Ilissa Nolan 0:00
In 2019, during the 86th session, it was voted on unanimously. Yes, there were a lot of caveats in there. There were a lot of things that we necessarily weren’t thinking of again, CBD was never a discussion in the past sessions. You know, in 2019 it was the topic of conversation with CBD. Will it get me high? What is the percentage level we want to make sure that our consumers are protected when they’re taking this product? Look, Texas is big on consumer protection. We love that we want our consumers to be protected. But some of the things were just too many restrictions. Because everybody was so scared by CBD. You know, it’s connected to cannabis. It’s got cannabis is in the scientific name for what makes it different. Can it get you high? No, it can’t look at the percentage level. So it’s still a lot of education that goes into not only our legislators but our consumers and you know, citizens in the state of Texas.
You’re listening to To be blunt, the podcast for cannabis marketers. Were your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing, educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here’s your host Shayda Torabi.
Shayda Torabi 1:23
What’s up everybody. Welcome back to another episode of The To be blunt podcast. We are now few weeks kicking off into 2021. And with that a very exciting milestone is happening in the state of Texas, we are entering our next legislative session. That means that basically, this is what it means Texas only changes their laws every two years. And so as such, when it comes to changing cannabis laws, for example, since this is obviously a cannabis related podcast. We do that every two years. And so 2021 is the next year that the session opens. And the session just opened a few weeks ago by the time this episode airs. And what that means is from kind of basically January until June, everybody is going to be reviewing the bills, there are going to be lawyers and there’s going to be policymakers and there’s going to be a lot of buzz at Austin capital, which is the Texas capital I just say Austin capital because I’m here in Austin. So it’s very close to me. But it’s a big deal. And it’s something that as a cannabis brand business owner, I’ve really started to lean into, of course, when we first launched our brand restart, cannabis is not federally legal hemp was just barely federally legal. And Texas hadn’t fully legalized at a state level. So that’s kind of where, you know, the legislative session comes into play. So I’m telling you all of this, because because it’s important, it’s important because this is the you know, judicial process for which bills get turned into laws. And so I think if you want to see cannabis legalization or decriminalization, this legislative process, and these legislative sessions are really important to pay attention to and since we just kicked off the next one for our great state, the guests that I’m bringing on the show today is kind of like, you know, the lady to be talking to in terms of how do we start navigating this and what do we need to be doing as individuals in the industry to help influence and and be a part of, you know, advocacy for change in the cannabis industry. So, my guest is Alyssa Nolan. She serves as the executive director of the Texas hemp coalition. She’s actually one of the few lobbyists that worked to pass House Bill 1325, which is the bill that made it legal to grow and process hemp in Texas. She has a long standing history of working with the Texas Department of Agriculture, where she was the Government Relations Director. She also grew up in Texas, she got her degree from Texas a&m, and she has a Master’s from Texas Tech University in agricultural communications. So Miss Nolan has a background in ag and then she has a professional background in ag as well and specifically had a hand in helping influence ultimately passing hemp legalization here in Texas. And so it’s through the work that she’s doing now with the Texas hemp coalition that is creating process creating formality creating streams of advocacy so that this plant as the legislative sessions, open up every two years, has a resource who is advocating and working on behalf of that plant and on behalf of that industry. Kind of me Between pretty much all the time actually, because even when it’s not a legislative session, she’s working and the team is working on it. And then when they are in session, obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done. And so kind of without further ado, I’m gonna let Alyssa talk about the great work that she’s up to, we really got into, you know, what this next session is going to look like, and some of the ways that she’s going to be working towards change. And I really hope for anybody listening, whether you’re in Texas or not, I think these conversations are really invaluable, because this is how it happens. Democracy, right. And so there’s a process and understanding that process for how things get put into law is really important, especially when you’re dealing with such a, you know, plant at operating at this kind of federal illegal legal level. And so it’s really important to pay attention. So let’s welcome Melissa to the show. Let’s hear straight from her what’s going on and say, Hey,
Unknown Speaker 5:58
hi, my name is Alyssa Nolan. And I am the Executive Director of the Texas hemp coalition. And we started working on this group in the fall of 2019, right after the Texas Legislature passed Hb 1325, which made it illegal to grow manufacturer and process industrial hemp in the state of Texas, which was super exciting. And, you know, there was a group of us lobbyists that really worked on the bill from, you know, the inception of us getting the, you know, shell bill from the federal government that reflected the 2018 Farm Bill, to seeing how it would work in the state of Texas through the program through the Department of Agriculture, the Department of State Health Services, it was quite the uphill battle. And we were able to get something passed out of both chambers signed by the governor into what we have now, which is the Texas head program in the state of Texas. And some people have asked me, you know, how in the world did you get connected to him? Like you don’t seem like a cannabis person. You know, you don’t even look like you’re an ag person.
Unknown Speaker 6:58
Unknown Speaker 6:59
Funny enough, I actually grew up on a cattle ranch in East Texas. So I have a really heavy agriculture background. Not necessarily in farming, but definitely on the production side and livestock. So you know, in East Texas, we have trees, so everybody has a tree farm. We’ve got hay fields, we have cattle, livestock, hunting, fishing, so I have that type of background. So when I went off to college, I went to Texas a&m University, and I got my undergraduate in agricultural leadership development with a minor in horticulture. Funny enough, I thought I wanted to work in the wine industry back in the day, but who knew that row crop farming was going to be a part of my career in the future. So I, you know, after a&m, and I had that wonderful experience, you know, strong ag background at college, I took classes from all the different colleges within the College of Agriculture, and then went off to Texas Tech University and got my master’s in agricultural communications. And what’s that’s based on is really learning how to use media, public relations, public affairs, with an agricultural focus. When I was at Tech, they gave me this really cool opportunity to go intern in Washington, DC. And while I was there, I worked for the House Agriculture Committee, the chairman of the House ag committee, at the time was Frank Lucas from Oklahoma, we really got to work on a lot of Ag policy, which you know, I’m from Texas, being with you know, my undergraduate, my graduate degree in agriculture and growing up on a farm ranch. It was something that was really close to my heart. And I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. But I knew I wanted to do something with agriculture, but not necessarily in the production side. So I found that, you know, politics and policy really interests me. And there weren’t a lot of people on the hill at the time that had that strong mag ag background that could talk the talk, being able to know exactly how the process works, and legislature. So you know, I thought I wanted to stay in DC moved down to Austin, I started my career in Texas and politics. So it’s been a wild ride.
