Our mission

Georgia Hemp Association is an agribusiness association that provides hemp education and marketing services to its members. It is our mission to be advocates for farmers, business owners, investors, and landowners in the State of Georgia and throughout the nation. As industrial hemp continues to evolve, our commitment will always be the same; to ensure commonwealth, education and infrastructure in Georgia and across the US.

Our Vision

To build partnerships with national and international industrial hemp experts, state industrial leaders and hemp enthusiasts to provide best-in-class education for growers and producers, while launching consumer hemp awareness campaigns.

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Image by 2H Media

Michael (Coach) Harris, MBA

GHA Founder & Vice President

Michael “Coach” Harris, is a US Navy Veteran, hemp influencer, and former lobbyist. He was instrumental in enacting legislation in Georgia in the passing of the HB213 - "Georgia Hemp Farming Act” and the HB324 - “Georgia’s Hope Act.”  His dedication to educating others about the hemp industry and its potential impact on Georgia's economy drives his commitment. His goal is to change the dialogue and stigma of hemp.

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Cynthia Merchant

GHA Treasurer

Cynthia Merchant graduated with a B.A. degree in Human Resources. She has owned several businesses; her years of experience have made her a skillful negotiator. She has experience and knowledge in international trade and business operations. Her background also includes education, quality assurance, and control. She became interested in hemp based on her research and the desire to educate others on the medicinal uses of hemp.

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Richard Freeman
GHA Board Member
Richard received his Juris Doctorate from Drake University Law School. He has several years of corporate and private law experience; with his legal background in federal law and employment relations, he has used his knowledge to help individuals know their rights. The Farm Bill, hemp legalization, and the misconception of its uses remain in a conversation with policymakers. There still are numerous restrictions to overcome.

Stephanie O'Neal, MBA
GHA President

Stephanie has a decade of experience in business management and operations in education. She has served on numerous non-profit boards that advocate for the rights of others. She brings a worth of experience in strategy, advocacy, and compliance management. Her background in education cultivates a learning platform for industrial hemp and business education. She will bring years of experience to develop programs to support farmers and business owners.


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Tracy Ford-Bryant

GHA Secretary

Tracy has an entrepreneurial spirit; with a B.S. degree in Economics, her journey has given her experience in project management, real estate investment, fleet management, supply chain, and logistics. As an owner of The Stepping Stone Trucking Company, her understanding of the flow and services of goods will highlight the need for an infrastructure in the growing hemp industry. Barriers to infrastructure still exist.

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Michelle Dawes Birt, MBA
GHA Board Member
Michelle is a successful entrepreneur, lecturer, philanthropist, and community activist. She is the founder of Real Chicks Rock!, a non-profit organization that helps women and children obtain life skills to produce options and add value to their lives; she has years of corporate experience as a project manager. Her advocacy to give back to the community through education, economic empowerment, and community projects will bring awareness to a growing agribusiness industry.


Image by Matthew Sichkaruk

GHA Board members