Friends of HEMP

Board of Directors


Annie Rouse (Founder and President) – Annie Rouse is a U.S. Fulbright Scholar who studied the environmental life cycle of hemp in Canada. After returning home, she founded Friends of Hemp, to enhance educational outreach in Kentucky and beyond. In 2018 Ms. Rouse Co-Founded Anavii Market, an online retailer for third-party verified hemp-derived CBD and other hemp products. Over the last 10-years, she has conducted archival research within the Library of Medicine and other government archives to identify the underlying concerns and therapeutic attributes of cannabis. She is the author, producer and narrator of the podcast series, “Anslinger: The untold cannabis conspiracy” and the blog Think Hempy Thoughts.

Ms. Rouse is also a member of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a board member of the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association and member of the Legislative Review Committee for the Hemp Industries Association. She is also a published author in Hemp Magazine and Hemp Business Journal. Ms. Rouse holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kentucky in Economics and a Master’s Degree in International Environmental Policy and an MBA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.



Betsy Kephart (Secretary) – Betsy Kephart was born and raised in Northern Kentucky in the greater Cincinnati area, but has lived on rural Kentucky farms since 1976. She and her husband have lived on their Bourbon County farm for 30+ years.  They have raised tobacco, cattle, chickens, organic vegetables, and currently have a one acre vineyard. Their vineyard includes two varietal hybrids – chambourcin, a French-American hybrid, and cayuga, an American hybrid.  They have sold their grapes to Jeanne Farris Winery and Bistro, Wildside Winery, and Lover’s Leap Vineyards and Winery, among others. Mrs. Kephart is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, with a minor in History. Before retiring in 2016, she worked as an Administrative Research Assistant Principal in the Office of the Dean of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. She and her husband are in the process of developing and initiating a new business that will incorporate hemp seed in the final product.



Joseph Hickey (Treasurer) – Joseph Hickey’s roots in the hemp industry began in 1993 as founder and Executive Director of the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative. Soon after, he was convincing then Gov. Brereton Jones to form the Hemp Task Force (to study the feasibility of hemp as a Kentucky cash crop). In 1998, Mr. Hickey was a founder and board member of Kenex Ltd, Canada’s first commercial hemp seed and fiber processing company. For over a decade, Mr. Hickey helped start and grow a number of environmentally conscious organizations, including Tierra Madre, LLC with Woody Harrelson, Baswood, and Prairie Pulp & Paper. Upon Kentucky’s reintroduction of hemp in early 2014, Mr. Hickey became a founding member of Hemp Oil Kentucky, Kentucky Hemp Seed Research & Development Co. and Kenex Kentucky. He is currently working with farmers, state regulators and attorneys to bring Kentucky its first commercial scale hemp seed breeding, crushing, and fiber processing facility.


Ben PasleyBen Pasley (Board Member) – Ben Pasley is a 5th generation farmer from Clark County, Kentucky. He is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, after graduating Mr. Pasley served in various roles for Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear in his Executive Cabinet. Mr. Pasley is currently an Owner and COO of Laura’s Hemp Chocolates, a chocolate brand using Kentucky grown hemp and dark chocolate to create a healthy chocolate. Mr. Pasley has been involved in the Kentucky Hemp Program in some capacity since 2014. Since 2015, Mr. Pasley has participated as a farmer with Mt. Folly Farm as they experiment with the various ways to grow certified organic grain hemp, conventional grain hemp, and organic CBD hemp within the Ky Dept of Ag Hemp Program.


A.Dale-JoseyDale Josey (Board Member) – A graduate of the University of Michigan, Dale Josey was born in North Carolina and came of age in Upstate New York. The former model spent a number of years working behind and in front of TV cameras in Lexington, KY. An accomplished
public speaker Mr. Josey has presented a number of corporate leadership development and training programs. He also has extensive experience facilitating workshops on a diverse range of leadership topics including Living Life without Fear and The Fine Art of Leadership in addition to speaking at several national conventions. Mr. Josey has also worked as the Director of Marketing & Client Development for several large multi-state law firms including Wyatt Tarrant & Combs and Stoll Keenon Ogden before crossing over into governmental affairs. He was part of a mayoral campaign team that placed second in a competitive primary election. The former entrepreneur lives in Louisville where he has served on various Board of Directors for multiple non-profit organizations. He is a certified judge for Miss Kentucky Pageant System and currently is Executive Director of Blackacre Historic Homestead & State Nature Preserve


Derek VaughanDerek Vaughan (Board Member) – Derek Vaughan is CEO and Chairman of G.F. Vaughan Tobacco.