Unknown Speaker 8:54
Unknown Speaker 8:55
2015 was the first time that I was introduced to the hemp legislation in Texas. I will say confidently that there were very few of us around at that time when hemp came to the state of Texas. And fortunately, I was working for representative Dr. Peterson at the time, who was the vice chair of the Ag and livestock committee. So that’s where they brought the bill. And so whenever, you know, they brought the bill to us. I kept thinking to myself, you know, like, maybe this isn’t coming off the right way. Right now. It came off, you know, the tie dye shirts were walking in the they had the hemp products and the fiber products and the holistic products and it wasn’t necessarily what the representatives wanted to see. They wanted to see more of a business and industry side of it. But I kept thinking, I don’t know I see this coming. Like if they’ve passed something in the Farm Bill, this was 2014 the research and the pilot programs I could see this becoming some type of new ad commodity in Texas. And the more I learned about it, the more I saw, you know, people from the building side that came in, you know, they came in three months into session and said, Hey, we heard there’s a hemp bill we really like to use fiber in hemp building, and we were like, Where have you all been there? Is what they want to hear. And so from there, I wouldn’t work the Department of Ag. And at that time in 2017, it wasn’t a main focus. But we were kind of watching the other states were doing as we would travel around as I traveled with the commissioner. And then in 2019, I got hired on by a law firm to work on water law. But ultimately, two people found out I was a lobbyist in the hemp industry and said, Hey, will you help us work on this? So from there, we worked on the bill. And then ultimately, I like to joke and say, I was voluntold, by the, you know, lobbyists and the clients that really had a hand in the legislation to say, Hey, we really need a nonprofit in the state of Texas that represents all different aspects of the industry. But that’s premier that has advocacy, education, and a networking component with somebody that’s from Texas that has an agricultural background, that also knows how ag policy works. You know, with my experience of working for the Department of Agriculture, with agencies working in the state capitol for representatives and the Speaker of the House, it’s kind of invaluable in that world. And, you know, that’s why we created the Texas hemp coalition, and it’s continuing to grow today
Shayda Torabi 11:10
was such an incredible introduction. I really appreciated you walking us through all of that, because I like you. I’m a born raised Texan, and I probably differ than you in the sense like, I just I love cannabis, I love to consume cannabis. And growing up in Texas, I watched other states go through medical programs, rec programs, and just you know, it was just so distant from me, I didn’t see an opportunity for Texas to get in on that, that opportunity. But obviously, through the work that you and the different people that you know, part of these different groups have done to really help push hemp forward. And ultimately, in my heart, hopefully cannabis forward, I think this brings a really interesting part of the conversation. So kind of twofold. One, as a Texan, selfishly, I’m really grateful to have you here to have this conversation, because I think it’s a really important conversation for any brands or businesses, which is, again, to kind of orient you know, who my listeners are. They’re business owners, they’re wanting to extend themselves into the market. And marketing is, you know, I think people think of it as like, ooh, social media or branding. But to me, what you do is absolutely a direct influence on brands being able to market themselves and to take ownership of parts of that market. And so I think it’s really cool to see what’s happening from a Texas perspective, but then also help walk people through a little bit of the importance of why lawyers are an important piece of that chain, what the aspects of kind of the agriculture impact is on the state and then everything that kind of bleeds through that. So at a macro level, you know, why is Texas prime for hemp in your eyes, you know, what are you seeing, what are you observing kind of at a national level that then applies back to the state of Texas? Sure.
Unknown Speaker 12:56
Well, when you look at the state of Texas, I mean, we are an agriculture state. I mean, if you just even look at our landmass, and you think of all the different regions across the state of Texas, everything grew everyone grows something different. So when you think of the panhandle you think cotton. When you think of the hill country, you think vineyards well, wine also grows wonderfully in the panhandle as well. And in West Texas, because of the soil, and the weather, and the rainfall. When you think of East Texas, we have tree farms, we have hay fields, we have peach orchards, we have farms and greenhouse country, when you think of South Texas, that’s the citrus country, you know. So when you put him in into perspective, thinking, Oh my gosh, if we can grow all of these different agricultural commodities in the state of Texas, and we know that hemp has been grown here in the past, then we know that this state is only going to be successful, whether that’s in the industrial side of him or if that’s in the CBD and medical side of hemp as well. And eventually if cannabis comes to Texas, so, you know, we know that Texas is a huge ag commodity state. We also know that Texas has massive business and industry look at our oil and gas industry. And I’ve said this a couple of times and people are always like, Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you’d say that. It’s like hemp. The hemp industry could be the next Texas oil and gas industry. It’s an oil, it can be used for multiple different products. It’s just like any other agricultural commodity. When you think of a byproduct, when you think of, you know, a cow when it’s taken to the feedlot. What all products are made from that cow once it’s taken to the feedlot, you’ve got meat once it’s processed, you might have milk from a dairy cow. They might use the leather to make baseball gloves or baseballs, I mean clothing from cotton, the cottonseed oil that is used so it’s just like hemp. hemp is a commodity that has a million different byproducts and everybody jokes around it says, Oh can hemp just do everything? I mean basically Yes, it Can it’s used for fiber, it’s used for building clothing, food, medical usage, beauty products, I mean, everything. So it’s just a multi functional commodity. And in the state of Texas, we’re massive. Everybody’s moving here. Everybody’s moving from California that we’re seeing right now, everybody’s moving from all these other states, because they want that Texas rural lifestyle. And I think we’re only going to continue to see it grow. What I’m seeing now is, you know, our pioneers that were brave enough to jump into the industry, even though we had a late start on the licensing process, you have to give big kudos to them and a round of applause, because, you know, we suggested we said, don’t grow more than an acre or two, if you grow more than an acre or two. As we say, in Texas, bless your heart, I hope that you figure it out. Because we just don’t know what it’s gonna look like. We don’t know what soil is that we don’t know how much water usage we need. They told us it was drought resistant, but isn’t drought resistant. So there’s a lot of different things that go into play, you know, what seeds are going to work and whatever region of the state of Texas and so this past growing season was research and development for a lot of these farmers. So when you look at farmers, like you know, oakcliff cultivators, you look at Jay Haas him, you look at BJ farms, you look at Garcia brothers, you look at even the bingum family who are cotton and grape growers in the panhandle region who said, Hey, we want to grow industrial hemp for food and fiber, you’re seeing all these people go out there and say, Okay, we’re gonna have our hands on it, we’re going to try and see how successful and they were smart about it, they grew an acre or two, they said, Hey, we want to see what our yield can be what seeds work best for our region? Are we going to grow for industrial, we’re going to grow for flour, are we going to grow for biomass? So we’re seeing that those pioneers, a lot of them had huge success. And if they can have success and move into the future, and we can use their research for farmers in the future, you know, we get contacted every day from people say, I’ve got 40 acres, I want to grow hemp, what do I do? I’m like, Whoa, whoa, whoa, now, are you gonna make this your full time job? Are you gonna have somebody out there because hemp takes a lot of tender love and care depending on what you’re growing for. And that’s what you have to decide if the landowner is what are you growing for? And so it’s, you know, being connected to like minded individuals that are legitimate, that have done this successfully in other states is totally okay. We don’t want to recreate the will and state of Texas, we want to use our individuals who are connected to our state that are in Colorado, California, Kentucky, North Carolina, to see what has been successful for you. How can we bring it to Texas so that our state can be the number one hemp growing state and producing state in the nation in
