The new Southeast Hemp Association (SEHA) will focus on collaborative opportunities in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia to establish a regional industry and provide a unified voice to address any upcoming state and federal challenges.
The new association, formed from the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association (NCIHA), will represent 650 growers, processors, retailers, and ancillary service providers addressing every step of the supply chain from cultivation to processing to products, according to a SEHA release. The association was formed to overcome any state-specific differences and work with other hemp trade organizations to coordinate messaging and goals, according to SEHA Executive Director Blake Butler.
"State borders should not define us when it comes to this multi-use agricultural commodity," Butler says. "Our goal is to establish a better network of communication to address all the upcoming state and federal challenges in our industry."
Mark Gignac, executive director of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia, and a founding voting member of the SEHA, agrees, adding that the new association will continue the work of the NCIHA while helping to advance the emerging industrial hemp industry in the Southeast.
"The North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association has served as an invaluable resource for our organization to connect with other like-minded stakeholders and help advance the emerging industrial hemp industry," Gignac says. "As it transitions to the Southeast Hemp Association and promotes wider spread collaboration, I feel the benefits and impact will only continue to grow."