The Ministry of Hemp Podcast
Morris Beegle: Hemp Can Be A Sustainable Industrial Alternative
In our latest podcast episode, we talked with hemp industry leader Morris Beegle about how hemp can be a sustainable alternative to paper, wood and plastic products.
First on episode 23 of the Ministry of Hemp Podcast, our host Matt answers some unanswered questions from last week's hemp questions podcast. Our discussion of hemp plastic left some issues unaddressed. Matt mentions our friends at Sana Packaging again in this episode. They create sustainable plastic packaging from hemp and reclaimed ocean plastic:
Then, Matt sits down with the cofounder of We Are For Better Alternatives (WAFBA), Morris Beegle to discuss how hemp can replace many industrial materials and pollutants. Beegle is an expert on hemp sustainability, and a pioneer in the industry: from hemp guitars and clothing to organizing important events like NoCo Hemp Expo, he seems to show up everywhere. Even our hemp paper business cards are printed by Tree Free Hemp, another of Beegle's efforts. We're excited to share his knowledge with you in this episode.
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An interview with Morris Beegle: Complete episode transcript
Below you’ll find the complete written transcript for this episode:
Matt Baum: 00:00 The Ministry of Hemp Podcast is brought to you by LifePatent, purveyors of high quality CBD products that just happened to be one of our favorite brands too. They care very deeply about their customers because when it comes down to it, LifePatent understands their customers are people, seeking relief. You can learn more about the entire line of CBD related products at lifepatent.com.
Welcome back to another episode of the Ministry of Hemp Podcast. My name is Matt Baum, and I am your host. Today on the show, we are going to talk about some industrial uses for hemp with a guy named Morris Beegle. Morris is an amazing guy. He's the co-founder and president of We Need A Better Alternative, and what they do is just that, look for alternatives to plastics, petroleums and other wasteful construction and industrial materials that could be a lot more renewable. It just so happens that hemp is not only a great alternative, it is a highly versatile one too, but before we get into that, I wanted to touch on something from last week's show.
Unanswered questions about hemp plastic and hemp farming
Matt Baum: Last week, if you were listening, Kit and I did a Q and A. Several of you called in and left messages, which you can always do at 402-819-6417, and we answer them on the show. One of which came from a man named Rico. Rico wrote us back after we answered his question, and he had a couple more questions that he wanted to follow up on. I'm going to go ahead and read from the email he sent me, and see if I can give him some answers here, but he says, "First, the point about hemp plastics not being fully biodegradable. I'm glad you covered that because based on the research I've been doing or found rather, the impression I got about it was that hemp plastics are indeed fully biodegradable, which happened to be a major point on which my decision hinged because, like you said, what's the point of just swapping one earth damaging material for another in our landfills and oceans? Doesn't make sense. That meant a lot to me and was a huge talking point. Do you know where I can find 100% biodegradable hemp plastic manufacturers?"
They are out there, and we're going to talk about a couple today with Morris. One of the bigger ones is Sana Packaging. It's S-A-N-A-packaging.com, and I'll be sure to have a link to that in the show notes, but they're amazing. I actually just finished another interview for a show coming up with a guy that's running a pre-roll hemp joint company that packages all their pre-roll stuff in hemp packaging as well.
Like you said, yes, it is 100% biodegradable, but there's certain rules that go into that. You can't just bury it and leave it there. Otherwise, just like other plastics, it's just going to stay buried. Biodegradable, plant-based plastics need sun, they need air, they need to be left, literally left out for them to biodegrade. So, therein lies a challenge as well. So, maybe it's not so much worrying about throwing this stuff away but repurposing what we can, sort of like bringing your hemp grocery bag to the grocery store or buying an aluminum straw or even a reusable, recycled plastic water bottle. In a nutshell, is it better for the environment? Without a doubt. Is it more biodegradable than petroleum-based plastics? Yes, but we still have to think about it before we throw this stuff away.