Shayda Torabi 17:46
the world? You paint a really interesting picture, because obviously, yes, everything you said, I’m not as directly in the ag side of, of Texas history as you are certainly. But growing up here, I’m very aware of, you know, the farmland that exists, the amount of products that are you know, grown in our state and what those different industries look like. So from an ag perspective, like yes, I totally get it Texas is like set up for the potential success of being able to grow hemp, but then also, I feel like Texas is very behind in this compared to some of our sister states that you’ve highlighted not even just on the medical and recreational side of marijuana, but really just on hemp in general. And so when you look at you know, Kentucky being the the state that was kind of piloting hemp from the beginning, now looking at kind of what New Mexico is doing, I’m seeing what Arkansas is doing. I’m excited for Texas, but it seems like we were a little bit late to the game. So maybe you can help me. And the listeners understand a little bit of what you’ve observed. Why Texas was slow to it, what we have kind of maybe hurdles that we’re still going through, because I think what you also just painted on the it’s now legal, we can do this, but we’re still kind of inching forward through it. I know the legislative session just opened by the time this airs. It’ll be a couple weeks, but it’s going to be open for the next couple months. I know that there are some bills that will hopefully help extend on some of those laws that originally got passed and the initial Hb 1325. But we’re kind of in a middle position, right? It’s like, okay, now it is legal, but also we’re still monitoring it. We have questions, obviously, the smokeable ban is kind of in flux right now. So I kind of understand from your perspective, why Texas is in this position and what that looks like.
Unknown Speaker 19:31
Sure. So when you think back to 2015, when I first you know, the bill was first brought to our office, I remember sitting there, then talking to us about it. They showed us all the different products that could be made from him. And it was that pilot program from the 2014 Farm Bill where it was research, you know, it had to be connected to a university. And Funny enough, that was the same session that they pass the compassionate use program for the state of Texas for children with epilepsy. So you saw a lot of our conservative members who were completely against us. hemp bill, a research program, but were totally for compassionate use program, because they had constituents that had epilepsy problems. And this is something that could help them. And I just remember thinking, Wait a second, it’s like, can’t you use hemp for that? Like they were talking about it, they’re talking about the medical uses. I’m like, this doesn’t make sense. It’s this basically the same thing. It’s like corn and sweet corn, you know, you’ve got the corn is, let’s say hemp and sweet corn is cannabis. You know, it’s the same genetics, different varietals. So, you know, that’s what we saw back then is that because Texas is so conservative, and our Senate, our house, our lieutenant governor, our governor, are all Republicans, which
Unknown Speaker 20:46
is totally fine. We’re
Unknown Speaker 20:47
a conservative state. There are a lot of good things that come from that. Eventually, they came around and unanimously voted on it. But at that time in 2015, it was a struggle between it being connected to marijuana. You know, CBD wasn’t even the discussion in 2015. It was just the farming of it. They said, Well, it looks like marijuana. It’s we’ve grown and grown in the state of Texas, our farmers don’t want this. We’ve got cotton and cotton is king, livestock is king. But you know, when we looked at 2017, I was the GR director for Government Relations Director for the commissioner bags and Miller in 2017. session, and I would travel with him around to a lot of the different conferences with all the other ag commissioners in the nation. And as we would be in our little breakout meetings with the southern group, you know, Kentucky was in the room, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and North Carolina. And we just saw this success that Kentucky had and we’re thinking Kentucky can do this. Why can’t we like we know that Kentucky is a tobacco state. They did it to save their you know, they’re farmers a different type of crop. And we’re thinking in Texas, like at this time, our cotton farmers are having a hard time because of the problems with China and tariffs. But, you know, we we started looking more into it thinking, well, maybe this would be a good thing for the state of Texas. And then the time that they tried to pass another bill for the pilot program in 2017. still didn’t work. And then when 2019 came and after it, what really helped is that what Texas likes is for a federal program to be their first some type of something that’s passed federally. So once they passed the 2018 farm bill that stated that it was federally illegal to grow manufacturing process industrial hemp in the nation, then the only thing we have to do as a state was go in and decriminalize it, and then go in and create a program. That is what made our legislators a little more susceptible to saying, oh, okay, well, there’s a federal broke program that was passed by a conservative Congress and a conservative, you know, President, then maybe we should do that in the state of Texas. So that’s why they were a little more palatable to passing it. I mean, now, knowing going through this, and the federal government is saying that most states that were already under the 2014 Farm Bill, so the pilot programs that they only have to follow those rules, will the rest of us that just passed all of our laws and regulations, and we have to abide by the standards of the 2018 farm bill, which is the testing standards. I mean, it is just it puts us in a difficult position, because we’re just not set up for that we’re in research and development, it would have been better to be in research and development during the pilot program. That’s why they exist. Well, that’s why they brought it up to prepare for full legalization of hemp being grown in the nation. So that’s why we’re behind. You know, we have caught up. And I’m not saying that these other states are experts or that they’ve got it completely figured out. You know, I’ve talked to people from these other states that have seed companies or their agronomist, and, and they see the importance of Texas and they see that Texas is going to grow rapid. And even me is watching just all these farmers plant to harvest and seeing what can be grown in the state. And it’s just as competitive with any other states products. I know that we’re gonna succeed, it’s just we are a little behind, but that’s just because of our, you know, conservative legislators, and they finally came around to it in 2019. During the 86th session, it was voted on unanimously. Yes, there were a lot of caveats in there. There were a lot of things that we necessarily weren’t thinking of, again, CBD was never a discussion in the past sessions. You know, in 2019, it was the topic of conversation with CBD will it get me high?
