The HEN Blog


When I talk to crowds of North Carolinians I like to get a few things about myself out of the way first. I let them know that I think Eastern BBQ is superior to Western. I only eat Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, I will drink Cheerwine anytime it's offered and if it's not available I'll grab an Arnold Palmer. I prefer the mountains to the coast, fall and winter over spring and summer (for whatever that's worth) and that above all else, I'm a Duke fan.

This introduction served me not one bit when I guest spoke at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in mid February!

It was a rainy afternoon and I was fortunate enough to find parking on Franklin St. in one go. I knew then it would be a good class. I was able to speak to a Entrepreneurship class that was in the midst of creating their own Board of Directors for the class projects/organizations. This was fortuitous because as I spoke with them about the Hemp Equity Network and our work ahead, I got to share that part of the work was tied to the fact that the North Carolina Hemp Commission was made up of nine men - eight of them white. This led to a conversation about the lenses we use when we do our work and live our lives and how important it was for them, even for a fictitious project, to put equity and diversity at the center of the Boards and Commissions they chose to create.

The reality is - without a diversity of experiences and individuals - policy, regulation, and industry will never truly be representative of the people meant to be served. This is part of the fight of the Hemp Equity Network and I was really glad to answer questions and share information with the students at UNC about that work!

We had quite the adventure in Asheville back in January. The Hemp Equity Network was lucky enough to partner with Garden Party Asheville and Culture Club to be a part of a fantastic panel that was rooted in conversations around equity.

There were around 50 folks who showed up to hear practical resources and information around the state of hemp and cannabis equity and justice in North Carolina and to hear powerful testimonials that challenge the privilege many in the room held.

There were some real reckonings that occurred in the space with a panel that was incredibly passionate about the topic. It will hopefully be the first of many conversations had in Asheville and one of many to occur across our state!

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