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From Counterculture to Commercial Power: The Hemp Industry's Journey to Maturity and Prosperity

A photo showing various products made from industrial hemp, including textiles, paper, rope, and biochar. The caption reads "The many possibilities of industrial hemp - from fiber to medicine to biochar
Unlocking the Full Potential of Industrial Hemp: From Fiber to Medicine to Biochar and Beyond. Discover the Many Sectors of this Versatile Plant and Its Promising Future.

Over the past five years, some involved in the US hemp industry have noticed the voices of the Legacy market, preaching the doctrines that helped establish the legality of hemp in the US. Unfortunately, this voice of counter-culture passion has led the industry into a volatile tailspin, as demonstrated by the significant shift in numbers shown in the USDA's Hemp Industry Report of 2023.

The hemp industry, along with cannabis, demands a shift from counterculture to establishment, to reach its true potential. Cohesive and rational thought processes are necessary to establish regulatory standards, which will allow this industry to flourish. While passion has its place in counter-culture, true maturity requires clear-headed business acumen. To succeed and ensure sustainability in the hemp industry, collaboration and sound decision-making are crucial. Let's embrace growth and progress through strategic planning and decisive action, instead of being held back by infighting and legal battles for control.

While the need for clear-headed business acumen and cohesive regulations is crucial, it should not come at the cost of excluding those who lack financial resources to pay for legal representation. As we prioritize the growth and maturity of the industry, it is vital to ensure that the American dream behind hemp, of providing opportunities for all, is not lost to the monopolistic gains and power struggles within established organizations. Therefore, finding a balance between strategic planning and social responsibility is necessary to enable the industry to reach its full potential while uplifting all members of the community.

Navigating the legal landscape of the cannabis industry can be a daunting task. Attorneys can provide valuable guidance and support to businesses seeking to comply with regulations and protect their interests. From intellectual property to licensing and compliance, a knowledgeable cannabis attorney can help ensure success in this rapidly evolving industry.
Navigating the legal complexities of the cannabis industry.

How can we trust those who have written the laws in a way that only benefits those who can afford to pay for legal representation, while small farmers who struggle day-to-day are left behind? Is it time to prioritize clear-headed business acumen and establish cohesive regulations that allow the hemp industry to mature and thrive to its full potential, rather than relying on counter-culture passion and advocacy groups driven by financial interests? And how do we ensure that the American dream behind hemp, of providing opportunities for all, is not lost in the pursuit of monopolistic gains and power struggles within established organizations?

As we strive to establish a successful business model for the hemp industry, it is crucial to recognize that we are not alone in facing challenges. High-risk crops have existed for centuries and have encountered similar hurdles. It is essential to learn from the successes and failures of other crops to guide our pursuit of stability and monetization in the hemp industry. We should not be limited by legal jargon but instead, should seek creative and innovative solutions to overcome obstacles. Despite the challenges faced by high-risk crops, they have managed to cross borders and thrive globally, from silkworms to cotton and spices. However, the hemp industry's success must not solely rely on the legacy leaders but should be shaped by collective efforts and a shared vision for a sustainable and equitable future.

Hemp is not the first high-risk crop. There have been other crops before it that have faced similar challenges and have excelled. We can look to these crops as guides in our pursuit of stability and monetization. We don't need to be bogged down by legal jargon to form the necessary means of stability. High-risk commodities have been crossing international borders for millennia, from silkworms leaving Asia to spices and cotton. Even in the early 2000s, palm oil was destroying forests and displacing indigenous peoples. Hemp/cannabis is not the last high-risk crop, but it is one of the first to require the world to bend to its legacy leaders' whims. We need to shift our focus from solely relying on legacy leaders to develop a successful business model for hemp.

Hemp as a high-risk crop that requires careful planning, strategic thinking, and global collaboration. As we look to establish stability and monetization for this industry, we must learn from the challenges faced by other high-risk crops throughout history and apply those lessons to hemp. This is not a time to be timid or rely solely on the expertise of established leaders, but a time to be bold, innovative, and unafraid to take risks in pursuit of a better future for hemp and the world it serves. Let us be the ones to lead the charge, to show the world the power of cannabis, and to build a successful and sustainable industry that benefits us all.

The truth is there are people in the hemp industry that lack the traditional agricultural pedigree needed to fully understand the global supply chains required for successful trading of hemp, unfortunately they are often the same people with blue check marks next to their social media tags

A social media influencer with a large following holding a phone and looking at the screen with a concerned expression. Text on the image reads "Why following count shouldn't be the only criteria for expertise
Expertise is not determined by followers. Don't be fooled by the numbers game. Look for real knowledge, experience, and qualifications when seeking guidance

. But there's no shame in admitting this. By acknowledging the need for outside expertise, we can invite the support necessary to advance our industry. We need to stop yelling foolishly that there are “too many” regulations holding this industry back, because in truth, from a commercial agricultural supply chain perspective, the lack of regulations are what is really holding this incredible plant back from global markets, there is no transparency, thus there is no trust, and when a bank cannot trust that risk has been mitigated, the liquidity required to make this crop a true success is not available.

It's understandable that some individuals in the hemp industry lack the agricultural pedigree to understand the global supply chains required for successful trading of hemp. Rather than ignoring this knowledge gap, we should acknowledge it and seek outside expertise to support the industry's growth. However, this cannot be achieved by merely calling for fewer regulations. Instead, we must focus on establishing a culture of quality and safety that ensures a socially responsible and sustainable industry. By doing so, we can attract trust and investment in the hemp industry, which is essential for securing contracts and driving growth. To achieve this, it is crucial to prioritize responsible practices and manage risks, allowing for the establishment of banking in the hemp industry. By adopting a modern approach to hemp production and trade, we can overcome the lack of transparency and achieve success in global markets.