Unknown Speaker 24:34
What is the percentage level we want to make sure that our consumers are protected when they’re taking this product, but Texas is big on consumer protection. We love that we want our consumers to be protected. You have a CBD store. When your consumers walk in, you want to make sure that you can hand them a product they will saved, you know in taking and that they feel comfortable with that will help them but some of the things were just too many restrictions, because everybody was so scared by CBD. You cannabinoid oil, you know, it’s connected to cannabis, it’s got cannabis is in the scientific name for what makes it different? Can it get you high? No, it can’t look at the percentage level. So it’s still a lot of education that goes into not only our legislators, but our consumers and you know, citizens in the state of Texas. And that’s why the Texas hemp coalition is here, because we’re going to continue to fight that we’re going to continue to make people feel more comfortable, because we feel like this is actually going to be a business and industry, you know, version of something that can be big in the state of Texas. And it’s just, you know, when we look into even this session, and I think of what the heck are we going to work on, it’s cleaning up a lot of those things to make sure if it’s smokeable headband, if it’s, you know, the hemp back that Rand Paul has introduced, federally gets passed, and that bumps up our percentage to 1%, which helps all of our farmers when it comes to testing instead of having to test, you know, the flour, it’s testing the end product, and there’s just a lot of different things that are coming on the pipeline that could really be beneficial to our state. Yeah, I
Shayda Torabi 26:06
think what you just articulated is very in line with what I’m exposed to what I’m aware of the conversations I’m having both as a Texan who is very proud of her state, and wants to see this, you know, obviously continue to, to be pushed forward and to be better refined, I think you hit the nail on the head of kind of this progression that we’re in and I think that’s something as a retailer and as, as somebody in the space who tries to be as educated as possible. What I’ve observed it’s, it’s, you know, I think at first For example, when there was you know, the smokeable ban first got issued I guess it was last August, September time, we were kind of dealing with that there was definitely a sentiment as a brand like Oh shit, this sucks. I want to be able to sell to consumers, then the level of I’m a marketer, how do I go market a product that I have to now Miss market, maybe use other names, other terms, I definitely had customers who were messaging me we had to change, you know, the name of like, joints to hemp sticks or tea sticks or get creative, but I had one customer I remember she, she emailed us, she’s like, Shayda, I bought a joint from you. What do I do with this hemp stick? I’m thinking it is literally a joint it has a raw cone. It’s the same product, but consumers, they need that full transparency and information. And so when that got set up, and obviously it wasn’t at a at a legal level, it was the Department of safety of health health services, is that what dishes stands for
Unknown Speaker 27:30
DHS, Department of State and health service eight and health services. I
Shayda Torabi 27:33
always like butcher some of those letters. But then I just call it this Yeah, dishes Exactly. But for consumers are the people who don’t necessarily know what dishes stands for. It’s like, hey, this entity that’s come in to really help further regulate for the consumers to give them safety and confidence. And so once I started kind of letting my brain run through that process, I eased up a little bit thinking, you know,
Unknown Speaker 27:53
Shayda Torabi 27:55
I’m with you. I heard that when they were first, you know, talking about this 2014 2015 even into 2017. It was,
Unknown Speaker 28:02
Shayda Torabi 28:03
grow hemp for agriculture applications, like you said, building fiber hempcrete oils, they didn’t realize that we were going to go smoke it or put it in little, you know, bottles and take it in.
Unknown Speaker 28:18
Yeah, it was literally never a topic of discussion. And the whole smoking aspect was never a topic of discussion until the bill was going over to the Senate. It just kind of came up, I was sitting in the room. And I remember someone saying, hey, by the way, non negotiable, like we’re gonna have to put it down smokable hemp, and I remember the majority of us are like, Wait, what?
Unknown Speaker 28:40
Unknown Speaker 28:40
Like, you can’t get high from it. I mean, it was me and like several other of the big lobbyists in the room were like, okay, that that is a little ridiculous. Like, do we really need to focus on that, like, if anything that’s going to hurt us economically, because I have a feeling that people really want that, you know, and I can remember that session. I went to lazy days to meet fellow lobbyists. And I tried the CBD like coffee for the first time. And I saw the pre rolls. I like me, I’m not a cannabis person I hadn’t yet I did not know that you could pre roll it. And I was like, Oh my gosh, that looks like a joint. So I told some other people like y’all need to go there and see this. It’s very educational. Little did I know that it was gonna be a part of the big hoopla of like them banning it in the state. And then look where we are now with the lawsuit. Now. It’s postponed until March,
Shayda Torabi 29:32
I think March 22, I believe is when they’ve extended it to, I guess to finish my thought to on that is, as a retailer, I of course was offended at first, I think is a fair word to use, because it obviously is not just something that I selfishly want to sell, but my consumers they want to consume that way, smoking is the most bioavailable way. And so it just was a little bit of a like a gut reaction initially. It’s like Shit, don’t take this away from us like Screw you, Texas, why are you regulating it this way. And then my opinion flipped to wait regulation is actually really good. The fact that you can get CBD and smoke bowls and gas stations, chiropractic offices, you know, people sell it in a farmers market Also in, you know, CBD stores, I think the range was just so astonishing to me of where we started seeing products appear. That it, it definitely is something that if you’re in the industry, and you aren’t aware of these different degrees, you shouldn’t be like you need to be paying attention, which is again, why I think this conversation is a really key one because we’re not talking directly about marketing functions. But everything that you’re doing through Texas hemp coalition, and the work that’s being done, obviously at a state level, and then at a local level impacts businesses who want to business and make market and sell their products to consumers. And so these are, these are conversations that need to happen. And so I think, kind of where I want to steer it Next is a little bit, you know, I think knowing how excited Texans are for the business opportunity to get into the industry. But there’s still to me is a gap between, you know, the laws getting changed, we’re bills getting introduced, and then obviously things getting passed. And so there’s the legislative session just opened, but kind of outside of that, lobbyists, I think that’s kind of a foreign word to a lot of people in the industry, they just think and they like rely on other people to do the work. And so as somebody very transparently kind of, you know, speaking through the podcast, and with you it’s like I I don’t come from a political background, I definitely care about advocacy, I think it’s very important for brands, again, specifically in Texas, like you need to be paying attention to everything that’s going on in your state, you need to know what the laws are, you might not be able to read every single page and understand every number nuance to all these different bills. But you need to be aware, and you need to be paying attention. And so I think that’s something else that I want to help connect the dots for consumers are not for consumers, for us to help connect the dots for businesses in the space to understand this is kind of like what advocacy looks like this is what opportunities exist. This is why it’s important for people to get involved. And maybe you can help walk us through. Okay, the legislative session just kicked off. What now what do we do? What is this? How did we get involved? What does that look like?
