About Richard Rose
Richard Rose is founder, president, and “Chief Hemp Nut” of HempNut, Inc., a food company specializing in researching, developing and marketing hempseed foods, the first two of which were introduced in 1994. He is also a founder and president of Omega Nova Corporation, specializing in novel omega-3 delivery systems, and until its sale in 2001 was a founder and president of Rella Good Cheese Company (formerly known as Sharon’s Finest), a food product development and marketing firm making many cheese alternatives, including TofuRella. In 1998, Richard founded the Hemp Food Association, dedicated to improving the quality of education, production and marketing of hempseed foods.
Now age 48, Richard has long put his beliefs “where his mouth his”…literally: a vegetarian since age 12 and still a vegan since age 22, his personal mission is to introduce and popularize the use of super-nutritious hempseed for food, in order to reduce the deleterious health and planetary effects of the animal-based diet. Richard started HempNut, Inc. in order to market new hempseed foods, starting with HempRella cheese alternative and Hempeh Burgers, both introduced in 1994. He also invented and marketed HempNut brand shelled hempseed, peanut butter, hempseed oil, whole food bars, chocolate chip cookies, organic blue corn chips, Hempscream, and lip balm.
Richard was awarded the 1997 Hemp Times “Bioneer Award” for Outstanding Achievement in Food, the 1997 Hemp World “Hempy Award” for Food, and the 1998 Hemp World “Hempy Award” for Product Innovation for his HempNut brand of shelled hempseed.
The acknowledged father of the U.S. hemp foods movement, many new companies have adopted Richard’s vision of a hemp foods future, business model, and products, including Nutiva, Fresh Hemp/Manitoba Harvest, Galaxy Global Eatery, Ruth’s, Hemp Oil Canada, and others.
Richard has appeared on hundreds of radio shows, dozens of TV shows, including a 9-minute segment on hemp foods on the CBS-TV national program “The Roseanne Show,” and has been the subject of hundreds of newspaper and magazine stories.
Is this your first time to Prague?
No, I spoke last year at Cannafest. However, this year I will actually see sites for the first time. Some old wooden clock and all.
What message do you hope to get across for the cannabis industry?
For patient providers, I’m hoping to show how even not-for-profit collectives need to be run like a for-profit business, in order to increase sustainability and serve greater numbers of patients. For entrepreneurs, I will show that for now Europe is best-suited to be the supplier for the rest of the world for hemp products, and why.
Would you support the legalization of cannabis if it had no medical value?
Moot question, as mankind’s oldest cultivated and most-studied crop indeed has massive medical value.
What’s the best medical cannabis story you have heard?
The “patient sent home to die uses oil and a year later has no signs of cancer” stories always make me happy. Personally, I kicked all psych meds thanks to THC and CBD, and am more stable than ever.
What was your first experience with cannabis?
45 years ago at age 15, self-medicating undiagnosed bipolar disorder.
Has cannabis ever landed you in trouble?
Only at airports, smoking a joint at DFW in the parking lot (reported to police as “long-hair walking to parking lot”) and a European city where I refused to sign the police report in a foreign language, so they ripped it up. Stand tall, stand proud, and educate them. They shook my hand as I left. But since hemp is also Cannabis, starting the shelled hempseed industry in North America 21 years ago cost me $2.5 million when the fiber group leveraged my work in order to sue DEA over a lie, killing the infant hemp food market for years and eliminating our huge momentum, never to recover.
If the global cannabis movement hadn’t begun, what would you be doing instead?
Instead of advocating for 45 years? Making tofu still or playing music still in recording studios.
Where do you see the industry in 10 years?
The Ferengis will take over, and manifest everywhere. As we see in the USA, “legalizing” results in new felonies to be used against those unlicensed, and a full-employment act for lawyers, narcs, and prison guards.
What are your plans outside of the convention, business or pleasure?
I’m offering to meet for free with young entrepreneurs wanting to get into the Cannabis business, or expand their business. Answer questions, give feedback, make suggestions, provide context. Also hoping to play guitar with Jindrich, or teach blues or fretboard theory.
How is your diary looking for the next six months?
Now age 60, I’m actually retired and living in Italy. I’ll continue to advise, consult, and write until my challenges are too great to do so. Plus perform my Bluestronica.