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800 Grassroots Events and Retail Store Promotions Held Throughout all 50 States; Senator Ron Wyden Introduces Historic Industrial Hemp Amendment to Farm Bill; Organizers Announce Fourth Annual Campaign to be Held June 3-9, 2013

Washington, DC — June 4-10, 2012 marked the biggest and most celebrated Hemp History Week to date. The 3rd Annual Hemp History Week featured over 800 events in cities and towns throughout all fifty states, including 100 grassroots volunteer-led events; more than 700 retail promotions; a restaurant program; and a letter writing campaign that generated over 15,000 letters and calls to U.S. Senators encouraging them to support changes to federal policy that would allow American farmers to once again grow industrial hemp. The national grassroots education campaign organized by Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association was designed to renew strong support for the return of hemp farming and processing to the U.S. The 2012 campaign celebrated the theme of Hemp for a Healthy Future: Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Economy, Healthy Planet. Organizers have announced plans for the fourth annual campaign to be held from June 3-9, 2013. More details on the 2013 campaign as well as an archive of events and press coverage from the 2012 effort can be found at: www.HempHistoryWeek.com.

“This year’s Hemp History Week was the most successful yet. We generated over 15,000 letters to the U.S. House and the Senate; produced a record number of events throughout all 50 states; and most importantly saw Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduce an historic hemp amendment to the Farm Bill making it the first time language supporting industrial hemp farming has made it to the floor of the Senate since the 1950’s,” says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “As more Americans recognize the health and environmental benefits of hemp products, hemp farming promises job creation and economic opportunity for farmers and manufacturers and ensures that nutritious foods and sustainable goods are more accessible and affordable for consumers. We need to keep the pressure on Congress and are encouraging our supporters to take action.”

Industrial Hemp Amendment To Farm Bill

On June 7, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) proposed an amendment (S.A.2220) to the Farm Bill (S.3240), the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, which would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of ‘marihuana.’ Senator Wyden’s amendment will empower American farmers by allowing them to once again grow industrial hemp, a profitable commodity with an expanding market. The cultivation of industrial hemp will be regulated by state permitting programs, like North Dakota’s, and will not impact the federal government’s long-standing prohibition of marijuana. To view the amendment, please go to: http://votehemp.com/legislation. In the week following Hemp History Week Senator Wyden spoke on the Senate floor explaining why he is sponsoring legislation in support of industrial hemp farming. To view the video go to: http://bit.ly/WydenSA2220. Vote Hemp is urging supporters to call, email, or write their U.S. Senators today to ask for their support of Senator Wyden’s industrial hemp amendment to the Farm Bill by visiting: http://www.hemphistoryweek.com/takeaction.php.

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.

This year’s campaign more than doubled in size and scope compared to last year’s event, which mobilized supporters of hemp farming nationwide. With more than 700 participating retail stores and over 100 grassroots volunteer organized events the 2012 campaign was the biggest yet.

Retail Promotions

Hundreds of natural product retail outlets across the country signed up to participate in Hemp History Week through promotions and in-store events. Hemp product promotions in retail stores increased from 400 stores in 2011 to over 700 participating retail stores this year, including most Whole Foods Market locations in the U.S.

National Restaurant Program

New to the 2012 campaign, over 20 health conscious cafes and restaurants around the country participated in Hemp History Week by featuring hemp-infused dishes on their menus. Some restaurants also hosted special events.

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 is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), providing both super omega-stearidonic acid (SDA) and gamma-linolenic acid (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 nearly complete protein, containing all 10 essential amino acids, with no enzyme inhibitors, making it more digestible by the human body. Hemp seeds are also gluten-free.

The 3rd annual Hemp History Week was made possible with 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 products, including foods, cosmetics, clothing, building materials, auto parts, and many others. The sponsors of the 2012 Hemp History Week are Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Living Harvest Foods, Food Should Taste Good, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path Foods, Nutiva, and Vega. Sustainable hemp seed, fiber, and oil are also used by major companies such as Ford Motors, BMW, Patagonia, and The Body Shop.

The HIA estimates that U.S. retail sales of hemp products exceeded $419 million in 2010, yet American companies making hemp products have no choice but to import their raw materials due to the federal government’s outdated and misguided ban on hemp farming. While demand for hemp products continues to rise, it is becoming a challenge for Canadian growers and processors, currently the primary suppliers of hemp seed and oil to the U.S. market, to keep up and meet that demand.

To date, thirty-one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and seventeen have passed legislation, while ten states (Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. However, despite state authorization to grow hemp, farmers in these states risk raids by federal agents, long prison terms, and probable forfeiture of their farms 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 drug varieties.

Hemp History Week 2012, June 4-10, 2012 is an industry-wide initiative of the Hemp Industries Association and Vote Hemp. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is a non-profit trade group representing hemp companies, researchers, farmers and supporters. Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit advocacy group founded in 2000 by members of the hemp industry to remove barriers to industrial hemp farming in the U.S. through education, legislation and advocacy. For further information, please visit: www.TheHIA.org and www.VoteHemp.com.

Amendment would Exclude Industrial Hemp from the Definition of Marihuana

WASHINGTON, DC — Vote Hemp released an action alert today encouraging support for Senator Ron Wyden’s proposed amendment to the Farm Bill, S.3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, which would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of ‘marihuana.’ Senator Wyden’s amendment will empower American farmers by allowing them to once again grow industrial hemp, a profitable commodity with an expanding market. The cultivation of industrial hemp will be regulated by state permitting programs, like North Dakota’s, and will not impact the federal government’s long-standing prohibition of marijuana. The language of the amendment mirrors that of H.R. 1831, a bill introduced in the House this session (See: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.112hr1831).

