John LaBossiere: Hop in your time machine and jump back to the year 1791 on our former President George Washington’s plantation. What you would find growing there among other crops would have been a significant portion of Hemp. At that time in our history hemp farming was not only politically correct but a necessary and profitable crop to produce. If you had mentioned to Mr. Washington back then that in the year 2014 growing hemp in the United States of America could land you in jail because it is illegal to grow or possess, he I am sure would have given you a very strange look and said, really….it’s illegal? You have got to be kidding me!

gwhempFrom 1776 to 1937, hemp was a major American crop and textiles made from hemp were commonplace.

Fast forward to present day and ask the same question of someone who is familiar with the value and versatility of the hemp plant and they will still ask the question, we still can’t grow this legally? You have got to be kidding me!

Fortunately in this great country of ours things are changing slowly but surely in regards to the mindset pertaining to growing hemp again on a large scale. Federally as we all know the Hemp / Cannabis plant is still registered as a class 1 substance which still keeps it the shadows of the mainstream. But, as we speak certain individual states have allowed limited hemp production and are working to expand and develop hemp production into a viable business. Many still would ask the question…hemp, a viable business? What is it really good for? That question should be asked today and if answered factually would reveal a myriad of possibilities. With today’s technology and the ability to grow to maturity quickly, extract, refine and process hemp and cannabis into specific components it’s varied uses become more apparent every day.

gw-articleNo other natural resource offers the potential of hemp. Hemp is an easily renewable resource capable of very efficiently producing significant quantities of paper, textiles, fiber based building materials, plastics and composite materials, healthy and nutritious food, drinks, medicine, body care products, paint, detergent, varnish, oil, ink, and fuel. Unlike other crops, hemp can grow in most climates and on most farmland throughout the world with moderate water and fertilizer requirements, and no pesticides or herbicides. Cannabis Hemp (also known as Indian Hemp) has enormous potential to again become a major natural resource that can benefit both the economy and the environment.

As it stands today there is growing number of people taking a serious stand on the redevelopment of a thriving Industrial Hemp and Cannabis industry. But, due to the fact that they are essentially starting from scratch here in North America and do not have an established domestic business model or network to work with they can feel overwhelmed and unconnected.

Thankfully, there are a growing number of resources for available for help and information. These groups and organizations are helping unite various parties involved in the cannabis and industrial hemp industries throughout the entire United States by providing information, services, networking opportunities and possible investor funding for emerging opportunities. This evolving sector is composed of various types of groups and organizations from free access sites to membership based chapters that are organized based upon their specific geographic area and location. They are all striving to bring together existing and potential hemp or cannabis cultivators, landowners, processors and handlers, facility owners, investors, as well as end-use producers and retailers and provide them with a growing resource for networking, communicating and ultimately interacting. Besides setting up central “exchanges” for all of the above, another important focus and objective on behalf of their clients, participants, members and the entire industry is to work with all relevant state agencies to ensure 2015 is a viable industrial hemp and cannabis cultivation season in the United States, with a long term goal of bringing to market hemp and cannabis products grown and produced locally in each area chapter.

As this new and vibrant industry moves forward at a rapid pace the demand for current up to date information, organization, and the need for guidance and networking will only increase. Individual and corporate users and or members of these groups or organizations will expect an ever expanding list of benefits including job postings, business to business networking, industry news, discounts at all levels for trade shows, advertising, marketing, and retail products from corporate member sponsors along with access to a network of industry experts, consultants and potential investors all with a passion for this industry and the amazing opportunity that lies before us.