Rico's second question, he says, "I've read that while our farmers sat near poverty because of redundant crop rotations, other nations such as China and Canada have been growing, processing, and utilizing the incredible hemp plant for decades, even centuries in the case of China. What do you know about their technologies and the possibility of sourcing and manufacturing from them? Why are these technologies not yet available for American businesses and entrepreneur startups?"
You're absolutely right. China, Canada, and most of Europe is way ahead of us because they didn't have the same prohibition that we had for hemp here in the United States. Now, we are starting to see more industrial hemp producers pop up, but there needs to be more demand, and the more demand, the more we will see. So, just like we sort of talked about in that Q and A, when people start asking for this stuff, looking for packaging that's made with plant-based plastics, and I'm not just talking hemp, flax, all kinds of other things too, when major companies start to see people making those buying decisions, that is when they will be willing to invest more in it. More investment means more hemp industry.
Now, as the beginning of the question, yes, you can import this stuff, and people have been importing it for years now. In the interview that I'm about to have with Morris, he is sitting in front of two guitar cabinets that are made entirely of pressed hemp wood, and they have speaker cones in them made of hemp paper. This company that's making the speaker cones has been making them for years now using Chinese hemp.
So, it kind of goes back to the ridiculousness of the idea of the prohibition of hemp. We were saying, no, you can't grow it, but you can import it and use it for industrial things like paper or textiles and whatnot. Now, that is blowing up, and as hemp prohibition begins to go to the wayside, you are going to see more industry getting involved in this, and hopefully, we will see more hempcrete producers, more hemp wood producers, more hemp textile producers, but like I said, it's going to be up to people like you and me, Rico, to convince businesses that we not only want this, we're willing to spend money on it because we as consumers believe that it's a more responsible and renewable way to do business.
Thanks a lot for listening to the show, Rico, and for getting back to me, and I hope that answered some of your questions. You have one more question, and I'll shoot you an email about that, and we'll talk. Now, let's get to my interview with Morris Beegle from We Need a Better Alternative. Word of warning, Morris has got a little bit of a mouth on him. He came out of the rock and roll industry, and he's not afraid to throw some cuss words around. So, if you've got little ones in the room, might be a good idea to listen to the rest of this episode on headphones. So, tell me about We Are For Better Alternatives. How did this get started and like what's the mission?
Introducing Morris Beegle and We Are For Better Alternatives
Morris Beegle: 06:50 So, in 2012, I've been in the music business for 25 plus years and kind of looking to find another industry as the industry that I was in was really based around manufacturing, physical product, distribution and-
Matt Baum: 07:12 Are you talking about records or like actual-
Morris Beegle: 07:14 Like CDs and DVDs.
Matt Baum: 07:16 Okay.
Morris Beegle: 07:16 So, I had a production company, and we did lots of CD and DVD manufacturing and packaging, which got decimated by the internet after-
Matt Baum: 07:24 Go figure.
Morris Beegle: 07:26 … Napster and Mp3 and then here comes iTunes and Amazon and a variety of other digital music platforms that basically killed the physical media business other than vinyl, which has made a resurgence, which actually, this year, has got more sales revenue wise than CDs for the first time.
Matt Baum: 07:45 Yeah. I'm a vinyl collector myself, so …
Morris Beegle: 07:48 Yeah. So, vinyl is actually outselling CDs now.
Matt Baum: 07:51 Yeah. Go figure. I don't remember the last time I bought a CD. I never stopped buying vinyl.
Morris Beegle: 07:58 Well, I still manufacturer CDs for some bands if I-
Matt Baum: 08:01 Really?
Morris Beegle: 08:01 If somebody wants to run a hundred or a couple hundred CDs, I've still got my manufacturing connections and I still do-
Matt Baum: 08:07 You'll take those suckers' money, huh?
Morris Beegle: 08:10 Yeah. I mean, if you want to run a couple hundred CDs, you want to spend 500 bucks and having to sell at gigs or give away or use for promo, then we'll still do it.
