The hemp business is a growing industry as its demand continues to increase globally. In this episode, Tariq Bey, the CEO and Founder of NorthStar Genetics and Smoke and Grow Rich, gives us a tour around the hemp industry. Being an entrepreneur, he explains to young business hopefuls about taking the right risks, finding the right mentor, and building relationships with the right people. Moreover, he also educates us on the difference between marijuana and cannabidiol and why the demand for CBD skyrocketed. Learn more about this interesting industry as Tariq gives examples and intrigues around the legalization of hemp.
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Hemp Industry: Growing Your Own Business With Tariq Bey
We will be going over the hemp industry. We have a guest that I will allow him to introduce himself and tell us a little bit about his background. I’ll ask him a little bit about the business itself. As I understand it and probably many of you in the audience understand, the hemp business is growing rapidly. People of color, minorities, whether you are a white woman, black woman, Mexican woman, a veteran, you may want to hear this and find out how to get into this business and what the advantages may be in the hemp business.
My name is Tariq Bey. I am the Founder and CEO of NorthStar Genetics. I’m also the Founder of Smoke and Grow Rich. It’s the first of its kind of educational tour company designed to help minorities enter into the cannabis space. We’ve been doing this over the past few years. We have a nice following on social media. People are starting to catch on to this cannabis industry. This hemp industry is starting to explode. That’s a little bit of who I am.
Tell the audience a little bit about yourself.
I wouldn’t consider myself a serial entrepreneur. That’s not always a good thing, but I have a backyard full of failed businesses. That’s how you learn. I have to take chances to learn how to build a business. I learned that the hard way by trying and attempting new things. I started off after I got out of college. That was around 2000. I started in the real estate business. I had success in that. The crash happened in 2008 and I lost everything. I had to start over from scratch. That’s when I met you at the time. I remember you telling me to read this book. It was called, Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? by Reginald Lewis. I’m like, “Who’s Reginald Lewis?”
When I read that book, it opened my eyes to what’s possible for a minority African-American man in America to accomplish. That was an inspirational book. From there, we try some other projects. We had water for a gas company during the time when we had the fuel crisis and fuel prices were skyrocketing. We’re always look for innovative ways to make money. That company as we were starting to get that perfected, the market leveled out and people no longer had a need for super fuel like that. We dabbled into a few other businesses. We got into the health industry with alkaline water. We’re one of the first companies to introduce this to the marketplace.
We got an air-water machine. Our company sucked the air out of the atmosphere and turn it into water. We’re always into innovative technology and things of that nature. We dibbled and dabbled in that. That’s when I started working with you when we worked on building the SYS and the Genesis brand. I learned a lot within those few years on seeing the behind-the-scene work of building a business. It has worked. We did that for a few years. That’s when we started to get into this cannabis industry. That’s what I’ve been doing over the last couple of years.
My audience comes from all walks of life. As new entrepreneurs or people looking to become entrepreneurs who may be kicking it around, what would you suggest to them?
Number one, don’t be afraid to take chances. I remember it was the great Les Brown who said that the cemetery is full of ideas that people take to the grave with them. People have a lot of inspiration and a lot of good ideas that they want to do, but too afraid to take that chance of doing it because some people get stuck into that security of a 9 to 5. First of all, as entrepreneurs, we don’t work 9 to 5. We work all day long round the clock. There’s no longer a 9 to 5, so don’t get used to always having to work long hours. Do not go to the grave with your dreams. Take a chance and figure out what you need to do.
Number one, find a mentor because nobody knew everything under the sun. If someone has already had a blueprint of what you’re trying to do, study that. Find somebody that’s an expert in the field. I remember you gave me another book called The Richest Man in Babylon and I learned a valuable lesson in that book where there’s a saying that you don’t hire a brick maker to sell jewels. You go to people that are good at what they do and you pay that person. You let them do what they do. You don’t have to try to figure out everything. You build your team of capable people and have a definite objective in mind and focus your energy on making that happen.
What I hear you saying is if there was a new entrepreneur out there or someone’s thinking about getting into business, one of the things they should do is not to give up on their dream and find a mentor, someone that can help teach and guide them. Another is read some books and educate themselves perhaps on some business and things of that nature so they’ll get a feel of it that.
