The North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association has expanded to seven states and rebranded as a regional group.

The new Southeast Hemp Association includes some 650 hemp farmers and processors in seven states. The group added members from Georgia, Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Blake Butler, executive director of the former North Carolina group, remains the executive director of the expanded association, which is independent and not a chapter of any larger group.

“State borders should not define us when it comes to this multi-use agricultural commodity,” Butler said in a statement. “Our goal is to establish a better network of communication to address all the upcoming state and federal challenges in our industry.”