Unknown Speaker 32:28
Yeah, so you know, this session, it’s going to be definitely different from the rest because of COVID and other restrictions that we have, we’re not going to be able to just walk into an office and discuss, you know, you’re gonna have to set up an appointment, it’s a little more strategic. But you know, when we look at him, and what can we do, going into this, you know, people think, Oh, my gosh, we have to, you know, introduce a bill, we have to fix all the legislation because it’s in statute, and we have to go to the Capitol and fight, fight, fight, fight, fight for our right to make sure that hemp protects our farmers protects our businesses, everybody, you know, but actually, what people need to realize and understand with the hemp bill is that we put a lot of caveats in there, because we still didn’t know what the USDA rules were going to exactly look like. So we cannot contradict as a state, the USDA rules and the federal rules, we cannot make anything more lenient, we can only make something more strict. That’s how the federal and state governments work with each other. So when you look at our legislation, a lot of the changes are made in rulemaking, which is where you, you go away from the legislature, you go work with the agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture and the Department of State Health Services, and you change the rules there. So instead of bringing in legislation, because we know that this session is going to be a very stripped down version, they’re going to be focusing on you know, appropriations, budgeting, education, you know, water, bigger, Hot Topic issues. I mean, agriculture is big in the state of Texas, but they care about it, you know, very little at some point to us. It’s important. This is our industry, we want people to get fired up about it, but they’re thinking, Oh, we got that passed last session. Y’all are good. And if you look at the statute, you just go change it with the agencies. So our focus is going to be at this text attempt coalition is going to the agencies and saying hey, we’re gonna sit down and my board is made up of you know, we’ve got new blue laboratories that’s a laboratory that’s represented by US city hemp, which is an extractor, you know, for processing hemp and Houston to us temperatures a farm Trulia, which is a CBD shop. So my goal is to bring in those guys and say, hey, these are the issues that they have had this past year. How can we change the rules to reflect it to make it more to make it better for these guys so that they can promote their businesses, which will help everyone else it’s like a domino effect. So that’s a lot of what people don’t realize about, you know, what is the smartest way in interacting with policy? Is it going in and saying, Hey, we’re here. Listen. You know, hemp is here to stay, and we’re going to create a bill, is it the best way to go about it? My opinion? No, as somebody who’s worked in an agency, it’s going to be working with those departments Department of Ag and dishes to say, hey, let’s change these rules. So it will actually happen, instead of having to jump through both chambers of the house, and a very conservative lieutenant governor, who honestly wasn’t a big fan of our bill in the first place. I mean, I’ve been there. And that’s what you brought up. A good point is that a lot of people in the industry don’t realize, if it wasn’t for lobbyists, if it wasn’t for the advocates have us that, you know, I’ve been around this since 2015, I have seen the way that we had to change, you know, who was walking into the offices, who was having discussions with offices, we had to take it from, you know, a business and industry thing and make it into an agriculture commodity again, I mean, that’s how we got this bill passed, it took those of us that are from the background, who had certain clients that represent that to say, hey, look, this is a real thing. We want this, you know, here are conservative clients, for these conservative members, we all want this to get passed, you know, Farm Bureau was a huge advocate for it, they came in and helped, you know, it was just a conglomerate of people that really made it to where all of you are able to do what you’re doing. And we’re still going to continue to fight on behalf of that. So I love that you brought that up. But a lot of people don’t understand that. Even though we’re not there. In everyone’s face. We’re where it matters for all of y’all to be able to do what you’re doing in the House and the Senate and meeting with lieutenant governor and the governor and the commissioners and, and all those people, which is really difficult. It is not an easy task, like it was pounding the pavement, walking into everybody’s offices, educating every office on what’s going on what exactly we need and fighting on behalf of y’all. Consumer Protection wise, making sure it’s not too strict, not too much testing too real are gonna have to pay too much money for the end product or for the farmers to make sure if they do get tested, that their crop isn’t going to go hot, and then they don’t have to destroy their crop. So I just really appreciate that because that’s why we created the hip coalition, the Texas hemp coalition is to represent you guys in to continue we needed some type of nonprofit that was premier that was going to be able to represent all different aspects of the industry, not just the farmer, and not just the CBD shop, everyone from processing to laboratories to manufacturing, farmers, see genetic companies, you know, in products, everything like that. And that’s what we’re doing at the Texas sim coalition. And it’s just a really exciting time and, and I’m honored and it’s kind of crazy, like I never thought that I’d be working in HIV but in 2015 I Something happened where I was like this interests me there’s I can see an add component to it. And it’s new and it’s exciting and it’s different. I’m from a small town in East Texas super conservative like most people in my hometown still think it’s marijuana. And I’m like no guys, it’s legal like you You cannot get ride this if anything, it helps you.
Shayda Torabi 38:05
quick break to say thank you to restart CBD for sponsoring this podcast, restart. CBD is a brand my sisters and I founded in our hometown in Austin, Texas, we operate a retail location as well as an e commerce store. And you can browse our wide range of CBD products at restart CBD calm. Again, thank you to restart for allowing me the time and resources to put on to be blunt, I hope you’ll check them out for your CBD needs. Let’s go back to the episode. But that’s the point I think connecting the dots for me because I do I see it every day in my retail store. I have people who come in, and they they’re excited, they’re passionate, they see things changing at a federal level, they see other you know, neighboring states shifting things, and then they want to obviously see Texas open up. And so you know, maybe certain things happen in politics. And then they think, oh, oh, now you know, hemp or marijuana is just going to be legal. And to me I’m jaded, I’m not as invested on the policy side as you in that stance of that’s where my expertise and skill has come in. But again, my my passion, my curiosity is really for this plant and trying to understand it and connect the dots and leverage resources and be a resource myself. And so I watch these consumers and they just think that a light switch gets flipped, or they think, Oh, it’s this particular. You know, I do believe cannabis is bipartisan to some extent. And I think that that’s being proved further and further in a state like Texas, it’s obviously at a slower rate. But I do think that there is good, good opportunity for it to benefit all of us. Right. And so I think it just comes through education, but so I think that’s where I see consumers specifically in my store. They’re just you know, oh, it’s gonna be legal or Oh, it’s so simple. Like why why hasn’t it become legalized yet? And I’m like, You don’t understand. That’s not how it works. Or I was talking to somebody the other day, they were asking me my opinion about this next legislative session. And I’m like, you know, yeah, great that there’s all these new bills being passed. But I appreciate how you just kind of corroborated it, it’s like it doesn’t actually necessarily happen in the session so much as, you know, what are these other supporting organizations that actually have a little bit more of the poll and push into what actually is the law. And so I appreciate just being able to like help tie it all together. Because, again, selfishly, it’s just helping me make sense of everything that goes on in my head, all the conversations that I’m having, but also hopefully, hopefully helping deliver, for the listeners, just awareness, because I do think that people have good intentions, they want to see this plant be not just like, again, from a smoker bulls or a CBD perspective consumption, but really, truly, I longed to see the day for Texas to have, you know, these infrastructure set up for fiber for fabric for all these different other applications for feed for, you know, all these other things. And so, it doesn’t just happen overnight. And it really takes people like yourself who are stepping up and helping to champion that. But I just again, I don’t even think consumers are aware of that, let alone I think businesses operating in the space. They just they kind of rely on it to happen. They don’t have any part of it. And that’s what I want to just try to help connect the dots of is you can be as involved as you want to be.
