Imagine walking into a convention center, bustling with investors, various companies, legislators, and researchers, with ample business opportunities at your fingertips. This is the experience of the attendees at The Pennsylvania Hemp Summit. The annual summit is held by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Team Pennsylvania, an economic development non-profit that is highly interested in the economic potential of industrial hemp for the commonwealth. Kelly Kundratic, who works for Team Pennsylvania, gave an interview with the PA Hemp Steering Committee addressing the 2021 virtual PA Hemp Summit and the plans for the 2022 summit.
The Pennsylvania Hemp Summit provides educational information to its attendees to increase the shared knowledge on industrial hemp, the industry’s future, and economic potential. The aim is to create a space where professionals can discuss
innovative solutions to the industry’s struggles and to increase investments and
partnerships within the industry. Attendees of all knowledge levels are welcome. Kelly describes the summit as, “...driving the industry forward out of a recognition that there really wasn’t a space for this type of state and regional-level collaborative discussion before.” She mentioned that their first summit was held in person in 2019, and it was very successful. They planned for four hundred attendees, but when those tickets sold out quickly, they expanded to their limit which ended up being six-hundred plus attendees.
In 2021 due to COVID-19, the summit was moved to a virtual format. There were five informational sessions. According to Kundratic, the hemp-derived THC session, “...was probably one of our most popular sessions because the guidance around Delta-9 (THC) is not really strong at the federal level at this point. There’s a lot of waiting on what’s going on with regulation and enforcement of hemp-derived THC, though it is prolific in the market.” The session featured physician Dr. Sherry Blumenthal, Kay Doyle who works closely with the policy side of the hemp industry, and EmmaRose Strohl, a PA lawyer from the firm Barley Snyder.
The PA Hemp Summit in April 2022 is a continuation of the 2021 virtual convention. The components of the summit that were too difficult to replicate virtually are being held in person April 26th and 27th, 2022. These components include the tradeshow, the reception, and a new addition to the summit which is a “Shark Tank”-style Investor Pitch competition. The pitch competition is currently accepting applications until 11:59PM ET February 25th, 2022 in either of their two categories; innovative hemp products and innovative hemp concepts.
Kundratic explained that the innovative hemp concept category is, “...a solution or concept aimed at addressing a contemporary issue in the industry. These ideas are solution based, not physical inventions or products, in order to discover better ways of building and advancing the industry.” Kundratic explained that the innovative hemp product category is what you would think in a normal pitch competition, it's for, “... promising new hemp products made of a significant portion of hemp material, and it has to be in a stage that can be demonstrated to judges.” The finalists of the competition will present their ideas at the summit, and the winners will be announced at the reception.
The full 2022 PA Hemp Summit will take place November 8th and 9th, 2022 in Lancaster. This event will include the summit, tradeshow, and reception. A new feature of the November event is vendor sales. The integration of sales into the event allows businesses to see a visible return during the summit.
Registration is open for both the April and November events. There are exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities available, and if an individual is interested in speaking at the November event, they can submit a proposal to do so. COVID-19 protocols for the events are available on the website. For more information on the PA Hemp Summit, visit https://pahempsummit.com.