The 2022 Midwest iHemp & Cannabis Expo was hosted by iHemp Michigan with the help of the Michigan Chapter of Americans for Safe Access. The event started with important training on May 19th. Over the 20th and 21st, we hosted 72 speakers and about 30 exhibitors.
On Friday, May 20th we celebrated the awarding of the Hempies Awards in the evening at the Radisson with a nice meal and drinks.
Magic always happens when this community comes together. Big thanks to all who attended.
Special thanks go to our sponsors who helped to fund the Expo… iHemp Michigan, Advantage Intelligent Marketing, Down On The Farm, Scott Colville Crop Insurance Agency, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Viridis Labs, West Town Bank & Trust, HOH, Lakeland Hemp, Midwest Hemp Council, Annie Rouse and The Hemp Industries Association, Illinois Hemp Growers Association, Hemp Today, Lancaster Farms, Adams Independent Testing, Great Lakes Hemp Supplements, Essen Atlas Climate Biotechnology Solutions, iHemp Manufacturing, KonopiUS, and Bob Moore Financing.
Also, big thanks to our Exhibitors for their support.
Please read a letter from the President of iHemp Michigan, Dave Crabill, below.
Adams Independent Testing
Alliance Analytical Laboratories
American BioChar Company
Down On The Farm
Great Lakes Hemp Supplements
Griffin Pest Solutions
Grow Green MI
Jiffy Growing Solutions
Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Michigan Chapter of Americans for Safe Access
Michigan Farmers Union
Midwest Hemp Council
ModRütz Botanical Company
Scott Colville Crop Insurance Agency
U.S. Hemp Building Association
Verve Seed Solutions
West Town Bank & Trust
Message from the President
Keep Hempin’ On!
We have learned many valuable lessons over the last few years and as Blain says, “we’ll be smarter next year.”
In 2019 we hosted over a dozen events, plus I spoke at Rotary Clubs, Optimist Clubs, Libraries, and more.
In January 2020 we hosted an Expo at the Lansing Center. It almost didn’t happen a couple of times, but we pulled it off and we covered our expenses for the venue and marketing.
Boy, have times changed.
With COVID-19 we pivoted to virtual and kept our focus on learning. There are over 100 episodes of the iHemp Hour available online. Every aspect of growing, processing, and marketing has been discussed. I’m proud of that vast resource we created that will serve many as more desire to learn about this amazing plant.
Even though the CBD market collapsed and the infrastructure for fiber and grain is slowly being built, we felt it important to host another Expo. Magic happens when we come together as a community. With less than 50 licenses to grow hemp in Michigan, we knew we needed help. We reached across the aisle to the Cannabis community through the Michigan Chapter of Americans for Safe Access. Brandy Zink was instrumental in pulling together speakers to educate on the many important issues of Cannabis, including medicine for children and expungement processes. We are grateful to get to know some very important people who have been champions of this plant for a long time.
While the number of people was lower than we hoped, the quality of people was exceptional. It is motivating to learn about other hemp journeys and share knowledge and resources to build this industry. I’m very grateful for the many great people I’ve been privileged to meet and work with.
Hosting this event was physically and emotionally draining, but this is important work. With my cancer treatments just ending and dealing with neuropathy in my fingers and toes, it creates some physical challenges – which is why I was sitting most of Saturday at the Expo. I’m thankful for Michael Thue and his Startonic RSO and Holy Massage Oil. Plus, I have samples to try from a few other friends as I work to get my toes and fingers back to a healthy state. I only say that to share that we are digging deep here at iHemp Michigan to educate, inform and promote the industry – the whole plant.
Speaking of digging deep, big thanks to Becky and Blain Becktold who worked tirelessly to assemble and organize this huge event. We don’t always agree on the approach, but we certainly agree on the desired goals for the industry. One of our concerns was about the number of speakers – we had 52 speakers in 2020. We were so confident we could fill the Exhibit Hall that we promised a hotel room and a meal for all speakers. The speaker count increased to 72. How is that for optimism?! The cost of the room and meal was about $200 per speaker. Unfortunately, we didn’t sell enough booths and sponsorships this year and we now have a financial deficit that we need help covering. Many speakers stepped up to cover their room and meal or donated money to iHemp Michigan. This community is awesome! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! But we still need help.
We want to continue this work, but need to find a way to be sustainable. For the last three years, I’ve donated 20 to 50 hours per week to the organization. Blain and Becky have donated a similar amount of time, plus thousands of dollars to keep us going. We spun off our LLC to be a non-profit association and formed a board of directors. This allowed us to become an advocacy group with the US Hemp Roundtable – the US Hemp Roundtable has the funds, lobbyists, and time to bring fair regulation to the industry. We believe it was a good move for iHemp Michigan members to be supportive of this group.
In addition, we have joined the Michigan Chamber of Commerce which offers a lobby team in our sphere of influence. We now have a seat at their Cannabis Roundtable that is beginning to meet.
We are a grassroots effort on a shoestring budget. And here’s full transparency – we don’t have deep pockets to keep the mission moving forward. We need help.
To help us continue telling the story, please consider becoming an individual member or a business member of iHempMichigan. With the business membership, you also get a listing in the business directory – a great way to promote your business to the community.
Lastly, we have added a donate button to the home page of the ihempmichigan.com website. If you feel so inclined, here’s the link: https://ihempmichigan.com/product/donation/.
In the meantime, Blain, Becky, and I are taking some time to rest and to replan how we can continue moving the industry forward in a sustainable way.
Your feedback is always welcome.