VESTAL (WBNG) – Binghamton University was the hub for hemp on Saturday, as America’s Small Business Development Center teamed up with the school to hold the Hemp Symposium and Expo.
Many local businesses attended, including IthaCannabis, a CBD company based in Ithaca.
IthaCannabis CEO Brian Robarge was happy to be among colleagues, and expressed the importance for the expo.
“Everyone who is in the industry or wants to get in the industry, this is place to be,” Robarge said. “These things are the real place to find the information, not some hearsay on the internet.”
Robarge said it’s events like this where he can ask the key questions of the business.
“How much did it cost to grow? How much did it cost to extract? How much did it cost to process? What’s my crop worth? Can I sell it? Is anyone buying?” Robarge said. “All the ins and outs are to be found here and hopefully people are finding answers.”
New York State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-123rd District) was a keynote speaker at the event, speaking on the state of hemp in the state.
“I always try to give people the big picture as to what motivated me to help our communities, put businesses back in those empty manufacturing facilities, give our farmers something else to do, and to benefit from the research being done,” Lupardo said. “We’re trying to rebuild our economy in a lot of different ways, and focusing on agriculture is an important component.”
Despite the challenges the Southern Tier and many local hemp companies and businesses are having, such as processing, Lupardo is hoping to keep hemp here in New York.
“It’s so important for us to have homegrown small businesses come into this so that it’s not dominated by big out of state investors,” Lupardo said.
As for Robarge, he’s hoping government rulings will beneficial to all aspects of the business, so that expos and symposiums like this can continue to be beneficial.
“Hopefully if [hemp regulations are] done right, it’s going to help not only us retailers, but it’s gonna help extractors, growers,” Robarge said. “Right now it’s really kind of the wild west still, but rules and regulations are coming together.”