The mind plays a valuable part in this whole thing because if you don’t have the proper minds state, you’re not going to succeed. Surround yourself with the proper people or the proper support group that can help you fulfill your dream. If you’re constantly giving your energy in helping other people fulfill their dreams and they’re not giving it back, you need to change your surroundings and change the people that you’re dealing with. There’s a saying, “Don’t expect to use me if I can’t use you.” That’s the rule of business. If you want to ask somebody to help you in your business, you’ve got to be able to provide something in return. It has to be a give and take or a win-win for each party. You’ve got to know how to work with people. You’ve got to make yourself an asset. You make an asset by becoming good at a particular skill or something. Always be an asset to people.
If a person was coming into business, you would tell them that they need to be an asset. They need to create a situation that’s a win-win for everybody on both sides. Thank you for sharing that. Tell me a little bit about the hemp business.
As you know the cannabis industry right now since 2012 has taken this country by storm. California was the beginning and it started going into places like Colorado. At that time, it was marijuana for personal and medical use. What a lot of people don’t understand is the reason why marijuana was banned. It goes all the way back to the 1937 Tax Act.
Marijuana, you’re selling drugs to people that sit around and get high. Is that the business?
No, that’s not at all the business. We’re talking about a plant called cannabis. Cannabis has two parts. The good analogy is they’re twin sisters, two girls. One girl’s name is Marijuana. We all know her. She’s in the streets. She’s a low loose. Everybody have a way with her. She’s the fast one. You got a twin sister. She’s more cautious. She goes to school. She’s a good girl. She’s a family girl. She’s always getting blamed for what her bad twin sister who got a bad rep does. People lump marijuana and hemp into the same bag but it’s totally opposite.
Explain that to us.
The difference between marijuana and hemp is the compound called cannabidiol.
You’re using this terminology I’ve never heard. It’s not even part of my vocabulary, so break that down a little further.
These are the substances in the plant that give you certain effects. For instance, the THC in marijuana would get people high. When people smoke marijuana, THC gives them a psychoactive effect. You can get high smoking that. THC is not found in industrial hemp or the levels of THC are so low that you would have to smoke a field of it to get high. That’s the difference. You’re starting to see CBD shops and products pop up everywhere. That has tremendous health benefits.
CBD oil, is that correct?
I notice this not too long ago when a bunch of 70 and 80-year-olds were using the oils for their joints and arthritis. Out of ignorance, when I heard about hemp, I kept thinking that it was weed. As a business person and a man of faith, I wasn’t about to help support that particular industry that’s causing people to get high and things of that nature. I realize after all these 70 and 80-year-olds were using it that I was totally wrong about it. You’re here to educate us on the opportunities that lie in this business. Tell me a little bit about these oils and how they come about.
You are not going to succeed without the proper mindset.
There’s a funny story about the CBD and the origin of why it’s so hot right now. It was around 2014 in Denver, Colorado. I like to call Denver, Colorado as the Silicon Valley of cannabis. A lot of innovation took place there. In 2014, there were brothers that had a business growing medical marijuana for patients. What happened was they grew a batch of crops that they couldn’t use because it didn’t have enough THC in it to get anybody high. If you’re selling marijuana, the whole reason people were doing it is so they can get some of the feeling, some type of elevation and that wouldn’t happen. What they discovered was, “We can’t make no money selling this as marijuana. What else can we use this for?”
They did their research and they discovered prior to 1937 that this plant was used as medicine for different various ailments. They took the plant, process it and turn it into oil. This was the first batch of CBD oil that they produce. There was a little girl by the name of Charlotte at the time in the area. She was suffering from seizures. This girl was having a seizure every six minutes. Imagine that type of life. Her parents are frustrated. They couldn’t find any relief. They couldn’t find any help. They were desperate.
Somehow, they hooked up with these brothers and they gave her a batch of the CBD oil, out of desperation. They told her that they wouldn’t give her actual drugs that were going to make her high or anything. They said they’re going to try this oil that’s supposed to have these human effects. She took those oil. She didn’t have another seizure for about six days. It was amazing. People were like, “What is this? What is going on?” They thought maybe it was a fluke. They kept giving her, kept treating her and her seizures didn’t completely go away, but she could live a normal life. She could function normally. When news of that broke out, parents from all across the country started selling their houses, quitting their jobs and moving to Colorado.
