Hemp = Hope

Just like a freight train, the East Tennessee Hemp Company and H.E.M.P (Help Educate More People) have become a huge part of the hemp community in Tennessee. The East Tennessee Hemp Company has supplied many growers in Tennessee with high cannabinoid clones and mothers for the 2018 growing season at a reasonable price point. David and Tara Cooper have been watching the Tennessee hemp movement evolve over the last several years. In 2017 legislation was signed by Governor Bill Haslam that allowed Tennessee growers an opportunity to grow high cannabinoid, uncertified genetics. This catalyzed the hemp industry in Tennessee and has made growing for cannabinoids economically feasible for growers including the Cooper's. 

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As soon as I arrived at David and Tara's, I realized I was not the only hempster who had made the journey on that beautiful sunny day. All seven of us sat under a shade tree and enjoyed popsicles shared by the Cooper's daughter Chloe. There was a unique familial feel all around as hempsters from Greeneville and other towns in Tennessee joined in hemp centric conversation under the shade tree. The Cooper's had evidently cultivated a community along with growing hemp in the oldest town in Tennessee, Jonesborough. 

After popsicles David and Tara took me on the grand tour of their meticulously managed high tunnel, housing hundreds of mothers primarily cared for by David, Tara and their right hand man/cousin, Wes. Wes had previously worked as a Sheriff's Deputy but heard the hemp industry shouting his name! I was eager to ask him, what his ah ha moment was before quitting law enforcement. He said, "I realized this was a real thing and my mom's experience with serious health issues." As we began conversing on the possible therapeutic benefits of hemp, David said indignantly, "its God's treatment without man intervention." 

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We spoke of all the wonderful reasons to grow hemp including food, fuel and shelter. Tara also expressed motivation for wanting to create a better future for her children. David shared heartbreaking stories of how he had personally come face to face with the opioid crisis. "My sister died at 21, my brothers have been addicts and my mother has been on methadone for twenty years." Unfortunately his story is not rare, many families in Tennessee's rural communities have suffered immensely from the overprescription of opioids. The ones effected the most are the families and children of addicts who get robbed of impactful relationships. For this reason David and Tara feel so passionate about creating the nonprofit H.E.M.P. to help educate people about alternative, natural pain intervention.

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Since becoming involved four years ago, I had envisioned hemp revitalizing Tennessee's rural communities and restoring hope for families like the Cooper's. Talking with them validated my belief that Hemp=Hope for our rural economies across America. This grassroots movement adopted by millions has absolutely established roots in redefining the American dream. Industrial hemp, the vehicle of consciousness has proved to be an effective approach to the devastation ensued by the opioid crisis in east Tennessee. We must consider providing resources to implement hemp production programs across America for communities and families who have been hit hard by opioid addiction. 

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It is apparent that David and Tara's hard work and determination will sustain their hemp dreams for years to come. The Cooper's have plans on joining the local farmer's market in Jonesborough this summer and also have a long term goal of opening up a storefront. If you are in the area on a Saturday make sure to stop by and try some of their locally produced hemp products. Their top seller is the 500mg tincture. 

Visit their website https://eastthc.com

Hemp=Hope

Paige Thompson