In 2013, Colleen Keahey began advocating for industrial hemp legalization in the state of Tennessee. She founded the first state chapter of the Hemp Industries Association, known as the TNHIA. After successfully presenting to the Tennessee General Assembly, the hemp law that was considered a “non-priority” became law with near unanimous support. A key component to success was utilizing social media & launching social campaigns in the style of education-based marketing.
She was recruited by Vote Hemp as National Outreach Coordinator. Vote Hemp is the nation’s single-issue non-profit advocacy organization founded in 2000 by members of the hemp industry to remove barriers to industrial hemp farming in the U.S. through education, legislation and advocacy. Colleen works with hemp advocates to effectively support hemp farming initiatives in legal states as well as assisting legislative advocacy in states where hemp farming is not yet legal. She also serves in an advisory role for key state legislators and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Recently, Colleen was a keynote speaker at the American Society of Agriscience, Crop & Soil Sciences annual event themed “Great Challenges: Great Solutions,” where she presented on industrial hemp.
Colleen hopes that states-rights continue to influence federal policy change, ultimately removing industrial hemp from the Controlled Substance Act and to discontinue oversight of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Colleen’s family owns land in Middle Tennessee, where she plans to legally cultivate hemp. To learn more about Vote Hemp, please visit www.VoteHemp.com.