Control Union's Responsible Hemp Standard Leads the Way in Global Agriculture with Unmatched Sustainability Standards
Raising the Bar for Sustainable Agriculture: The Responsible Hemp Standard Sets a Global Precedent for Control Union Certification

Regulations should not intimidate farmers and business people from producing and selling hemp. Instead, they should scare off those who have been profiting from the lack of regulations and using attorneys to exploit the grey areas. It's time to prioritize a culture of quality and safety, as they are essential for creating a sustainable and socially responsible industry that meets the demands of the sectors in which hemp is used. It's not about taking shortcuts or seeking an easy crop, but about committing to best practices that will secure contracts and drive growth. If we want to establish banking in the hemp industry, we must manage risks and prioritize responsible practices. Let's embrace outside expertise and take a modern approach to hemp production and trade.

As “Hempsters”, many of us have been vocal in our denouncement of the pharma industry, yet we welcome banking. But are they not both part of the establishment, the counterculture to hemp's counterculture? Perhaps we should be looking to private agricultural financiers to teach us more about vanilla offerings or Basel III trading tactics that can help struggling farmers. And maybe holding "Brokers" to the same ethical standards as brokers in other agricultural fields is not a bad thing. It builds trust and confidence in global brands making purchases based on proven chain-of-custody models.

Learning from other high-risk crops that have established supply chains and created stability can serve as a guide for the hemp industry. Achieving this goal does not necessarily require getting bogged down in legal jargon, but instead embracing outside expertise and working together to create a sustainable industry that benefits all parties involved. Farmers, brokers, and global brands can all prosper in a successful hemp industry.

While collaboration and group mentality are sometimes crucial for collaborative review, it's also important to recognize the value of individual excellence and betterment in fostering healthy competition within the industry. By striving to improve our own positions, we can ultimately contribute to the growth and success of the industry as a whole.

When considering ancillary businesses in the hemp space, it's crucial to take a critical approach and evaluate the unique value they bring to the table. Being a part of the industry or providing the same message as others may not be enough to create significant change or progress. Rather, we must ask what specific expertise and offerings they have that can contribute to the industry's growth and success.

As we navigate the landscape of the hemp industry, it's important to recognize the potential for legacy players and self-proclaimed experts to influence the conversation. While it's necessary to evaluate the value of ancillary businesses, we must also hold these groups accountable for their promises of change. Rather than settling for circular discussions, we should require specific goals and outcomes. By taking tangible steps and fostering a culture of accountability, we can ensure the industry's growth and success.

There are legacy players and self-proclaimed "hemp experts" in the US hemp industry who have formed "advocacy" groups, but their actions are limited to discussing how bad things are in the industry. However, simply talking about the same thing repeatedly won't bring about change. These groups need to move beyond their current activities of farm visits, photo ops, and attending trade shows. While these activities have value, it's important to hold them accountable for the change they promise. We must require concrete actions and outcomes, moving beyond unsubstantiated claims and celebrity endorsements. To do so, we need to ask what specific goals these groups are pursuing, such as trading, finance, futures contracts, or other initiatives. Ultimately, it's crucial to take tangible steps towards making change happen, rather than just discussing it.

The industry needs to shift away from these voices of counter-culture passion and towards a more cohesive and established approach. This will require clear-headed business acumen and a focus on developing strategic plans that will enable the industry to grow and mature. It's time for the US hemp industry to move towards stability, growth, and success.

This approach goes against traditional agricultural market acumen, where the focus on economic goals is made through cohesively strict strategic plans that allow for an immature market to benefit from actual expertise. The problem with these "legacy" players is that they had to learn law and agriculture, while people in today's market are focused on politics and economics.

Today's market is more focused on marketing and artistic expressions, which is a very specific marketing plan that requires being a part of it to fully understand. Modern hemp businesses are specializing in the art of talking about potential solutions until they are blue in the face, brainstorming potential ideas, and learning how to strengthen the industry from within by charging a monthly fee for the opportunity to opine.

This approach is not sustainable and does not allow for the industry to grow and mature. Instead, the focus should be on developing strategic plans that are focused on economic goals and actual expertise. This will allow the industry to benefit from the knowledge and experience of those who have been in the industry for many years, while also allowing for new marketing and artistic expressions to emerge.

The US hemp industry needs to shift away from the old-school mentality that has kept this industry stagnant at best. We have to move on from the so-called experts who are only focused on talking about the industry's problems and charging for their opinions. Instead, the focus should be on developing cohesive strategic plans that allow the industry to benefit from actual expertise and grow and mature over time. This will ultimately benefit everyone involved in the industry, from the farmers to the businesses to the consumers.

Let's take concrete actions and work towards making real change happen. We need to ask what outcomes are being pursued and hold advocacy groups accountable for the change they are promising. It's time to move beyond just talking about change and actually take steps towards making it happen.

Breaking New Ground: Aaron Furman and the Launch of the Responsible Hemp Standard - A Milestone for the Industry's Sustainability and Growth
Leading the Charge: Aaron Furman Paves the Way for a Responsible Hemp Industry Through Standardization

Feel free to reach out to our team and start brainstorming on how to solve for X. Aaron’s email is We need to move away from the mentality of giving everyone a participation trophy and focus on developing cohesive strategic plans that will benefit the entire industry.

There are teams out there that understand what it takes to make hemp a success, and they may not have the biggest following on Instagram or the loudest voice, but they have the drive to make an honest go at credibility, and they have a lot of power in their pens. It's okay to wear a suit and tie, send a more formal email, and not draw attention to one's social quirks as an excuse.

At the end of the day, we all want to make a successful business happen and help the world through this plant. And we can do both while working together.

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