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  • 28 Jan 2014 10:00 AM | Eric Steenstra

    Hemp Research First Step to Restoring American Hemp Agriculture and Manufacturing Industries

    WASHINGTON, DC — Vote Hemp, the nation's leading hemp grassroots advocacy organization working to revitalize industrial hemp production in the U.S., is excited to report that an amendment to legalize hemp production for research purposes was included in the Farm Bill, which will soon be voted on in both the House and Senate. Originally introduced by Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the amendment allows colleges and universities, and now also State Agriculture Departments per the conference committee revisions, to grow hemp for academic or agricultural research purposes, but applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law. The full text of the bill may be found at: http://www.votehemp.com/FarmBill.

    "Although I strongly opposed the Republican Farm Bill, I was pleased to see that the bipartisan amendment that I offered with Representatives Blumenauer and Massie was included in the final bill that passed the House of Representatives today," said Rep. Polis. "This commonsense amendment will allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes in states where industrial hemp cultivation is already legal. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that this language becomes law."

    "This is an important victory for farmers, manufacturers, and consumers in Kentucky and across the country. Our amendment paves the way for production of industrial hemp by first allowing America's academic and research institutions to demonstrate that hemp and the products derived from hemp present a great economic opportunity for our country," said Rep. Massie. "The inclusion of our industrial hemp amendment in the farm bill reflects widespread support for cultivating industrial hemp and proves Congress can work together in a bipartisan fashion to help the American economy at a time when creating jobs is a national priority."

    So far in the 2014 legislative season, industrial hemp legislation has been introduced in eleven states: Hawaii, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire (carried over from 2013), New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington (two bills were carried over from 2013) West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The full text of these states' hemp bills may also be found at: http://www.votehemp.com/state.html#2014.

    "With the U.S. hemp industry estimated at over $500 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal law to allow for colleges and universities to grow hemp for research would mean that we will finally begin to regain the knowledge that unfortunately has been lost over the past fifty years," says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra. "The American Farm Bureau Federation announced their opposition to the controlled substance classification of hemp earlier this month, and now passage of this amendment means America can get on track to once again become the predominant producer and manufacturer of hemp-one of the most versatile and ecological industrial crops on the planet."

    In addition to the Farm Bill amendment, two standalone industrial hemp bills have been introduced in the 113th Congress so far. H.R. 525, the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013," was introduced in the U.S. House on February 6, 2013. The companion bill, S. 359, was introduced in the U.S. Senate soon thereafter on February 14, 2013. The bills define industrial hemp, exclude it from the definition of "marihuana" in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), and give states the exclusive authority to regulate the growing and processing of the crop under state law. If passed, the bills would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis. The full text of the bills, as well as their status and co-sponsors, can also be found at http://VoteHemp.com/legislation.

    To date, thirty-two states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and twenty have passed pro-hemp legislation. Ten states (California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia) have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. Three states (Hawaii, Kentucky and Maryland) have passed bills creating commissions or authorizing research. Nine states (California, Colorado, Illinois, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Vermont and Virginia) have passed resolutions. And eight states (Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota and Vermont) have passed study bills. However, despite state authorization to grow hemp, farmers in those states still risk raids by federal agents, prison time, and property and civil asset forfeiture if they plant the crop, due to the failure of federal policy to distinguish non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis (i.e., industrial hemp) from psychoactive drug varieties (i.e., "marihuana").

    # # #

    Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Lauren Stansbury at 402-540-1208 or lauren@wearemovementmedia.com .

    END


  • 22 Jan 2014 2:44 PM | Eric Steenstra

    Majority of Leading Farming Organizations Now Support Hemp Farming in the U.S.

    WASHINGTON, DC — The national, single-issue, non-profit advocacy group Vote Hemp applauds the new resolution on industrial hemp that was adopted by delegates of the American Farm Bureau Federation at its 95th annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas last week, January 14, 2014. The policy resolution urges the repeal of the classification of industrial hemp as a controlled substance. The effort was lead by the Indiana Farm Bureau. The resolution, which falls under the "we oppose" category, reads:

    "The classification of industrial hemp as a controlled substance."

    The Farm Bureau previously passed a policy resolution supporting industrial hemp research in 1995, which read:

    "We recommend that [the] American Farm Bureau Federation encourage research into the viability and economic potential of industrial hemp production in the United States. We further recommend that such research includes planting test plots in the United States using modern agricultural techniques."

    The AFBF position in favor of decriminalizing industrial hemp cultivation is an auspicious boon to the hemp legalization movement, as currently the House version of the Farm Bill contains an amendment to legalize university research on industrial hemp in states that have removed barriers to the crop's production. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual policy resolutions significantly influence both state and federal legislation on agriculture, food and interstate trade, and represent the majority voice of farmers around the country.