Matt Baum: 08:19 So, how do you go from music production, from physical music production to hemp in the marketplace? I mean, like hemp paper, hemp wood. How does this happen?
Morris Beegle: 08:29 So, I mean doing CD and DVD production and printing and also merchandise and distribution and licensing and also events and concerts and festivals, promotion, artist management, this whole skillset, kind of this Jack of all trades, I brought over to the hemp side. We started doing T-shirts and hats and product distribution, trying to get some of this stuff placed including hemp shoes back in 2012. So, when we started Colorado Hemp Company in 2012, it was at the same time that the initiative Amendment 64 got launched in Colorado to legalize marijuana and tax and regulate it like alcohol.
Matt Baum: 09:14 Right.
Morris Beegle: 09:14 So, within that, I mean we'd already been doing medical since like 2001. 2009, it became more mainstreamed in Colorado. Dispensary started popping up everywhere. Everybody started getting their medical cards. It became a lot more available, and then, here comes the push for recreational and at the same time, within that legislation, there was an opportunity to start growing industrial hemp under that measure. It's like, well, I'm familiar with hemp, and with my music company, we actually did some hemp shirts and hemp pads back in the '90s, and I was familiar with the apparel side of things and basically learned about these other uses of the cannabis plant, that soap and rope and sails and kind of the history of it from the Jack Here book. Really didn't do anything with it other than I just found out some history about the plant.
Then, when I was looking to try to go into something different besides the music industry, which I couldn't make any money in physical media anymore … I mean by 2009, 2010, that industry basically-
Matt Baum: 10:19 Yeah. It was [inaudible 00:10:20] … I was a musician. I remember all of it so-
Morris Beegle: 10:19 Now, what am I going to do now? As an independent music promoter and producer, all of a sudden, here comes this hemp opportunity that popped up in 2012, and nobody was really talking about it that much compared to the medical and recreational side of cannabis. It's like, well, shit. Let's start a little T-shirt company. We can start making hemp T-shirts, and we found a couple of companies making hemp shoes, making hemp footwear. Hempy's was making hemp wallets and beanies and doing cordage and stuff like that.
Matt Baum: 10:52 Yeah. I remember Hempy's back in the day. Yeah.
Morris Beegle: 10:54 They're still around. Another company called Hempmania who's also still around was doing backpacks and duffle bags and fanny packs and wallets and had a bunch of cordage and various other little hemp fiber items. So, we started wrapping their merchandise and selling it over our website, trying to get placed in stores, and then I found a hemp paper company, Green Field Paper out of San Diego was making a hemp paper, and it's like, "Well, hey. I've been in the printing business for 25 years doing commercial printing, doing CD packaging and posters and all this. It's like, hey, we can start making hemp posters for bands and festivals and CD release parties and stuff like that."
So, we did that, and then we started making business cards and flyers and brochures and other marketing collateral, and then from there, we launched NoCo Hemp Expo in 2014 and started doing the event thing, and then just it kind of continued on from there, doing events, trade shows, conferences, shirts, hats, printing and then all-
Matt Baum: 11:56 It's just like licensing bands basically.
Morris Beegle: 11:57 It is.
Matt Baum: 11:58 More or less, it's the same thing.
Morris Beegle: 12:00 It's taking that same exact skillset and just translating it into the hemp industry and carving out our own niche because nobody's been doing it. So, it's like it's wide open, and here we are, seven years later, and we've got a pretty successful event company, and we've got a paper company that's doing pretty good considering the amount of paper that's actually in the marketplace, which I know we're going to talk a little bit more about here. It's kind of the initial premise of our conversation.
Matt Baum: 12:28 Yeah.
Morris Beegle: 12:29 We're still in the infancy of this industry domestically, and this fiber side of things, which really attracted me to the industry, is lagging way behind compared to the CBD cannabinoid side of the industry, which is what's blown it up and made it… Everybody knows about CBD, CBD this and this, and this and that.
