• Darby Hemp

The Uncertain Future of American Hemp

With so many inspiring developments in American hemp, or cannabis in general, many are wondering where all this is headed.


I get daily email updates showing me content published within Googlesphere concerning keyword: “endocannabinoid system”. So far, as we turn the corner into this next critical stretch of American-Cannabis history (2019-2022) a good percentage has little to do with the actual Endocannabinoid System (ECS) science. Instead I'm bombarded by this massive orchestrated multichannel corporate push for hemp CBD - press releases, other types of corporate announcements like mergers & acquisitions, national/local news reports about big brand movements, low-quality advertorial blogs and affiliate content...endless affiliate sales content. Rarely do I see anything pertaining to the unbelievable wonderment of ECS-based science or genuine small business content.

It’s to the point I’d almost say the subject’s being somewhat censored...

Let's look at an example from the beginning of 2019 to demonstrate my point:

That link leads to a short 300-word article published on The Street, a mainstream corporate news media outlet, highlighting an interview with Martin Sumichrast of Level Brands, you can watch in their embedded 2:30 video [1] - there’s also links to a couple other big cannabis brand sales pitches we’ll leave out.

First off, the entire piece is designed to advertise a corporate acquisition of the cbdMD brand by the company Mr. Sumichrast represents as CEO - they closed the deal the same day President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill.

Seems an extensive list of deals were made December 20th, 2018, where vast amounts of money within the corporatocracy exchanged hands, er well, servers.

Level Brands went public in 2017 as a licensing vehicle within Kathy Ireland’s retail empire [2]. Yes, the same Kathy Ireland from my more formative years in the 80’s and 90s - supermodel on 13 consecutive Sports Illustrated covers and in TV/movies afterwards. To be more specific, here’s the lineup of how she helped shape my sexual identity through a few of her completely G-rated appearances (love you Kathy!)

  • Covers of magazines in my early youth.

  • Mr. Destiny 1990 - released when I was 11, but probably saw it around 12’ish.

  • Mom and Dad Save the World 1992 - I was friggin 13 (she was 29 at the time).

  • Loaded Weapon 1 in 1993.

  • She was in 4 Episodes of Melrose Place in 1994 - I was 15 and made sure to catch those...

Like many others I’m fairly aware of Kathy Ireland, but wasn't aware until putting this article together however, she’d built a multi-billion dollar company founded in 1993.

Anyhow, after its inception in 2017 Level Brands spent its time looking for products who would pay to put her name on them, but then after early 2018 the following headline was put on her website,

“Isodiol International Inc. Signs Licensing Agreement With Level Brands Inc. and It’s Chairman Emeritus and Chief Brand Strategist Kathy Ireland”

The corresponding link leads to a press release announcing:

“In January 2018, Level Brands and Isodiol signed a 10-year license agreement to work together to develop consumer products for kathy ireland® Health & Wellness, a licensor to Level Brands...The products are expected to be available at additional online and in-store retailers nationwide in the coming months.” [3]

However, a year later they announced a mutual termination of the 10-year license agreement, with the company retaining its ability to sell products with her name on them through the summer of 2019. [4]

As to why, who knows, I have my suspicions but let’s take a brief look at Isodiol because it gives us a peek into some of the goings on in the U.S. hemp industry most consumers are clueless about.

A Look at Isodiol

The story begins with a company founded 2014 in Vancouver, Canada, exclaiming themselves a leading manufacturer and developer of phytoceutical products, focusing primarily on bulk isolate hemp CBD and nutraceuticals for the cannabis industry (I haven’t been able to find the specifics involved in their founding yet). If you’ve heard of the nano-tech 99%-pure pharmaceutical grade isolate involved in the hemp CBD world designed to improve bioavailability, chances are some of it might be coming from this company - or the interests backing it.

They’ve expanded to include operations in Mexico, UK, and elsewhere, but here’s where things fall apart for me (and perhaps for Kathy Ireland too):

“Isodiol’s current production facility in the Yunnan province of China has production capacity of 2,000kg CBD oil/year. The THC-Free CBD [meaning not technically full spectrum or whole plant] oil then gets exported to their UK GMP facility that refines the CBD molecule to a purity of more than 99.5%. Additionally, the Company is constructing what it estimates to be world’s largest CBD production facility in Yunnan. The expanded facility is expected to be operational by Q1/2019 and have a production capacity of 20,000kg of CBD-oil/year. The initiative to increase production is part of Isodiol’s expansion strategy, as the Company increases its presence in over-the-counter and pharmaceutical drugs while continuing to pursue international expansion into Latin America, Asia and Europe.” [5]

I have a couple problems with this. First, hopefully you understand the difference between a far less processed plant extract naturally containing CBD along with many of the plant’s other natural components (entourage effect)...and an industrial scale 99.5% pure CBD isolate transported around and processed internationally for a while before being put into whatever product for consumers in America. I don’t care what awesome marketing scheme is created to try and sell it…personally, I’m going to do everything I can to ensure this is not the type of hemp extract I put into my body. And this leads to the second problem, why should Americans be using far east hemp when we have plenty to be grown in the U.S. now that hemp farming prohibition has ended?