    "We support the declassification of industrial hemp as a controlled substance because of the opportunity that it provides some farmers to diversify their operations and share in a new market opportunity. At a time when small farms are innovating and diversifying to remain competitive, we should provide every opportunity to increase farm incomes and allow the next generation the ability to continue living off the land as their families have for generations," said Kyle P. Cline, Policy Advisor with the Indiana Farm Bureau. "Industrial hemp is one such opportunity that may work for some farmers in certain regions. Furthermore, industrial hemp will allow the U.S. farmer to share in income that is currently going overseas. Right now, it is legal to import hemp but illegal to produce it. Therefore, there is no opportunity currently to share in the profit."

    "The AFBF position on removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act demonstrates a positive shift at the grassroots level, it shows that farmers all over the U.S. see industrial hemp for what it is-a versatile, low-input crop," said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "Farmers see hemp imported from China, Canada, and realize that they're missing out on the growing U.S. market for hemp. That farmers are coming forward with formal support for policy change in favor of hemp legalization is a huge step forward and Congress should follow their lead and pass legislation to once again allow hemp farming under federal law."

    The Farm Bureau's position on industrial hemp demonstrates the widespread support among national farming organizations for a change in the federal government's position on hemp. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) previously passed a resolution that "supports revisions to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial production of industrial hemp." The National Grange voted to support hemp in 2009, stating that it "supports research, production, processing and marketing of industrial hemp as a viable agricultural activity." The National Farmers Union (NFU) passed their first pro-hemp resolution at their 2010 convention. The policy was updated at their 2013 convention and states that the NFU supports:

    "Urging the president, attorney general and Congress to direct the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reclassify industrial hemp as a non-controlled substance and adopt policy to allow American farmers to grow industrial hemp under state law without affecting eligibility for USDA benefits."

    Grown commercially in Canada since 1998, hemp has become one of the most profitable crops for farmers north of the U.S. border. While American farmers often net less than $100 per acre for soy and corn, Canadian farmers net an average of $250 per acre for hemp.

    To date, thirty-two states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and ten states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. However, despite changes to state laws allowing hemp, farmers in these states risk raids by federal agents, prison time and land forfeiture if they plant the crop, due to the failure of federal policy to distinguish oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis (i.e., industrial hemp) from drug varieties.

    Currently, Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) are organizing Hemp History Week, a national campaign sponsoring local educational and retailer events in all 50 states from June 2-8, 2014. This industry-wide project involves hundreds of hemp manufacturers, retailers and volunteers. For more information, visit:www.HempHistoryWeek.com.

    # # #


  • 16 Jan 2014 12:26 PM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    Tennessee HIA Chapter Launches New State HIA Affiliate Program as Grassroots Coalition for Legalization of Industrial Hemp Gains Momentum

    MURFREESBORO, TN — The Hemp Industries Association and the group formerly known as The Tennessee Hemp Organization, are proud to announce the establishment of the Tennessee Hemp Industries Association, the first state chapter affiliate of the national HIA. Formally launched in September of last year, 2014 marks the inaugural year of the novel associations' education initiatives to support legalizing industrial hemp farming and industries in the state, and facilitate a hemp business resource network. Founding member, Colleen Sauve, represented the Tennessee HIA chapter at the 2013 Annual HIA conference in Washington, DC in November, where she participated in a hemp lobby day, visited Senator Bob Corker's DC office on Capitol Hill, and met with his staff to discuss opportunities for hemp in Tennessee.

    The Tennessee HIA will launch a fundraising campaign this coming spring, to begin as a strong trade-association in support of future hemp industries in the state. Having the HIA as the backbone to the state initiative will assist to facilitate business and opportunity in Tennessee's future.

    "There is much work to be done in Tennessee to prepare our local farming and business sectors for the economic boom industrial hemp legalization will bring," said Colleen Sauve, founder of the nascent Tennessee HIA chapter. "We aim to provide resources and information to all those looking to grow, manufacture or sell hemp and hemp products as well as catalyze support for industrial hemp legalization throughout the state."

    "The grassroots movement to legalize industrial hemp is quickly gaining momentum, especially at the state level, as business, agriculture and manufacturing sectors realize the value and versatility of this incredible crop," said Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the national Hemp Industries Association. "We hope to see more local state chapters partner with the HIA, so we can collaborate and work together toward making hemp farming a reality for farmers across the country."

    To date, thirty-two states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and ten states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. However, despite changes to state laws allowing hemp, farmers in these states risk raids by federal agents, prison time and land forfeiture if they plant the crop, due to the failure of federal policy to distinguish oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis (i.e., industrial hemp) from psychoactive varieties.

    # # #

    Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Lauren Stansbury at 402-540-1208 or lauren@wearemovementmedia.com.


  • 28 Sep 2013 12:21 PM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    SB 566 Would Allow California Farmers to Grow Industrial Hemp Upon Federal Approval

    SACRAMENTO, CA — Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the nation's leading hemp grassroots advocacy organization and industry trade group, respectively, each working to revitalize industrial hemp production and processing in the U.S., are excited to report that Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 566, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. After moving smoothly through the California legislature with strong bi-partisan support, this landmark legislation has now become California law.

