Community Hemp Lab Project
Hemp is Legal
With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill and Illinois Industrial Hemp Act, there are opportunities around the cultivation, distribution, and processing of hemp. We propose to transform a vacant lot, zoned for industrial use, into a Community Hemp Lab. The lab will be at community-scale, providing education on hemp cultivation and processing in an urban area. The goal is to encourage participation of urban farms in the burgeoning hemp industry.
Community Hemp Lab
Hemp is poised to have a substantial economic impact on rural communities, but how can we weave this economic growth into the urban landscape? Chicago has a number of urban communities that struggle with unemployment, poverty, and large-scale business closings. Disadvantaged communities benefit from investment to stimulate business growth, job creation, and neighborhood revitalization.
Relevant workforce development is key to long-term community stabilization. We believe the Community Hemp Lab can bring jobs and job training to Chicago's South and West Sides in a responsible way.
Our focus will be to provide employment opportunities to residents in the growing hemp industry. Through the Community Hemp Lab we will provide education and training to employees and residents, specifically on the processing and cultivation of hemp, so they can be competitive in this growing market. Upon receiving training on the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of hemp, opportunities will arise for community members to monetize their newly-acquired skills, e.g., planting and harvesting, processing, and distribution.
The Community Hemp Lab will partner with farmers around Illinois and neighboring states to bridge the gap between workers looking for well-paying jobs and the growing need for skilled laborers in the hemp industry.
To implement the project, we will take advantage of prepackaged, modular growing and extraction rooms (FlexMod) meticulously engineered by industry experts for speed to market and regulatory compliance.
These modular, compact facilities meet all requirements of the NEC, OSHA, MED, and NFPA. The units are delivered fully assembled and come with engineering stamps.
Because the components are pre-manufactured, many of the permitting steps required to build will be unnecessary. The service we intend to use includes shipping and installation of the modular facilities.
Our mission is to provide high-quality hemp products for our customers while providing economic opportunities for small farmers, disadvantaged communities, and Chicago's neighborhoods that have been negatively impacted by "the war on drugs." We hope to accomplish this by creating one of the first worker-owned hemp companies in Chicago and perhaps nationwide. New employees will have an opportunity to become worker-owners in the company.
We are currently a licensed hemp processor in Illinois:
How we are different from traditional corporations:
- 100% employee-owned
- Self-funded and independent
- 50% of company ownership is reserved for equity applicants, minority applicants, women, and people with disabilities
Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. Cooperative businesses exist to meet their members' needs; they are user-owned, user-controlled, and user-benefiting. They are more focused on service than investment or shareholder value.
Chicago Cannabis Company is operating as a worker-owned cooperative. In a worker cooperative model, worker members invest in and own the business together. Workers own the business and they participate in its financial success on the basis of their labor contribution to the cooperative. In a worker cooperative, capital and resources are raised by the worker cooperative members themselves. Decision-making is democratic, adhering to the principle of one-member one-vote.
We are attempting to crowdfund this project because it would allow us to remain completely autonomous and independent while raising capital. The following is an estimate of initial set up costs only.
Join the Cooperative
We are seeking new worker-owners to help launch the Community Hemp Lab. We will expand the site over the next two years. Our goal is to raise an initial $200,000 to purchase land, modules, and equipment for extracting botanicals and essential oils for human consumption.
The Community Hemp Lab will include an educational component, offering free tours to community members and other visitors, as a way to educate the broader society on the benefits and many uses of industrial hemp. We will partner with other urban farms and advocacy organizations to provide training relevant to the hemp industry, including:
- Hydroponic and aquaponic growing workshops
- Container growing workshops
- Urban farming workshops
- Hemp industry workshops
Learn more about the vision of our cooperative cannabis company and apply to become a candidate here.