KYHIA’s Response to HIA Closure of State Chapters
Dear KYHIA Membership,
It is with heavy hearts we regret to inform you of a drastic change National HIA made last week, forcibly closing all 13 State Chapters. This information was unexpected and extremely unfortunate for those who have supported and been members of the Kentucky Hemp Industry for years. On July 16th, we received notice that the HIA board moved to:
- Dissolve the chapter program effectively immediately.
- Set up chapter task force 2.0 to remake the chapter program.
- Keep State Chapters’ dues and abolish the 50/50 split on membership dues that was currently in place between National HIA and the State Chapters
Your money, upon renewing membership has always, and still does, go directly to the National HIA through their renewal portal, and we have always had to wait on HIA for months to issue payment of our portion of the dues. As a State Chapter, the funds that we received from National HIA help us to deliver local outcomes to help our membership through advocacy and educational outreach, as well as lead state lobbying, policy development and reform. The State Chapters had already formed a Task Force, and a State Chapter Congress to provide input on proper budgeting and to help ensure that the overall organization had a solid financial footing. We, the KYHIA, were very willing at the time to work with the National HIA to postpone our due payouts to a much later date, and to work in the best interests of HIA and the overall organization. Our requests fell on deaf ears and resulted in many unfulfilled promises over the past 12 weeks from the National Board and their leadership. Our share of dues for the entire year of 2020 have yet to be paid to us, and we do not expect they will be paid without legal action.
We have been informed by HIA that, “the dissolution of the program does not mean this is the end of the chapters. It is in fact a new beginning for the chapters, but also the HIA.” We have also been told that within 90 days (October 14th) we will have new guidance for the state chapter program reworked and approved. It is difficult to trust these promises after the National HIA’s unwillingness to work with their chapters over the past 90 days.
We are making a strong suggestion that members do not renew their dues until we can make light of what is going on.
Without a clear path forward, or visibility into our State Chapter’s viability or budget, we cannot properly plan outreach and advocacy campaigns. We are making a strong suggestion that members do not renew their dues until we can make light of what is going on. With absolutely no input from the local or regional levels, we do not want to see your money go toward a wasteful initiative. We are working on a solution to this situation and plan to have one in the next 30 days.
Fortunately, the KYHIA is stand-alone solvent entity and the board and staff will continue working for your farms and businesses to advocate for hemp issues in the state of Kentucky. We stand by our membership 100% and are active on your causes within this state and are currently pursuing those actions for you.
It makes us incredibly sad that the years of hard work and building our association and strong membership have come to this. Many of you have been with the KYHIA for quite a while, and we have enjoyed meeting every one of you at past events and gatherings. We hope to be able to do that soon as we sort out this situation, and gathering restrictions loosen. Please email us with any questions you may have.