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Recent legislation brings budding CBD and hemp convention to Houston this fall

CBD is becoming a booming business in Boomtown. CBD American Shaman

Look out, California and Colorado. The recent passing of Texas' House Bill 1325 means that the Lone Star State is now poised to be the largest hemp-producing state in the nation.

To wit: Texas already boasts more than 1,500 licenses and more than 1,100 lot permits already issued, making the state a major hemp hub.

So it's fitting that a budding new convention centered on all things hemp and CBD and hemp will head to Houston. The Lucky Leaf Expo will run November 5-6 at NRG Center, organizers announced.

Attendees can look forward to more than 120 exhibitors, more than 40 speakers, panels, and more. "Cooking with Cannabis" demos promise to be an interesting draw.

Planners also plan to fire up a pre-show Cannabis Business Crash Course.

Tickets can be purchased online and at the convention center during the event.

"We have a diverse array of exhibitors in every channel of the CBD/hemp industry that specialize in the sale of seeds, CPAs, attorneys, accountants, processors, manufacturers, soft gel companies, to help get you started for your business," Chad Sloan of Lucky Leaf Expo noted in a statement.

As Forbes pointed out last year, after being legalized in 2018, hemp is already one of America's top ten agricultural crops. CBD is now a $2 billion industry: Its medical applications are booming; food products also promise to be huge.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

For over a year now, scientists have been testing wastewater for COVID-19. Now, the public can access that information. Photo via Getty Images

In 2020, a group of researchers began testing Houston's wastewater to collect data to help identify trends at the community level. Now, the team's work has been rounded up to use as an online resource.

The Houston Health Department and Rice University launched the dashboard on September 22. The information comes from samples collected from the city's 39 wastewater treatment plants and many HISD schools.

"This new dashboard is another tool Houstonians can use to gauge the situation and make informed decisions to protect their families," says Dr. Loren Hopkins, chief environmental science officer for the health department and professor in the practice of statistics at Rice University, in a news release. "A high level of virus in your neighborhood's wastewater means virus is spreading locally and you should be even more stringent about masking up when visiting public places."

The health department, Houston Water, Rice University, and Baylor College of Medicine originally collaborated on the wastewater testing. Baylor microbiologist Dr. Anthony Maresso, director of BCM TAILOR Labs, led a part of the research.

"This is not Houston's first infectious disease crisis," Maresso says in an earlier news release. "Wastewater sampling was pioneered by Joseph Melnick, the first chair of Baylor's Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, to get ahead of polio outbreaks in Houston in the 1960s. This work essentially ushered in the field of environmental virology, and it began here at Baylor. TAILOR Labs is just continuing that tradition by providing advanced science measures to support local public health intervention."

It's an affordable way to track the virus, says experts. People with COVID-19 shed viral particles in their feces, according to the release, and by testing the wastewater, the health department can measure important infection rate changes.

The dashboard, which is accessible online now, is color-coded by the level of viral load in wastewater samples, as well as labeled with any recent trend changes. Houstonians can find the interactive COVID-19 wastewater monitoring dashboard, vaccination sites, testing sites, and more information at houstonemergency.org/covid19.

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