    Introduced by Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 566 ensures that California is prepared to begin registering hemp farmers once the federal government has given states the green light. The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act will establish a framework for farming the oilseed and fiber varieties of the plant, which are used in a myriad of everyday consumer products, including food, body care, clothing, paper, auto parts, composites, building materials, and bio-fuels. Enforcement and oversight of hemp production would be conducted in concert with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and county agricultural commissioners, as is done with other crops.

    "SB 566 demonstrates the real momentum behind the national movement to legalize industrial hemp," said Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. "With Congressional bills to legalize hemp currently in both the House and Senate, California is on the cutting edge, pushing forward with an industrial hemp law that would not only stimulate much needed growth in local business and farming sectors, but ultimately lead the nation toward a federal policy change that would open hemp cultivation to hemp farmers around the country. This will lower our dependence on Canada and China for hemp imports, and empower our agrarian and manufacturing economies to finally tap into one of the fastest growing natural products in the market."

    "With the signing of this bill, California is poised to grow industrial hemp when the federal government gives states the green light," said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. "In the past year, the conversation to legalize the cultivation of hemp has gained momentum at the federal level, and it is only a matter of time before a farmer's right to grow hemp is restored. Hemp, which is already found in hundreds of consumer products manufactured in our state, is a perfect crop for California. It has great potential to revitalize family farms, create new jobs and stimulate the economy."

    Strong support for the bill has come from The California Sheriffs Association, individual county sheriffs, family and organic farmers, environmental organizations, labor unions, and businesses statewide.

    Vote Hemp and HIA believe that hemp farming registrations could be accepted as soon as 2014 based on the recent memo from Deputy Attorney General James Cole of the Department of Justice. "Before farmers can begin planting hemp under SB 566, the state will need to seek clarification from federal officials that state regulations for hemp farming meet the requirements outlined in the recent memo issued by Deputy Attorney General James Cole," notes Vote Hemp Director Patrick Goggin.

    Today, more than 30 industrialized nations grow industrial hemp and export it to the United States. Hemp is the only crop that is illegal to grow at the federal level, yet is legal for Americans to import. Among the numerous California-based companies who have supported the bill are Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, makers of North America's top-selling natural soap, and Nutiva, a rising star among innovative health food companies. Both of these businesses currently must import hemp from other countries. The passage of SB 566 sends a strong message to Washington that the time has come to change federal policy regarding industrial hemp.

    "Hemp grown right here in California would stimulate massive growth in the food, body care, textiles, building and other crucial sectors that suffer from having to import less efficient materials in lieu of this lucrative industrial crop," says David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. "The nationwide movement to legalize industrial hemp and farm it right here in the US to benefit American business is growing, and SB 566 opens a door to incredible opportunity for farmers who seek sustainable agriculture, ecologically responsible businesses and products. Ultimately, this bill will help end the prohibition on what is one of the most versatile and environmentally revolutionary industrial crops on the planet."

    "Nutiva looks forward to buying hemp from American farmers," says John Roulac, President of Nutiva. "This will add American jobs and reduce our fuel consumption."

    California businesses currently spend millions of dollars each year importing hemp primarily from Canada, China, and Europe. Demand for hemp products has been growing rapidly in recent years, and it is estimated that the U.S. hemp market now exceeds $500 million in annual retail sales. From natural soaps to healthy foods, there are a large variety of "Made in California" hemp products whose manufacturers and buyers will greatly benefit from an in-state source of hemp seed, fiber, and oil.

    The environmental and agricultural benefits are not limited to the versatility of uses. Industrial hemp is an excellent rotation crop because its dense growth smothers weeds without herbicides and helps to break the disease cycle. Hemp requires less water and agricultural inputs than other crops, has deep tap roots that leave the soil in excellent condition for the next crop, and is proven to increase yields. These benefits save farmers money and reduce the amount of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers that run into our waterways.

    # # #

    Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Lauren Stansbury at 402-540-1208 or lauren@wearemovementmedia.com.



  • 26 Feb 2013 11:59 AM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    Retail Promotions, Grassroots Events, Restaurant Program, College Roadshow and Premiere of New Documentary Film will Anchor Public Education Campaign

    WASHINGTON, DC — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp have announced plans for the fourth annual Hemp History Week to be held from June 3-9, 2013. The theme of the 2013 campaign is Hemp: Our Heritage, Our Future. A national grassroots education campaign designed to amplify support for hemp farming in the U.S., Hemp History Week 2013 will feature an estimated 850 events in cities and towns throughout all 50 states. Volunteer-led grassroots events, retail promotions, a documentary film premiere, a restaurant program, a college campus roadshow, a day of action and an online letter-writing drive to encourage the Obama Administration and Congress to change federal law that currently prohibits American farmers from growing industrial hemp are all facets of the campaign to bring this environmentally sustainable and profitable crop back to American soil. More information and a promotional video for the campaign are available at:www.HempHistoryWeek.com.

