2020 Oklahoma Hemp Summit to Help Tribes Capitalize on the Industry

Native American Hemp is hosting the 2020 Oklahoma Hemp Summit in partnership with the Absentee Shawnee Economic Development Authority this Friday, February 28, in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Aaron Fournier, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, founded Native American Hemp in 2018 “to help Tribes, Tribal members and farmers grow industrial hemp across the country.”

Fournier put hemp’s history into perspective at the 2019 Native Business Summit during a panel entitled “Industrial Hemp: Doing Well by Doing Good.” (That riveting conversation was recorded for episode 2 of the Native Business Podcast.) 

“Back in 1938, Popular Mechanics wrote an article calling hemp the next billion-dollar industry. Unfortunately, right after that, there were taxes, licences and regulations placed on hemp that caused the business to collapse. But now we’re back. Hemp is back,” Fournier said. “Native American Hemp is here to help Tribes, Tribal members and farmers get into this business.” 

Aaron Fournier (holding the microphone), co-founder and COO of Native American Hemp, speaks during an industrial hemp panel at the 2019 Native Business Summit. (Photo by Henry Wei for Native Business Magazine)

Native American Hemp is hosting the 2020 Oklahoma Hemp Summit in partnership with the Absentee Shawnee Economic Development Authority this Friday, February 28, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to meet the tremendous and growing interest of Tribal communities in the hemp industry. 

Fournier, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Native American Hemp, underscored the difference between marijuana and hemp — both members of the cannabis plant family, though scientifically (and finally, legally) classified differently. 

“There are three main economic products that you can make with the cannabis family of plants,” Fournier said. “One of those is marijuana, another is medicinal hemp or CBD, and the other is industrial hemp,” he explained at the 2019 Native Business Summit. 

“Hemp is a plant that has been grown across the world for thousands of years. Some people believe it to be one of the first crops that we actually cultivated,” he continued. “When it was first grown, it didn’t have high percentages of THC, which is the psychoactive compound of marijuana, and it didn’t have high percentages of CBD, which is the medicinal side of hemp. …It was used primarily for textiles and making fabric like canvas.” (The word canvas is actually derived from the Arabic word for hemp, Fournier pointed out.) 

Today, we’re seeing a resurgence of industrial hemp, Fournier celebrated. “It’s grown differently than marijuana or medicinal CBD hemp is. You want to grow it really close together — hundreds of thousands of seeds per acre,” he advised. “So you’re going to have plants that are growing really close together and growing 8, 10, 12 feet tall or more.”

Fournier will share critical information like this about growing, cultivating and processing hemp, as well as navigating the legal landscape as it relates to hemp, at the 2020 Oklahoma Hemp Summit on Friday. 

The Summit takes place at 2029 James L. Edwards Lane, Shawnee, Oklahoma, from 9am-3pm, on Friday, February 28.

This one-day event is one of the first hemp summits to be held at a Tribally owned facility, hosted by Native American owned entities, and open to the general public, a press release from Native American Hemp states. 

Speakers include Absentee Shawnee Tribal Governor John Johnson, who will provide the Summit’s opening remarks, and Oklahoma’s Secretary of Commerce Sean Kouplen, who will deliver the keynote address.

At the 2020 Oklahoma Hemp Summit, Fournier will address Tribal self-regulation of hemp. “NAH works closely with Tribes to establish and regulate their own hemp programs and laws within their reservation and jurisdictional boundaries, without state oversight,” according to the statement. “NAH drafts hemp codes and creates hemp programs for Tribal governments across the country, along with establishing business plans and guidance in the hemp industry. NAH believes that every Tribe should have their own hemp plan and regulatory program.” 

For more information about or to register for the Oklahoma Hemp Summit, visit the Summit’s website: www.oklahomahempsummit.com.  Additional information on Native American Hemp can be found at www.nativeamericanhemp.us.