I want to see if I heard this correctly. She went from having a seizure every six minutes to every six days after using CBD oil. What are the medical professionals saying? Do they condone this?
Here’s the thing. When this happened, the medical profession wanted to know what the substance is. What is going on? They wanted to study this. They want to put it into research. They want to get into research mode and see what the substance is. The problem was that since it came from the cannabis plant, it was a Schedule 1 drug. They could not get access to study it because it’s a Schedule 1 drug. What happened was through Mitch McConnell in Kentucky with his constituents, they lobby for a section to be included in the 2014 Farm Bill that will allow them to research industrial hemp cannabis. Through the Farm Bill, that has made possible for research to be done into this substance. The interesting thing is there are a couple of drugs that the FDA is about to release to the public for people that are suffering from seizures and traumatic brain injuries. This drug has CBD in it. The FDA has already started to put a lot of process to be put into drugs because of the effects it’s having.
It’s not only legal, but it’s also being used with other medicines by doctors to benefit one’s health such as the little girl who had the seizures.
Based on that, the demand for CBD has skyrocketed. The problem with it is the infrastructure in this country to process, grow and distribute industrial hemp does not exist because of the 1937 Tax Act.
What happened in 1937?
In 1937, a bill was passed called the Tax Act. The reason that happened was because you had a lot of people at the time that had various investments and infrastructures that were threatened by cannabis because we’re not only talking about CBD, it makes 25,000 different varieties of different products.
Cannabis sativa, it’s an industrial hemp. Isn’t that just a plant? Is it a new plant?
It’s one of the most ancient plants that God has given man to do a whole lot of things. If you go all the way back to ancient times, the Egyptians. I would say that the first Bible was probably written on cannabis paper.
Let’s not go back there. Tell us about this plant and this cannabis.
The cannabis sativa plant makes some of the strongest fiber. The fiber from the plant was more durable and stronger than cotton. It makes the best paper. Let’s say if you cut down twenty trees to make some paper. It might take you twenty years to grow those trees back. It will only take you six months to grow that same equivalent of fiber from the hemp.
It would be good for society and our environment.
Which was one of the reasons it was banned in 1937. A lot of people don’t understand or notice because at the time, you had conglomerates. You had titans like Randolph Hearst who ran the media empire. You had the du Pont family. This is documented. You can go back and researched this. These individuals think about it from a business perspective. If I spent money and purchase a million acres of timber to make my paper to produce my newspapers for my various media outlets. Now you got somebody over here like Henry Ford suggesting that everybody switched over and start using cannabis and make paper and everything out of it. Now you’re threatening what I got going on. That’s not good for business.
If I’m a du Pont family and I came up with the patents for synthetic fiber like nylon and things like that. You’re telling me this same plant can challenge me. “This plant can be a little troublesome to us so we need to get rid of it. That’s a bad plant.” Harry Anslinger at the time got the Tax Act. He came up with the term marijuana. Before that time, marijuana was not used to describe this thing. They started calling it marijuana or reefer madness. They started using the racial prejudices of the time and used it against people of color. He said this to the legislators. He started this reefer madness crazy. He said, “When white women smoke marijuana, they would want to have sex with black men and Mexicans.” At the time, that was something that was not good.
Who said this?
It was Harry Anslinger.
Was he a congressman or a senator?
I got to research exactly what his role was, but I know he introduced the bill called the Tax Act. The bill got passed, but inside this Tax Act, it said cannabis. It was a broad term use which banned marijuana and cannabis sativa and industrial hemp.
Let me see if I understand this. The United States of America passed a bill to eliminate a particular plant because that would benefit our society, our economic standing and help our overall environment?
Yes, we did.
How did that happen?
If you got money and the proper influence, you can pass anything especially if the public is not educated.
It’s influence and money. If you got money and the proper influence, you can pass anything especially if the public is not educated. Some of the senators even admitted that they did not even know the difference between cannabis sativa and marijuana. They thought it was the same plant.
The same influence that got it banned turned it around and got it back as we speak now. It’s healing people. It’s approved legally. Doctors are using it. It’s stopping seizures. I’ve never claimed to be the smartest person in the room, just one willing to learn. How many lives could we have saved if this plant was still being used by not just Americans, but people across the globe?
The more interesting question is how many lives have been ruined because of this Tax Act 1937, because of the mass incarceration of minorities and people of color over this plant?