    "Hemp was once a paramount crop in American agriculture, as a hardy and renewable resource for various industrial applications, including cordage, paper and textiles," says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "Now, hemp is being used in an even greater variety of products, including health foods, organic body care, clothing, construction materials, biofuels, plastic composites and more. Increasingly, we're moving toward a future that embraces environmentally sustainable agriculture practices, and hemp is at the forefront of that movement, given its incredibly diverse applications and net-positive environmental impact.Hemp History Week 2013 will focus on how industrial hemp can help build a future in which economic growth and sustainable agricultural and manufacturing practices go hand-in-hand."

    Letter-Writing Campaign
    A primary objective of Hemp History Week is to advocate for federal policy change, while sending a strong, positive message to President Obama and Congress to end the ban on hemp farming and let U.S. farmers grow the versatile and profitable crop once again. The campaign will conduct outreach to encourage the public to write their representatives and sign an online petition to change current federal law restricting the cultivation of industrial hemp. Legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress already this session, and many members of Congress currently support the legislation in favor of a federal policy change. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently came out in support of hemp farming by co-sponsoring S. 359, the Senate companion bill to the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 (H.R. 525), and has expressed support for Kentucky's recently passed Senate bill (SB 50), which would allow Kentucky farmers to grow industrial hemp once federal restrictions are lifted.

    "The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real," said Sen. McConnell, "and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me."

    Celebrity Endorsements
    Hemp History Week is endorsed by a long list of celebrities and high-profile wellness experts, including Dr. Andrew Weil, Alicia Silverstone, Phil Lempert, Ashley Koff, R.D., Brendan Brazier, Elizabeth Kucinich, Ziggy Marley, Alexandra Jamieson, Dar Williams, Michael Franti, John Salley and Kevin Danaher.

    Grassroots Events
    This year's campaign will include over 150 grassroots events nationwide, as well as a new program to bring hemp education programming to over thirty college campuses around the country. Specific details about grassroots events will be announced in early April on the Hemp History Week Web site.

    Documentary Film Premiere
    Bringing It Home, a new hour-long documentary film about industrial hemp, explores the question of why a crop with so many widespread benefits cannot be farmed in the U.S. today. The film explores the history of hemp, its myriad industrial applications and legalization efforts. Through a grassroots audience engagement screening tour, the documentary aims to magnify dialogue about hemp in order to facilitate America's transition to a more informed, sustainable and healthy future. The film will premier in conjunction with Hemp History Week 2013 with screenings in major cities across the country.

    Filmmakers Linda Booker and Blaire Johnson were inspired by environmentally conscious home designer Anthony Brenner's story to find the healthiest building material available to build a safe indoor environment for his young daughter, Bailey, who has a sensitivity to synthetic chemicals. Brenner received national media attention when he and Hemp Technologies completed "America's First Hemp House" for the former mayor of Asheville, North Carolina. Booker and Johnson tell the story of hemp through animation, archival images and footage of hemp business leaders and entrepreneurs like Brenner from England, Spain, Washington, D.C., California and North Carolina. For more information, go to:www.BringingItHomeMovie.com.

    Retail Promotions
    Promotions and in-store events highlighting the benefits of hemp will occur in hundreds of natural product retail outlets across the county. Hemp product promotions will happen in more than 700 participating retail stores, including most Whole Foods Market locations in the U.S.

    National Restaurant Program
    Building off the success of the 2012 national restaurant program, Hemp History Week 2013will invite health-conscious cafes and restaurants around the county to feature hemp-infused dishes on their menus during the week of the campaign. Some restaurants will also host special events.

    "Candle 79 is looking forward to supporting the fourth annual Hemp History Week. We already use hemp in many of our favorite menu offerings, including our hemp seed-crusted seitan and our famous hemp seed ice cream desserts. Our chefs love working with hemp seed, and our customers can't get enough," says Joy Pierson, owner of Candle 79 & Candle Cafe in New York City.

    College Campus Roadshow
    The Hemp History Week College Campus Roadshow will travel 9,000 miles through fifteen states, sampling leading hemp products on over thirty campuses in seven major cities across the Midwest, Southwest and West Coast, while engaging students at agricultural colleges with educational programs, petition signings and film screenings on the economic, environmental, agricultural and nutritional benefits of industrial hemp.

    Showcasing the Health Benefits of Hemp
    A renewable resource offering a long list of health and nutritional benefits, hemp is one of the fastest-growing categories in the natural foods industry. Hemp seed is a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), providing both SDA and GLA, highly-digestible protein and naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and iron, while being a good source of dietary fiber. It is a complete protein, containing all ten essential amino acids, with no enzyme inhibitors, making it more digestible by the human body. Hemp seed is also gluten-free.

    Industry-Wide Effort
    Now in its fourth year, Hemp History Week is an industry-wide effort made possible by the support of leading natural product brands that are known for manufacturing the highest-quality hemp products. Hemp can be used in a wide variety of applications, including foods, cosmetics, clothing, building materials, auto parts and many others. The sponsors of Hemp History Week 2013 include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, Living Harvest Foods, Manitoba Harvest, Nature's Path Foods, Navitas Naturals, Nutiva, prAna and Vega. A maker of high-quality hemp clothing and accessories, prAna is a new sponsor of the campaign this year, demonstrating the rapid expansion of hemp in the fashion industry for green lifestyle products.

