The Hemp Entrepreneur Podcast

Telling stories of the innovators and pioneers creating businesses in hemp in the U.S.

Episode 010 PAHIC & NHA - Erica and Les Stark

April 15th, 2019

Erica McBride Stark, a former high level business management executive, took a leap of faith to leave her job and become a full time advocate of industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis long before it was clear that the tide of popular opinion had turned.  She met her husband at approximately the same time, Les Stark, a local historian of Lancaster county, author of “Hempstone Heritage; In Accordance with their Wills”, and executive director of the Keystone Cannabis Coalition.

Together, Erica and Les began lobbying on behalf of industrial hemp at the local government level and quickly realized what a pair of dedicated citizens could achieve in a representative democracy, armed with truth and a truly sustainable, environmentally friendly proposal.  They were not your traditional lobbyists; there were no shadow accounts and perks offered for participation, no unnamed wealthy benefactors with boatloads of cash and offshore accounts. Just a pair of dedicated individuals with some knowledge and persistence.

Inevitably, Erica and Les crossed paths with Geoff Whaling, current president of both the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council and National Hemp Association, who had been lobbying for cannabis prohibition reform on his own.  Together, the trio became more and more influential, gaining audience with policy makers of a caliber capable of affecting real change.

Today, Erica has seen out the success of her early efforts and now finds herself in a transitional role, from activist to educator and coordinator.  The industrial hemp industry has experienced a rebirth, legally, and now it is time to fuel the fires and continue to breathe new life into the fledgling industry, both locally and nationally.  Please consider joining both your local and national hemp industry associations. The PA Hemp Industry Council and National Hemp Association offer memberships that cover interested parties all the way up to business level sponsor memberships!

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