Ministry of Hemp talks with Kehrt Reyher, founder of Hemp Today, the leading hemp media company based out of Poland.
Hemp Today has been on the frontline in advocating the recognition of the worldwide hemp industry. It has highlighted the hemp movement’s journey towards legalization in different countries across the world. In this exclusive interview, we engage Kehrt Reyher to find out his views on the hemp industry in Europe and why there was a need to start Hemp Today. Cbd Oil Adviser further explore the prospect of an increase in global hemp trade.
Hi Kehrt, thanks again for being with us. We’re excited to get a chance to learn about the European hemp landscape, as many of us are based out of the US and are still learning a lot about this plant.
KR: Our operations are headquartered in Poland with partners across many countries in the world. This ensures that we cover and attend to all audiences that have an interest in or support the industry. We have put a lot of emphasis on supporting the growth of the industrial hemp space with regard to B2B transactions. We realized that a lot of the information on hemp wasn’t packaged in a coordinated way to project a single voice.
We also felt that this was not helping the industry grow and consolidate a position. Our major objective is to categorize all the information about hemp and make it more useful. We started this by engaging the different players across the globe to create a network that will nurture links that will help the industry have a foundation. This foundation will, in turn, be the support structure for strengthening relationships and advocating common positions.
Many of us in the US are not familiar with the hemp landscape in Europe. Can you give us an overview of the hemp industry in Europe? (regulations, markets, etc).
KR: Across Europe, there are provisions for the cultivation of hemp under EU regulations. This allows hemp production in a legal framework which includes programs that encourage involvement. This is not to say that everything is running smoothly. There are some obstacles with regard to provisions in the regulatory system which sets the rules used to determine acceptable standards for hemp. For example, there are minimum standards for THC and CBD levels which affect production and associated costs. The use of CBD for medical purposes and for a product like CBD bubble gum has also been an issue with regulators. In general, we have faced a myriad of challenges as we move forward.
On the other hand, the market for hemp has continued to expand over the years. The food, health, beauty, textile, and building industries have recorded considerable growth with various CBD-infused products such as cannabis CBD oil for sale on the market. Dynamics of a market are always at play with many challenges but the march towards universal hemp acceptability seems to be gaining momentum.
The European Industrial Hemp Association, as an umbrella group has been instrumental in bringing different national organizations together in a bid to create common ground across the continent and beyond. This was evident during the EIHA international conference that was held this year where 50 countries took part. The national associations are strong on their own and bringing them together serves to create a formidable force to articulate pressing issues.
Some people are curious why hemp hasn’t taken off in Europe, especially if it’s as healthy & beneficial as many claim it to be. What are your thoughts on this?
KR: Hemp is putting on a great performance in Europe. It is not where we would like it to be, but if you look at mainstream grocery stores the growth is promising. We have seen hemp being touted on the radio in Germany and consumers becoming more health conscious. I think hemp is well positioned to fill the need for more healthy food alternatives. We are therefore seeing food as the core of our growth moving forward.
This is evident with the focus we have seen from leading companies in the food industry such as Hanf-Zeit and Hempro in Germany. Hempoint in Czechia is also a strong European brand that is spearheading the campaign to enlighten consumers and create demand.
Multiple companies are operating in the European market with specialized niches. Some of them run their own production while others import hemp products. These companies are breaking new ground and statistics from EIHA indicate that in the next couple of years, hemp foods will register the strongest growth ever across Europe.
There is strong evidence of potential growth and food is the place to be if hemp is to impact the health-conscious consumer and swiftly promote an early perspective of the organic benefits it brings to modern living. Food is a great starting point that lays a foundation for the other sectors to draw from.
For example, the use of hemp in construction through building blocks and insulation panels is an exciting prospect for those conscious of a green environment through healthy choices.
Several leading companies are engaged in research to put hemp on the map for varied uses in the medical field. The use of CBD has been documented in many medical studies and is a very promising ingredient for multiple uses. In fact, it was proven that CBD oil is good for migraines, losing weight and for disorders like anxiety or sleep anxiety (learn what is the best time to take CBD oil for anxiety). Europe is pioneering in all these endeavors and the potential for profit, sustainability, and a green planet is endless.
Our objective at Hemp Today is to promote hemp awareness and showcase the potential while emphasizing the value proposition that is already in the public domain in a way that leads to growth within various sectors.
From what you’ve noticed, what type of benefits have you seen hemp bring to your country (or continent)?
KR: For a long time hemp has been grown in Poland which is our headquarters. This long history has resulted in a dedicated community of farmers who have mastered the growing and processing of hemp as a sustainable and profitable crop.
These localized interests can also be seen in France and Germany where smart entrepreneurs create exciting products that are consumed within local communities. This is creating a ripple effect through jobs and expanded economic activity. This Community Supported Agriculture ensures that costs are minimized through sharing and the benefits are spread evenly by creating demand locally.
The interest in hemp will be more rewarding moving forward. Smart entrepreneurs have a multitude of exciting products they can create using hemp from houses, paper, soap, moisturizers, juices, and food like healthy CBD gummies that can be infused with CBD.
You cover the global landscape for hemp, what type of trends have you noticed around the world in regards to this plant?