    "Consumers want the products they buy to reflect their personal commitment to a healthy lifestyles and environmental responsibility," says prAna Director of Sustainability, Nicole Bassett. "Hemp clothing has come a long way; the fabrics now are softer and finer. You still get that durable fabric made from a unique plant that is often grown without added irrigation or fertilizers, so its environmental impact is lower. Hemp clothing makes a statement. We're combining contemporary design and style with sustainable materials, and our new hemp line is a perfect example of how well these values can complement each other when choosing clothes."

    "Hemp is an integral component in our body care products, as the super-fatty hemp oil gives our soap its rich, foaming lather and provides moisture and nourishment to the skin," says David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, the top-selling brand of natural soap in the U.S. "Dr. Bronner's would like to source the twenty tons of hemp oil we use annually from American farmers, rather than import it from Canada, and we financially support efforts to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp right here in the U.S. We are hopeful that 2013 will be the year in which lawmakers ensure that U.S. farmers are finally allowed to once again plant hemp in American soil.

    Dan Ratner, owner of Living Harvest Foods, cites underlying nutritional motivations for their focus on hemp products, saying "Hemp seed is a truly remarkable part of the plant that offers a complete plant protein with all essential amino acid nutrients and an amazing amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 EFAs that really improves the way Americans eat. Currently, we must import our hemp seed from Canada and Europe, which translates to higher consumer prices and an increased carbon footprint. This has helped Canadian farmers with a cash rotational crop, but there is growing momentum in Congress from several key states to recognize hemp as an industrial crop. We are helping garner support from key Congressional leaders in eastern urban and industrial states to support the western states; we all need to get on board with opening access to foods that are good for people and the planet."

    "We are very appreciative of the Canadian government's support and hope that the U.S. government will soon recognize the economic opportunities hemp presents," says Mike Fata, co-founder and CEO of Manitoba Harvest. "Manitoba Harvest would love to be able to offer production contracts to U.S. farmers, so they can also benefit from this booming opportunity."

    Arran Stephens, founder and CEO of Nature's Path Foods, North America's independent, number-one brand of organic breakfast foods, says "Hemp is a nutritious, gluten-free, non-GMO superfood. Our hemp-based cereals, bars and waffles exemplify how naturally hemp can be incorporated into our diets for a much-needed nutritional boost that is often lacking in these types of foods, given the ubiquity of cheap grains like GMO corn. Nature's Path has proudly been an integral actor in the growth of the hemp industry since its beginning. This June, we look forward to celebrating our country's long history of hemp farming and educating the public on the benefits of embracing hemp - both in our farmlands and on our breakfast tables."

    "The hemp foods industry is one of the fastest-growing in the country," says John Roulac, founder and CEO of Nutiva. "Nutiva's sales have grown at an average annual rate of 52% since 2002. Our industry is seeking new sources of hemp seed to meet the growing demand for hemp foods. American-grown organic hemp is the key to successful business growth for us."

    Legislative Progress
    This month, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 (H.R. 525) was introduced in the House with twenty-eight original co-sponsors, and it was quickly joined by a companion bill in the Senate (S. 359) which was introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), underscoring the bipartisan support around the hemp issue. If passed, the bills would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties ofCannabis. The full text of the bills, as well as status and co-sponsors, can be found at:www.VoteHemp.com/legislation.

    To date, thirty-one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and nineteen have passed legislation, while eight states (Colorado, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia) have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. However, despite state authorization to grow hemp, farmers in those states risk raids by federal agents if they plant the crop, due to the failure of federal policy to distinguish oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis (i.e., industrial hemp) from psychoactive varieties (i.e., marihuana).

    So far in the 2013 legislative session, industrial hemp legislation has been introduced in fourteen states (California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont and Washington). Legislation is expected to be introduced in at least one more state as well (Colorado).

    # # #

    Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Lauren Stansbury at 402-540-1208 or lauren@wearemovementmedia.com.



  • 25 Feb 2013 11:57 AM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    2012 Annual Retail Sales for Hemp Products Hit $500 Million

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has released final estimates of the size of the 2012 U.S. retail market for hemp products. Data from market research supporting the estimates shows that retail sales of hemp food and body care products in the United States continue to set records in 2012, reaching $156 million. Sales of popular hemp items like non-dairy milk, shelled seed, soaps and lotions have occurred against the backdrop of increasing grassroots pressure to allow hemp to be grown domestically once again for U.S. processors and manufacturers. The HIA has also reviewed sales of clothing, auto parts, building materials and various other products, and it estimates the total retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S. in 2012 to be at least $500 million.