Matt Baum: 12:48 Right. Everybody sees that. That's where the money is at as far as they're concerned.
Morris Beegle: 12:51 That's where the money's at, and this fiber side of things is yet to really take hold here, but it will. We've got a brand new industry. We need processing. We need smart people, innovative people to jump into the marketplace and help develop these materials that can get them plugged into the commercial industrial side of industries and start doing replacement ingredients for some of these petrol chemical ingredients or corn or cotton or whatever it is that are not environmentally friendly type ingredients that hemp can really replace.
Hemp and the climate crisis
Morris Beegle: 13:27 So, let's talk about that for a minute. I mean, and honestly, I don't even know this stuff. The majority of people that I've talked to have either been farmers or CBD people, and that's one of the reasons I reached out to you because I'm really curious about this. Now, I know hemp can be made into paper. It can be made into textiles. It can be compressed into wood, but give me some kind of comparison like what an acre of trees makes in wood compared to say like an acre in hemp and the processing speed. Is it better? Is it cheaper? Is it …
Morris Beegle: 13:57 Well, it's certainly not cheaper at this point in time.
Matt Baum: 13:59 Right.
Morris Beegle: 14:01 Is it better? I think that it could be better with technology and modern day innovation, and I think that we're seeing some of that stuff that's happened over in Europe where they'd been building houses and commercial structures, and so you've got like building materials over there. You've also got these hemp biocomposites or bio-plastics that are being used in Audi and BMW and Jaguar for like their inner car paneling that they've replaced like Petro plastics with now these composite natural fiber plastics that includes hemp. It also can include flax. It can have some of these other fibrous crops out there, and it's definitely less impactful negatively on our environment by using the stuff that we can grow from the ground pretty organically rather than sucking stuff out of the ground and making these synthetic, fairly toxic materials and plastics.
Matt Baum: 15:06 We're cutting down a forest.
Morris Beegle: 15:10 Cutting down a forest and then-
Matt Baum: 15:10 It takes 50 years to grow back as opposed to an acre of hemp that's going to grow back in a hundred days.
Morris Beegle: 15:16 Right, exactly. So, when they've done that and they've cleared out all this old forest, and then they go back and they replant with, let's say GMO type pine trees to just grow it for manufacturing, nothing lives in that area after you chop it down and you burn that stuff.
Matt Baum: 15:16 Of course.
Morris Beegle: 15:37 I mean, the ecosystem is disrupted, and it's basically dead, and from harvesting-
Matt Baum: 15:43 It'll return but probably not for 1,500 years or something, you know?
Morris Beegle: 15:43 It'll return, yeah.
Matt Baum: 15:44 It's got to reestablish.
Morris Beegle: 15:48 Right, but we have to start thinking about things differently because we've been doing this stuff for over a hundred years now, whether that's sucking all this stuff out of the ground, whether that's starting to clear all these forest out and chop down all this old growth, and all that stuff has been subsidized, whether it's on the petroleum side or the timber forestry side. We look back over a hundred years now, and we've done some significant devastation to our environment.
Matt Baum: 16:17 Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
Morris Beegle: 16:18 The world. People thinking that this stuff does not affect climate change, man does not affect climate change is absolutely freaking ridiculous. We are disrupting the natural ecosystems everywhere whether that's in forest or whether that's in streams and lakes or the oceans. I mean, we're fucking things up.
Matt Baum: 16:36 Totally. Yeah, no question, and I think that's the best way to put it. We have to stop arguing about whether or not there's science involved here and just say, "Look, we know it's happening, and we are definitely fucking it up."
Morris Beegle: 16:46 We are, and if we don't try to do something and at least acknowledge the fact that we … Hey, yeah, we really have done something, and these scientists aren't all on the government dole trying to get a paycheck and just to make shit up.
Matt Baum: 16:59 Yeah. How many billionaire scientists can you name off top of your head? How many? Oh, wait.
Morris Beegle: 17:03 No one.
