Fighting ‘remnants of the war on drugs’: A look at the National Hemp Association’s efforts to break down racist barriers

The legacy of systemic racism and the war on drugs is playing out in today’s hemp industry, which remains dominated by white landowners and people with access to large amounts of capital.

The National Hemp Association recently launched a new effort to change that. The group’s Standing Committee on Social Equity has gathered business leaders of color in the hemp sector and charged them with finding ways to bring more diversity and inclusion to the industry, and to educate people outside the hemp industry about low-THC cannabis and its role in communities of color.

Hemp Industry Daily recently caught up with NHA leaders to find out more about the project and its goals. Editor Kristen Nichols interviewed Dozeir Mbonu, chair of the new committee, along with Erica Stark, NHA’s executive director.

Mbonu laid out the NHA’s action plan – including pushing for farmers of color to get “the same kind of access to all the things that are supposed to be available to the agricultural community.”

He plans to help farmers of color connect with buyers to increase profits and also focus on expanding opportunities in manufacturing and research.

“It’s not just about being the landowner,” Mbonu added.

The group also plans to advocate for removing a federal requirement that drug felons be barred from hemp business ownership for 10 years, a requirement in the 2018 Farm Bill that disproportionately excludes some communities from getting licenses to grow hemp.

“It’s still hindering the very communities we are trying to uplift, and it makes no sense,” Stark said.

To learn more about the National Hemp Association’s inclusion plans, check out the exclusive video interview below.

Kristen Nichols can be reached at [email protected]

 

2 comments on “Fighting ‘remnants of the war on drugs’: A look at the National Hemp Association’s efforts to break down racist barriers
  1. Jeff Finsand on

    Good work!…

    AND the proposed 15 days (from testing to harvest) as proposed for feds and California hemp law is a terrible criteria for real hemp farming. The farmer has to gamble their whole crop in choosing a testing date so as to be under the .3% THC rule and try to get as close as possible to a ripe crop. This is VERY POOR REGULATION. It as though the law-makers know nothing of the required harvest time to get a proper crop OR they are purposely hindering the CBD/hemp farming industry.

    Reply
  2. SoCalSunGrown on

    To have any genuine and significant help for minorities wanting to start a hemp business, would require that the emerging Hemp Industry take more significant steps.
    These would include tangible things like lobbying to the government on their behalf, so they can be granted USDA hemp-agricultural land grants/loans, SBA hemp-agricultural business education grants/loans, and SBA hemp business start-up financial assistance grants and loans. NHA by itself will not do much of major significance.
    NHA must lobby to the USDA and SBA to help minorities to become hemp business owners, and not simply employees.
    Anything less than this is just a NHA Public Relations stunt.

    Reply

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