes to the Ranch

PHOTO BY LIBBY JAMES. Hemp Expo visitors explore massive exhibition hall.

Libby James
North Forty News

Lots of acronyms, lots of enthusiasm.

A snowy Friday morning in early April did not keep a crowd from attending opening day of the NoCo5 Hemp Expo at the Ranch Events complex in Loveland. One hundred and fifty exhibitors filled two large halls in the McKee Building, ready to explain the extraordinary properties and wide-ranging uses of hemp. For someone new to the world of hemp and cannabis there was a whole vocabulary to be learned, many of the words lengthy and complex, thus the prevalence of acronyms that required deciphering. A panel on day two addressed the acronym puzzle explaining the meanings of CBD, THC, DEA, CSA, DSHEA, GRAS and more.

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PHOTO BY LIBBY JAMES. Julie Benz, left and Kris Norwood wrote books to educate children about hemp.

Booths and stalls, displays, demonstrations, speakers and workshops offered information to a public eager to learn about one of the fastest growing agricultural products in the U.S. According to a U.S. hemp crop report by the Department of Agriculture, 25,541 acres of hemp were grown in 19 states in 2017. Colorado, with 9,700 acres in cultivation, grew more than any other state. Next highest was Oregon with 3,469 acres followed by Kentucky, with 3,100 acres. Those figures compare with a total of only 9,770 acres of hemp under cultivation in all of the United States in 2016.

Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant, a cousin and of the same species as the plant that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) a psychoactive ingredient that produces a marijuana high. Hemp contains only a minute trace of THC, (less than 0.3%) not nearly enough to produce a high. Even so, it remains a controlled substance under federal law.

Politicians, Ron Wyden from Oregon and Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 which would remove hemp from the controlled substances list and allow it to be sold as an agricultural commodity. “Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage and I believe that it can be an important part of our future,” McConnell said.

Colorado hemp farmers are excited about the proposed act, anxious to expand production and support the development of new markets and technologies for hemp. Expo co-founder Morris Beegle said that if all parts of the plant are legalized, he believes it will be “a win for states, a win for the country, a win for the plant, and a win for planet earth.”

PHOTO BY LIBBY JAMES. Exhibitor sends a message.

Meanwhile Expo exhibitors spent two action packed days touting the diverse qualities of the plant which makes it appropriate to be used for insulation and other construction materials, dietary supplements, pain-relieving tinctures and ointments, beauty care products, twine, oil, paper, textiles and food, from energy bars to nutritious toppings for cereal, smoothies and yogurt.

Callie and Friends Art Zone invited children to learn about hemp through art and crafts activities and featured colorful childrens’ books, Callie Cannabis and Hana Hemp, written by Julie Benz and Kris Morwood.

Ed Lehrburger, president and CEO of Pure Hemp Technology whose firm was the presenting sponsor for the Expo called the development of hemp “a driving force to heal the planet.” His company is an innovator in the production, branding and marketing of industrial hemp products. His sister company, Pure Kind Botanicals produces full spectrum cannabinoid-infused items for the wellness industry. The Expo is produced by Colorado Hemp Company based in Loveland.

Many of the same exhibitors will be part of the Southern Hemp Expo, October 5 and 6 at the Fairgrounds in Nashville, Tennessee.


  1. Hello Libby!
    What a wonderful article and we thank you everyone for all their support over the last few days. We at Callie and Friends are hoping to help normalize the conversations about cannabis and hemp by creating this series of books for parents and children alike to learn about this versatile plant. Hemp, hemp hooray!

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Fun to watch all this new industry in action!

  2. Imagine what Colorado Senator Suzanne Williams and I experienced at the Expo. We launched the revitalization of hemp in 2006 in Colorado and stuck with it until we reached legalization on the coattails of marijuana with Amendment 64 . It was absolutely surreal for us. We are so gratified for the support we got from Colorado legislators, citizens and voters. Lynda Parker, Denver

  3. Just gotta watch out for Ashley Weber. She’ll steal your plants and put on a pretty face.

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