Richard started a movement by being the first to widely market to the masses sophisticated branded perishable foods made from hempseed, not only proving the viability of a new industry but changing society’s stigmas too. His work provided a roadmap for passionate, innovative, values-based leadership in business and society. The revolution in food he started became hemp’s first billion dollar industry and is 90% of Canadian hemp today.
For over four decades Richard has been a leading innovator in the natural food industry, with such soyfoods as TofuRella, Cottage Tofu Salad, and LeTofu sold around the world. Then in 1994 he pivoted from soybean to using hempseed, an older and far more nutritious protein source. He was the first food professional in hemp foods in North America, and paved the way for those he inspired to follow.
Since 1980 Richard invented, produced, and marketed dozens of products based on tofu, and was the only small or natural food company to be named the “Top Ten Innovators of 1986” by Food and Beverage Marketing magazine. In 1986 TofuRella was introduced, sales of which landed the firm on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in 1993.
Once known as a “Tofu Mogul,” he is also called “The Hemp Nut” as HempNut, Inc. was the first Best Practices hempseed foods company in North America, 1994 to 2002. He was the first by years to introduce shelled hempseed to North America, and provided the inspiration for today’s hempseed companies. Richard designed a new company around the vision of branded shelled hempseed as a replacement for soy in the food industry, leveraging his existing international food sales and distribution network. That became the proof-of-concept business model for the hempseed industry to this day. The first significant change from millennia of fiber hemp, hemp as commercial food is “Hemp 2.0” in the evolution of hemp. At the time no one had imported non-sterilized hempseed. The risk was such that if authorities wanted to stop this emerging industry, he could have been sentenced to multiple life terms based on the volume imported.
Having HEMP in big letters with a neon-green leaf on thousands of store shelves and in the business and food pages of thousands of newspapers and TV helped to de-stigmatize Cannabis in the eyes of voters, who two years later passed Prop. 215 in California, the first initiative legalizing medical marijuana, a watershed event for the industry. Hemp (and thus CBD) is the sharp tip of the Cannabis legalization spear.
- Spoke to millions about hemp foods for 7 minutes on CBS-TV’s afternoon “The Roseanne Show”
- Directly responsible for the use of hempseed in over 35 hemp industry meals, including Cannabis Cups in Amsterdam, NAIHC dinners, and HIA Cons
- Spoke on hempseed foods many times at industry conferences, inspiring many to enter
- Mentored dozens of companies
- Funded a large-hempseed breeding project
- Introduced hemp foods to actor Woody Harrelson (with Richard at right), The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, activist Ralph Nader, CIA Director/Hemp Lobbyist James Woolsey, and millions more
- Co-sponsor of the 1995 Navajo Nation Hemp Project
- Had the first and largest online store for hemp foods
- Opened the first vegan restaurant in California
- Organized a 27-member global supply chain for hempseed foods
- Exported soy and hemp foods to Europe, Canada, Japan, China, and Australia
- Worked on the first campaign to legalize in California, Prop 19 in 1972
Richard earned a BA in Marketing from Sonoma State University and graduated with an MBA, concentration in Marketing and International Business, while simultaneously running an Inc 500 fast-growing business. He was named a Distinguished Alumni in 2000 at Sonoma State.
By 2002 when the US market for hempseed foods collapsed for years due to an ill-advised suit by a fiber group against DEA for legalizing 98% of all hemp products, Richard had invested $2.5 million to make hempseed foods a new industry. Flush with cash after selling his Rella Good Cheese Co. for $3.7 million and with more time to devote to the industry, he instead moved to Amsterdam to retire and compose. That ridiculous suit cost him eight years of work and $2.5 million (so ridiculous one Justice even called it a “gratuitous” ruling in his dissent).
Richard’s interest in hemp continues for food and medicine, especially CBD (Cannabidiol). In 2015 he created the first “open-source” brands Nobacco (artisanal CBD hemp buds for smoking), Not-Pot (ditto), created CannaSearch (opening consumer access to research of Cannabis for 64 medical conditions), the Medicinal Hemp Association, the Hemp Flower Products Association, and resurrected the Hemp Food Association.
Co-author of The HempNut Health and Cookbook, and The HempNut Cookbook, and author of The HempNut Book, Secrets of the Fretboard Revealed, Secrets of Chords and Scales Revealed, Secrets of Chord Substitutions Revealed, and Secrets of Jazz Arranging Revealed, and dozens of white papers.
Since 2014 he has created and curated thousands of original hemp content and context posts on social media, with over 40,000 followers. Facebook Pages include The Richard Rose Report, RR.TheHempNut, CannaSearch Daily, CannLib Search, Medicinal Hemp Association, Cannaceuticals, Hempreneurs, Hemp Flower Products Association, Hemp Food Association, CannaCoach, The Heretical Hempster, The HempNut Cookbook, The Hemp Nut, Cannabology, CBD Today, Cannaville, Chemurgy, Not–Pot, Fretboard Revealed and More, among others. His YouTube channel is The Hemp Nut, Twitter is @TheHempNut, Instagram is The_Hemp_Nut. LinkedIn profile is https://www.linkedin.com/in/thehempnut/. Today semi-retired in Italy, Richard writes and produces The Richard Rose Report.
