Hempco Food and Fiber (CVE:HEMP) CEO Charles Holmes clears up many of the common misconceptions about hemp
Angela Harmantas | March 15, 2017 | SmallCapPower: “When you invest in hemp, you are investing in the future,” says Charles Holmes, CEO of Hempco Food and Fiber Inc. (TSXV: HEMP), a family-run, Vancouver-based company that pioneered the first hemp protein powder. That may seem like a bold statement if the everyday investor is only familiar with what he or she hears in the news about industrial hemp. In reality, however, there are hundreds of uses for the plant that calls into question why hemp is classified as a controlled substance. Hempco is bringing to the market a growing range of hemp based foods, snacks and oil and generating profits and value for its shareholders. Here, Charles Holmes debunks some of the many myths about hemp and shares the possibilities of the miracle plant.
1. Hemp is not the same as marijuana and CBD is not the same as THC. This is the most common misconception about hemp, but the distinction between the two is so important. Although hemp and cannabis, or marijuana, are both members of the species cannabis sativa, hemp has lower concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, created in higher concentrations when the female plant is stressed) and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD, THC is one of 150 or so CBD’s), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects unless it is heated past 250F, then the supporting CBD’s to THC are destroyed and THC becomes psychoactive and toxic to our brain.
2. People have been growing industrial hemp for thousands of years. It is only within the last century that governments have classified hemp as a controlled substance. Canada only allowed commercial production of hemp about 20 years ago, provided that producers adhere to a set of stringent regulations, giving hemp the strange distinction of being one of the oldest, yet one of the youngest, industries in the world.
3. The human body contains its own endocannabinoid system that helps to control things like appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory. “During breastfeeding a baby is receiving hemp CBDs for its immune system from its mother,” says Mr. Holmes. “It’s a normal part of the physical chain of life.”
4. Hemp’s market potential reaches into the tens of billions of dollars. Medical marijuana alone is a $3 billion market in Canada, but that is only one small aspect of its potential. “You can make literally anything out of this plant. It is the longest, most durable fibre on earth,” Mr. Holmes says.
5. The key to unlocking hemp’s potential lies in making use of the entire plant. Most people think that the only value in the hemp plant is the leaves, but that could not be further from the truth. “Our goal is whole crop utilization: not only taking the seeds off and making food but using the stalks for fibre and making everything from car parts to bricks to horse bedding and kitty litter,” says Mr. Holmes.
6. Hemp can be grown and sown in large fields just like canola or wheat. Hempco farmers alone cultivated more than 8,000 acres of hemp in 2016, producing approximately $15 million in sales. Hempco plans on sowing 20,000 acres of industrial hemp fields in 2017, with a potential of $30 million in sales.
7. Hemp is an incredible source of protein. Compared to chicken breasts, hemp has more than twice the amount of protein, more good fats, fibres, vitamins and minerals, and no cholesterol. “We are making all sorts of innovative products with that, meatless and non-dairy and even ice creams and yogurts,” Mr. Holmes says.
8. Hemp companies are already profitable. Hempco raised about $4 million last year, most of which was funnelled back into the growing business. As Mr. Holmes describes, “we are a profitable company. All the money we raised, besides the cost of going public, is going into new equipment and R&D and new packaging and products.”
9. Major corporations are buying hemp-based products. In the European Union and Korea, which are two of Hempco’s biggest markets, well-renowned grocery chains Whole Foods and Loblaws are customers.
10. Coming soon to fast food joints everywhere: hemp burgers! Right now Hempco is perfecting a “faux-meat” line that will compete with traditional soy-based burgers. It is where the Company has added the most value to the hemp seed industry, according to Mr. Holmes. “The more we value add, the more margins we can get, and the more direct-to-customer programs we do will be better for everyone.”
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