“Stay Connected! This New Industry Is Ripe!” – A CANNA’CURIOUS Interview with VTCC co-founder Hinda Miller
HVT: Three years ago, you were a cofounder and member of the Vermont Cannabis Collaborative (VTCC) which produced our 60 page VTCC visioning document entitled “What cannabis can do for Vermont.” You’ve thought long and hard about the future of hemp and cannabis here in the Green Mountains. As Vermont moves towards July 1, 2018 legalization of personal grow and use, where do you see Vermont going next with hemp and cannabis?
HM: After passing laws for adult personal grow and use, the Vermont legislature MUST pass a practical enforceable regulatory system to enable and unleash a cannabis/hemp economy that leverages Vermont’s legacy of functional working landscapes, history of high quality value-added niche products, plus an opening for women and people of color to lead and participate in equal share as white men.
HVT: Are you satisfied with the pace with which the Vermont state government has rolled out medical and (soon) recreational cannabis legalization?
HM: I am very surprised that Governor Scott has not acted upon this extraordinary opportunity sooner rather than later. It takes time to build a new industry and Vermont has so much to leverage for the good: more young people living and working in Vermont and more tax dollars to allocate for the common good in Montpelier.
HVT: What’s your take on Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s creation of a Marijuana Advisory Commission to help shape the future of hemp and cannabis?
HM: That’s fine. It’s traditional for the Legislature to create commissions to study an issue that they do not totally understand. It all depends who is on commission and if they can recommend thoughtful, practical solutions, allowing legislators to incorporate all good ideas into a bill that the Governor can trust.
Instead of offering $10K to entice young people to work here, let’s unleash a real long-term industry for viable community, building jobs, and entrepreneurial innovation. A highly regulated adult-use cannabis/hemp industry will reboot Vermont’s economy and bring young people to our state.
HVT: What are the biggest obstacles to a legal, regulated, taxed cannabis and hemp industry in Vermont?
HM: A lack of political will to make Vermont’s regulated adult-use commercial industry the best in the nation.
HVT: What advice do you have for Vermonters interested in hemp and cannabis agri’preneurialism?
HM: Like everything else in Vermont, we do community really well. Heady Vermont, Green State Gardener, the new women’s cannabis group, and beyond. Stay connected. This new industry is ripe for co-creation, collaboration and prosperity, a perfect trifecta for our 21st century Vermont economy.
HVT: Describe your hemp and cannabis related work since VTCC. What do you hope to add to the Vermont hemp and cannabis landscape, and how?
HM: I am part of Evergreen Capital management, a small VC group that invests in hemp/cannabis entrepreneurs. I am also involved in pre-launch work for my new brand: Sultanas Apothecary, a line of CBD products for women’s health and wellness.
HVT: Reflecting on the VTCC vision from 2015-2016, do you imagine ways that our VTCC report and work might be useful for Vermont going forward?
HM: We worked hard at VTCC to give the Legislature an integrated view of job creation (growers, researchers, testing, value-added niche retail brands, business support systems) so everyone can imagine the future benefits for all Vermonters in this exciting new regulated industry.
HVT: Any other insights re: cannabis and hemp in Vermont you’d like to share?
HM: What is so exciting to me is that this new cannabis industry is birthed on the foundation of technology from the get-go. Technology can support smart regulation, cutting edge business practices, and collaboration, a world that my generation can only imagine. Instead of offering $10K to entice young people to work here, let’s unleash a real long-term industry for viable community, building jobs, and entrepreneurial innovation. A highly regulated adult-use cannabis/hemp industry will reboot Vermont’s economy and bring young people to our state. Very exciting stuff!
HVT: Indeed! Thanks for talking with Heady, Hinda.
HM: Thank you, Rob.