Industrial Hemp, Alicia Silverstone and The Office



Budding Trends

When our Cannabis Industry team started this blog, we promised to deliver pop culture references and thought leadership. This one should deliver.

Growing up, I was a big fan of Alicia Silverstone. My earliest recollection was her appearance in Aerosmith’s 1994 “Cryin’” music video. In fact, Aerosmith’s Get a Grip album was one of the first two CDs I ever purchased. The other was Pocket Full of Kryptonite by the Spin Doctors. While there is no accounting for taste, I stand by those choices.

Anyway, a year later Ms. Silverstone starred in Clueless, a seminal coming-of-age movie. In the film (and I stress the word “film”), she plays the role of Cher Horowitz, described as “a sweet, if somewhat dippy, blonde teenager who lives with her father in Beverly Hills” and who “often speaks in Valley Girl slang.” After Cher realizes the superficiality of her conventionally popular friends and love interests, she finally realizes that her true love is her stepbrother Josh, played wonderfully by an always-boyish Paul Rudd.


Setting aside the stepsibling thing, it is our suggestion that sometimes the best choice is not the obvious, popular, sexy one. This is our paean to industrial hemp, the boring stepsibling that just might be a perfect match for you.

Don’t get us wrong. This is not a slight to marijuana investments. There are reasons to believe that marijuana investing will outpace hemp investing in the short term, and marijuana may well be an important part of a diversified cannabis investment portfolio. But there is, at least at present, one obvious limit to the marijuana industry: It is limited to consumers looking to purchase marijuana products.

Hemp, on the other hand, has the potential to dwarf marijuana in the global market. Unlike its sister plant, hemp has the capacity to replace products we use every day without us even realizing it. For example, hemp can provide a substitute for concrete, plastic, fuel, automotive parts, clothes, etc. These are products nearly all consumers need but they neither realize nor care what the products are made of, as long as they work. In that way, while the market for marijuana is limited to consumers looking to purchase marijuana, the market for hemp includes anyone who purchases products that can be manufactured by hemp. In part for these reasons, experts predict four to five times growth in the industrial hemp market in the next five years.

Somehow, The Office Brings Us Home

In the final scene of The Office, Pam Beasley looks into the camera – offering an explanation as to why a camera crew would follow around employees of a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania – and says “[t]here’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things.” It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful show.

And it reminds me a bit of the industrial hemp industry. Sure, there are money-making opportunities, and hemp certainly is something new to most Americans. But at the end of the day, industrial hemp’s true growth potential is in those ordinary things like fuel, building materials, and clothes. There’s a lot of beauty in that.