    The sales data on hemp foods and body care, collected by market research firm SPINS, was obtained from natural and conventional food retailers, excluding Whole Foods Market and certain other key establishments, who do not provide sales data - and thus it underestimates actual sales by a factor of at least three. According to the SPINS data, combined U.S. hemp food and body care sales grew in the sampled stores by 16.5%, or $7.38 million, over the previous year ending December 23, 2011 to a total of just over $52 million. According to SPINS figures, sales in conventional retailers grew by 14.1% in 2012, while sales in natural retailers grew by 18.0%.

    "The HIA is confident that the total U.S. hemp food and body care market in 2012 accounted for at least $156 million in retail sales," says David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, which uses hemp oil in its top-selling products. "The market is poised and ready for American hemp farmers and manufacturers, and the federal government needs to finally legalize this valuable crop, so we can take advantage of its economic opportunities."

    Due to significant sales from certain retailers excluded from the SPINS data, such as The Body Shop, Whole Foods Market and restaurants in general, as well as the fact that many unreported leading mass-market brands of suntan lotion and sunscreen include hemp oil, the HIA estimates the total retail value of hemp food, supplement and body care sales in the U.S. to be in the range of $156-$171 million for 2012.

    "The HIA estimates the total retail value of all hemp products sold in the U.S. to be at least $500 million for 2012," says Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the HIA. "As the hemp market grows and Canadian farmers increase their hemp acreage to meet demand, U.S. farmers' frustration at being shut out of the lucrative worldwide hemp market is catalyzing real movement throughout all levels of government to legalize industrial hemp," continues Steenstra.

    This month, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 (H.R. 525) was introduced in the House with twenty-eight original co-sponsors, and it was quickly joined by a companion bill in the Senate (S. 359) which was introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), underscoring the bipartisan support around the hemp issue. If passed, the bills would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties ofCannabis. The full text of the bills, as well as status and co-sponsors, can be found at:http://www.VoteHemp.com/legislation.

    "Introducing this bill [S. 359] is the first step towards a common sense policy on hemp that helps create American jobs," says Senator Wyden. "It is vital that all advocates for industrial hemp redouble their efforts to win support in Congress, if we are going to reestablish this economically important crop."

    # # #

    Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Lauren Stansbury at 402-540-1208 or lauren@wearemovementmedia.com.


  • 21 Feb 2013 11:55 AM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    Course Includes Contributions from 26 of the World's Top Hemp Researchers

    CORVALLIS, OR — Oregon State University's (OSU) College of Forestry and Department of Wood Science and Engineering have announced a new Ecampus course covering all aspects of industrial hemp, the non-psychoactive oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, which may be imported into the U.S. but may not be grown and processed here despite major American industries seeking permission to do so. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) estimates that U.S. annual retail sales of hemp products exceeded $500 million in 2012.

    Beginning on April 1, 2013, OSU will become the first university to offer a college-level course for credit on industrial hemp. The course will include contributions from twenty-six of the world's top hemp researchers covering a wide range of hemp-related topics.

    The 3-credit Ecampus course (WSE 266 Industrial Hemp) can be taken from anywhere in the world that has Internet access. "The 10-week course will give students the most up-to-date and thorough introduction available to all the key aspects of industrial hemp," says course coordinator and leading hemp agronomist Anndrea Hermann, who is also President of the HIA.

    Industrial hemp's historical and political context in the U.S. and worldwide will be examined. The course will cover current topics on industrial hemp, including: the applied science of growing and using industrial hemp, botany, fabric and fashion, paints and sealers, building products, composites, foods, body care, livestock feeds, bioenergy, nanotechnology, grain and fiber processes, agronomy, breeding and others.

    Hemp has played an important role in America's rich agricultural heritage, and every day more Americans are discovering its nutritional, ecological and industrial uses. Hemp is a nutrient-dense and renewable food source that is rich in dietary fiber, highly digestible protein and essential fatty acids (EFAs). It can also be used to make paper, clothing, biofuels, biodegradable plastics, automobile parts, building materials and much more.

    This month, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 (H.R. 525) was introduced in the House with twenty-eight original co-sponsors, and it was quickly joined by a companion bill in the Senate (S. 359) which was introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), underscoring the bipartisan support around the hemp issue. If passed, the bills would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp. The full text of the bills, as well as status and co-sponsors, can be found at: http://www.votehemp.com/legislation.

    Enrollment details and more information about the new Ecampus industrial hemp course can be found on the Oregon State University Web site at: http://bit.ly/OSE266.

    # # #

    Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Lauren Stansbury at 402-540-1208 or lauren@wearemovementmedia.com.


  • 07 Feb 2013 11:50 AM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    H.R. 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, and Senate Companion Bill Promise Economic Opportunity by Removing Restrictions on Industrial Hemp Farming in the United States

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced H.R. 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, with a total of twenty-eight original co-sponsors. Later this month, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) are expected to introduce a Senate companion bill to H.R. 525. If passed, the bills would remove federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis. The language of the bills mirror each other. The full text of the bills, their current status and a list of co-sponsors may be found at:http://votehemp.com/legislation

    "Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and could be a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers," says Rep. Massie. "My wife and I are raising our children on the tobacco and cattle farm where my wife grew up. Tobacco is no longer a viable crop for many of us in Kentucky, and we understand how hard it is for a family farm to turn a profit these days. Industrial hemp will give small farmers another opportunity to succeed."

