I must start of by welcoming several states that have recently made moves into the Marijuana industry within the last couple weeks. On November 8th, four states voted in favor of legalizing recreation marijuana use, sale and consumption; these states being California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts. Federal law plays a huge role in the cannabis market but still this is a huge step in the right direction. This is because in states like California this also decriminalizes hemp and creates opportunities for people to begin cultivation. These legal changes within these states have multiple effects to the people who live in them. It firstly allows decriminalization of use, while access becomes more wide-spread, meantime this industry will also be creating tons of jobs.
In Hemp Bound, guest Roger Ford was the first corporate member if the Kentucky Hemp growers Cooperative Association trade group and describes the process perfectly. “We finance and build plants in rural areas- producing to scale as needed locally, and in the process create rural jobs”. He explains his plans for the industrial hemp are almost an exact replication of the early petroleum market model, and its ultimate end goal is without a doubt “rural economic development through sustainable energy production”. This gives states that have current legal status for hemp a huge advantage, Fine even claims Kentucky has the potential to be the Silicon Valley of industrial hemp.
People need to realize hemp can be used alongside other current materials, or even eventually replace them in aim of a healthier planet. Federal regulations make it hard on business owners, even if they comply with all of their states regulations. One area this hits particularly hard is the banking sector. But don’t be fooled, this does not stop money from coming into, or out of the hemp industry. The industry is seeking out venture capitalists to make bold moves to help jump-start the industry. Business owners are also eager to work with state and local governments as much as possible, knowing the tax revenue their trade provides can make dealings dually beneficial. There are several good documentaries on Netflix, such as The Union or Culture High that show the ins-and-outs of the industry and its daily struggles as it continues to mature and grow.
Keep in mind, people who are steering this industry plan to run it just like any other business. There is a undeniable demand from consumers, and even a larger global need for sustainable energy. Hemp can provide a compliment if not replacement to so many current players, we just need to shift the game a little bit. Just because all of our money the past couple decades has been put towards biomass and extraction, doesn’t mean we need to continue to pour into it.
My Aunt told me something once that I will likely never forget. “Don’t sh*t where you eat”. In my opinion, this is the vice we face today. Do we encourage our government to try new things despite the costs? Or do we stick with what we know makes money, and ignore its inevitable consequences? In my opinion the federal government needs to step up and aim projects towards long-term and sustainable efforts, rather than just collecting the cash upfront.
The slow progression of legalization keeps enthusiasts like me hopeful, and again I highly encourage you all to do as much personal research as possible. Get informed, get involved; be a positive influence in your community and in this world we all must share. There are ways to get active all around your community, I promise you that. If you live in the Austin area like me, checkout the Texas Hemp Campaign, I bet they had stuff going on just below your nose.