Hempsley was founded in prohibition Missouri. 

Kristen Williams, Founder & CEO, grew up in a conservative family in Columbia, MO. A “good kid,” she got straight A’s, filled her free time with youth group and summer mission trips, and never drank or did drugs. 


Her second year of college at Truman State University, a friend back home was getting in trouble for cannabis. When she sat him down for a D.A.R.E. inspired lecture, he ended up persuading her that she needed to try the plant for herself. After doing her own research, she conceded — and realized that what she had believed her first 20 years were untrue. 


In 2013, Kristen heard the story of Charlotte Figi, a young girl whose some 300 grand mal seizures per week were being subdued with CBD oil, and the public’s backlash on her parents for treating her with a “drug.” It was then that she made it her mission to help people understand how this plant works as medicine — and that using it didn’t necessarily mean getting “high.”


At that time, Kristen entered the cannabis industry as a remote graphic designer, determined to help change the stigma by giving companies a credible and professional brand. After three years of traveling, experiencing legal markets, and working for some of the best brands in the industry, she couldn’t ignore the need for education in her own community — and other prohibition states. 


Kristen worked with New Approach Missouri in 2016 to fundraise and gather petition signatures for a medical cannabis initiative, but discovered that she wasn’t great at either task. Feeling frustrated and helpless after the medical initiative failed to make it on the November 2016 ballot, Kristen decided that her energy could be best used elsewhere and shifted her focus to educating her community about this plant. After all, when it finally does come to a vote (and it will), we need to make sure that Missourians are comfortable enough with this plant to vote for legalization.