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Hemp is hot new agricultural venture

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copyright the Chronicle September 13, 2017

by Elizabeth Trail


EAST BURKE — “Welcome to history,” said Eli Harrington, one of the organizers of Vermont Hemp Fest 2017, held over the weekend at the Burke Mountain Hotel and Conference Center. He’s also co-founder and editor of Heady Vermont, an online magazine and podcast for fans of the hemp plant — cannabis — in all its forms.

It was standing room only at Hemp Fest, a get together mostly for people interested in producing and marketing agricultural hemp. There were speakers from all over the country, evening “hempy hours” and entertainment, and a chance to try and buy hemp-based products ranging from clothing to food and supplements.

Mr. Harrington believes the three-day gathering over the weekend just might be the first time that a cannabis event has occurred at a ski resort.

Speakers took care to clarify that they were there to talk about growing hemp for food, fiber, and medicine.

People traveled from all over and paid admission to get the latest information on growing, refining, and marketing legal hemp products.

“What we’re looking for is a Vermont product with a national market,” Mr. Harrington said.

But many also expressed hope that, after marijuana and hemp are both fully legalized, the tent will be big enough to welcome the full spectrum of cannabis products.

Outside the building, it was obvious from the wafting smoke that some of the pre-conference write-ups about “ganjapreneurship” and “free Maryjane” had drawn their own audience.

Hemp and marijuana are pretty much the same plant. But marijuana gets its kick from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound that also boasts a variety of medical uses.

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