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Hemp Industries Association Convention Report

Posted on October 2, 2000

Toronto, Ontario — Under the Maple trees, nestled in a Hockley Valley ecology retreat near Toronto, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) held their seventh annual convention among the maple and aspen trees. This year’s gathering saw 35-55 attendees which allowed for intimate meetings and planning sessions.

After Friday night’s dinner, members were formally welcomed by RCMP Corp. Col. Jacques Dopray (Larry Duprey) appearing in a double breasted suit, as opposed to the RCMP uniform we saw last year, who informed us that as a result of his promotion to a desk job, part of his new duties was to check and observe the THC content in hemp foods being served. He did his job admirably.

Results of the Election for Board of Directors and Executives were announced as follows: Cindy Biggers, President, Eric Lineback, Treasurer, and Don Wirtshafter were re-elected. Mark Tucci of Custom Blends/Hempzels was welcomed back after a 2-year hiatus, and John Dvorak of Boston Hemp Co-op was introduced as a new board member. Continuing Directors Larry Duprey, Vice President, Mari Kane, Steve Levine, Carolyn Moran, and Candi Penn, Secretary, were also in attendance.

On Saturday, seminars got under way starting with the Treasurer’s Report, in which Eric Lineback reported that, although membership dues are down this year, the association is in a stable financial position. The HIA has continued to cut costs by using the Internet and web site more. Our new Supporting Membership category and several generous contributions have helped out. Still, the association operates on a very small and tight budget, so the more volunteers we can find to help out with things, the better. A more detailed Treasurer’s report will be included in our 2000 Annual Report, coming out at the end of January, 2001. Any members with questions should contact Candi or Eric directly.

Speaking for the Communications Committee, Eric Steenstra and Eric Lineback summarized much of the work and accomplishments of the past year, including the resurrection of the www.hempstores.com web site and program (Anyone can now add a store to be validated), the development of a Searchable Leads section and enhancements to the Member Search function at Hemp Industries Association website and the work being done to prepare for an overall site redesign. website traffic has steadily risen, and we now see an average of almost 600 unique visitors per day. Not as many members are using the Members Only section and services as we would hope, so get in there and check it out! If you’ve forgotten the password, call Candi at the head office. And, of course, volunteers are needed to help out.

The Retail Council headed by Cindy Biggers & Steve Levine announced the near completion of a 22,000 count order of biodegradable bags contracted by a number of HIA businesses. These bags have a sponsor list on one side and HIA logo and information on the other side, which also reads “My Other Bag Is Made of Hemp. This bag is made of 100% biodegradable materials.” It was also announced that there are plans in the works for a 2001 HIA Hemp Calendar and Coffee Mugs to be sold by the HIA along with the organization’s tee shirts and hats.

Carolyn Moran of the International Council reported on the formation of an NGO – Non Governmental Organization. The purpose of the Hemp/Nonwood Fiber/Pulp NGO is to bring to the public forum issues surrounding the growing use of hemp, nonwood fibers and subsequent value-added products insofar as they relate to the development of sustainable ecosystems, communities and economies. Carolyn Moran (Living Tree Paper) also explained how Hemp Paper is entering corporate level distribution. Several large companies are ordering and the future looks good.

Before lunch, Mari Kane gave a lecture on Media Training using a handbook written by Executive Communications of San Rafael, California. Using those materials, members were challenged to be video taped giving their 15 second hemp soundbites and “answers to difficult questions” by Kane who provided individualized coaching. Kane advises all interviewees to “bridge” away from marijuana-related questions by steering the conversation back to the agricultural issues’ of industrial hemp. The tape of interviewees was shown after lunch on Sunday to an amused and appreciative audience.

On the lawn Saturday afternoon, Lloyd Hart of Vote Hemp described the response of the hemp survey sent to federal political candidates around the nation. The first response came from none other than Ralph Nader who answered in the affirmative. Results will be published on the on-line Voter Guide by the 1st of October. Hart said he felt very good about the chances of creating a significant impact on this election year and Vote Hemp may well cause a swing vote in about 12 races. A hemp caucus is forming in Congress of four Congressman and many candidates from across the parties are taking a pro-hemp position. Hart expressed confidence that Nader could be elected with or without the debates. Let’s hope!

John Howell gave a report on the National Conference of State Legislators, where the Hemp Panel, led by Rep. Cynthia Theilen, was asked to schedule an additional presentation because so many legislators were interested. Watch for more hemp legislation this coming year!

The current Canadian border issue sizzled at the top of the agenda. David Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps & David Frankel, of Fourth Wave Legal Services, explained how many US companies have had products turned away from the Canadian border. There is a regulation that products must be tested for THC, and although Canadian companies are not asked to do it, Health Canada has chosen to enforce it for American imports. The irony is that these products contain certified hemp oil from Canada!

