With the ambitious goal of making the state’s burgeoning industrial hemp industry among the world’s best, the Hemp Alliance of Tennessee (HAT) launched today with a membership drive to recruit responsible companies, schools and individuals working across the value chain for hemp and hemp-derived products. The association’s new website http://www.yourhat.org is live and accepting membership applications.

“Tennessee is poised to increase its scale and sophistication, and lead among the global hemp industry,” said Frederick Cawthon, President of HAT. “We are a hemp-friendly, agriculture state with strong legislative support and an experienced base of horticulturalists and industry experts – we are now calling all interested parties and beneficiaries of this plant to join us in creating one of the nation’s leading hemp economies.”

HAT was formed to fortify Tennessee’s already strong network of hemp industry players. The trade association is led by a business-minded board of directors who represent a diverse cross-section of hemp interests that operate in Tennessee and serve states across the country. The group is dedicated to increasing industry momentum and aligning industry professionals around a common understanding and guidelines for growing, processing, selling and consuming quality hemp and hemp products.

“Let us all applaud the women and men of the Hemp Alliance of Tennessee. Hemp and its derivative products are improving American lives, including Tennesseans who work so hard to grow, process and market the specialty crop,” said Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains). “Helping to advance the hemp industry should be a key priority for government and business leaders if we want enhanced value from its acreage, but also greater sustainability in our state and across the nation.”

Tennessee was among the first states to create a hemp program under the 2014 Farm Bill allowing pilot programs for industrial hemp cultivation. It has been characterized as a state with strong legislative support for hemp and some of the most progressive laws for hemp and hemp-based products in the nation. As of January 2021, according to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the state licensed 1,941 producers to grow as much as 16,000 acres of hemp statewide. HAT is already working with a broad range of advocacy partners including the Tennessee Growers Coalition (TGC), the Midwest Hemp Council, the National Hemp Association (NHA), US Hemp Building Association (USHBA), US Hemp Roundtable (USHRT).

Some industry analysts and observers estimate the industrial hemp market could grow from a reported $4.6 billion in 2019 to more than $15 billion or higher by 2025. Industrial hemp is grown for its seeds, fiber, shivs, flower, and oil. Hemp can be processed for use in a wide variety of applications from pet/animal care, food & beverages, personal care, textiles, fibers and paper, durable goods, as well as a range of automotive, building and construction products.

“The breadth and potential for all diverse hemp applications are on display in Tennessee, but there is so much more to do,” Cawthon said. “The Hemp Alliance of Tennessee is committed to representing all state voices at local and national levels as we work to return hemp to the masses.”

The organization prioritizes sustainable, eco-friendly agriculture and seeks collaboration regionally with the United States and Tennessee Departments of Agriculture, farmers, industry partners, elected officials, and law enforcement to continue building a safe, ethical and long-lasting hemp economy.

HAT offers individual and group annual memberships, based on specific levels of activity within Tennessee’s hemp community. Membership dues are allocated towards an annual operating budget to assist with the funding of lobbying efforts, special projects, training, events, professional services and more. Membership dues range from $50 to $500 dollars per year. HAT will offer a full slate of membership programming and volunteer opportunities. Corporate sponsorship packages are being developed as well.

About the Hemp Alliance of Tennessee
Founded in 2020, The Hemp Alliance of Tennessee (HAT) is a 501c6 non-profit trade association centered around empowering and growing a thriving hemp industry in the state of Tennessee. The alliance works with its members to support hemp education and advocate for policies and standards of practice to enable a quality hemp industry. Information about the alliance can be found online at yourhat.org or on social media @hempalliancetn.