Unknown Speaker 41:25
Exactly and you can and it’s it’s not only like businesses and consumers, it’s our other advocates that are out there. Look, if cannabis gets passed federally, that’s only going to help the hemp program it’s going to alleviate a lot of the regulations that we have, which is going to be wonderful for the food and fiber industry aspect
Unknown Speaker 41:41
Unknown Speaker 41:42
That’s what that’s what would be a great thing. We’re not against cannabis being passed. It’s gonna alleviate our regulations as a hemp industry. So in in the state of Texas, like, you know, we see a lot of individuals out there, they’re like cannabis, cannabis cannabis, we’re gonna get it passed. And I’m like, okay, y’all, it’s a, it took three sessions to get him passed, it’s going to take a long time to get cannabis passed. And I used to use the word Jaden. And I don’t want to say that I’m jaded because around a lot of the hemp individuals, they are cannabis individuals as well. And they would love to see that get passed. We all would that’s, you know, a great economic development aspect for the state of Texas. But it has to be done the right way. And it has to be done with the right people. You know, it’s not storming the Capitol with your, you know, marijuana leave attire on or storming the Capitol, and you have to be a little more strategic of the way that you’re doing things. And that’s what we had to do with him to say, Okay, first and foremost, this is an agricultural commodity, we are in a conservative state and an agriculture state, what will be palatable for our legislators? The AG, it’s a production crop, it’s can be rotational, you know, people can grow it with cotton. We’ll see where it grows. But also, it’s got all these byproducts, food and fiber. Heck, yes, Texas wants to be number one, and all those things that has a medical component, cool, you know, not focusing on the things that scare people away, but focusing on the things that make people say, oh, maybe this would be good for the state of Texas. So if that’s what we’re gonna see that needs to be done with cannabis in the future. And I just love that we’re having this conversation. And it makes me excited that you’re so aware of that, because a lot of people aren’t. And I hope that people that listen to this will see, like, Yes, it is, we need advocates like you guys in the hemp space. Obviously, cannabis needs advocates as well. But think of the way that you are presenting yourself to those legislators, and what’s palatable to them to really help the cause. Because with him, let’s just say the cause was not being helped with certain ways that it was being marketed. We’re using the term marketed to our legislators, because what we do an advocacy is marketing. I mean, we marketed the mess out of it. You know, we brought research we brought, you know, slideshows, we had all of our people come in for testimony, I mean, marketing, use testimony for any of your shop, say, Hey, I use this oil, it works great on me, I don’t have any back pain anymore. It’s the same thing when you’re lobbying or advocating at capitals. So it’s just thinking of what is the best way to go about it. And that’s what we’re going to have to continue to do for him. And that’s why we have the coalition because we saw, you know, a need for a group like this. And obviously, we’re doing something right. You know, I founded this a year ago and created it. And I’ve got nine board members now who are pioneers in the state of Texas, I’ve got to where our organization is now the exclusive state affiliate to the hemp Industries Association. And then also we are the exclusive state advocacy partner for the US hemp Roundtable. Those are the top two national organizations that are advocating that are getting, you know, bills passed on the federal level that are fighting on behalf of us for our you know, what we can do in our respective states. So it’s, you know, we’re connected to those groups now. And we know in Texas that, you know, we’re getting calls from legislators from both sides of the aisle, Democrat and Republicans that are saying hey, Alyssa, we know that you’re the hemp girl, you know, my people are having problems a constituent with a bank, what’s the best thing for them to go to? And you know, we’re able to connect those dots for people. That’s
Shayda Torabi 45:11
why we’re here. Yeah, I just want to say thank you so much for the work that you’ve been doing. Again, I think it’s really like a behind the scenes thing that most most people in our industry really don’t truly understand. And I say that being somebody who, again, wants to be an advocate and, and tries to be an advocate and the best way to my ability, but there’s obviously limitations, just information is, is out there. But it’s sometimes too much information and trying to make sense of it, trying to parse it down. I know. I’ve personally been pretty active with Texas normal, I think they’ve definitely done a lot of work going into the Capitol and having meetings, I remember during the last session being involved and, and being eager and excited, but showing up and kind of feeling a little bit out of my element. I don’t know, what’s the right thing to say, I don’t know how to lean into that conversation. And I think that it’s this mutual thing on their end, they’re obviously they don’t know what they don’t know. And so yes, when you have a plant that looks like something that is very stigmatized, and something that has a lot of, you know, red tape around it, it’s it’s going to bring caution. And so I think that’s where it is really exciting to start to see true advocacy step forward from a place and intention of education, and helping people understand and erode some of that stigma that has previously existed, which has ultimately led us into this position. I mean, I just feel like my brain is swirling, there’s just so many aspects to it. Like on one end, I look at kind of the history of cannabis in general. And you look at the other, I mean, you kind of said it cotton, we got plastic, we got timber, those those industries have lobbyists to and they have deep pockets. And so you look at kind of when hemp was not in this current kind of flux, what is it competing against, because hemp can be turned into all those things. And so I just observe how the conversation has has evolved. And so it is really exciting to kind of revive it and say, wait a minute, this is actually a really cool plant like, yes, there’s a CBD industry. Yes, there’s a smokeable industry, when you want to call it medicine fine. But I truly am energized by the multi application of this plant. And really just watching it get the respect it deserves as a plant like it’s a plant at the end of the day. It’s an added product that you can apply. And it just is really cool to get to connect with you and kind of learn what the work you’re doing is because again, I hope people listening that this directly impacts us. So whether you’re listening in, you’re in Texas and you’re curious or you know you’re outside of the state, obviously I don’t think every state has organizations like Texas hemp coalition set up formally. But I think you highlighted some national organizations like us hemp roundtable that I do encourage listeners to go explore and see how to get involved because I’m familiar with those organizations as well even like Hoa have Industry Association, which was kind of like one of the I think, original kind of hemp kind of organization,
Unknown Speaker 48:11
it’s been around for forever.
