MJBizMag September 2022 - 14

HEMP NOTEBOOK Kristen Nichols
Fight Club
Hemp advocates too often battle each other, setting back the industry
I
can't believe I'm saying this, but
hemp is starting to remind me of
chicken poop.
I don't mean to say the plant is
a stinky mess. Rather, I am saying
that hemp operators these days
remind me of the poultry farmers
I once covered in Maryland. Both
groups seem to spend so much
time bickering over who had the
right to speak for the industry that
they ignored common ground and
weakened their own hands.
Some backstory: Maryland has
been trying for decades to clean
the Chesapeake Bay, which is sadly
home to a fraction of the oysters
and crabs that once thrived in its
brackish waters.
Like all big problems, pollution in
the Chesapeake has many culprits.
But a big one is the region's
thriving poultry industry. America's
insatiable hunger for chicken
(guilty!) has led to a proliferation
of mid-Atlantic poultry farms
that unload staggering amounts
of nitrogen pollution into nearby
waterways.
Here's why this makes me
think of hemp: Chicken farmers
generally agree on the need to
reduce nitrogen runoff. But these
same farmers spend so much time
pecking at each other about the
best ways to do it that they don't
effectively drive public policy on
the problem.
Sound familiar?
GROUSING ABOUT THE DEA
The chicken industry came to mind
recently when one hemp advocacy
group, the Hemp Industries
14 September 2022 | MJBizMagazine
If the people close to a topic can't
agree, there's no need for lawmakers to
go out on a limb to broker a solution.
Association (HIA), lost its effort to
challenge a rule from the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration that
criminalizes common extraction
methods needed to make CBD.
My inbox and voicemail
flooded-not with complaints
about the DEA's rule but about the
effort to challenge it. Why does
hemp have so many dang industry
associations, readers groused, none
of them well funded? Why can't
everyone get behind (insert group
here), which really speaks for the
hemp industry?
And on and on. I have to wonder
if critics unleashed an equal
amount of indignation on the DEA,
which set the rule, and the appeals
judges who dismissed the hemp
argument.
(Full disclosure: MJBizDaily has
a partnership agreement with the
HIA that does not influence news
coverage.)
All too often, it seems that
advocacy groups waste precious
energy and dollars sniping among
themselves and dampening their
efforts. Well-meaning politicians
and regulators throw their hands
up and figure that if the people
close to a topic can't agree, there's
no need for lawmakers to go out
on a limb to broker a solution.
FIND THE RIGHT COOP
Outsiders frankly don't care if a
trade group is the true voice of an
industry. It doesn't matter how
many advocacy groups represent a
certain industry or interest-or if
those groups speak with a unified
voice instead of reflecting the
varying priorities of their members.
I hope the hemp industry doesn't
go the way of bickering chicken
farmers.
Join the groups that align with
your business and advocacy
interests. And if other groups take
stands that hurt your business,
work to change the policy instead
of trying to take that group down.
Take it from the chicken farmers:
No matter how much poop clouds
the water, infighting doesn't clean
any of it up.
Kristen Nichols covers
hemp for MJBizMagazine.
Send comments to
magazine@mjbizdaily.com.

MJBizMag September 2022

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