The expo has come a long way since its inaugural event at the Ranch Events Complex in Loveland in 2014, nearly five years before hemp was legalized by the federal government. Founder Morris Beegle moved the expo to the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center in 2019 to serve the growing crowd, and now it's going to an even bigger space right off Interstates 70 and 25.
According to expo organizers, up to 20,000 people are expected to attend next year's expo at the National Western Complex, where 200,000 square feet of event space will be reserved for 400 vendors and a handful of discussions and forums from March 26 to March 28. By comparison, the Crowne Plaza space was about 70,000 square feet, and last year's expo attracted around 230 vendors and about 10,000 attendees.
"As we roll into NoCo7 and 2020, the landscape for domestic and industrial hemp in the U.S. will change dramatically,” Beegle says in a statement announcing the move. “We are pleased to produce this event at the National Western Complex, the perfect agriculture-inspired setting for the largest gathering of hemp industry professionals under one roof."
Despite hemp's legalization by Congress in late 2018, products meant for consumption with CBD derived from hemp are technically banned federally by the Food and Drug Administration. Colorado's laws have created something of a rare opportunity for hemp and hemp-derived CBD companies, however, with the legalization of recreational marijuana and hemp-infused foods and cosmetics in this state allowing the creation of legal CBD products meant for human consumption.
The FDA ban hasn't stopped the largely unregulated industry from thriving in Colorado and beyond, with the domestic hemp industry worth over $1 billion for 2018, according to the Hemp Business Journal, and expected to continue its 14 percent annual growth rate through 2022. Meanwhile, a New York-based investment bank estimates that the CBD trade could be worth over $15 billion by 2025.
"The hemp industry is evolving and transitioning and has the potential for exponential growth and can positively impact the future," adds Beegle, a proponent of hemp bioplastics and other fiber production materials made from the plant.
Educational discussions and policy updates will take place at at the expo's investor forum, business conference and farm symposium, according to event organizers, who will release more information on keynote speakers as the expo gets closer. Find more information about the 2020 NoCo Hemp Expo here.