Shayda Torabi 48:13
But these organizations exist. And it’s like anybody can kind of join in and show up, the information is out there. But it does require us to kind of all get on the same page. And I think that’s something that I observed just kind of from my own corner here, especially being a marketer in Texas and cannabis. I often talk on this podcast, you know, you don’t know you’re the leader sometimes until you kind of are looking for other people to guide you. And then you realize, oh, nobody’s come before me and done this, like we are literally embarking on the Wild, Wild West. And so on one hand, it’s very liberating and exciting to be championing something new. But I think it does bring a lot of caution and concern. I think people don’t want to stick their neck out too far. They don’t really want to overly advocate, or maybe they just have the wrong idea of what advocacy looks like. And so it’s never to, you know, condemn somebody like you’re doing it wrong. But I do think people should be listening to this conversation very intently and trying to think of ways that they in their own respective businesses and what their respective skill sets can get involved with organizations like what Texas Tech coalition is doing. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 49:23
I agree. 100%. It’s all about how you if you intend, if you’re genuinely intended, and you’re you are passionate about it, think of the way that you were presenting it to those individuals who are truly making the decisions, because ultimately, they’re making the decision, our fate is in their hands. And we knew that with him, there was a chance that it wasn’t going to be passed. And we were thinking, what way can who can we call, you know, do we know somebody who the President can call down to lieutenant governor to say, hey, Dan, Patrick, you need to pass this. It’s a federal program. You know, I mean, it got to that point. So it’s just you know, you’re right. nobody’s doing it the wrong way. It’s you Just maybe think of the way that you can do it to where it would be a little bit more effective. And that’s what we would like. And that’s why the Texas hemp coalition is here. That’s why we formed this organization. And, you know, we hope that we are going to continue to grow, we will have membership opportunities for people to become members, as a company, as a farm as an individual that will be opening up around, say, in January and February as well. So you will be able to get information and be involved with us on policies, policy discussions, and networking opportunities, you know, being able to help us build the infrastructure in Texas so that you can be connected if you decide you want to grow. And we might have a buyer there for you or be able to connect you to say, hey, you grow this many acres, we’re gonna have a buyer there, if it’s for CBD, or if it’s for industrial hemp, you know, same goes for connecting them to processors, you know, bringing a fiber processor or a D quarter fire to the state of Texas, like we need that. And we’re in discussions for that right now. And a lot of people don’t realize it. But that’s something that a nonprofit can do is to bring those things to Texas, to to help develop the infrastructure so that we can be successful. I’m happy to do it. It’s a passion of mine, I love the ag industry, I grew up in it, I grew up around it. It’s a very small world. And, you know, you never know who you’re going to meet. And I look back to my first job in the state capitol, I was the reading clerk, which was where I literally read all the bills and resolutions, like on the House floor as directed by the speaker. It was wild, but it was the best experience. And it literally put me in a room with all the legislators in the house, who are now senators who are now statewide elected officials, who are now fellow lobbyists who have gone to DC to do things. So it’s just crazy the connections that you can make. And that’s why we’re able to get certain things done is because we’ve been working in it a while and we know what’s important and what these guys want to hear to ultimately get something passed to help all of you guys be able to flourish and expand and, you know, have, you know, businesses that are going to be able to stand the test of time hopefully,
Shayda Torabi 52:00
that is absolutely what we are all aiming for. So I just I’m excited because I think that Yeah, we get a bad reputation is Texas. I mean, I remember when Chronicle you know published the article last year, it was like Oklahoma’s doing this, you know, Arizona is doing this New Mexico is doing this like WTF, Texas, and it was like, it
Unknown Speaker 52:21
was pretty good, huh?
Unknown Speaker 52:24
It’s true. Hey, look at this,
Unknown Speaker 52:25
our board member tiasa got a great article in there. And they had a lot of different people from aspects of the industry saying no, we can do this, like this is actually like we can be successful. I
Shayda Torabi 52:37
think Texas needed a little bit of that, you know, it was like late to the party, but like, still showed up with like, you know, two cases of beer like they were like, no Fs like we’re ready to go, or I should say, you know, maybe to two pounds of cannabis, maybe that’s a little bit better. But it is it’s just one of those things. Like I think I’m very excited genuinely the conversations that I’m having at a national level people who are observing what we’re doing in Texas, like it is just a matter of time. And then kind of reflecting on to what we’re saying, you know, well, who do I get involved with? What do I do? What does advocacy look like? And kind of looking around and realizing we’re literally in the beginning days, like yeah, it’s been going on for years, kind of behind the scenes. But I think now as it’s coming to the forefront, it’s kind of like you can’t avoid it. I think, especially with this last, you know, presidential election, looking at all the different states that did go and I mean, speaking broadly with cannabis, but like did go and extend their medical marijuana programs, they did expand recreation, adult use programs, I think it’s really an exciting time for this plant to get the attention that it so deserves. But then for me, it always drives back to at a local level. at a local level, what can I do? What is in my control? What can I help impact? And so I think these are those conversations, and these are those organizations that are so critical to helping push that dial forward to be a part of the conversation and so kind of to wrap it up. My last question for you is, and you touched on it a little bit, but I’m just curious, you know, what are other what, what excites you about Texas’s hemp program? I mean, obviously, being able to increase the limit to 1%, I think is something that we’re all looking forward to seeing hopefully happen. I don’t know is it going to you know, be in the next six months is something that you think would maybe take a little bit longer to roll out. But what are some of the things that you’re looking as the session opens up as you’re working with these different groups like the Ag and you know, the farming groups in general that, that you’re like, Hey, this is like where Texas is really going to get its stride when it comes to hemp and cannabis, and this is what we can expect to see. Sure. So
Unknown Speaker 54:41
I think a lot of what we’re kind of waiting on us with that hemp back that was introduced by
Unknown Speaker 54:46
Rand Paul, you know, I don’t know exactly what the timeline is on that right now. But what I do know is that if that passes federally, then the state of Texas will follow. Hopefully definitely follow in suit, to develop whatever regulations go into that. And the only Yeah, we can go into, you know, the statute and change it with a bill or we can also go into the rules with the Department of Agriculture. And, you know, I’ve had discussions with them, and we’re kind of in agreeance on if that passes federally, then we’ll go into the rules of the Department of Agriculture to reflect the federal program, because USDA has already said they want us to be in line with them, they don’t want us to be more more strict, they want us to be in line, because it’s a federal program, we know, we wouldn’t have to work with all their different states for transportation with going across the border lines, stuff like that. So, you know, I think that if the federal government does, you know, bring it up to that 1%, then Texas will follow in suit, which is wonderful. After seeing all these farmers and testing and them all being completely scared that they were going to test hot, you know, it was our first time growing in our region. And that 1% will just make all the difference in the world for these farmers being able to grow their crop without worry, testing it at the right time making the samplers come out, make sure that samplers are more educated on how to take a sample, which is really important, streamlining that program and get a bit. So there’s just a lot of things that need streamlining, and we’re so blessed, and that, you know, we have those connections with these agencies that were able to go in there and have these candid conversations with our board members that are represented to say, hey, look, we went through this, like, let us please tell you what we need to be fixed. And it was crazy to me is it’s the same stuff that myself and other lobbyists that were we were working with were bringing up during the session. So it’s things that we saw coming that actually happened. And now it’s like, okay, let’s double down, let’s try to get it fixed in our rules. So that’s kind of where we see it going, we’re just going to continue to monitor the federal government. That’s why we are, you know, an affiliate of Hoa and us hemp roundtable is that they’re really fighting for us on the federal level. And we are a part of those groups who have signed on to their letters will send letters to our congressmen and senators to show our support as well. But also making sure that you know, our state legislators and our agencies are informed on what’s coming down the pipeline, so that we can change it.