For more on Richard’s 40-year legacy of innovation, click here.
Richard Rose Industry Firsts, 1980-2020:
- Vegan restaurant in California (1980)
- Vegan egg-nog (1981)
- Tofu merchandised in a box (1985)
- Tofu frozen dessert powdered mixes (1985)
- Tofu ice cream exported to Japan (1986)
- F&BM “Leading Innovator of 1986” (1986)
- Vegan cheese (1987)
- Organic vegan cream cheese (1994)
- Introduced 80+ vegan and soyfoods (1980-1994): Brightsong Tofu, Marinated Tofu, Vege-Herb Tofu, Soymilk, Tofu Creamie, Tofu Salad Dressing, Tofunofish Salad, Tofu Mayo, Tofu Cream Pie, Tofu Pudding, Soysage, Cal-gari Tofu, Cococarob Tofu Tart, Pumpkin Pie, Soy Nog, Cottage Salad, Missing-Egg Salad, Tofummus, Hummous, Lite & Creamy, Strawberry Diet DeLite, Tofu Pumpkin Puddin’, Skinny Dip, Orange Sunshine, Lite Mousse, Le Tofu, Mix Plus+, Tofu Plus+, Concentrate Plus+, Tofu Nog, Fruit D’Lite, Soy-O, TofuRella, Le Yogurt, powdered instant soymilk beverage, dry Le Tofu, Free, vegetarian meat analogs, TofuRella Slices, Heart’s D’Lite, AlmondRella, Zero-FatRella, Better Than Meat, VeganRella, and VeganRella cream cheese
- Inc. 500 award winner in hemp (1993)
- Established food professional to pivot to hemp (1994)
- Positive newspaper and national magazine food and business stories on hemp (1994)
- Perishable hemp foods (1994)
- Frozen hemp foods (1994)
- Hemp Cheese (1994)
- Hemp Burger (1994)
- International hemp food supply chain (1994)
- International hemp food sales and distribution network (1994)
- Hemp food served at a Cannabis Cup (1994)
- Hemp foods sold coast-to-coast in the US and Canada (1995)
- Hemp foods sold in a military PX (1996)
- Shelled Hempseed introduced to the US and Canada (1996)
- To coin the term “hemp nut” for shelled hempseed (1996)
- Established nomenclature for hempseed foods (1996)
- Quality assurance program to inspire consumer confidence in hemp foods (1996)
- HIA Conference manager to make the Cons fund the organization for the year, while also lowering the cost for members to attend (1996)
- Industry Conference meals containing hempseed (1996)
- Three hemp industry awards for food innovation (1997/1998)
- Hemp foods exported to Europe (1997)
- Appearances on TV and radio for hemp foods (1997)
- Smoked Hemp Cheese (1997)
- Chair of the HIA Food and Oil Committee (1997)
- Mentor in hemp foods (1997)
- FDA-legal health claim on a hemp product (1998)
- FDA-legal structure-function claims (1998)
- Certified organic hempseed products (1998)
- Online hemp food store, on Yahoo! (1998)
- Global supply chain for shelled hempseed (China>Germany>USA) (1998)
- National ads in trade and consumer magazines for a hemp food (1998)
- Lowest-cost producer of shelled hempseed, to this day the 1st is still the lowest (1998)
- Hemp Food Association (1998)
- Hemp protein powder marketed (1998)
- UHT Hemp Milk developed (1998)
- Hemp Nut Butter (1998)
- Hemp Cookies (1998)
- Hemp Cheese Alternative in Europe (1998)
- HIA Hemp Fiber Certification Program Director (1998)
- Hemp brand licensing program (1998)
- Hempseed industrial ingredients (1998)
- Hempreneur development program (1999)
- Appearance making hemp foods on national TV (1999)
- Hemp foods to be in jokes on The Tonight Show (1999)
- Hemp cookbooks with original historical references and nutrition charts (2000)
- To coin the term “medicinal hemp” (2014)
- CBD trade association, Medicinal Hemp Association (2014)
- Search engine for 64 medical conditions, CannaSearch (2015)
- $20,000 genetics giveaway, F*ck Cancer variety by the MHA (2015)
- “Chief Cannabinoid Officer” of a company (2015)
- Open-source smokable CBD hemp brands, Nobacco and Not-Pot (2015)
- Hemp Flower Products Association (2017)
- FDA submission to grandfather hemp flower products (2017)
- Free Cannabis library with ~12,000 PDFs (CannLib) (2018)
- Documentation of use of CBD extracts in EU pre-Novel Foods (2018)
- Cannabinoid Facts label, like the Nutrition Facts disclosure (2019)
- Hemp newswire, CannaSearch Daily with 10,000 posts/year (2020)