Those in the ever-changing hemp and CBD businesses likely encounter questions and unknowns on a near-daily basis. The good news is, there are groups available to help.
Some organizations have been around pushing for education and promotion of hemp for decades. Others have come about in the past few years to serve the business of hemp. Here’s a look at a few of these, as well as some state and regional groups.
National hemp organizations you need to know
An independent, self-funded, industry advocacy organization. Launched in 2017, this coalition is comprised of dozens of hemp companies representing every link of the product chain, from seed to sale, and all the industry’s major national grassroots organizations.
Mission: To secure passage of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Congress that established hemp federally as an agricultural commodity, permanently removing it from regulation as a controlled substance. (This goal accomplished with the passage of last year’s farm bill.)
Work it’s doing: Now focused on taking the battle to states that have not yet joined the cause, and to federal and local agencies that may try to over-regulate.
Funds a certification program called the U.S. Hemp Authority to provide high standards, best practices and self-regulation of the industry.
Leadership: Thirty companies comprise the board of directors, including many well-established hemp brands, farmers and others.
Membership: Two levels of membership available—Board of Directors for a $30,000 annual contribution, or Member for $10,000.
A long-standing fighter for hemp, always serving the business side even as it also educates consumers.
Mission: To advance the hemp economy and educate the market for the benefit of our members, the public and the planet.
Work it’s doing: HIA hosts various expos and education sessions, online and across the country, focused on all areas of hemp as industry. It also works alongside U.S. Hemp Roundtable on the U.S. Hemp Authority Certification Program.
Leadership: President Joy Beckerman.
Membership: Levels range from $500 for one person annually (companies with less than $50,000 annual gross revenue) to $8,100 for a team of eight.
A volunteer-run nonprofit organization out of Washington, D.C., that encourages trade and discourse among hemp professionals.
Mission: To support the growth and development of all aspects of the industrial hemp industry, accomplished through education, community building and working collaboratively with industry, government officials and the scientific community.
Work it's doing: A webinar series addressing topics like CBD extraction methods and understanding THC testing.
Leadership: Executive Director Erica McBride Stark.
Membership: Open to farmers, entrepreneurs, processors, manufacturers, researchers, investors, organizations and businesses of all sizes. A variety of membership levels available, starting at $500 annually for smaller businesses.
Formed in May, the group creates partnerships to foster seamless networks throughout the supply chain.
Mission: To further market development, assist members in entering the industry and educate the consumer about industrial hemp and its applications.
Work it's doing: Promoting truth-in-labeling practices and providing fact-based information to educate consumers, the bedrock of the hemp revolution.
Leadership: Board chairman is Patrick Atagi, president and CEO of DA Farms in Nyssa, Oregon.
Membership: Farmers, manufacturers, financers, supply chain logistics and retailers. Membership dues based on net revenue and start at $85 for hemp businesses.
Closer to home
Many states are dealing with hemp and CBD issues locally. To offer assistance to those navigating in the murky waters, organizations are coming together to understand what’s happening in Florida, Kentucky and others. These are the states and regions we know have a hemp council.
A new council serving the state of Florida as of July.
Mission: To work collectively toward creating an ecosystem that will catapult the Florida hemp industry and those who support it to the forefront as the leader in hemp production.
Work it’s doing: Formed to showcase and promote the “good actors” in the industry and assist the state in holding the “bad actors” accountable.
Leadership: Jeff Greene, vice president, Blue Moon Hemp, Blume Hemp, Evello Global, Evio Labs, GenCanna Global, Green Roads, Mission Lago Farms, Natural Life and Veritas Farms.
Membership: To access membership documents, email membership@TheFLHC.org or call (833)-4FL-HEMP.
Local, sister organization of National Hemp Association.
Mission: To accelerate the return of the industrial hemp crop to the Pennsylvania agricultural landscape.
Work it’s doing: Members get access to the member forum, seed sellers list, list of farmers/growers, presentations, studies and statistical data.
Leadership: Council President Geoffrey W. Whaling is co-founder and president of Canopy Hemp Developments LLC, a division of Canopy Growth Corp.
Membership: The Business level membership is $500 annually.
In October 2014, following the first year of legal pilot projects in Kentucky under the farm bill, two Kentucky natives launched this fun educational group.
Mission: To inspire the re-emerging Kentucky hemp industry through advocacy, education, community outreach and creative content.
Work it’s doing: Works with farmers, processors, manufacturers, brands and other organizations to create awareness and demand for industrial hemp.
Leadership: Co-founders Alyssa Erickson and Kirstin Bohnert.
Membership: Membership is not currently available but will be in the future.
A regional organization created with the goal to legalize commercial hemp production in Indiana and continues as a resource for hemp advocates in Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.
Mission: To stand as a credible information center, a trust policy advocate and a dedicated forum for the hemp industry in Indiana and beyond.
Work it's doing: A weekly audio podcast with council officers and guest speakers.
Leadership: Justin Swanson of Bose Public Affairs Group.
Membership: Members are involved in farming, processing, hemp research manufacturing, distribution, marketing and education. Business Advocate membership level is $100 annually.
The Hemp Industries Association also has nine active state/regional affiliate chapters: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pacific Northwest, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona and Florida. https://thehia.org/HIAChapters/
Associations that serve the larger supplement industry are also establishing guidelines and best practices for hemp products with resources for members: United Natural Products Association, American Herbal Products Association and Council for Responsible Nutrition.