My goodness! What's happening to the farmers in my country right now as we head towards the summer of 2019, is frightening. Hemp can be a saving grace...

Truth is, that Canadian company (Isodiol International LLC) was bought in another acquisition (among a hazy trace of other acquisitions and mergers) and changed its name to Isodiol International Inc. Who bought them? A brand called Laguna Blends Inc., a network marketing company listed in Zoom Info under Banking, Brokerage, Investment Banking, and Finance [6] who’ve acquired so many brands it’s really hard for me to tell where one company begins and another ends.

  • Note: After digging deeper I discovered Isodiol International Inc. has been involved with a sub-sect within the industry trying to somehow claim their products have effective CBD derived from the HOPS, or a quasi-Humulus plant called Humulus kriya out of India. Again, just more corporate nonsense to me! Deriving CBD isolate from hops which doesn’t normally contain CBD, and full spectrum or whole hemp plant extracts with naturally-occuring CBD in them are two COMPLETELY different things ladies and gentlemen. Come on...it looks like these companies are trying to corner the market for CBD drinks with this mysterious patented way to get ‘CBD’ or their hemp CBD isolate from China into a sports drinks, or water products.

Note on Chinese Hemp

Personally I have no general qualms concerning Chinese hemp as they’ve been successfully farming the plant there for many thousands of years and some of the earliest cannabis history comes from the Chinese and Indian regions of the world. Granted…

The Yunnan Province in China officially (odd word when considering the Chinese way of things relative to an American’s understanding of bureaucracy) began regulating hemp farming in 2003. And, as of 2017 according to the South China Morning Post, the Heilonggjian and Yunnan Provinces have been responsible for roughly half of the world’s legal commercialized cropland under hemp cannabis cultivation, according to the National Bureau of Statistics [7]. In fact, according to that same article,

“This growth has in part been made possible by government-funded scientists who study the plant’s military uses, including as medication and fabric for uniforms...research into the plant really took off in China in the late 1970s when the country went to war with Vietnam, according to some scientists. The military needed to develop a fabric that could keep soldiers clean and dry in Vietnam’s humidity, and cannabis hemp offered the fibre that breathed and was antibacterial. Other studies explored the plant’s use as a drug in field hospitals.”

It gets better…

“As a result of that research, more than half of the world’s 600-plus patents related to the [hemp] plant are now held in China, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.”

Hmm. I’ll let you contemplate the grand implications. My only point here is Americans don’t need to rely on Chinese hemp. We don’t! No offense, but it’s true.

I digress...

Level Brands & cbdMD

So, the gorgeous American billionaire dropped Isodiol and opted to purchase an American-based company who sources from Kentucky hemp - more on this in a sec. Sounds good on the surface, but here again, we’re seeing the corporate/oligarchical takeover of cannabis like everything else in this country. Whether it’s HTF (High Frequency Trading) or the sheer amount of ‘Family Wealth’ (Oligarchical Inheritance) - who’ve had access to trillions in cheap money printed by central banks out of thin air since the orchestrated 2008 Great Recession - being accumulated into an infinitesimally small portion of our society…

Did you know there’s a new billionaire crowned roughly every two days folks! I recently read America has more millionaires now than Sweden has people, or something like that. It might even speed up...

Here’s a quote from an article concerning American income disparity:

“The gap between the super-rich and the rest of the world has never been wider, with 26 people now owning the same amount of wealth as 3.8 billion of the less privileged, global charity Oxfam said in a new report. The new report, titled "Public Good or Private Wealth," sheds light on the continued accumulation of wealth by the richest, as well as the reverse trend for the poorest half of the word, which grew some 11 percent poorer last year. During the same period, the assets of those at the top of the wealth pyramid, the billionaires, have skyrocketed, increasing by $900 billion in 2018, or by a whopping $2.5 billion a day. Between 2017 and 2018, a new billionaire was created every two days, the report says.” [8]

Ugh...such frustration, because hemp can do so much good for humanity and the biosphere I’m partially-impartial to the fact Canadian/American/Chinese/European corporate interests are vying for control. But, on the other hand, it boils my blood watching this happen in real time. To conduct even the light research necessary to see it unfold is disheartening - our entire system being setup to funnel the vast majority of all cannabis/hemp wealth generation into the hands of a small few, while the masses of our people try to scratch by on table scraps staring at a bankrupted debt-based future.