Matt Baum: 17:03 Exactly.
Morris Beegle: 17:06 Neil deGrasse Tyson is pretty popular, but he's certainly not a billionaire.
Matt Baum: 17:09 No. No.
Morris Beegle: 17:10 I think he's in cahoots with anybody to just make money off of putting out false information.
Thanks to our sponsors at LifePatent
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Hemp as a more sustainable alternative
Matt Baum: So, where do you see hemp coming in here? How do you picture it? Two questions here. How do you picture it in the future, and why are Europeans so far ahead of us on this?
Morris Beegle: 19:16 Well, they're so far ahead of us because they started doing this back in the '90s. It was really HempFlax back in 1993, '94, and Ben Dronkers who was a compadre of Jack Herer and those guys coming through the whole cannabis scene of the '70s and the '80s, they started the Hemp Cannabis Museum over there. Dronkers also had Sensi Seeds and gathered this huge collection of cannabis seeds and did very well by selling these seeds and made a lot of money. That money initially funded the whole HempFlax thing because they found out all this information of hemp really played this important role in our history from thousands of years ago to hundreds of years ago, and all this stuff had been done. They did all this research and found it all out. It's like, well, how can we bring this crop back to make it part of our economy and part of our agriculture?
So, I credit really the Dronkers and those guys for getting things going in Europe. There's another company Dyna-Gro over there who's another big company, does a lot of the similar type things with the fiber side, and they also have done the food side with the grain and the protein powder and the hemp seeds and hemp seed oil and all that stuff. Those guys have just been at it for 25 years now, and they had to create markets over there and who's going to use this product. They've just spent a bunch of time and money and created markets, whether that's with the car manufacturers or whether that's with the building industry over there and replacing a lot of this kind of toxic craps that you put into buildings with something that's natural. It's breathable. It absorbs CO2 from the air, and it's just a better alternative, and we are for better alternatives here.
Matt Baum: 21:10 Fair enough, but nice plug. That was good. So, it's just a matter of the fact that they're ahead of us because they've been doing it longer, and this stuff is coming up in the States. Producers are starting to see there's money to be made here. Sooner or later, the CBD boom is going to settle down, and farmers are going to realize, "Look, we can do a lot more with this plant." What do you think is the next step here? People just start taking risks as far as putting together a hemp textile-like production or putting together hemp composite wood production?
Morris Beegle: 21:42 Yeah. I think that there's opportunities for this fiber side of the market and the grain side of the market. There's all these industries out there that create products that have a variety of ingredients in their products, and most likely, hemp can be an ingredient in a lot of these products. Whether these are food products or whether these are industrial products like building walls or, again, the plastic side of things or the paper side of things, the packaging industries, there's all these different industries that create products. Let's say the paint industry and stains and all of that, you can make that stuff from hemp seed oil. The energy industry, there's a variety of different uses that hemp can go into that from cleaning up spills by … There's these things called lost-circulation materials that you can shoot down into fracking that absorb the toxic shit that we're putting into our ground as we do fracking and-
Matt Baum: 22:43 Oh, but I've heard it's no harm at all. It doesn't do any harm at all, right?
Morris Beegle: 22:47 Of course.
Matt Baum: 22:48 It's just poison. How bad can it be?
Morris Beegle: 22:51 Yeah, getting into the water streams. Now, there's-
Matt Baum: 22:57 Come on.
Morris Beegle: 22:59 If you turn on your faucet and flames come out, don't worry.
Hemp as a replacement for wood and paper
Matt Baum: 23:02 No. No doubt. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. Now, am I correct in assuming that hemp fiber, hemp wood, hemp plastic, stuff like that, am I correct when I assume that hemp takes less processing than a lot of other components like lumber, for example? It seems like you have to do a lot more to just plain old tree lumber than you do to make compressed hemp lumber.