Shayda Torabi 57:07
Amen to that. I think that’s just so cool. And I’m really looking forward to just watching the work that you’re doing continue to unfold, and hopefully, the listeners are getting excited too on thinking of ways that they can, again, get involved, whether they’re here in Texas, or they’re outside of the state, because I do think these are the conversations that are going to help push that needle forward. I appreciate you kind of you know, helping Express because again, I see it day in day out people who are, oh, things are gonna get changed tomorrow, things are gonna get changed in this next session. And, and again, not to be jaded, I think that’s the theme of, you know, your highest perspective, it’s like, Look, we’re not jaded, we’re just realistic. This is the process. This is the process. And so the best thing that you can do if you are a business in the space is to want to understand the process. And so it requires conversations with people like yourself, supporting organizations like Texas Tech coalition and these other ones that you mentioned, and just getting involved in any way that makes sense for them to get involved. So that hopefully we can start to see some of the fruits of those, you know, labors that we’re investing in. So thanks for the conversation. And thanks for the energy all the time that you do advocating on behalf of the State of Texas hemp.
Unknown Speaker 58:12
Well, no thank you for, you know, having this conversation with me. And I’m giving me the platform to be able to bring up these topics of discussion, because I think they’re important. And I just love that we talked about, you know, the best ways to go into the Capitol and advocate because it’s so important, a lot of people don’t necessarily understand the best way to do it. And that’s what we’re trying to do as an organization. So it’s just shows that it was needed, and that it’s necessary for us to be able to grow in the future. So and I really appreciate it and thank you for where you’re doing. I’m on your platform as well as educating individuals about the hemp in the cannabis industry, you know, D stigmatizing it.
Unknown Speaker 58:46
Unknown Speaker 58:47
you have a CBD shop in Austin, like y’all do such a great job. Like that’s what we need are people like that, to understand where you’re coming from, and what’s really going to help us in the future for us to grow. So thank you,
Shayda Torabi 58:57
you’re absolutely welcome. It’s like you said, it’s like your passion is your labor of love. I feel like I was joking with one of my friends last night, you know, I’m a Christian, and I work in cannabis. And I think that those two sometimes get a really, you know, they can’t be the same, they can’t possibly be the same. And I’m like, No, dude, I feel like God put me on this planet, to advocate and help be a light in this conversation in the best way that I can. And so that’s, that’s I’m gonna continue to do so yeah, I’m just really grateful to be able to have these conversations and bring these types of discussions to to my listeners, because I think it’s really important and we need to be talking about this type of stuff. So is there a way that people can connect with you perhaps if they want to get more information? Yeah, sure. So
Unknown Speaker 59:38
our website is www dot Texas hemp coalition.org. You can go on there and there’s a contact form. We will be having membership availabilities coming very soon. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as at Texas hemp coalition. Also, you know, you can contact us there, ask more questions. We’ve got some webinars We did with, you know, Department of Agriculture dishes and AgriLife, as well as representatives from different aspects of the industry that now we’re serving on our board, which is pretty cool. And it just kind of gives a basics of Texas hemp like what you need to look into before getting involved in the industry. And we’ll be doing a lot more of those things with webinars series, a hybrid with a podcast, just so that our guys in our industry can understand, you know, from the horse’s mouth of the agencies, how does the program work, you know, from seed genetic companies. So we’re wanting to put out that content so that you can just be educated on what to look forward to.
Shayda Torabi 1:00:36
Thank you, thank you. Thank you, Alyssa, and Texas hemp Coalition for all the work that you are doing to help advocate for this plant. at a state level, it is so crucial. And again, I mentioned it when we were kicking off this episode, if you listened all the way through to the end, whether you’re from Texas or not, I really hope that this inspires you to figure out ways that you can get involved. I’m such a big advocate of realizing that every one of us is an influencer and controls how somebody else can view and see this plant. And so whether you are, you know, near a capitol city like I am here in Austin, where I’m able to physically and personally be more directly involved with advocacy, or you find yourself in a state that maybe is lacking some of these organizations to help educate and advocate, I just want you to realize that there is work that needs to be done and it starts with you. It starts with you. And it starts with how you show up and how you get involved. And so that’s the takeaway for today’s episode is just to figure out ways that you can be involved and give back and have a voice and help encourage others and, and just help really truly make a difference for how this plant is getting adopted through the laws that are getting put in place. So if you enjoyed today’s episode and you have questions for me or Alyssa, please reach out, we want to help you plug in wherever we can. And if you really enjoyed today’s episode and you want to share it with somebody, I encourage you to do that too. And I will always always appreciate a subscribe, a like and a review. It goes a long way in helping other people come and discover this podcast. So thanks for tuning in. We will have another episode for y’all next week. Until then, have a good one. Take care. Bye.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai