LAS VEGAS, NV - (NewMediaWire) - January 14, 2016 - Hemp, Inc. (OTC PINK: HEMP): With the 2014 Agricultural Act (known as the Farm Bill) making year 2014 notable and celebrated, 2015 proved to be a year of record-setting, transformative strides within the industrial hemp industry. Laws governing industrial hemp continued to evolve in more and more states, and opportunities began to unfold over the course of the year.
Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. (OTC PINK: HEMP), said, "Awareness of hemp has increased tremendously, thus becoming a more sought after resource. But we still have to keep educating the public on the difference between hemp and its cousin, marijuana, and the astounding benefits of hemp. Hemp, Inc. is on the forefront, leading the way. Our multipurpose decortication plant is nearing completion, thereby positioning Hemp, Inc. years ahead of anyone else processing industrial hemp on a large, commercial scale in America."
David Schmitt, COO of Hemp, Inc.'s wholly owned subsidiary, Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC, highlighted the company's accomplishments with its multipurpose decortication plant in Spring Hope, North Carolina. During 2015, Hemp, Inc. achieved the following:
- Completed moving the Temafa Line, the Mactavish Line, the mill and silo, and millions of pounds of Kenaf from Snow Hill, North Carolina to its 70,000 square-foot facility, on 9 acres, in Spring Hope, North Carolina
- Installation of security fencing
- Installation of surveillance cameras throughout the facility
- Obtained all necessary permits to begin reassembling the multipurpose decortication line
- Installation of new LED lighting in the manufacturing area of the plant
- Temafa decortication line assembled, as well as rebuilding most of the components
- Installation of cable trays throughout the facility for all electrical wiring
- 3-Phase power routed to the plant from Duke Energy
- Access road for Duke Energy built
- Installation of new fencing and security gate at access road
- Installation of new 1500 KVA transformer
- Purchased and installed new disconnect per National electrical code
- Purchased and installed new switchgear
- Installation of all electrical panels for the Temafa line
- Purchased and installed new air compressor to provide machinery with compressed air
- Philip Boyer joins Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC (IHM) as Director of Operations and Robert (Bob) Hughes as Vice President of Sales and Marketing
- Completion of cold storage unit to house seed
- Renovation of a substantial portion of the interior of the decortication facility
- Rebuilt milling machinery
- Purchased additional milling machinery to meet anticipated demand for Hemp, Inc.'s Loss Circulation Materials (LCMs)
- Purchased a new Particle Size Analyzer to provide customers with a Certificate of Analysis on each shipment
- Construction completed on new laboratory to house all testing equipment
- Construction of new office space
- Worked with local farmers to get three, fifty-acre fields of Kenaf planted for 2016 harvest, as well as educated farmers on growing industrial hemp
- David Schmitt appointed to the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Associations' (NCIHA) Board of Directors
- David Schmitt served as HempX's (an industry conference in Asheville, NC) keynote speaker
- David Schmitt, spoke at the Progressive 15 Hemp Expo in Akron, Colorado, held Monday, December 14, 2015, to help educate farmers on growing and processing industrial hemp. During the ten-minute presentation given by Schmitt, he updated and informed attendees and other panel members on Hemp, Inc.'s progress of its decortication facility (Hemp, Inc.'s biggest asset) in Spring Hope, North Carolina and the planned revenue generator for the company. He also discussed processing industrial hemp in North Carolina.
- Hemp, Inc. played an integral role with NCIHA passing legislation (Senate Bill 313) approving Industrial Hemp in North Carolina, which became law on October 31, 2015
- Began running the electrical wiring for all of the machinery
- Engineering work completed on the foundation for the 60-foot tall silo used to hold the LCM product after the milling process, prior to packaging
- Purchased and began reconstruction of a portable decortication unit to be deployed to such states as California, Oregon, and Colorado for farmers to grow Kenaf
All of Hemp, Inc.'s progress was well documented, via video, edited and uploaded to Hemp, Inc.'s YouTube channel (www.HempIncPresents.com) for shareholders and the general public. Step by step progress can be seen here. Per CEO Perlowin, Hemp, Inc.'s detailed documentation is the only such transparent disclosure in the industrial hemp industry... that he is aware of.
