Texas Hemp & Garden Show Educates About Hemp At SXSWCraig Swanson
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- “WE’RE GOING TO BE THE BEST STATE”
The hemp industry in Texas is doing so well despite the hurdles that Lone Star State entrepreneurs are facing.
This was the message the Texas Hemp and Garden Show was putting across on March 13th and 14th in Austin, Texas. This happened in a nightclub downtown close the very popular SXSW festival which is not so far from the capitol building.
2018 was the second year in a row that the Hemp and Garden Show was taking place, the event saw a couple vendors as well as organizations being represented on the 2nd day when I decided to show up. Activists aided those who were passing by in filling out a voter registration card along the sidewalk, there was also a DJ who was spinning tunes on a little stage that was outside, inside, there were experts who were speaking about different topics which touched on agriculture as well as the crackdown on drugs. During the night, musicians were the center stage taking over from the speakers and this was inclusive of an appearance by Lil’ Flip which was a total surprise.
Monica Enriquez was a part of the organizing team confessed that getting vendors from the different states that have legal programs who would have an interest in showcasing in Austin was very impressive as well as exciting.
According to Enriquez, the Show was a great opportunity for educating locals on the diverse benefits of a misunderstood plant as well as ensuring that there was the attention of the nation was drawn to the growing hemp industry. In as much as Texas has not declared industrial hemp as legal, signs are already showing that there is a slow progression for cannabis in this state.
“WE’RE GOING TO BE THE BEST STATE”
Many people are actually taken aback when they realize that Texas has a program targeting medical marijuana in place as Enriquez explained to us. Governor Greg Abbot at some point had said that this would not take place in his tenure and this holds a lot of promise that there will be change soon enough.
The hemp industry in Texas has seen tremendous growth even with the legal hurdles, however, signs indicate that through a slow progression positive change is being experienced especially with the policies laid out by the state with regards to Cannabis.
The program running currently in this states allows for very few patients who are suffering from epilepsy to get a hold of low THC as well as CBD vape oil that is produced using cannabis that has been cultivated in this state, however, there have been talks on possibilities of expansion of the current program so that more people can have access to these oils.
Though research targeting hemp has been legalized throughout the nation through the 2014 Farm Bill, this law gave each state its own mandate to come up with a hemp program that works for them which has been met with lots of resistance from Texas. Enriquez has credited groups such as Texas MAMMAs (Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism) for helping in changing attitudes and making things better. Foundation For An Informed Texas is also a group that has been working to ensure legalization of the same, they also had a booth during the show. They are focused on offering education for the rural parts in this state especially on the advantages that cannabis provide people with.
Legislatures from Texas will not convene for some time now, this is however bound to happen to begin in 2019 which will allow advocates such as Enriquez some more time to work on building a great ground for supporting a change in the hemp law.
Enrique hopes that having a legal program in the state will not make them the last but she hopes that they end up being the best. She noted that they were extremely hopeful for their state and in case the federal government changed the laws, their battle would have already been won for them.
TEXAS HEMP AND GARDEN SHOW CREATES EDUCATION & NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
Enriquez with the support of her husband, the two founded Lazy Daze Counterculture, a smoke shop based in Austin, this later saw a big expansion to different locations across the nation. The success of this shop led to them founding Texas Green Rush whose aim was to aid entrepreneurs as well as Texas-based hemp activists and other professionals have a networking platform while supporting one another throughout the process as they faced similar challenges.
Enriquez noted that there are diverse issues that crop up when one is running any business related to the hemp CBD oil and other products, though their business was not directly touching on the plant.
This eventually led to them creating the Hemp and Garden Show which was meant to maximize on the large number of visitors that SXSW attracted to Austin as well as the attention this would draw. Their goal was to show the nation what Texas could offer them as far as the hemp industry was concerned.
A big highlight for this show was having a panel that was inclusive of veterans advocates hailing from Texas who have for long been advocating for better access as far as medical marijuana was concerned. This panel was rather exciting, Enriquez father is also a veteran, therefore, this issue was also dear to him, providing great services to the people who also played a role for us back in the days was, therefore, crucial too.
There were a couple of CBD brands that were represented as well as a pretzel vendor(the pretzels really were sumptuous) this show was inclusive of a booth that was representing Dr. Bronners as well as their Hemp History Week organization.
Colorado Hemp honey were also vendors that were unique in this show as they provided CBD oil that had been infused with some honey as well as diverse flavors.
This experience was really great and Enriquez noted that once someone builds on something, people would definitely show up, she also emphasized that it was very exciting that different people were also impressed about what they were doing.
If we are to base the future of hemp on the enthusiasm showed during the Hemp and Garden Show, we can then say things are looking up for Texas with regards to the hemp industry.