Largest hemp auction kicks off at the Williamson County Expo

Local News

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) –  High hopes kicked off day one of what’s being called the largest hemp auction in the world with buyers and sellers from across the country gathered at the Williamson County Expo in Franklin.

Hemp is legal federally and in Tennessee and has low levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient associated with the plant’s cousin marijuana.

Organizers told News 2 more than 100 farmers registered for the three-day event, with a total of five million pounds of hemp valued at $10 to 30 million ready to be auctioned off.

“It’s just a new industry, a new field, and it needs to find a price for a fair market,” said Mark Case, Founder and C.E.O. of the auction.

Case said that need inspired the idea of a large-scale auction for the crop.

For a host site, organizers turned to Tennessee’s robust hemp industry and farmer-friendly regulations.

“There hasn’t been a good place to have a good competitive market for the farmer,” said Case. “Most of the time, the middle man makes most of the money because brokers are shopping the farmers and shopping the end user.”

Farmer Ryan Rowlett drove from northeast Tennessee to sell about 2,500 pounds of his hemp.

“I’m excited there are actually buyers here,” he said.

It’s hope after a tough year for hemp farmers and processors.

Industry experts have pointed to a strong buyer’s market.

“Getting buyers in one centralized location for farmers to meet and sell their stuff, rather than a farmer trying to find people across the country or in our state, it really makes it easier to come here and actually make money off of your crop,” he said.

Some people came from out of state just to observe the auction.

“I wouldn’t have expected this to happen here,” said Tracy Price, a hemp grower from Michigan. “I would’ve expected it to happen in Colorado.”

Price shared with News 2 her goal.

“Hopefully, an end user,” she said. “To make sure my product is sold.”

“What we hope to do is as we continue these auctions through this venue, is to help set a fair market price across the country,” said Case.

The auction requires sellers to provide proof of their growing permit and a certificate of analysis.

For further vetting, there’s also on-site CBD testing.

The auction ends on Thursday.

Tickets start at $13 dollars.

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