Tell me about it. How were these lives ruined?
These lives were ruined because when they criminalize marijuana, it put a stigma on the drug or put a stigma on a certain group of people. Right now, let’s use some names, you might have a brother named Tyrone. He moves 300 pounds of marijuana and he gets caught. He gets a federal sentence of about fifteen years for moving that because of the geographical location where he lives. You may have Steve, a Caucasian entrepreneur. He moves 3,000 pounds and he will get businessman of the year write up in some magazines.
I don’t think I heard that too. If Tyrone moves 300 pounds, he gets in trouble and gets fifteen years incarcerated. If Steve, his Caucasian counterpart, move 3,000 pounds, he’d get written up in the magazines.
He gets plaques. He and his family get to relax. They’re living their dream life.
What’s the difference?
The difference is economics. They come from different places and education. Steve had the ability in the network to raise the capital, borrow money from his parents, his friends, his community, get his license and had the money to pay for that type of stuff. Tyrone didn’t have access to that stuff because he grew up poor. He grew up in a community that didn’t have the resources or to know how to make it happen. He suffers. It’s a social equity situation.
Tyrone suffered because he failed to follow the rules and the procedures.
He didn’t even understand the rules. He didn’t even know the rules were written out. He didn’t have anybody to guide him through the rules. When Tyrone found out about the rules, he didn’t have the money to participate because he couldn’t afford to get his proper license. It was a real unlevel playing field.
It was an unlevel playing field at that time. Tell me about this time.
That’s why I particularly started the Smoke and Grow Rich Tour because I took a trip out to Denver, Colorado in 2015 when they first legalized recreational use of cannabis. I want to see what America is going to look like in the next few years. I took a trip out there with some associates. What I saw shocked me. I saw people lining up to consume something that people I know personally got arrested for in the state that I lived in. I didn’t understand how that was possible. I see how all this money was being made, but I did not see a whole lot of people of color involved with that industry. I didn’t think that was fair. I started the Smoke and Grow Rich Tour to get minorities involved into the legal cannabis industry so we can stop getting arrested and going to prison for something that Steve is going to get an award and a plaque for. I was trying to level the playing field. That’s how I got into the business.
I have a lot of readers. If someone’s interested, how do they get into this business? What’s required of them?
There’s a tremendous opportunity in helping with the supply of this product. The demand is there. We need more supply. The best way to get in that is to get into the growing and the farming of hemp for CBD purposes. If you are a landowner, if you have some acres that’s sitting there or if you are a farmer and you’re growing crops and not getting the type of returns that you need because that’s what happened in Kentucky. They were growing tobacco and they weren’t making enough money to pay their bills. That’s why they went to Mr. McConnell and got this introduced. A farmer right now can grow acre hemp and get up to $20,000 to $30,000 per acre.
From my growing an acre of hemp, they can make $20,000 to $30,000. That’s more than they would make if they were selling soybeans or corn.
It’s way more. The opportunity is there to make a lot of money with this. It’s just the fact that since 1937 this was banned, the infrastructure wasn’t in place to do it. With our company, NorthStar Genetics, what we’re into is helping the farmer get the resources that they need to make money in this industry.
What does that mean?
For instance, if you’re growing hemp, you’re going to need things like proper equipment. You’re going to need seeds and genetics. You can’t just throw a hemp seed in the ground. You’ve got to make sure it has the proper genetics. It has the proper amount of CBD. You can’t have THC because you don’t want to grow what they call hot. In states like North Carolina, Georgia, with the Farm Bill, you have to maintain your THC levels under 0.3%. Anything over 0.3% would be considered marijuana and they will destroy your crops. You have to be constantly be tested. You’ve got to make sure that your plants don’t accumulate that much THC.
For the people who are reading, how does your company help the farmers to get into this industry?
I like that name, Smoke and Grow Rich.
Let’s take care of our families by growing and using this cannabis plant and build a future with it.
It came from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. Those who are familiar with any type of self-help or mind science will automatically be going to get what we’re trying to do. It’s catchy but it’s based upon those principles in that book. If a farmer wanted to get involved, we would help that farmer and make sure that they have the proper land. We’ll do a land evaluation and make sure they have the proper soil. We’ll work with them to help get the proper equipment, the proper genetics and the irrigation set up. We will also purchase their crops from them during the harvest season. We will help to put them in the ground.
