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HLC is an exclusive coalition that brings together the very best that the hemp industry has to offer. Our members share an uncompromising focus on emphasizing, promoting, and advancing the highest standards of quality, growth, and forward-thinking vision necessary to achieve both short-term and long-term success.

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Because having boots on the ground makes all the difference. The very best companies already have teams of very capable professionals on staff working on compliance issues, but the industry as a whole lacks coordination of effort and a unified voice. A coalition is needed to convey the knowledge, experience, and support necessary for government to advance the state of the science and regulation.

HLC provides companies with an opportunity to align common interests and goals by providing dedicated lobbying and legal resources in support of monitoring, developing, and advocating for regulatory and governmental policies based on common sense and sound science.

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Competition is fierce, and it isn’t always fair. Few companies are willing to do what is required, and fewer still are willing to invest in the resources necessary to make sure that what’s required gets done properly. HLC serves to lower the cost of barrier to entry for those select companies that are interested in operating with the highest degree of respect for developing and implementing policies that benefit the best in the industry. Membership in HLC is exclusive, and our high standards are non-negotiable.

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the hlc difference

We understand that there is a world of difference between those that advocate for policies that allow your business to grow and expand with a long-term view, and those that advocate simply to score political points. HLC commits that we will fully understand the needs of our members and serve to achieve real results that make a difference to your bottom line. Everything we do begins and ends with a single question: will our efforts help our members grow and thrive, both domestically and internationally?

• HLC is laser-focused on hemp policy and regulation, and our single purpose is to achieve real success in Washington.

• Hemp is our only line of business. The federal government and international markets are our expertise.

• Our decades of experience in Washington and around the world gives us practical insight into what it takes to accomplish real progress.

• We understand the nuances that don’t appear in textbooks.

• We know how to scan the landscape and look ahead at how the chess match will likely play out.

• We think ahead and war game the scenarios to chart a real path to the finish line.

• We have a few gray hairs, because we’ve spent significant time at the negotiating table.

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Truly professional representation. The intricacies of regulation in Washington requires expertise, not guesswork. We work closely with one of the top law firms in Washington to advance our policy goals, and we understand the important influence that Congress places on the advancement of regulatory policies. We read the law, we understand the regulations, and we have the important conversations with those that are in the best position to effect positive change.

Our experience extends well beyond our borders. HLC offers professional guidance to our members to help navigate international market expansion. Opportunities around the glob ewill continue to grow, and companies looking to expand into international markets will require specific advice and guidance. HLC has strategic advisors on staff who can provide invaluable insight.

Our Team

Russell Laird,

Executive Director

Mr. Laird has decades of experience working with the federal government. He has managed issue portfolios on and off of Capitol Hill for a variety of industry interests, including: utility finance, trucking, and consumer packaged goods. He has managed his own company in the cotton industry which involved dealing with a patent held by a federal agency and managing a sizable federal grant program. Most recently, he served in a leadership position at USDA and spent the last couple of years guiding the policy work of another hemp organization.

Scott Sinder,

Government Affairs/General Counsel

Steptoe & Johnson is a highly reputable law firm with decades of experience dealing with the federal government. With a long list of former government officials at their office in downtown Washington, Steptoe is well-positioned to provide counsel on a variety of strategic needs for HLC. Mr. Sinder chairs the firm’s Government Affairs Public Policy Practice group and regularly leads legislative and regulatory advocacy campaigns on behalf of individual clients and trade groups. Mr. Sinder also serves as General Counsel for numerous tax-exempt organizations that are engaged in lobbying activities.

Daniel Rubenstein,

Food and Drug Counsel

Mr. Rubenstein brings a unique perspective to the HLC, having worked as an Industrial Engineer for a medical device manufacturer for a number of years prior to becoming an attorney. This experience provides Mr. Rubenstein with a special understanding of the importance of providing timely and actionable strategic advice to companies that operate in the FDA-regulated space. Mr. Rubenstein has advised dozens of companies in the tobacco and e-vapor space throughout the course of FDA’s development of the Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) process for electronic nicotine delivery systems, and has conducted on-site manufacturing and quality audits of facilities from coast-to-coast. He stays actively involved in discussions among the legal community through his service on the Food and Drug Law Institute's Cannabis-Derived Products Committee.


Executive Director



4201 Wilson Blvd, Suite 300 Arlington, VA 2220390-2021