Hemp Industries Association Closes State Chapter Program
The Hemp Industries Association board voted on Wednesday, July 15, to form a task force to study chapter structures and implementation to deliver recommendations on a new structure to serve the needs of their members at the state and regional levels.
“This is a much-needed change for the HIA as we continue to modernize the organization,” said HIA President Rick Trojan “We have seen extraordinary leadership in the states and will seek to continue to partner with those and others to shape the future of the program. As the HIA continues building for the future, we look forward to involvement on the state, regional and national level to help bring groups together in advancement of our hemp economy.”
The move comes on the heels of several significant changes for the association since a new board was elected earlier this year. Recently, the organization appointed two new board members — Todd Runestad of New Hope Networks and Tim Gordon of Functional Remedies; last month HIA hired Jody McGinness as executive director, who brings decades of experience in nonprofit management; and the recent announcement of an exploratory partnership with the National Industrial Hemp Council to launch a national hemp checkoff program has made waves throughout the industry.
“As we navigate the unprecedented crisis impacting all of us, it is crucial to take stock of how the organization functions relative to the reality of the marketplace,” said McGinness “Our members who participated in their state chapters are an invaluable resource, and we are going to continue to rely on their leadership as the Task Force does its work and we conceive of a new structure that will address the priorities of HIA members at the state and regional levels. But the overall goal is to transform the entire association in order to realize its potential to be the premier trade association for the most vibrant and promising agricultural industry in the nation. This is a significant step in that process, but one of many we will be taking on the road ahead.”
The chapter program was first launched in 2015 and had chapters in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, The Pacific Northwest, Tennessee, and Texas.
Midwest Hemp Coalition
The Midwest Hemp Coalition is continuing the mission of the llinois Chapter of the National Hemp Industries Association after the state program closure. The coalition is extending an honorary membership to all 2020 members of the IL-HIA Chapter, and is also reaching out to all lapsed and pending members with a special two-year membership for the price of one. In addition, the coalition is offering newly reduced membership levels for veterans, students and qualifying social equity applicants.
“Our mission is to increase accessibility and opportunity in the hemp industry through advocacy and diverse community connections. The industry and the Coalition’s activities are particularly important in the current pandemic and recession,” said Kalee Hooghkirk, coalition president and owner of United Hemp Co. in West Dundee, Illinois. “Partnering with other supporters is extremely important to us. The Midwest Hemp Coalition welcomes people from all aspects of our industry with a focus on creating space for minorities and women who historically have been disproportionately represented within the hemp and cannabis industry.”
The Midwest Hemp Coalition is eager to connect with legislators, educators, advocates, and business partners across the Midwest to strengthen and unify the regional hemp market. As the coalition expands, it looks for opportunities to collaborate with associations across the country with similar missions including other former HIA Chapters and new hemp organizations. To join, learn more and get involved, visit www.midwesthempcoalition.com.