The Hemp Industries Association and the group formerly known as The Tennessee Hemp Organization, are proud to announce the establishment of the Tennessee Hemp Industries Association, the first state chapter affiliate of the national HIA. Formally launched in September of last year, 2014 marks the inaugural year of the novel associations’ education initiatives to support legalizing industrial hemp farming and industries in the state, and facilitate a hemp business resource network. Founding member, Colleen Sauve, represented the Tennessee HIA chapter at the 2013 Annual HIA conference in Washington, DC in November, where she participated in a hemp lobby day, visited Senator Bob Corker’s DC office on Capitol Hill, and met with his staff to discuss opportunities for hemp in Tennessee.
The Tennessee HIA will launch a fundraising campaign this coming spring, to begin as a strong trade-association in support of future hemp industries in the state. Having the HIA as the backbone to the state initiative will assist to facilitate business and opportunity in Tennessee’s future.
“There is much work to be done in Tennessee to prepare our local farming and business sectors for the economic boom industrial hemp legalization will bring,” said Colleen Sauve, founder of the nascent Tennessee HIA chapter. “We aim to provide resources and information to all those looking to grow, manufacture or sell hemp and hemp products as well as catalyze support for industrial hemp legalization throughout the state.”
“The grassroots movement to legalize industrial hemp is quickly gaining momentum, especially at the state level, as business, agriculture and manufacturing sectors realize the value and versatility of this incredible crop,” said Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the national Hemp Industries Association. “We hope to see more local state chapters partner with the HIA, so we can collaborate and work together toward making hemp farming a reality for farmers across the country.”
To date, thirty-two states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and ten states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. However, despite changes to state laws allowing hemp, farmers in these states risk raids by federal agents, prison time and land forfeiture if they plant the crop, due to the failure of federal policy to distinguish oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis (i.e., industrial hemp) from psychoactive varieties.