    Rep. Massie is picking up where former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who introduced the previous four versions of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in Congress, left off. Rep. Massie's home state of Kentucky is currently embroiled in a heated debate, as momentum grows to bring back hemp farming and processing in the state. Efforts by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who recently reinstated the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission, have the support of Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

    H.R. 525 is the fifth time a bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in support of industrial hemp farming since the federal government outlawed it in this country forty-three years ago. The bill was first introduced in 2005 by Rep. Ron Paul in the House, and the current version already has the bipartisan support of eight Republicans and twenty-one Democrats. If passed, H.R. 525 would remove federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp by defining it as distinct from "marihuana" and allowing its farming and processing in accordance with state law.

    To date, thirty-one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and nineteen have passed such legislation. Eight states (Colorado, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia) have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. Three states (Hawaii, Kentucky and Maryland) have passed bills creating commissions or authorizing hemp research. Nine states (California, Colorado, Illinois, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Vermont and Virginia) have passed hemp resolutions. Six states (Arkansas, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina and Vermont) have passed hemp study bills. However, despite state authorization to grow hemp, farmers in those states still risk raids by federal agents, prison time, and property and asset forfeiture if they plant the crop, due to the failure of federal policy to distinguish non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis (i.e., industrial hemp) from psychoactive drug varieties (i.e., "marihuana").

    "We are very pleased to see action being taken in both the House and Senate, as well as in many state houses, on the issue of allowing American farmers to once again grow this versatile, sustainable and profitable crop. American farmers are being denied the right to grow a crop that our Founding Fathers considered essential to our nation's well-being," says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp, the nation's leading single-issue advocacy group dedicated to re-commercializing industrial hemp. "It is imperative now that other Representatives and Senators co-sponsor these bills, and that President Obama and Attorney General Holder also issue waivers to allow American farmers to grow hemp under state law where legal. With the U.S. hemp industry valued at over $452 million in annual retail sales, and growing, a change in federal policy to once again allow hemp farming would mean instant job creation, among many other economic and environmental benefits," adds Steenstra.

    U.S. companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a California company that manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap in the U.S., as well as best-selling hemp food manufacturers, such as Living Harvest, Manitoba Harvest, Nature's Path, Navitas, Nutiva and Sequel Naturals. All of these companies have no choice but to make their products from hemp grown in Canada or other countries. Sustainable hemp seed, fiber and oil are also used as raw materials by major companies, such as Ford Motors, Patagonia and The Body Shop, to make a wide variety of products.

    H.R. 525 was introduced by chief sponsors Rep. Massie (R-KY) and Rep. Schrader (D-OR), with twenty-eight original co-sponsors: Rep. Schrader (D-OR), Rep. Polis (D-CO), Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Hanna (R-NY), Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA), Rep. Farr (D-CA), Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Amash (R-MI), Rep. DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Ellison (D-MN), Del. Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Clay (D-MO), Rep. Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Moran (D-VA), Rep. Bonamici (D-OR), Rep. Pingree (D-ME), Rep. Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Peterson (D-MN), Rep. Benishek (R-MI), Rep. McClintock (R-CA), Rep. Campbell (R-CA), Rep. Lee (D-CA), Rep. Pocan (D-WI), Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Miller (D-CA), Rep. McDermott (D-WA) and Rep. Yoho (R-FL).

    # # #

    Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Lauren Stansbury at 402-540-1208 or lauren@wearemovementmedia.com.



  • 07 Feb 2013 11:35 AM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    Hemp Industries Association Members Available for Interview Regarding Hemp Farming and the Passage of Initiative 502 and Amendment 64

    WASHINGTON, D.C — Hemp industry leaders have recently seen an upsurge of inquiry into the possibilities for hemp farming and processing in Colorado and Washington State since the November 2012 election in which voters passed Initiative 502 and Amendment 64. The passing of the two initiatives legalized marijuana for recreational use on the state level in each of those states. Both of these measures had components that addressed the issue of industrial hemp farming. Initiative 502 changed the definition of marijuana in Washington state to exclude Cannabis "with a THC concentration less than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis," which many other states have used as the definition of industrial hemp. Colorado voters went a step further. Amendment 64 not only defined industrial hemp but it also included a provision stating, "Not later than July 1, 2014, the General Assembly shall enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp."

    Hemp legislation is expected to be introduced in Colorado soon to help create regulations for hemp farming as required in Amendment 64. "I am excited about the potential opportunity for Colorado farmers," says Eric Steenstra, HIA Executive Director, "but it is important for the public to understand that the market can't develop properly until federal law is changed allowing domestic sources of pedigreed seed, crop insurance, and support and research from Colorado agriculture universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) into hemp varieties which will grow well in Colorado latitude, altitude, and soil."

