Once an enormously important cash crop worldwide, hemp was driven out of the marketplace by the stringent laws prohibiting its intoxicating cousin, cannabis. But this versatile plant is making a comeback, and Southern Illinois University Carbondale will soon host a gathering of experts and enthusiasts to examine its potential.
The third Southern Illinois Hemp/Cannabis Symposium is set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at the SIU Student Center. The event is sponsored by SIU’s Cannabis Science Center, whose mission includes formally establishing a collaborative network for cannabis research. The symposium, which features speakers, vendors, and displays, is aimed at anyone interested in growing and marketing hemp and cannabis products.
Buck Hales, director of the fledgling research center at SIU, said this year’s focus is fiber and seed crops and their commodities. “We’re trying to reach people working in the industry or interested in learning about the state of the art of fiber and seed crops, instead of emphasizing CBD and novel cannabinoids like we did last year,” Hales said. “We will have a diversity of vendors with a variety of industry-related displays.”
Speakers will address cultivating efforts in Illinois and the Midwest, including Farm Bill and federal regulation aspects. Hemp growers will discuss developing new cultivars optimized for Illinois or for use in unique row crop production systems where fiber, seed, and cannabinoids can be harvested from the same crop. They also will address business models for processing the crop and getting it to market.
Experts also will reveal new developments in the use of hemp materials in building and construction, while exhibitors and vendors will display modern production technologies in cannabis and consumer products.
Speakers include Chris Berry of Illinois Hemp Growers Association; Oussama Badad of Trilogene; DoKyoung Lee from the University of Illinois; Patrick Van Meter of Midwest Natural Fiber; Justin Swanson from the Midwest Hemp Council; Jacob Waddell of the U.S. Hemp Building Association, and Ryan Doherty of Hemp Ventures.
Participants can register online or by phone at 618-563-7751. The $95 fee ($25 for students) includes a continental breakfast and lunch.
For more information:
Southern Illinois Hemp/Cannabis Symposium