By Patrick Atagi, NIHC Board Chair
Last week, I wrote to you about the value-add that trade associations bring to your business, particularly the opportunities they bring with regards to networking with like-minded professionals in the industry. In case you missed my piece from last week, I shared that one of my favorite moments as NIHC Board Chair was at our inaugural 2019 meeting in Portland when the reception was humming with chatter and people were signing NDAs with each other in the hotel lobby. It was at that moment that I knew we were going to be a top-notch organization that brought people together for the betterment of the whole industry.
You will read in the article from Kevin Latner (see his blog post) about that value-add from the international market development standpoint and how engaged NIHC has been in that process.
We’ve also been extremely involved in setting standards and leading the way for consumer safety. Therefore, this week I want to talk to you about our efforts to promote industry standards and best practices.
There is a lot of information available, especially in the hemp world. The questions we face are: What should you pay attention to in the industry? How can a technical issue in a state or Congress radically restructure the industry as we know it? How do you know which industry options have value?
Associations are, in many ways, uniquely positioned to separate the valuable and meaningful information of wheat from the chaff of rumors, buzzwords, and maelstrom of press releases.
Your time is valuable, and we know it. The NIHC is driven to compile and discern industry data, and we work to provide our members fact-based information in as close to real time as it gets.
We are putting our time and energy to lead the way to establish a framework to effectively and continuously conduct research, that will ultimately result in achieving certifications and accreditations for the industry. All this work will ultimately benefit the consumers of hemp-derived products, and drive the industry forward.
- Conduct Research: In the effort of collecting solid industry data, NIHC leaders, key members, and industry partners are together dedicated to conducting research and explaining trends, as well as benchmarking existing practices. We must all be open, honest and transparent if our industry is going to continue to grow. We won’t take shortcuts – our data is as verifiable and accurate as is possible.
- Develop Certifications and Accreditations: Many associations develop and issue certifications or other credentials that reflect an understanding of the industry and the accepted strategies, processes, and practices to meet their organization’s business needs. The NIHC is no different, and is working towards standardizing product testing for potency, lab accreditation, and manufacturing processes that meet recognized and accepted international (ISO) standards.
To this end, the NIHC and its leadership is guided by the principles of its charter, further market development, assistance to members entering the industry, and education of the consumer on industrial hemp and its applications.
There are many confusing and contradicting claims and assertions. Farmers, manufacturers, retailers, financial institutions, suppliers, members of the supply chain, and consumers have the right to fact-based information. Solid research and partnerships can provide the much-needed education and clarity to consumers in a marketplace with so many choices. We all know that what is needed is a system where hemp can move through the stream of commerce with integrity. NIHC’s priority is to develop certifications and standards that will bring peace of mind to consumers, resulting in a thriving industry.
You’ll hear plenty more about our efforts in the coming weeks and we look forward to showcasing a lot of what we’ve done for our members and the industry at our Annual 2021 NIHC Hemp Business Summit, November 14-16, 2021.
We hope you’ll consider attending and look forward to seeing old faces and making new friends.
For more information on membership, please visit the NIHC website.