With industrial hemp now legal to grow and process in 46 states, and 33 states with legal medical marijuana programs, the domestic marketplace confronts one vexing challenge: a broken (or often non-existent) supply chain connecting fields to end-users.
A new, South Carolina-based start-up aims to fix that by fueling innovation and forging a chain where none may have existed before.
Hempgrid is the new entity founded by the Hemp Alliance Group, a consortium of executive-level leaders from diverse fields of manufacturing, technology, biotech, medicine, entrepreneurship, international supply chain, marketing and branding, contract negotiation and more.
By pooling their experience and resources, the group’s goal is to leverage hemp to strengthen the domestic manufacturing economy and reduce imports.
“Until the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was illegal to grow or process in the U.S. for generations, though this sustainable plant has thousands of potential uses,” said Artie Perry, one of the alliance’s founding partners. “We’ve awakened that sleeping giant, and a giant wakes up hungry. Our aim is to help feed the industry by connecting companies who need one another but don’t know where to look, or how to evaluate and collaborate.”
With viable uses ranging from clean energy to building materials to automotive parts to paper and plastics and more, hemp is poised to disrupt nearly every industry, while serving as a sustainable resource with carbon-negative production.
And with a full project pipeline already in place, Hempgrid is focused on creating and/or strengthening the marketplace for hemp fiber and for health and wellness derivatives.
For example, one of Hempgrid’s early projects will pair a patented pulping technology – which can turn the waste from hemp/CBD production into fiber for food-safe containers – with a manufacturer ready to add new production lines.
Another involves the development of an e-learning platform for hemp focused education and certification to help foster a new generation of innovators. The group plans to partner with universities to accelerate hemp related curricula.
Future plans include developing hurricane-resistant building materials as a cost-effective, green solution for residential and commercial construction.
Hempgrid has already assembled a small network (or “grid”) of vetted suppliers in raw materials, clean transportation, product design, sales strategy and technological innovation. For updates, visit www.hempgrid.com.