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JuicyLesson 223: Fear and Loathing in NYC … and About to Score … More on Hemp From Matthew Boyle …

Featured above is a shot I took in New York, this (Monday) morning just before leaving for home. It shows the hotel and the dignity of The Beast. Smooooth ride all 550 km. of it.

We start today’s Juice with the conclusion of the article entitled: Reputation of Hemp Growing More Positive

**For the first part of this article, please have a look at Friday’s JL, [221]

‘Snicker Factor’
Fata and two friends started Manitoba Harvest soon after legalization, yet the lingering association with pot made it hard to gain traction early on -– something Fata calls “the snicker factor.” Others in Canada’s nascent hemp sector say they faced the same stigma. “Some people looked at me and turned right around like they had seen the devil,” recalls Shaun Crew, chief executive officer of Hemp Oil Canada.

Fata persisted, handing out samples of his hemp hearts at trade shows, in yoga studios, and on the street. A few natural-food stores took the product, then in 2001 Fata’s big break came when Loblaw Cos. (L), Canada’s biggest food retailer with 2,300 stores, signed on.

“A lot of consumers would not give us time of day because of all the misinformation out there,” Fata says. “As we stepped up from natural food stores to mainstream stores, the stigma started to go away.”

Hemp Week
Sales have tripled to more than $50 million in the past two years. Prices range from $1.50 for a 0.9-ounce sachet all the way up to $75 for a 5-pound pouch of certified organic hearts. At a recent industry gathering in California, Fata introduced his latest creation: hemp-heart “Snaxs” made with brown rice syrup and organic cane sugar. He figures sales could hit $500 million over the next decade.

John Elstrott, chairman of Whole Foods, says Fata has helped debunk the myths surrounding hemp through sampling and education. The two companies sponsor the annual Hemp History Week, which this year kicks off June 2 and features more than 175 events coast to coast, including a three-day “Hemp Hoe Down” in South Dakota. Celebrity backers include musician Ziggy Marley and actress Alicia Silverstone.

Still, the stigma is hard to shed. Last year, the U.S. Air Force told its pilots to steer clear of a variety of Chobani Inc. Greek yogurt that came with a side packet of hemp seeds to be tipped into the pot. The Air Force said the product could have enough THC to be detectable under its drug-testing program. Chobani has since replaced the hemp with other seeds, according to a spokesman. It doesn’t help that some hemp companies revel in stoner stereotypes: There’s even a hemp gin and vodka brand called “Mary Jane’s.”

Brand New
Easing his black Jeep Rubicon into the parking lot of the company’s plant on the industrial northwest side of Winnipeg on a frigid March morning, Fata checks in on the $6 million expansion that he says will triple his annual production. He mentions that representatives from Safeway approached him about making hemp-flour bread for its in-store bakery. Safeway declined to comment.

“Five years ago that would not have happened,” he says. “Hemp is hot.”

In the factory, seeds from 10 grain silos get blown into hulling machines, which loudly crack them open to release the heart. Nearby, white sacks of hearts and hemp powder weighing nearly a ton sit on pallets, ready for packaging. Fata stops to admire a new $500,000 machine that can pack up to 60 bags of hemp hearts a minute (something that was previously done by hand at one-third of the speed). In a separate room, 80 oil presses sit in wooden crates, having just arrived by boat from Germany.

‘Breakfast Heaven’
The expansion should be done by the end of May, Fata says, and then he’ll immediately start looking for places in Manitoba to build a new 100,000 square-foot facility. Crew, of Hemp Oil Canada, is spending $13 million on a new 35,000-square-foot factory that he says will be ready by the end of the year.

That’s good news for the food manufacturers waiting to add hemp to their products. Take Post Holdings Inc. (POST), maker of Grape-Nuts and Alpha-Bits cereal. The company’s Erewhon brand, acquired in 2012, offers a hemp and buckwheat cereal that is one of its top sellers. Jim Holbrook, executive vice president of marketing, said the St. Louis-based company is also “actively pursuing” hemp as an ingredient in an upcoming cereal from its Great Grains imprint.

Post’s shares rose 0.7 percent to $46.86 at 10:06 a.m. in New York, while Whole Foods was up 1.2 percent to $37.62 and Safeway was unchanged.

Other companies aren’t keen to discuss their plans. PepsiCo Inc. and Kellogg declined to comment. ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) and Kraft Foods Group Inc. (KRFT) said they don’t have any current plans for hemp, leaving the market open for smaller outfits like Nutiva Inc. and Nature’s Path Foods Inc. Based in British Columbia, Nature’s Path sells organic hemp-seed frozen waffles, which Jillian Michaels, a personal trainer from the television reality series The Biggest Loser, calls “breakfast heaven.”

If hemp is going to become a billion-dollar market as its backers claim, more big companies need to get on board. The lingering stigma, Fata says, shouldn’t keep mainstream manufacturers from seeing its promise.

“They missed the Greek yogurt boom,” Fata says. “They don’t want to miss out on this.”
End of article

Waiting for the man in New York. Even though I have a med-pot license, it’s not recognized in the US. So I have to score while down here, rather than risking bringing it across the border with me.

Haven’t had an appetite in about 24 hours or so. Hopefully, the oil I will soon score will improve my appetite.

To complete today’s Juice, please have a look at some photos from around New York including the one immediately below which shows the hotel in front of which sits The Beast. I hope you enjoy these photos.

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Met up with some really ugly Americans – the Classic type – at the game Sunday night at MSG; managed to get myself kicked out after the first period, or was it the second. That being said, I wouldn’t have wanted to be around for the endgame anyhow. More on that tomorrow but in the meantime, peace and harmony among all people are definitely required.

Judging from having just about completed his history of the U.S.A. entitled “Flight of the Eagle”, Conrad Black enjoys displays of patriotism … personally I hate them.

More tomorrow …

2 Comments

  • Matthew Friedman says:

    Great informative article on hemp. Maybe the next big thing. What happened at game to get you thrown out?

    • Jerry Cohen says:

      Hi Matthew,
      I got thrown out for nothing and I’ll tell you about it when we next meet which could be as early as Wednesday.
      Thanks for your kind words.

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