Researcher and hemp expert, Professor Gordon Scheifele of the University of Ontario gave a keynote address that included a talk on Management of delta 9 THC levels in industrial hemp grown for fiber and grain prepared for presentation at the Nova-Institute’s 3rd International Bioresource Hemp conference in Germany, September 16-18. His slide presentation was great.

Five Year Pins were awarded to members who have stayed in business for five years: Backstage Studio, Living Tree Paper Co., Monadnock Hemporium, Spirit Stream Trading Co., The Friendly Stranger, who were all in attendance. Non-attending awardees were: BnB Kelly Enterprises, Euro-American Marketing, Hemp Shak 2, Hemp Works, Inc., Hempola, Hemptech Inc., It’s All Good Companies, Left Field, Mad River Clothing Company, Natural Hemphasis, Pickering International LLC, RASS U.S.A., Taco Loco, The Emperor’s Clothes, The Hempest, and What’s Hempenin’ Baby?

This year’s HIA Achievement Awards were handed to two members whose contribution to the HIA and to the hemp industry has been monumental: Don Wirtshafter of Ohio Hempery and Candi Penn, HIA Secretary. We thank them for their dedicated service!

Denny Finneran of Crucial was the big winner (are you surprised?) of the raffle prizes, which included a stylish black vest from Backstage Studio in PA, who were also sponsors of the HIA Convention. We thank our members who contributed prizes: Santa Barbara Hemp Company, The Hemp Club, HempNut, Inc., Hemp Commerce and Farming Report , Spirit Stream Trading Co., The Merry Hempsters, Hempzels, Acoustic Traditions, Canolio Cosmetiques, New Hampshire Hemp Council, Boston Hemp Co-op, Mari Kane, Ohio Hempery, Ruth Shamai, BioHemp, Inc. and Naturally Wild.

On Sunday, speaker Arthur Hanks of Hemp Report, gave an overview of Canadian progress and problems in the realms of product development, processing, marketing and government support.

Tim Niedermann, a flax and hemp fiber consultant told us how flax cultivation and processing is somewhat adaptable for hemp fiber. The costs must come down to make it viable. Decortication problems, labor intensity and lack of infrastructure are familiar warnings. However, he said oil is a more favorable crop and hurds for animal bedding is working.

After a few volleyball games and hours of networking, hempologist John Dvorak presented an after-dinner talk on interesting footnotes in hemp history. The evening concluded with musical entertainment by Terry Tufts, Wayne Dyer and Russell Scott.

Our thanks go out to our hosts for two years, the Ecology Retreat Centre, the geniality of which we will miss next year when the convention moves to either Hawaii or South Dakota.

Continuing our tradition of serving nothing but gourmet hemp foods at HIA conventions, this year’s menu contained our first taste of “hemp fed” chickens, duck, and eggs. Also on the menu were hemp beer, hemp salad dressings, hemp bread, hemp bagels, hemp brownies, hemp ice cream, hemp pasta, hemp butter, hulled hemp used in most dishes and hemp oil on every table.

HIA Merchandise was available to attendees. Photos of the 1999 and 2000 Convention groups are still available from the HIA for $10.00. HIA hats and HIA logo shirts in Men’s and Women’s styles are available for $25. That’s U.S. currency. Also, HIA Hang Tags are available for four cents each.

Congratulations to Convention Coordinator Larry Duprey (Chanvre en Ville), and his assistants, James Enkin (Spirit Stream), Kathleen O’Hara (Hip on Hemp), Tariq Malik (Spirit Stream), Ruth Shamai (The Natural Order/Ruth’s Hemp Foods), and Candi Penn (Registrar) for putting on a great event.

The New Hampshire Hemp Council was represented at the HIA Convention by four attendees and a report was given about the status of their U.S. Supreme Court case. The lawsuit was filed June 27 and the court has yet to decide whether to accept it. The Supreme Court hears a fraction of cases filed – about 100 out of more than 7,000 filed in a year. The appeal asks the court to decide whether federal laws against marijuana actually forbid the production of hemp. The lawsuit argues that hemp has never really been illegal, and the DEA has been overstepping its bounds by treating it as such. Gordon R. Blakeney, Jr. is counsel for the New Hampshire Hemp Council, Inc and Derek Owen, Vs. Donnie R. Marshall, Acting Administrator, United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

Your support is needed. Legal fees must be paid. The NHHC has Tshirts available for sale, and contributions are appreciated.

Copyright © 2000, Hemp Industries Association. All rights reserved.