Anyhow, it's awesome cbdMD is focused on broad-spectrum extraction to as they say on their website:

“Preserve and extract the valuable terpenes and other beneficial compounds of the plant. With more common extraction methods, these other cannabinoids (CBG, CBN, CBCV, etc.), terpenoids, amino acids, and essential oils are often lost despite having huge health related benefits.” [9]

That’s what people really need in my humble opinion, to stay as close to the raw (of course activated, or decarboxylated) hemp plant extract naturally high in CBD, from specific CBD-dominant strains of non-intoxicating cannabis. Although fresh raw cannabis juicing is fantastically healthy as well, loaded with the acidic forms of cannabinoids which aren't intoxicating - THCA, CBDA, CBCA, etc.

We're all excited domestic consumers will get great high-quality hemp CBD from American-grown hemp rather than international isolates, but what about the immense promises of prosperity hemp offers independent American hemp farmers and small businesses? Let's hope we have a thriving community of independent family hemp farmers 2025! Or, will America simply be host to endless acres of corporate hemp; like [often GMO] soybean, cotton, corn or factory farm land today? Such a fabulous development for earth if Americans replace our current paradigm in the agricultural world with hemp, yes! But, many are concerned about a future where 90-99% of American hemp is wholly owned and controlled by say, 5-8 companies, who themselves ultimately serve a few thousand people and their families.

What Will ‘Our’ Cannabis Industry Look Like?

There seems to be no stopping the economic shift. While America squabbles over social Marxism and the rise of post-modern socialism in the wake of biblical levels of central government spending, the nation’s staring down levels of income disparity unexplored at any time in our history. To the working/social welfare-dependant electorate, government seems not to be functioning, but for the corporate/military and oligarchical states they’re performing better than they ever have in terms of insane income growth.

Said it before and I’ll say it again, the people can use hemp (fiber, seed, and flower) to destabilize this system. It can be done. Peacefully and in a way that honestly benefits all including everyone involved with the elitist class- without the social welfare or far left/right agendas!

It begins with awareness and deliberate choices of individuals through consumption, and supporting farmers so they aren’t forced by this system to grow for just a handful of companies. Remember, hemp can deliver tens of thousands of consumer products beyond hemp CBD but this same establishment seems to be focusing most efforts on their CBD ventures. We the people can take steps to ensure thriving hemp seed, hurd, and fiber industries as well.

An easy example comes from the American shale industry which recently made it possible for the Trump administration and the mainstream media to exclaim we’re a net oil exporter. Everything’s great! However, I came across a recent James Howard Kunstler article, which I admit is fairly dismal, being entitled, “America's 'All Is Lost' Moment Looms", where he shines line on this specific point:

“The growth predicament is hugely misunderstood in this land, because the shale oil “miracle” was such a dazzling stunt. America is now producing above 12 million barrels of oil a day, two million higher than what was thought to be the all-time peak of 10 million a day in 1970. That is extraordinary indeed. We are the world’s leader in oil production now, ahead of Saudi Arabia and the wicked Russian bear. What most Americans don’t know is that this stunning feat was accomplished with hundreds of billions of dollars in borrowed money (debt) that will never be paid back.” [10]

His prediction is that all this debt to fuel an oil boom will come crashing down with nothing to replace it, but I protest hemp could easily replace shale oil if enough people/farmers got behind the production of hemp-based biofuel. In fact, rough estimates state a mere 8-10% of the U.S. landmass dedicated to hemp biofuel (doable) would take care of our energy needs - 100%!

There's endless examples likely to surface over the next decade. Hopefully in the midst of it all, we won’t be drowning in even worse income disparity levels...

Thanks for your time, now please support American organic family hemp farms and ethical private hemp companies to help destabilize and decentralize a "system" that's destroying a bright future for all.


[1] "Is CBD the Future of the Cannabis Industry?" TheStreet, Katherine Ross, 1/17/2019.

[2] "From Supermodel to Hemp? Level Brands Transforms from Kathy Ireland’s Licensing Arm to CBD Specialist" IPOEdge, John Jannarone, 12/06/2018.

[3] "Level Brands Announces Five Organic Hemp Derived CBD Products Now Available Online" LevelBrands, Business Wire, 09/21/2018.

[4] "The Exciting Story of Isodiol International Inc." MicroCap Daily, Dave Young, 01/18/2019.

[5] "Isodiol International: What You Need to Know" SmallCap Power, 06/19/2018.

[6] "Laguna Blends to Acquire Isodiol for $6mm" Hemp Business Journal.

[7] "Green gold: how China quietly grew into a cannabis superpower" South China Morning Post, Stephen Chen, 08/21/2017.

[8] "Richest 26 people own same amount of wealth as poorest half of the world – Oxfam" Reuters, 01/21/2019.

[9] "Our Process: CO2 Extraction" cbdMD.

[10] "Kunstler: America's "All Is Lost" Moment Looms" ZeroHedge, James Howard Kunstler, 01/21/2019.

What's Darby Hemp About?

Human societies are only as strong as their resources. Our platform is inspired by the desire to support a resurgent American hemp industry - its people, its economic impacts, its environmental promises.

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