Morris Beegle spent more than 20 years in the American entertainment industry before turning his attention to the growing U.S. market for ecological, sustainable products. He is the founder and owner of the Colorado Hemp Company (CHC), organizer of NoCo Expo, one of the premier U.S.-based hemp industry trade shows, which recently held its third annual Expo. CHC also offers a wide range of marketing, product and brand development services for hemp-based producers and retailers. Morris is on the business advisory council of the (U.S.) National Hemp Association.
HempToday: Compare NoCo 2016 to 2015.
Morris Beegle: The event this year was significantly larger than last year. We moved from 13,000 square feet with 73-74 vendors and 1,300 attendees to 36,000 square feet, 130+ vendors and 3,200 attendees. The number of industry oriented people increased significantly as did attendance from consumers and the general public. The buzz and energy in the venue was quite similar to the first two years with lots of excitement and enthusiasm. That’s the intention and the goal. If we can keep multiplying the energy underneath the NoCo roof every year, we’ll end up with an industry that will be unstoppable.
HT: What surprised you this past NoCo?
MB: I’m not sure it’s so much of a surprise but what continues to blow me away are the number of really smart and passionate people who increase in numbers at this event every year. From industry pioneers to new blood and energy from multiple sectors of industry who are truly committed to the plant and pushing the boundaries of science, technology and innovation. I can’t tell you how gratifying and exciting it is to see this happening.
HT: How do you see the demographics of the hemp movement, and the growing industry?
MB: Here’s what’s amazing about the demographics: They are extremely diverse. We have a very calculated approach to creating a “big tent” in which everybody is welcome. We feel this plant is important to all of humanity, and we want everybody to have the opportunity to experience and understand its importance to our species and the health of the planet. Of course we have the overall cannabis choir that has been growing in numbers over the years. But now we’re reaching consumers and businesses from almost all the green, organic, sustainable, holistic, alternative markets, as well as standard petroleum-chemical-GMO driven industries where folks are having a moral awakening about the impacts of those products on the environment and health of society. We have a long way to go to further penetrate all these demographics, but the good news is they all seem receptive. Through continued education, collaboration of industry, scientific advancement, and the proliferation of this information through all available media outlets, the entire world is our audience.