Morris Beegle: 23:27 Well, I wouldn't say that that is necessarily true. There's significant processing depending on what you're actually manufacturing and if it has to be the spec. A, you have to separate out the fiber from the wood, the hurd, and so, to get that completely separated, and then there's various stages of processing for that fiber depending on if it would go into textiles and be a high-grade fiber that could actually go into making your shirts and different apparel type items or if it's a short fiber that's going to go into non-wovens, let's say like paper and composites and plastics, then there's just various processing that needs to be done. So, there is processing that definitely needs to be done to make sure that it's the spec that gets to the market.
With like the hemp wood company that we've been seeing in the news here the last couple of months, they're based out of Kentucky, and I've seen some of their board, their process is not quite as significant. They're making their board similar to what they do with bamboo for flooring. It's basically, you just chop everything into the exact … Let's say it's 10-inch or 12-inch parts of the stalk, and then they compress it, and they've got a binder that goes, and it basically just binds the entire stalk. So, the processing is pretty simple compared to a lot of the stuff. The processing that goes into the guitars is different.
What goes into making the board product for the guitar cabinets, it's really, it's all the fiber and hurd, and you grind that up, and then it gets compressed just like it would particleboard. The processing with that is not as significant. All you have to do is like shred that stuff into finely X size of particles, and then you just put it together, and you laminate it or bind it with a ECO-binder. So, I know that Larry Serbin from Hemp Traders, he's the guy that's developed this board, somebody else you should have on your podcast because he can talk about textiles as good as anybody can …
Matt Baum: 25:35 Yeah, I would love to.
Morris Beegle: 25:37 He's been working on this type of board product for 20 years, and now, it's coming to fruition, and he's done a great job. We're happy to use this board. I see all kinds of different potential applications for this board that he's creating and to be a replacement for particle board out there. We can get the price down once we grow enough material out in the marketplace, and we can process it because processing the fiber, it is expensive, but once we've got all these huge facilities and you can feed it with enough biomass, then it becomes economical.
Building hemp fiber infrastructure
Matt Baum: 26:12 It seems like this is a theme that I keep hearing repeated with every aspect of the hemp business. It's like, look, we just need to grow more of it, and if we grow more of it, then processors are going to see that, yes, there is a market for this, and they're going to buy it, and they will process it. In the case of the wood, from what you were saying, it's not that there's more or less processing. It's still, at the end of the day, it's better than chopping down trees, and it uses less toxic crap to put it together into what it needs to be in the end. Right now, it's expensive because we don't have enough of it. We don't have enough people doing it.
Morris Beegle: 26:43 Correct. It's a brand new thing, and five, 10 years down the road, once we build out the infrastructure for processing this and actually dialed in the processes to do it, it will become economical, and it'll be very cost competitive with wood or whatever the other competing ingredient could be. Let's say it's a corn ingredient or a soy ingredient or a cotton ingredient or a wood ingredient or a petroleum ingredient. Once we get the processing in place and the process is down and the amount and availability of the biomass, then it will be competitive, and I think that companies really will make transitions into using more eco-friendly materials because consumers are demanding it more now.
Matt Baum: 27:39 Yeah, absolutely, and that's the best way we get them to do it, is keep screaming about it.
Morris Beegle: 27:40 Absolutely.
Matt Baum: 27:41 Definitely.
Morris Beegle: 27:41 Vote with our wallet, and they need to make the Coca-Colas and the Walmarts and the Best Buys of the world, all of these companies, hey, we want more environmentally friendly products.
Matt Baum: 27:53 Right. Stuff that's-
Morris Beegle: 27:53 Know that climate change is real. We want to spend money on companies that are making products that are going to be less harmful for the environment.
Matt Baum: 28:02 Yeah, responsible products that, when we're done with them, will break down faster and go back to where they came from to make more plants basically.
Morris Beegle: 28:11 Exactly. Exactly.
Matt Baum: 28:13 So, what do you see for the future? How soon do you think it is before we're handing out hemp business cards, and I'm reading a newspaper or comic books are printed on hemp or I'm wearing hemp denim or something? How soon before this takes off?
