Congratulations to my friend and partner, Dr. Kurt Campbell on his appointment as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs on the National Security Council. He has recently served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Asia Group.
At this challenging time in our nation’s history, Kurt’s decision to support President Biden and Vice President Harris in crafting U.S. strategy and advancing U.S. interests in Asia is commendable. This appointment is a clear signal that the U.S. foreign policy with China will return to a less emotional and more rational state. I have worked alongside Kurt for many years and am confident he will help advance U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
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New CBD products bring integrity to the consumer goods segment
Enhanced Botanicals, which is the consumer brand division of Green Rock Hemp Holdings, is proud to announce the launch of its first in-house brand, PURAURA Naturals. PURAURA Naturals offers all-natural products made from CBD that is cultivated with care on our family-owned farm in Green River, Utah. PURAURA products will be offered in the United States and China.
PURAURA Naturals products, which are offered in tinctures, gummies, topicals, and capsule forms, are crafted by combining a simple respect for nature and the most updated technology available. My son, and company co-founder Edward Roche, worked tirelessly with his team to develop a brand of consistently pure hemp products for those seeking natural health and wellness solutions for an active lifestyle. This launch is the culmination of our dream to offer authentic and trustworthy products to CBD users.
Studies have shown that almost half the CBD products on the shelf today don’t contain the amount of CBD they claim. Enhanced Botanicals brings integrity and professionalism to this consumer goods segment.
The launch of PURAURA Naturals is the capstone to the Green Rock family of companies and completes our vertical offering. Our companies provide farmers, consumer goods producers, and now, end customers with the highest quality, most dependable products and solutions in the industry. We are excited about introducing additional, high-quality brands in the coming year.
Enhanced Botanicals is the consumer brand division of Green Rock Hemp Holdings, a vertically integrated solutions provider to the industrial hemp community. Enhanced Botanicals provides the highest quality cannabinoid products for consumer health and beauty applications and creates branded products integrating top-tier production and distribution methods.
Red Mesa Science & Refining, LLC has announced the appointment of Jeff Applegate as President. Applegate is an international business executive who formerly served as Chief Operating Officer of a medical rehabilitation product manufacturer. He has extensive experience in sales management, manufacturing, and product development in an FDA-regulated industry.
We are thrilled to welcome Jeff to the Green Rock Hemp Holdings family and are confident his leadership will take Red Mesa to the next level. His strong product development, manufacturing and distribution acumen, along with his depth of strategic management experience, will be invaluable as Red Mesa transitions from its startup phase.
Green Rock Hemp Holdings and Red Mesa Science & Refining, an ISO 9001:2015 certified facility, are committed to elevating industry standards. Jeff’s commitment to professionalism and manufacturing excellence are well-aligned with these goals. His expertise will help us solidify Red Mesa as an extraction leader.
GeneticsCubed, a Green Rock Hemp Holdings company and part of Roche Enterprises, has achieved a huge milestone in its mission to be a scientific innovator and produce the highest performance seeds and clones in the hemp industry. The company recently submitted the first patent for a unique Cannabichromene (CBC) hemp cultivar, C2B. C2B is a high CBC hemp strain developed by selective breeding and high throughput screening of more than one million hemp plants.
Cannabichromene (CBC) is a rare, high-value cannabinoid, one of the most prominent in medical research. It is considered to have great potential for its antimicrobial, anti‐inflammatory, and analgesic characteristics. GeneticsCubed Research Scientist Thomas Azwell, Ph.D., believes CBC has great therapeutic potential. It is a minor cannabinoid, meaning it occurs in very small amounts. the C2B exceptional cultivar tests as high as 4 percent CBC, which is ten times the amount of commercially available ‘high’ CBC strains. Early research indicates CBC’s potential for treating acne, pain, and cancer by inhibiting inflammation. The market value of CBC is significantly higher than CBD, and it currently sells for more than 20 times the price.
This was a huge accomplishment for the GeneticsCubed team. The submission of this patent demonstrates its commitment to innovation and bringing scientific rigor to hemp cultivation. The Green Rock Hemp Holdings family of companies is dedicated to providing vertical solutions to the industrial hemp community.
In collaboration with the University of California-Berkeley, GeneticsCubed improves hemp with elevated levels of key cannabinoids. GeneticsCubed has also completed development of two other novel strains and will be submitting additional patent applications this year.
Hemp cultivation and processing could be a boon for the struggling farmers and small businesses. Economists estimate consumer demand for the (non-psychoactive) hemp-derived CBD market could reach $22 billion by 2022. While COVID-19 has triggered record high unemployment, driving job growth in the industry would prove particularly timely.
