For some, millennials seem to embody several of the worst qualities of human nature. And, as the latest batch of millennials collects their college diplomas and head into the workforce, they face a host of stereotypes and misconceptions. This categorization may be unfair because they might just be young. However, fair or not, they are often branded as lazy, narcissistic, and lacking a good work ethic. Up until today, these stereotypes have stayed in place. Meanwhile, others of this generation are even excelling and breaking through all the stereotypes put in place for them. In fact, the reality is that some of today’s top entrepreneurs and innovators were born between 1981 and 1996, making millennials much more productive than perceived. Now it’s their turn, and many of the leading hemp and CBD companies were founded by millennial leaders who continuously defy stereotypes about their generation.

Legalized Hemp Production Jumpstarts Economic Growth

In December 2018, the federal government passed a bill legalizing nationwide hemp cultivation. Experts expect the growing hemp industry to bring in $2.6 billion by 2022.

Innovators like Augustus Hanger (Industrial Hemp Farms) and Allan Gandelman (Main Street Farms) are among the millennials who have quickly turned legalized hemp into a major revenue source. Along the way, they’ve helped build jobs that touch virtually every sector, ranging from hemp farmers to accountants.

Today’s legal marijuana industry has more than 211,000 full-time employees. Hemp Industries Association president Joy Beckerman believes that CBD and hemp companies will “dwarf” this number in the near future.

IHF Highlights Hemp’s Economic Potential

Industrial Hemp Farm (IHF) CEO, Hanger, faces daily challenges getting the word out. Facebook and Instagram present a major roadblock due to their rules banning all hemp and CBD-related advertising. Despite this, IHF made a revenue of approximately $4.5 million in January 2019.

Bold innovations in vertically integrated sales enabled IHF to start launching international partnerships in May 2019. With regular press releases touting IHF’s latest moves, it has become clear that there’s nothing stereotypical about this millennial-led company.

Currently, IHF provides numerous services, including hemp CBD extraction, hemp futures contracts, industrial hemp transport, wholesale CBD financing, and a hemp flower affiliate program. They also offer an extensive wholesale collection, ranging from feminized hemp seeds to branded CBD products. IHF’s offerings are likely to expand again once their newly acquired 160-acre addition goes live in August.

Main Street Farms: From Vegetables to CBD

Originally focused exclusively on organic, sustainably grown vegetables, Main Street Farms has embraced new economic opportunities. New York residents can still purchase their fresh veggies from Main Street Farms. However, they can also take advantage of the company’s Head + Heal brand of CBD products.

Gandelman, (pictured below) a CBD farmer and Main Street Farms owner, first experimented with hemp and CBD after contracting Lyme disease. The 37-year-old millennial found pain relief with CBD products and soon applied for a grower’s license. Based on his personal experiences, Gandelman opted to focus solely on the CBD portion of the hemp plant. His company now sells CBD tinctures, softgels, topicals, and pet formulas.

Millennials Must Innovate to Survive

Millennials are the first generation that continues to be worse off economically than their parents. Contrary to popular misconceptions, this isn’t due to a poor work ethic. In fact, millennials bypassed their elders by becoming the nation’s most highly educated generation. But it’s hard to get ahead financially in an economic environment that comes with massive college bills and a steadily increasing wealth gap.

Worker productivity has actually increased as wages have stagnated. Yet millennials and their co-workers aren’t receiving equal compensation to their parents at the same age when adjusted for inflation.

Studies show that today’s 30-year-old workers have a net worth that’s 21 percent lower than people of the same age thirty years ago. Couple that with rapid cost increases in every category during the same time period, and you get a generation that’s struggling to survive.

Why Does the Hemp Industry Resonate with Millennials?

Even with their struggles, Pew Research Group categorizes millennials as “confident, connected, and open to change.” As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s surely being seen in the work of IHF, Main Street Farms, and numerous other millennial-led hemp and CBD companies.

When an entire generation is put into the role of having to innovate to make a decent living, they’re naturally going to look for new solutions to existing problems. Hemp serves multiple purposes, so it’s no wonder that humans have used it since at least 8,000 BCE. It also helps that hemp is a strong, durable product. Meanwhile, 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, making alternative pain relievers like CBD oil a booming industry.

Members of older generations are flocking to CBD pain ointments, but many of them are past retirement age. Therefore, it’s up to younger, more energetic entrepreneurs to define how useful hemp and CBD products will become.

One thing seems certain: CBD and hemp will continue to change the economic landscape, giving many millennials like Hanger and Gandelman their best chance at chasing the American dream. In the meantime, other innovators can look to Hanger’s and Gandelman’s respective companies, Industrial Hemp Farms and Main Street Farms, as burgeoning leaders that help outline the future of hemp and CBD.