Jane Harrod (Board Member) – Jane Harrod is a Kentuckian with deep roots to the farming community, social activism and music. Her native restoration business of 35 years, Jane’s Native Seed, has had significant impact by putting back native geno-type wildflowers into numerous projects around Kentucky, with the Olmsted -Louisville Parks restoration being one of the most significant and high profile. Ms. Harrod proudly served from 1992 through 1997 on the board of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth learning how to move our political landscape toward justice for all. She served on the Governor’s Forestry Board from 2001 until 2003 researching and recommending the ‘Best Management Practices’ for Forestry that we work from today. Today she farms hogs , cattle, vegetables and hemp along with her two brothers at her Clays Ferry farm south of Lexington.


Josh HendrixJosh Hendrix (Board Member) – Born and raised in the Bluegrass State and a University of Kentucky alumnus, Josh Hendrix relocated back to Central Kentucky in 2014 on a mission to help rebuild the US hemp industry. Seeing a need to bring farmers, processors, manufacturers and supporters of the industry together, Mr. Hendrix founded the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association that summer. He also became an active member of the US Hemp Roundtable where he now serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors. In 2015 he created and became President of Hendrix Hemp, a licensed hemp producer that manages hemp cultivation on his family’s, Mayflower Farm, in Mount Sterling, KY. In early 2017 Mr. Hendrix was appointed to the Board of Directors for the National Hemp Association and also accepted a role on the Board of Directors for Friends of Hemp. He is also the host of the Hemp Happy Hour, a live radio show and podcast about the emerging hemp industry. Currently Mr. Hendrix serves as the Director of Business Development – Domestic Production for CV Sciences, Inc. where he works with numerous universities, farmers, businesses, and organizations to help facilitate the infrastructure necessary to establish a modern domestic supply chain for hemp in the United States.


John DeReamerJohn DeReamer (Board Member)John DeReamer is a Kentuckian, born and raised in Lexington. With a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Mr. DeReamer has cultivated an interest in CBD hemp. During his time as a student, he was part of a class that presented a hemp fiber processing facility proposal to the Governors Office of Agriculture Policy.  Mr. DeReamer also worked for the UK Center for Crop Diversification while he was in school. Following graduation in 2016, he became a licensed CBD Hemp Producer and continues to be a strong advocate for hemp and Kentucky agriculture. As well as serving on the board for Friends of Hemp, Mr. DeReamer also fulfills the role of Secretary for the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association.


Courtney N. Moran, LL.M. (Board Member) Courtney Moran is the founding principal of EARTH Law, LLC and chief legislative strategist for Agricultural Hemp Solutions, LLC is the leading expert on industrial hemp law championing legal policy for sustainable Cannabis hemp agribusiness development. Courtney’s article, Industrial Hemp: Canada Exports, United States Imports was published by the Fordham Environmental Law Review. She participated in the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem in April 2016. In October 2016, Courtney testified before the Senado de la República in Mexico City, Mexico. She successfully lobbies for the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association passing legislation, HB 4060 (2016), SB 1015 (2017), and HB 4089 (2018), protecting Oregon hemp agricultural interests. She authored H 3559 (2017), establishing the South Carolina hemp program. Courtney provided foundational language for SB 119 (2017), establishing the Wisconsin hemp program. Ms. Moran strategically guided drafting SB 6 (2017-2018), establishing the Alaska hemp program. She also provided pivotal strategy in drafting pending Missouri hemp legislation SB 547 and HB 2034. Ms. Moran is also co-petitioner of the Relegalizing Industrial Hemp Project, a formal administrative rulemaking petition to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency that will remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

Jason Amatucci (Board Member) – Jason Amatucci is the founder of The Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition, a grassroots education and advocacy group that works on correcting the current erroneous State and Federal laws inhibiting the American hemp industry. Through the years, Mr. Amatucci has been a primary drafter and editor of all the hemp bills that have  passed in the Virginia General Assembly, as well as assisting with the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in the United States Congress. As a recognized leader in the field, he has been instrumental in Virginia, connecting those who support the cause and organizing groups for action-based initiatives. In 2018 he became co-founder of Anavii Market. Mr. Amatucci earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Georgia with a double major in Anthropology and Political Science and received a Certificate in Global Studies from the Center for the Study in Global Issues.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.