In 2018, the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act (the “Farm Bill”) expanded the nascent hemp industry and created significant opportunities for farmers struggling to survive by growing other crops. However, the legislation falls short, and legislators must take the next critical steps, setting a sound foundation for the industry by mandating the safe production and transparent description of products, providing increased banking access, and leveling THC limits to appropriate thresholds.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refused to issue any guidance or regulations on the use of CBD, other than taking enforcement actions against medical claims. The lack of regulation has slowed CBD’s rate of adoption with larger retailers, online platforms, and consumer-goods producers.
The FDA should move quickly to improve regulations for the use of CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids in products for human use and consumption. Fair, transparent, and standardized rules for hemp cultivation, processing, and sale would encourage investment, open new markets, and reward growers, processors, and small businesses that play by the rules. By dictating the quality of product ingredients, establishing package-labeling requirements, and evaluating claims made about the benefits of cannabinoids, regulation would legitimize the hemp industry and catalyze enormous growth.
Confusion continues to exist over the relationship between hemp, CBD, and cannabis. Botanically, hemp and hemp-derived products originate from the same plant species, but hemp and CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in cannabis that creates the psychoactive effect.
By discontinuing hemp as a controlled substance, hemp farmers and businesses should be able to take advantage of the financial, governmental and tax benefits afforded any other legal business. However, in practicality, hemp businesses face restricted access to banking, loan, and financing services, which severely hinders their ability to raise capital necessary to increase production and hire workers. At the Federal level, clarification, both legislatively and regulatorily, would allow this legitimate industry to participate fully in the U.S. banking and capital systems.
As the interim final rule notes, the 2018 Farm Bill includes procedures to identify and attempt to correct certain negligent acts, such as failure to obtain proper licensing. However, the interim final rule establishes a negligence threshold for hemp at0.5% THC. We have heard concerns from growers and researchers that the threshold is arbitrary and impracticably low because a reasonably prudent hemp producer could take the necessary precautions to produce hemp, such as using certified seed, yet still produce hemp plants that exceed this concentration.
If the USDA is concerned that a producer would intentionally grow illicit marijuana plants under the guise of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, the rule should reflect the actual potency of cannabis samples confiscated by the DEA (typically greater than 10%), rather than this exceptionally low THC level.
One of my companies, Green Rock Hemp Holdings, LLC, is a vertically integrated hemp grower, processor, and marketer of hemp-derived CBD products. Green Rock Hemp Holdings does not participate in the cannabis side of the industry and favors clear rules for hemp cultivation, processing, and sale. Throughout the U.S., there are thousands of similarly situated, licensed hemp businesses ready to fill the rapidly growing needs of the industry. However, to accomplish this, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) must take the next critical steps and modify the interim final rule for its U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.
I was recently named a CITRIS Foundry Mentor by the University of California – Berkeley. CITRIS Foundry, which is embedded in the premier research institution, helps innovators and entrepreneurs from the University of California-Berkeley make a significant impact on the world by tackling problems in industries ranging from cleantech to medical devices to consumer products and software. The group leverages the incredible resources and expertise at UC Berkeley, to bring innovation to market and society through coaching, access to labs, funding, and mentorship.
I’m thrilled to be part of this prestigious program which helps young entrepreneurs leverage one of the best research and startup ecosystems on the planet. If it weren’t for the advice and mentoring I received throughout my career, I would not be where I am today. I look forward to serving as a CITRIS Foundry mentor.
The Clubhouse at Sand Hollow Resort has previously been recognized by Architectural Digest as the most beautiful in Utah, but the accolades continue to roll in. This week, JustLuxe, a media company that provides affluent consumers worldwide with engaging content about luxury travel, named the Sand Hollow Clubhouse one of the most beautiful in the US, stating, “If you find yourself in Utah, you have to stop by Sand Hollow Resort in Hurricane to take a peek at the new 7,000-square-foot clubhouse. Though the design is fairly modern, it still manages to blend in seamlessly with the beautiful landscape of red rocks. Plus, the floor-to-ceiling windows mean you get an unobstructed view of your surroundings while you take a breather between games.”
Along with the award-winning Clubhouse, the Championship course earns its share of accolades, with Golf Week naming it one of the Top 100 Resort courses in the U.S., and the number one course in Utah since 2009.