Morris Beegle: 28:27 Well, you can do some of the hemp business cards. We print them all day long.
Matt Baum: 28:32 I know. You printed some for us actually, Ministry of Hemp.
Morris Beegle: 28:34 [crosstalk 00:28:34] Yeah. I've been printing cards for Kit for a couple years now.
Matt Baum: 28:39 So, what about mainstream, I guess is what I'm saying?
Morris Beegle: 28:43 Well, the same thing with kind of shirts. I mean, there's been hemp T-shirts and hemp apparel for a long time, and well, this is … This hat is hemp.
Morris Beegle: 28:51 Yeah, I've got an old hemp hat. I can't remember the name of the company I got it from, Colorado and … God, what's the name? I'm drawing a complete blank. They've got like the crossed axis is their symbol. Super nice guys. He was like a surfer skater.
Morris Beegle: 29:04 Oh, Hemp Hoodlamb?
Matt Baum: 29:05 Yeah, totally great guys.
Morris Beegle: 29:07 There you go.
Matt Baum: 29:08 I had talked to the guy at NoCo. I actually was there, and they still had plastic bills in their hats, and he was super bummed out about it. I was like, "It's still a kick ass hat, and it's all hemp. I mean, that's great." I guess they just got someone who's doing the hemp plastic for their bills now, so they're full on 100% plastic hats.
Morris Beegle: 29:08 Nice.
Matt Baum: 29:28 I got to order a new one of those. I mean, this stuff is out there. It is a little expensive, and it's just really a matter of infrastructure from what it sounds like.
Morris Beegle: 29:37 It is.
Matt Baum: 29:38 We build that out, and people are going to see this is a better way to do this. It's going to get cheaper because you can grow more of it faster. Logically, it just seems to make sense.
After the CBD bubble bursts
Morris Beegle: 29:48 Exactly. It's going to take a little bit of time to get there. The next three to five to 10 years, we're going to continue to make significant progress. Attrition will happen. People that are in the game now will throw in the towel. The CBD market's going to pop. It's going to get in the commoditized here where there's going to be so much supply. The price is going to go down. That's going to come sooner than later
Matt Baum: 30:13 Oh, that bubble is going to burst big time. I'd say in the next five years. No question.
Morris Beegle: 30:17 Oh, yeah. It'll be probably before then. Farmers have to diversify. With this crop, you need to look at all the components from not just the flower but the grain and the stalk fiber side of it and all … You can make money from all those. You might not be making the 10, 20, $30,000 an acre you are today, but when it all flushes out and becomes a regular crop, you should be able to still do pretty well in comparison to a lot of these other crops. The great thing is, is hopefully you don't have to have the input cost that you do if you're growing these GMO crops and spraying them with a bunch of fertilizers and pesticides.
Matt Baum: 30:58 Right, yeah.
Morris Beegle: 31:00 If we can really figure out how to grow this crop more across the board organically and regeneratively, that hopefully inspires some of these other crop industries, corn and soy and wheat and cotton, to grow more organically because just spraying stuff on all of our soil and all of our food and all this stuff that we wear, that stuff just runs off into the water, runs off into the rivers, into the lakes and into the oceans, and it's acidifying, and it's doing stuff that's wreaking havoc on our environment.
Matt Baum: 31:35 Absolutely.
Morris Beegle: 31:37 We have to get away from that. If we don't get away from it, we're just going to poison the planet, and a whole bunch of us are going to die off [crosstalk 00:31:46]-
Matt Baum: 31:45 We can cover our eyes and then plug our ears and act like it's not happening. That's not going to stop you from getting killed.
Morris Beegle: 31:50 Exactly. It's still all happening. Weather's-
Matt Baum: 31:53 Do you think that educating the farmers, do you think that is the biggest hurdle right now?
Morris Beegle: 31:59 I don't think that's really the biggest hurdle. I think farmers are smart, and so many of the farmers that have got into this industry or who are now interested in farming again, they really care about the land, and they really care about their families and their communities.