I didn’t catch that earlier. You help them by also purchasing their crops from them. They have a guaranteed exit.
As soon as they put it in the ground, that’s already going to be sold. We’re going to buy it. We have contracted to purchase that at a set price. It’s the sharecropping model, but it’s a sharecropping model that works that you’re going to make some money with.
You’re saying sharecropper now. I think of our people that didn’t make anything and they weren’t slaves anymore, but they were close to still being a slave. You’re not doing that to them.
They’re going to make a lot of money because we’re trying to help people establish some generational wealth. Even our people, when we were so-called free as a people, the first thing that our ancestors requested was land. We were promised 40 acres in the mill. The reason why is because land is how you take care of your family. If you have your own land, you have a chance. You can grow your own food. You can build your own homes. You can have some type of independence. I call my movement to buy back the farm movement. Let’s go back to agriculture. Let’s go back to farming. Let’s take care of our families by growing and using this cannabis plant and build a future with it.
I have a lot of readers who are looking and thinking about becoming entrepreneurs. Some might be kicking it around. They may not know anything about farming. If they were interested in learning more, what do they do? How much money do they need to get started? Do you provide any mentorship, financing or help for them to get into this business?
There are different ways to get into this business. If they want to learn more, first of all, I would recommend reading a certain book first. It’s called The Emperor Wears No Clothes. It gives you a history of industrial hemp, especially in America. I would start there. I would reach out to us. We use social media a lot. That’s our main tool. That’s how we get our message out. We’re on Facebook and Instagram. That’s our main source. It’s the best tool to get started and plus they get to see what we’re doing out there. We put a lot of content out so they can see what we got going on. We have the Smoke and Grow Rich Tour. We’re going to bring people out to Denver, Colorado.
We’re going to have one day for those who want to learn about the cannabis industry in particular. If they want to get into the medical marijuana business, we’ll give them a tour of that. If they want to get into the industrial hemp side, we’re going to show them processes and facilities. We’re going to show them how to grow it. We’re going to take them on a couple of farms. We’re going to sit them down with some consultants to go over their particular situation. I would suggest they come to the Smoke and Grow Rich Tour.
How do they get in touch with you?
You can reach me at Info@SmokeAndGrowRichTour.com or they can reach me on Instagram, @SmokeAndGrowRichTour or Facebook. We have a Facebook group that you can join. It’s called Black Hemp 2020. We’re getting people ready to get for the 2020 season. Come May, you should have something in the ground so you can take advantage of this, but I would start now. You have plenty of time to learn what you need to learn to get your financing in place, to secure your land and genetics. Planting times start right now. Now is the time to start.
Do you help with the financing?
Yes, we do. We work with some investors that will be backing these projects. We have consultants that will go around and help set up the farms, set up the irrigation, help you picked the right genetics, the whole process.
You help with the financing through your investors. You have consultants that will teach and educate them on this. You have farm managers that will go out to their farms and locations and help them or teach them the business. That’s very impressive.
Follow us or send me a direct message. We respond to those and they can also join our Facebook group. That’s for minority black farmers who want to get into this industry because our goal is to bring back farming into the black community.
Tariq, I want to thank you for coming on MBA, Minority Business Access.
- NorthStar Genetics
- Smoke and Grow Rich
- Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- @SmokeAndGrowRich – Instagram
- Think and Grow Rich
- The Emperor Wears No Clothes
- Facebook – NorthStar Genetics
- Instagram – NorthStar Genetics
- Black Hemp 2020 – Facebook group
About Tariq Bey
Tariq Bey CEO of SMOKE AND GROW RICH a former executive of a Tech Company, entrepreneur and real estate investor now advises community farmers, small businesses and other interested parties on how to navigate their way into the explosive cannabis and hemp industry.
With out of the box strategies and forward-thinking ideas, Bey decided to partner with Cannabis & Hemp Professional Consultants to startup and form Smoke & Grow Rich Tours. The business model is based on the concept of arranging informative cannabis and hemp tours to the legal states like Colorado, California, Nevada, Oklahoma, Florida, and up to Canada.
Thirty-three states have now legalized some form of cannabis and hemp use and sales, with pending Federal Legislation that could soon legalize cannabis in all 50 states and the revised 2018 Farm Bill that now allows the farming and processing of industrial hemp