Colorado is no longer the sole capital of marijuana events, now that many other states are home to legal pot industries. But this state is definitely leading the way on industrial hemp and CBD, the newer, more mainstream versions of legal weed.
After the plant's federal legalization in late 2018, the hemp industry boomed. From 2018 to 2019, the average number of acres planted by surveyed hemp farmers increased by 54 percent, according to a study from Hemp Industry Daily, which also forecasts that hemp-derived CBD sales will reach around $4 billion nationwide by 2021.
As one of the first states to embrace industrial hemp years before federal legalization, Colorado has one of the highest tallies of acreage devoted to hemp farming in the country; it's also the headquarters of hundreds of hemp and hemp-derived CBD companies. Having all of these movers and shakers in one place has caught the attention of hemp and CBD event organizers, who've staked out the first four months of 2020 as their time to shine.
Here are just some of the events on the calendar:
Colorado Winter Hemp Summit
Thursday, January 16, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Boulder Jewish Community Center
6007 Oreg Avenue, Boulder
Hemp community leaders, advocates and others are welcome at the day-long, town hall-style summit to discuss and recap hemp’s growth in 2019 and share 2020 industry and market projections. Produced by the Colorado Hemp Company, producer of NoCo Hemp Expo, this is a run-up to the expo itself, and is produced for business owners and policy pundits — so if you're looking for vendors and swag, it might be worth waiting for another event. Tickets are $99.
Indo Trade Expo
Saturday, January 25, and Sunday, January 26
451 East 58th Avenue
The Indo Trade Expo was already one of Denver's largest annual cannabis trade expos when it decided to add a section for hemp a few years ago. On top of over 400 pot-industry vendors and showcases planned for the 2020 expo, there will be plenty of hemp brands in the mix. Day one is for registered pot-industry members only, with the second day open to the general public; that's when the Expo's Consumer Hemp Awards will highlight the industry's top products. Attendance (21+) is $60 for Sunday and $199 for the full weekend.
NoCo Hemp Expo
Thursday, March 26, through Saturday, March 28
National Western Complex
4655 Humboldt Street
Hosted by the group behind the Winter Hemp Summit, the NoCo Hemp Expo is now in its seventh year and claims it will be bigger than ever with its move to the National Western Complex. One of the world’s largest gatherings of hemp-industry professionals, it's expected to draw nearly 20,000 visitors and more than 400 hemp and CBD vendors over three days of conferences, including one geared toward investors, one toward farmers and one concentrating on business — as well as a mushroom pavilion dedicated to the vast potential of fungi (including, but not limited to, psilocybin). Tickets range from $11 for a one-day general admission pass to $549 for full access; get the full schedule and more details at the expo's website
Friday, April 10, and Saturday, April 11
Lily Farm Fresh Event Center
1833 County Road 53, Keenesburg
Filling the void left after the NoCo Hemp Expo left Loveland, this new hemp event is hosted at a Keenesburg farm by hemp skincare company Lily Farm Fresh. The expo is business-to-business only on day one, full of classes for hemp and cannabis entrepreneurs and cultivators, but promises a "farmers-market-style hemp expo" with vendors, workshops, food trucks and more on day two.
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