Matt Baum: 32:16 Right. They live on it. I mean, they literally live on it, and if they ruin their land, they fundamentally understand, I'm out of a job. I'm totally broke so …
Morris Beegle: 32:26 Yeah. I don't think it's really the … The farmers understand the importance of the land. I think what's happened more than anything is you've got these huge corporations and the global entities that own all this big ag, and it's really all corporate that all this policy and practices, it just trickles down to the farmers. The farmers have sold out most of their land any … A lot of these guys, because it's like, "Fuck it." There's this huge monster out there that's buying everything up on this big industrial ag thing.
Matt Baum: 33:04 Yeah. Why fight it?
Morris Beegle: 33:05 Why fight it? All these small family farmers that everybody used to be, fewer and fewer exists today. The ones that do actually really care still, but it's a struggle. I've seen this struggle since I got into … I mean, I grew up on a farm. We didn't grow anything. We had 17 acres. We had some cows and some horses and some chickens, but we didn't like grow any crops or anything. It was cool to grow up on a farm, but I see these farmers now, they grow stuff or they've got dairy farms, and it's a fucking tough thing to do, and it's hard to make money, and you've got these subsidies.
Matt Baum: 33:46 Yeah. We've convinced more than half of the farming population to grow soy and corn. Now, they're screwed on it. I mean, we've turned farmland into deserts. We have piles of stuff going bad. We're trying to make ethanol that doesn't even put out as much energy as it takes to make it. I mean, at some point, there has to be a change. There has to be a breaking point. Otherwise, I mean, not only are we going to poison our soil, we're not going to have any farmers to grow anything because they're all going to be broke.
Morris Beegle: 34:14 Right. All we're going to have are these big corporations that manage whatever is being grown out there, and whatever practices are being done aren't being done by people that care. It's all being done based on yield and profitability and shareholders, and it's not about human health at all.
Matt Baum: 34:33 No. You said it yourself. We need a better alternative. There it is.
Morris Beegle: 34:36 We do need a better alternative, and that's why we need millions of people that are on the front lines to join together as an army, an army of leaders that we're all out there generally on this same mission to make a difference for future generations. I've got kids that are 12 and 16 years old, and where are things going to be 30, 40 years down the road? If you listen to some predictions by scientists, the one side will say, "Oh, it's all alarmist. They said that 30 years ago." The signs are all around us. We see the natural disasters year after year, things getting worse, things getting more extreme, hotter temperatures, colder temperatures, global warming-
Matt Baum: 35:25 We just had tornado-
Morris Beegle: 35:27 It's extreme.
Matt Baum: 35:28 We just had a tornado in Texas last night that killed four people. They were talking about it on a Monday night football in October. I mean, like come on. How much more evidence do we need? Morris, I don't want to take up any more of your time, man. This has been great.
Morris Beegle: 35:42 [inaudible 00:35:42].
Final thoughts from Matt
Matt Baum: 35:41 You guys are doing an amazing … You can find out more about Morris Beegle and everything he is doing in the hemp world over at morrisbeegle.com, and of course, we'll have a link to that in the show notes for this episode. That is about it for this episode of Ministry of Hemp Podcast, but before we get out of here, I want to thank everyone that has been downloading and supporting this show through your tweets, your Facebook mentions and going to iTunes and reviewing the show. That is the single biggest way you can help get this information to people who are looking for it. So, if you've got a minute, give us a star rating, maybe write us a review. I really appreciate it.
I mentioned it earlier, but you can always call me at 402-819-6417 with your hemp related questions, and we love to play them on the show and answer them. Kit, the editor-in-chief of ministryofhemp.com comes on and helps me answer your questions. We've done a couple of them, and so far, they've been a couple of my favorite shows. Speaking of ministryofhemp.com, get over there and check out our holiday gift buying guide because nothing says happy holidays like hemp for Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or whatever you choose to celebrate.
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