KR: The most interesting trend today is the march towards hemp legalization. This is happening right across the world. The advocates of hemp and cannabis have coalesced into formidable and well-organized associations that are giving the right voice to the cause. We have seen reasonable regulatory frameworks being adopted and the public is beginning to appreciate the benefits of hemp and cannabis. All these are giving the required impetus to move us to the next stage in an ongoing dialogue to raise awareness.
We have also seen some incredible developments for the building industry. Projects such as the one spearheaded by Steve Allin under the International Hemp Building Association have given a high profile to hemp building as a sustainable alternative to cutting down trees. This project advocated for the use of hemp to rebuild after the earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal.
Another exciting scheme is Monica Brummer’s project that helps communities to rebuild traditional farming homesteads in Morocco. This is done using cannabis grown in the High Central Rif region. Discussions are also ongoing in Morocco to consider legalizing hemp and marijuana for medical use.
Looking across the world, governments are now willing to look at cannabis with a fresh perspective and this is bearing fruit albeit at a slow pace. We are seeing legislation that is paving the way for the growth of the industry.
The ultimate prize will come when the United States declassifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug. This will immediately have a ripple effect across other countries many of which are already mulling over some form of legislation for limited medical or research-based use.
When it comes to hemp food we are pretty excited with the prospects ahead. Growth is expected to be strong moving forward with great products from leading companies as well as start-ups.
What are your thoughts on the future of hemp in the US? What potential do you see?
KR: The United States is what I would call a huge untapped market. Even without legalization, the market is worth more than $500 million by the most recent estimates. At the moment there is no large-scale hemp farming in the U.S. Assuming that these estimates are based on imports, it shows that hemp promotion and marketing has hit a crescendo in the United States. This voice is reaching out to policymakers as well as the marketplace. This lays the groundwork for an explosive market-to-consumer communication immediately hemp is legalized.
The United States is, therefore, a market we are closely watching as it remains pivotal to the trend that will emerge in other markets. With the Agricultural Act of 2014, universities and state-level departments of agriculture were given the legal provision to cultivate cannabis for research aimed at determining its potential for large-scale industrial use. The science behind hemp is therefore quite advanced in the USA with multiple uses being identified.
There has been increased interest and conversations in the media cutting across radio, TV, print and online on the benefits and issues surrounding hemp. In the farming states, excitement is building upon the potential profits that farmers would look forward to upon legalization. It will be an interesting period ahead.
What is HempToday’s big project at the moment? What are you guys working on?
KR: We have collaborated with the European Industrial Hemp Association to produce our inaugural print edition to coincide with their annual conference.
The first Big Hemp Yearbook will come out in July. It will have regional reports with exciting statistics from around the world. We will unveil partnerships with leading companies and readers should expect to see a lot of great offers. We shall feature all the major players in the hemp industry with their profiles in a rich collection that will shine the light on a promising future and capture our readers’ attention.
Another interesting project we are working on is called “To Grow A Village.” This project is being run in rural Poland where we have partnered with local farmers and the local government to help the farmers grow hemp as a cash crop that can be sustainable economically. This initiative is aimed at boosting local economic development through value addition. The partnership includes experienced hands in food production who share their expertise with the local farmers. The partners are Hempoint from Czechia and Stokvel Collective from South Africa.
What kind of benefits do you hope to see from these projects?
KR: We are positioning the Yearbook as a platform for enhancing the presence of our customers in a global marketplace. It is a consolidation of our retail media products that will enable us to raise income to gather news, scale up production and boost our research function. As we nurture our partnerships with great companies, we expect the
value of advertising revenue, subscriptions and other communications services offered to grow exponentially. We, therefore, expect to receive fantastic support from different organizations and this is going to be part of a multifaceted media hub that will be critical in fulfilling the anticipated demand.
To Grow A Village, for example, is carefully tailored to spur economic activity. By involving local communities we are ensuring that they own the process so that it is easy for it to succeed. We are planning to launch several hemp processing initiatives to cater to the demand that is being created. For exciting hemp products to get to the market we will need a stable supply of raw material. These farmers are the backbone of this supply chain and we are beginning to show them the benefits of hemp farming at an early stage.
The industry’s growth curve is already in motion. The veterans within the hemp industry are sharing resources and information in ways we haven’t seen before and this will definitely accelerate the transformation and transition to the mainstream marketplace. We are excited about partnering with industry leaders from around the globe to expand and develop the infrastructure needed to help those who are already engaged and the newcomers.
How can our fellow hemp advocates in the US help?
KR: We are open to new ideas from organizations or individuals with a deep knowledge and practice within the hemp value chain. We can engage in partnerships that improve processing solutions, research, knowledge transfer and expert advice which can be done through exchange programs.
We also offer a platform for companies to get exposure worldwide at reasonable prices. These are premium media opportunities which give value and growth prospects to companies and at the same time help our small operation to scale up.
We are keen to work with companies that share common values and adhere to ethical standards. We emphasize on corporate social responsibility targeting the growth of the industry and local communities.
This was very insightful – thank you for sharing the amazing progress that’s been made in Europe and the work you’re doing to lead the hemp movement. We look forward to checking out The Big Hemp Yearbook next month!