Sara Happ has joined forces with Acorn Digital Services, a division of Acorn International and leading marketing and branding company in China listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Acorn will assist the luxury beauty brand on its strategic move to enter the Chinese market and sell directly to consumers through cross-border e-commerce. Selling directly to consumers through these channels allows the brand to forego China’s animal testing requirements for cosmetics products imported through general trade channels, which is crucial to the clean and cruelty-free mission of Sara Happ.
Sara Happ’s philosophy of creating the most indulgent, effective, healing and deeply hydrating lip products imaginable is a perfect fit for the Chinese market, and Acorn Digital is excited to team up with the brand on it’s entry into the Chinese market.
Over the years, I have been proud to support The United States – Japan Bridging Foundation (USJBF) and its Bridging Scholars program. The USJBF is a non-profit organization that seeks to increase understanding and cooperation between Japan and the United States through study abroad opportunities. I believe that study abroad opportunities create global citizens and enhance international understanding. Anyone who knows me understands the tremendous impact study abroad has made on my life.
USJBF is focused on three core activities that support its global education mission: recruiting U.S. undergraduate students interested in study abroad in Japan for a semester or academic year; funding scholarships for exchange students; and mentoring those students with opportunities to build their global leadership and workforce skills.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted these objectives. However, now more than ever, the organization’s efforts to create opportunities for listening, learning, and developing trusting friendships across cultural, racial, economic, and religious affiliations are critical. The Bridging Foundation board and staff remain committed to educational exchange. As Kylan, a 2019-2020 Bridging Scholar whose time in Japan was disrupted this spring stated, “I was disappointed my time in Japan had to be cut short…My experience in Japan was at times challenging, but I learned to be positive regardless, an attribute that I am sure will help me in these challenging times for the world. I am thankful for the Bridging Scholarship and look forward to seeing what the future holds.”
Because the health and safety of its scholars is critical, the organization has postponed its programs for the full academic year 2020-2021 and fall 2020 programs with the hope of safely resuming study abroad in Japan in spring 2021. In the meantime, USJBF is committed to emerging even stronger and provides an opportunity to expand the launch of virtual programming to engage its scholars and community in these challenging times, and supplement in-person exchange when Bridging Scholars return to Japan–designed to enhance students’ readiness for study abroad and provide leadership and workforce development opportunities.
We are in a difficult time with pandemic-related health and economic pain and disruption, but it’s reassuring to know that organizations like the USJBF are remaining steadfast to their objectives while attempting to emerge stronger. Despite these challenges, they are reinventing the ways they prepare America’s young people to assume leadership roles in all aspects of cultural, educational, trade, and security relations between Japan and the United States.
Recently, I was asked to share my thoughts on the 20th anniversary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Chubu Chapter. It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed so quickly. My involvement with the organization actually dates back 30 years to the start of the American Business Community of Nagoya (ABCN), which was formed to bring a bit of the American culture, in particular the business culture, to Nagoya, Japan.
In the U.S., many American businesses support their local communities through activities like walkathons and other charitable events. I wanted to introduce that concept to Nagoya, so I chaired a committee that organized the first Chubu Walkathon. Now, 30 years later, the membership has grown, the organization has become more professional, and the Walkathon has become an annual international charity festival that raises in excess of $7 million yen per year. When the ABCN merged with the ACCJ, we expanded on a national level.
When considering my involvement over the years, I can’t help but focus on the networking and mentorship opportunities it has afforded me. I encourage future leaders and members of ACCJ, or in fact any civic organization, to take full advantage of these networking opportunities. It has been my experience that members sincerely want to help each other, and when they offer advice or assistance, they genuinely mean what they say.
Early in my career, as a foreigner working and living in Nagoya, I always felt a bit isolated and like an imposter who did not quite fit in. If it weren’t for the advice and mentoring that I received as part of the ABCN/ACCJ, I don’t think I would be where I am today. I was encouraged to join committees and to speak up and share my ideas. I learned that as a committee member, it was my responsibility to contribute my ideas to the discussion without worrying about being right or wrong. This was wonderful advice that I remember to this day.
The mentoring I received through this organization has been meaningful and ongoing, and I truly appreciate each and every one of my mentors. I have always said that when you meet individuals who have the type of success and knowledge you are looking for, try and get into their orbit. The best way to do just that is to participate in civic and community activities and be present.
My experience with ABCN/ACCJ not only taught me the value of being mentored, but also how to be a good mentor. It taught me the importance of sharing what I have learned and passing that knowledge on to others. I take this very seriously and would advise future leaders and members to find mentors and then mentor others in return. Giving back is one of the most critical parts of our mission and will only enhance the US-Japan relationship we strive to develop.