Cannabis expo held in Little Rock
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) —
The Ark La Tex Cannabis Business Expo wrapped up its final day in Central Arkansas. Hundreds of businesses and advocacy groups showcased cannabis products and lead discussions about what's possible in the Natural State.
One group, the Arkansas Hemp Association, believes hemp is the future of farming.
"Farmers are really losing profits right now. Their return on investment is failing with the corn, soy beans, and rice that they've been planting for years. And it's time for them to switch to a new cash crop. And industrial hemp-- all the arrows are pointing to it-- industrial hemp," Jeremy Fisher with the Arkansas Hemp Association said.
Hemp, he says, is a versatile crop. It can go into building materials, plastics, food products and personal care products.
"It's projected to be a multi-billion dollar crop," Fisher added.
State Representative David Hillman, a farmer who was once a skeptic-- says he now believes.
"I always had kind of a bad taste in my mouth about hemp because of the relationship it has to marijuana," Hillman said. "Looking down the road at the prospects for hemp, I think right now the potential is unlimited. We're in a very down time for agriculture right now."
The Arkansas Hemp Association adds that the crop would help the economy by creating more jobs, too.
"we're right on the cusp of finding out if this is gonna be a billion-dollar crop or just a flash in the pan," Hillman said.
Hemp growth in Arkansas is currently hinging on the 2018 Farm Bill. The House passed the bill yesterday -- it's waiting for President Trump's signature.
Some applicants have already been approved by the State Plant Board to begin growing and processing hemp as early as 2019.