While the legal hemp trade has just entered its beginning stages and is thriving, there are many ways it is lagging behind.
One of the ways the industry is already struggling is in its lack of diversity.
According to the Drug Alliance Policy, people of color make up barely 1% of the legal cannabis market. Not surprisingly, a similar study found that over 80 percent of cannabis businesses are owned by white Americans.
And, unfortunately, people of color have been unfairly targeted and discriminated against when hemp was criminalized. Many people of color continue to serve time behind bars for those criminal offenses.
Joe Brown, founder of the Michigan Hemp Farmer Association, recognizes this and wants to be part of the solution.
He is of Mexican-American and wants to help the Latinx community become more involved in the legal hemp industry.
His wife owns Brown Farmacy, the small craft hemp farm where the association began in Saranac, Michigan. He noticed she is frequently discriminated against when handling important operations for the farm. Women make up a small percentage of hemp farmers, as well.
That’s why the Michigan Hemp Farmer Association has chosen diversity as one of its North Stars. Without everyone having a level playing field in the industry, no one can flourish in the hemp industry.
One reason minorities may feel uneasy to begin growing hemp is because of ongoing stigma. Criminalization of people of color who are involved in hemp and cannabis was, and still is, quite common. The crop itself is quite stigmatized.
The Association has made it one of its core missions to create a gateway for women and people of color to enter the legal hemp industry in a safe way.
One way we do this is provide a community and support for minorities looking to enter the industry. Our Boards are filled with industry experts who are in their corner, ready to offer insight and advice.
We also offer events to help get first-time farmers acclimated to the hemp industry. Our events cover starting a craft hemp farm, choosing the best hemp seeds and creating a business out of a small hemp farm. Members receive access to all three events we put on each year.
A membership to the Michigan Hemp Farmer Association guarantees a network of support and acumen to help you grow your small craft hemp farm.
Everyone at the Michigan Hemp Farmer Association looks forward to you joining us! If the idea of a community of like-minded individuals in the hemp growing industry excites you, the association is the perfect place for you. From navigating acquiring a license from the state department of agriculture to finding the perfect hemp plant for your farm, we’re ready to assist you and help your business grow. To join our association or for more information, call (616) 902-4666 or fill out our contact form.