Busting stereotypes of hemp AND Millennials

Editor’s note: SEAMS is introducing a new feature on the newsletter, Millennial Corner. This blog gives the younger generation – who in the near future will serve in leadership positions and guide the direction of the association – a larger voice and platform NOW and will help them engage more the entire SEAMS’ membership while busting stereotypes.

By Claire Crunk

After 18 months in start-up mode at Southeast Hemp Fiber, I’ve collected quite the library of colorful stories from hemp-related business dealings.

I once hauled a trailer of hemp stalks across my state of Tennessee smelling like Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine (I was nervous); I was offered actual marijuana before presenting at a conference (I declined); a colleague told me psychedelic mushrooms were going to save the planet (they won’t); and I was declined a business checking account at a major national bank because of “reputational harm” (I cried); just to name a few.

Perhaps my favorite tale, though, is from my first SEAMS networking event in 2018. At the dinner table that evening, I took an empty seat offered next to him by Will Duncan, our organization’s Executive Director. As we made our first introductions to one another, he chuckled and asked “So, you think I could smoke my shirt?!” We both had a good laugh and carried on discussing the state of domestic hemp fiber and helpful connections throughout the meal.

I love this story not because of the hilarity of the joke or the conversations it spurred but because of the means by which it occurred. As I’ve come to better know Will and the other members of SEAMS this year, it’s clear that offering a seat at the table and welcoming my voice were not just tokens of good manners – they are the very fibers of how he, and all of you, conduct business and build relationships.  Read More