"2015 closed on a high note for us. It was extremely productive and we made a lot of progress," said Schmitt. "We met with several large corporations about the purchase of our LCMs in the gas and oil drilling industries and have entered into agreements to supply several companies with fiber in 2016." Schmitt also noted the company will be able to process over 40 million pounds.
Bob Hughes, IHM's Vice President of Sales and Marketing, was able to spearhead an aggressive national and international sales and marketing campaign for the company. With years of experience in raw and natural fiber sales, Hughes has been instrumental during 2015 with securing potential buyers for Hemp, Inc.'s LCMs and hemp fibers.
More events that helped shape the "Hemp Industry" in 2015 include, but were not limited to:
- In December, a group of individuals interested in the hemp industry came together to officially create one of the first Hemp cooperatives in Colorado for hemp producers, Northern Colorado Hemp Farmers Association.
- Senate Bill 305 legalized Hemp cultivation in Nevada (became effective Jan. 1, 2016) giving colleges, universities, and the State Department of Agriculture the right to grow industrial hemp for research purposes under an agricultural pilot program when registered and certified by the Department of Agriculture.
- Senate Bill 50 was recently proposed for the purpose of establishing an industrial hemp industry in Pennsylvania to grow, cultivate, process and market industrial hemp.
- University of Hawaii grew hemp for research. A copy of the University of Hawaii Report to the 2016 Legislature can be found here. More recently, according to BizJournal, due to the Maui economy, Hawaii based company Alexander and Baldwin, Inc. plans to shift from farming sugar to planting hemp for its 36,000-acre "diversified agriculture model" plantation in Maui.
- The Arizona Supreme Court issued two rulings barring courts and prosecutors from denying medical marijuana use as a term of probation if the convicted felons in question have valid medicinal cannabis authorizations.
- In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) refuted the Justice Department's recent interpretation of a spending provision intended to protect State medical marijuana laws and confirmed that any criminal or civil action against medical marijuana providers is a violation of federal law. The full letter is available at http://www.mpp.org.
- Industrial Hemp Legalized in North Dakota by Lawmakers
- The Wall Street Journal reported Japan's First Lady, Akie Abe, "raised eyebrows after telling a Japanese magazine that she has considered becoming a hemp farmer to help revive the traditional culture." Apparently, Ms. Abe became interested in hemp cultivation and considered applying for a permit. "While it is not yet permitted in Japan, I think it can be put into great practical use for medical purposes as well."
- After Governor Pat McCrory chose not to veto the legislation, industrial hemp became legal in the state of North Carolina on October 31, 2015 giving farmers the option to cultivate hemp crops with easy access to Hemp, Inc.'s multipurpose industrial hemp commercial processing facility in Spring Hope.
- A brand new advocacy group began by a Berks County farmer pushed to flip Pennsylvania into one of many of the nation's largest growers and producers of commercial hemp.
- The Hemp Research Bill, introduced in Albany by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Tom O'Mara, was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo
- Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, sponsored legislation to legalize and regulate the production of industrialized hemp in the Garden State. The state Assembly's commerce committee approved both of his bills even though they passed with only Democratic lawmakers voting yes.
- Farmers in northeast Colorado have formed one of the first hemp cooperatives.
- Democratic presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton, gave her stance on industrial hemp legalization saying, "I think we have to explore it. It's a crop, right? We have to move marijuana down to schedule II...."
- Vote Hemp worked with House and Senate members on a bi-partisan letter to the USDA urging them to clarify their policy and reminding them that Congress supported hemp research in the Farm Bill. The letter to USDA was sent on November 20, 2015 and signed by 14 Senators and 36 Congressmen.
- House Bill 967 (that would allow industrial hemp to be grown or cultivated through special programs in the state of Pennsylvania) was given the green light to advance to the state's House floor. Introduced by Representative Russ Diamond, House Bill 967 was approved in minutes.
It's no wonder there has been a resurgence of industrial hemp.
For centuries, hemp didn't have to prove itself because of its very rich history. Hemp paper was used for the Declaration of Independence. Henry Ford used hemp for auto parts. It was woven into the sails that took Christopher Columbus' ships to the New World and into the first American flag that was sewn by Betsy Ross. It was also used in World War II to make naval ropes and parachute webbing.
"China leads the world in making and exporting hemp products, many of which go to the U.S. The European Union also has an active hemp market, led by France, the United Kingdom, Romania, and Hungary," according to a 2015 report by the Congressional Research Service.
