BRISTOW, Va. — Micah Nelson, the son of world-famous musician Willie Nelson, performed a guitar constructed from hemp at Farm Aid in Virginia to help promote the legalization of industrial hemp. The event commemorated Micah Nelson being added to the National Hemp Association Board of Directors.
The one-of-a-kind, all-hemp musical instrument was provided by the Iowa Hemp Association. Nelson is the founder of the band “Insects vs. Robots.”
For the National Hemp Association (NHA), a national non-profit trade association dedicated to the growth and development of the industrial hemp industry, the addition of Nelson is reflective of the organization’s strong appeal to all generations who are proponents of industrial hemp and other bio-sustainable farming choices.
“The passion for social and environmental justice was instilled in Micah,” said Michael Bowman, chair of the organization. “It is part of who he is. We could not be more excited to welcome him to our board. Like his father before him, Micah has a powerful passion for advocacy.”
Willie Nelson is well-known for his musical contributions, his marijuana business ties and his agricultural advocacy work. He is an inductee in the National Agricultural Center Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, the younger Nelson is following his father’s bootsteps. He sponsored a change.org petition asking congress to pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The petition has gathered nearly 100,000 signatures, so far.
The NHA’s Farm Aid participation marked the first time an industrial hemp booth was included at the event’s “Homegrown Village” where all non-profits are located. The booth was a combined effort of the NHA, the Virginia Industrial Hemp Alliance and Growing Warriors.
Beyond the NHA’s musical contributions, the organization provided 100 hemp-based goodie bags to big name talents like John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Neil Young. Printed on the outside of the bags was a quote by Thomas Jefferson: “Hemp is the first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”
According to Bowman, the addition of Nelson to the board and his decision to play the guitar at Farm Aid helps to create momentum for the organization as they rally against politicians like U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Grassley and others continue to insist industrial hemp be regulated as a controlled Schedule 1 substance, (the same classification as heroin), despite the fact it contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
“In 1985 Farm Aid’s first concert took place in Champaign, Illinois; yet still today farmers there are not legally allowed to grow industrial hemp. While the national hemp market is a $600 million dollar industry, it remains federally illegal to farm this sustainable crop,” said Bowman.
Bowman is a fifth-generation Colorado resident who grew up farming. He has been dubbed Mr. Hemp for his groundbreaking efforts to legalize industrialized hemp.
Nelson will serve on the board of directors of the National Hemp Association with another new board member, John W. Boyd Jr., the executive director of the National Black Farmers Association, a fourth-generation farmer and one of America’s most effective defenders of civil rights.
Other NHA board members include McMillan Arrington, co-founder of BastCore, LLC; David Maddalena, founder and editor-in chief of The Hemp Connoisseur Magazine; Tae Darnell, principle executive officer, president and general counsel for Sensi Magazine; Cathy Hearn, former president of Living Harvest Foods; Alex Seleznov, CEO of several hemp industry companies related to growing, processing, and retailing hemp and hemp products; Emily Paxhia, co-founder of cannabis hedge fund Poseidon Asset Management; co-chair Samantha Walsh, entrepreneur and activist; and Geoff Whaling, founder and president of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council.
For information, visit nationalhempassociation.org.