    Canada reestablished their hemp industry in 1998 and it has grown over the past 15 years from just over 5,000 acres to over 50,000 acres licensed for hemp cultivation in 2012. According to the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) there are about 200 hemp farmers across the country. The CHTA forecasts that hemp production will nearly double by 2015 to 100,000 acres.

    A realistic picture of what farmers and processors of industrial hemp in Colorado can expect economically initially depends on the actions of the federal government. As the industry develops farmers working with seed breeders and manufacturers can expect reasonable returns on their investments, but are cautioned to plant crops which are contracted to processors to meet their needs rather than growing hemp on speculation.

    The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is a membership-based nonprofit trade group, which represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new products made from industrial hemp, the low-THC oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis. The organization formed in 1994 and is the only U.S. nonprofit trade group representing actual hemp businesses.

    America has a long history with industrial hemp farming which dates back to colonial times. It was once an important and profitable crop for American farmers and processors. America is currently the largest importer of hemp products primarily from Canada, Europe, and China. U.S. sales in 2012 are estimated by HIA at $156 million for hemp foods and body care.

    Industrial hemp has not been grown on a commercial scale on U.S. soil since 1957 and unfortunately all the genetics from original American varieties, many of which were developed by USDA plant breeder Lyster Dewey, have been lost.

    The HIA is hosting a Symposium on Industrial Hemp Farming at The Ranch in Loveland, CO on March 21st from 6-9:30 pm. Speakers will discuss how hemp is grown and processed, as well as markets for hemp and realistic expectations for farmers who are interested in growing the crop. The legal and political status of hemp at the state and federal level will also be discussed. Featured speakers will include Shaun Crew, President of Hemp Oil Canada which is Canada's largest hemp processor, Anndrea Hermann, Agrologist and hemp farming expert, Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp a national non profit lobbying group, Summer Star, COO of EnviroTextiles, which is headquartered in Glenwood Springs, CO and is the leading developer/importer/exporter of hemp textiles. Sen. Gail Schwartz and Sen. Kevin Lundberg have also been invited.

    New Federal hemp legislation was introduced in Congress on February 6, 2013. Introduced by Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-KY), H.R. 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, has 28 original co-sponsors. For more information, see:http://votehemp.com/legislation

    Industrial hemp legislation has been introduced in Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and four to six other states are expected to introduce additional bills during the 2013 legislative season.


  • 19 Sep 2012 11:25 AM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON, DC — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has released final estimates of the size of the U.S. retail market for hemp products in 2011. Data supporting the estimates shows that retail sales of hemp food and body care products in the United States continued to set records in 2011, reaching $43.5 million. Sales of popular hemp items like non-dairy milk, shelled hemp seed, soaps and lotions have occurred against the backdrop of increasing grassroots pressure to allow hemp to be grown domestically once again for U.S. processors and manufacturers. Sales in conventional retailers in particular are estimated to have grown by 11% in 2011.

    The sales data, collected by the market research firm SPINS, was obtained from natural and conventional food retailers, excluding Whole Foods Market and certain other establishments, who do not provide sales data — and thus underestimates actual sales by a factor of at least three. According to the SPINS data, combined U.S. hemp food and body care sales grew in the sampled stores by 7.3%, or $2.98 million, over the previous year ending December 26, 2011 to a total of $43.5 million.

    Due to significant sales excluded from the SPINS data, such as The Body Shop, Whole Foods Market and restaurants, as well as the fact that many unreported leading mass-market brands of suntan lotion and sunscreen products include hemp oil, the HIA estimates the total retail value of hemp food, supplement and body care sales in the U.S. to be in the range of $130-152 million for 2011.

    "The HIA is confident that the total U.S. hemp food and body care market over the last year [2011] accounted for at least $130 million in retail sales," says David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps which uses hemp oil in its top-selling products.

    "According to data released by the Canadian government, hemp production in Canada almost doubled in 2011, with total acreage growing to 38,828 acres," says Eric Steenstra, HIA Executive Director. "The HIA estimates the total retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S. at $452 million, when including clothing, auto parts, building materials and various other products. Steady growth in hemp product sales, combined with a substantial increase in acreage in Canadian hemp fields, further validates U.S. farmers' concerns that they are being shut out of the lucrative hemp market that Canadian farmers have cashed in on for over a decade now," continues Steenstra.

    In August of 2012, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced S. 3501, the Senate companion bill to H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011. If passed, the bill would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis. The language of the Senate bill mirrors that of H.R. 1831, which was introduced in the House earlier in this session. The full text of the bill, as well as its status and a list of co-sponsors, can be found at: http://www.votehemp.com/legislation.

    "Introducing this bill is the first step towards a common sense policy on hemp that helps create American jobs," says Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). "It is vital that all advocates for industrial hemp redouble their efforts to win support in Congress, if we are going to reestablish this economically important crop."

    Note: As of June this year, the market research firm SPINS has adjusted their original estimate of 2010 U.S. retail sales of hemp products from natural and conventional food retailers to $40.5 million.

    # # #

    Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Lauren Stansbury at 402-540-1208 or lauren@wearemovementmedia.com .


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