Hemp also has exceptional environmental benefits as a building material. "Unlike concrete or fiberglass, it's a renewable resource that sequesters carbon dioxide as it grows." Indeed, the possibilities with hemp are endless. Now that farmers are slowly being allowed to harvest the plant in some states, hemp is quickly making a comeback in the United States.
On the Horizon for 2016
"Ever since the 2012 election, all eyes from the hemp and marijuana reform movements have been set on 2016. I believe this is the year for enormous advancement in both industries. The anticipation is somewhat taking on a life of its own. This is the beginning of the biggest year in the history of industrial hemp and marijuana in our nation," says Perlowin.
After a 77-year prohibition, sales of hemp and hemp-based products, such as clothing, cosmeceuticals, building materials and such, are expected to reach upwards of $500 million nationwide in 2016. And, according to the Hemp Biz Journal, sales of hemp and hemp-based products is expected to reach $1.5 billion in consumer sales by year 2020.
According to Daily Camera's Boulder County Business, "Three states accounted for the majority of agricultural hemp in 2015: Colorado (leading the way with 2,000 acres in production) Tennessee (1,000 acres) and Kentucky (922 acres)." And while, in most cases, "there is no current system tracking what the hemp is being grown for, harvests in Colorado were primarily for the non-psychoactive chemical compound cannabidiol (CBD)," according to Sean Murphy, publisher of the Hemp Business Journal. Additionally, Oregon's Department of agriculture is anticipated to resume issuing cultivation licenses for industrial hemp by the end of February 2016.
Consumer sales of CBD-infused products, to combat pain and inflammation, reached over $85 million in 2015. Hemp, Inc. expects to roll out its line of CBD-infused products this year.
Schmitt also stated that 2016 looks bright for the decortication plant. "Since the first of the year, we have completed the installation of our new concrete foundation for our 60 foot tall silo. The concrete is reinforced with Kenaf fiber and was completed last Thursday. It has to cure for 21 days before we can position the silo on the new foundation. We also received our first shipment of duct work for the Temafa decortication line. We will begin assembling the duct work very soon."
He continued, "We are currently running electrical conduit out to our 100 horse power air compressor. We hope to have the compressor wired and operational this month. We will then begin routing iron pipe throughout the plant to provide the machinery with compressed air. Once the compressor is on line, we will begin installing and wiring all of our milling machinery. Once the milling machinery is operational, we will begin manufacturing our LCMs."
As for cannabis, 2016 holds big expectations for marijuana initiatives, legislative marijuana reform, banking reform, tax reform, decriminalization at the local level, and the descheduling of marijuana. In an article posted on The Weed Blog, "What Will Happen in the Marijuana World in 2016?" author Johnny Green discussed these, and more, pertinent issues with a very optimistic outlook. "2016 is a Presidential Election year, and there are numerous efforts underway to get enough signatures to put recreational marijuana and medical marijuana legalization on state ballots. California, Arizona, Nevada (already on the ballot!), Massachusetts, Maine, and Michigan are all likely to vote on recreational marijuana on Election Day 2016. Florida and Missouri are likely to vote on medical marijuana in November, with other states maybe joining them. With some hard work and luck, we could see the number of legal recreational states climb to double digits, and see the number of medical states outnumber the amount of non-medical states in America (when you don't include CBD-only states). This will literally be the biggest election cycle in the history of marijuana politics in America."
With that said, 2016 will be the biggest year in the history of hemp and marijuana reform... ever!
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HEMP, INC.'S TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE
Hemp, Inc. (OTC PINK: HEMP) seeks to benefit many constituencies from a "Cultural Creative" perspective, thereby not exploiting or endangering any group. CEO of Hemp, Inc., Bruce Perlowin, is positioning the company as a leader in the industrial hemp industry, with a social and environmental mission at its core. Thus, the publicly traded company believes in "up streaming" a portion of its profits back to its originator, in which some cases will one day be the American farmer -- cultivating natural, sustainable products as an interwoven piece of nature. By Hemp, Inc. focusing on comprehensive investment results -- that is, with respect to performance along the interrelated dimensions of people, planet, and profits -- the triple bottom line approach can be an important tool to support its sustainability goal.
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