Hundreds gather for first California hemp expo in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds gathered for the largest convention in California to date to share information and attend workshops at the day-long event.

"What we do is we grow industrial hemp for the lone purpose of CBD extraction at this point," said El Centro Hemp farmer, Robert Martinez.

Eager growers, consumers, marketers- and even bankers- displayed their products and services at the expo-many looking to sprout new business.

Many those in the industry came to listen to presentations, including from law enforcement, on the new rules set up for the highly regulated hemp farms.

"There's a lot of interest, and I think you'll see a large population of farmers here today that are super interested in what hemp can look like today in California in the coming years, whether it be on the textile side or the CBD oil side," said Kings County Sheriff David Robinson.

The crops take just 90 days from planting until cultivation, but some farmers have found their valuable crops are becoming the target of thieves. The flowering part that's absent of all but trace amounts of THC looks very similar to the marijuana plant. Some are uprooting it, expecting to have the psychotropic qualities.

Hemp contains medicinal qualities without the high.

"So for California, the regulation is three-tenths of one percent of THC content. It has to be below that. If it's above that, um the crop has to be destroyed," Robinson said.

For Martinez, the plant can be used in a variety of ways.

"We also grow it for seeds. That's what the farmers are doing. It's got more than 20 thousand applications; it's actually a miraculous plant," he said.

With the booming industry so new, much of the conference was meeting others and sharing ideas for the upcoming 2020 season.
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