To view the amendment, please go to: http://votehemp.com/legislation

“Industrial hemp is used in many healthy and sustainable consumer products. However, the federal prohibition on growing industrial hemp has forced companies to needlessly import raw materials from other countries,” says Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). “My amendment to the Farm Bill will change federal policy to allow U.S. farmers to produce hemp for these safe and legitimate products right here, helping both producers and suppliers to grow and improve Oregon’s economy in the process.”

To date, thirty-one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and seventeen have passed legislation, while eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. However, despite state authorization to grow hemp, farmers in these states risk raids by federal agents and possible forfeiture of their farms 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 drug varieties.

“This is the first time since the 1950s that language supporting hemp has come to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote. The last time such language was presented was the Miller’s Amendment to the Marihuana Tax Act,” says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “The time is past due for the Senate as well as President Obama and the Attorney General to prioritize the crop’s benefits to farmers and to take action like Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) and the cosponsors of H.R. 1831 have done. With the U.S. hemp industry valued at over $400 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal policy to allow hemp farming would mean instant job creation, among many other economic and environmental benefits,” adds Steenstra.

The Farm Bill is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. The comprehensive omnibus bill is passed every five years or so by the United States Congress and deals with both agriculture and all other affairs under the purview of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Last year, for the fourth time since the federal government outlawed hemp farming in the United States over 50 years ago, a bill was introduced by Rep. Paul in the U.S. House of Representatives. If passed, the bill H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, would remove restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis. Senator Wyden would like to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

“Senator Wyden’s effort is unprecedented and totally commendable, but in my view the existing prohibition of hemp farming stems less from current law, but rather the misinterpretation of existing law by the Obama Administration,” says Steenstra.

The amendment comes on the heels of the Obama Administration’s reply to Vote Hemp’s We the People petition. The response conflates industrial hemp as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. This contradicts the clear definition of marijuana presented in Title 21 of United States Code 802(16) that explicitly excludes the oilseed and fiber varieties of the hemp plant that are legal to manufacture, consume, process and purchase throughout the United States without penalty of controlled substance violation. The hemp farming petition and the administration’s response can be found at http://wh.gov/gKH.

The timing of Senator Wyden’s amendment also coincides with the 3rd annual Hemp History Week campaign, June 4-10, 2012, which he supports. The national grassroots education campaign organized by Vote Hemp and The Hemp Industries Association is designed to renew strong support for the return of hemp farming to the U.S. The 2012 Hemp History Week campaign will feature over 800 events in cities and towns throughout all fifty states.

About Vote Hemp

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 Ryan Fletcher at 202-641-0277 or ryan@votehemp.com.

Public Education Campaign to Bring Back Industrial Hemp Farming will Feature over 800 Grassroots Events and Retail Store Promotions Throughout all 50 States

Washington, DC — Today, June 4 marks the start of the 3rd annual Hemp History Week, June 4-10, 2012. The national grassroots education campaign organized by Vote Hemp and The Hemp Industries Association is designed to renew strong support for the return of hemp farming to the U.S. Hemp History Week 2012 will feature over 800 events in cities and towns throughout all fifty states. The multi-faceted campaign will feature over 100 grassroots volunteer-led events; more than 700 retail promotions; a restaurant program; and a letter writing and email campaign to encourage Congress to change federal policy and allow American farmers to once again grow industrial hemp. A new Web site, along with a promotional video for the 2012 campaign, is viewable at www.HempHistoryWeek.com.

The theme of the 2012 campaign is Hemp for a Healthy Future: Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Economy, Healthy Planet. “As more Americans recognize the health and environmental benefits of hemp products, hemp farming promises job creation and economic opportunity for farmers and manufacturers and ensures that nutritious foods and sustainable goods are more accessible and affordable for consumers,” says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “In turn, this means healthier lifestyles, a stronger economy and a more sustainable world. Through Hemp History Week 2012, we’re spreading the message that we need to change federal policy on industrial hemp to reflect today’s realities and ensure a better tomorrow for America’s families and farmers, the economy and our planet.”

Letter Writing and Email Drive

A primary objective of Hemp History Week is to advocate for a federal policy change while sending a strong, positive message to President Barack Obama and Congress to end the ban on hemp farming and let farmers grow the versatile and profitable crop. In 2010 and 2011, the campaign generated thousands of postcards and online petition signatures to the President and Congress. This year an online and in person letter writing drive to U.S. Senators will take place through a social media campaign kicking off in June and at events nationwide. Advocates expect that a companion Senate bill will be introduced later this year. Representatives Ron Paul (R-Texas); Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota); Tim Johnson (R-Illinois); Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon); and many other members of Congress support legislation in favor of a federal policy change.

“There are several successful businesses in my state who are manufacturing healthy and sustainable products made from hemp,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). “Currently these companies are forced to import their raw materials from Canada and other countries. Changing federal policy to allow American farmers the right to grow hemp right here at home will help these companies thrive, while creating new economic opportunities in Oregon and across the country. The Hemp History Week campaign is a good opportunity to educate other elected officials and the American public about the benefits that the ability to once again grow hemp in America can bring.”

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 has more than doubled in size and scope compared to last year’s event, which mobilized supporters of hemp farming nationwide. With more than 700 participating retail stores and over 100 grassroots volunteer organized events the 2012 campaign will be the biggest yet. A listing of events nationwide is available at www.HempHistoryWeek.com/events.php.

Retail Promotions

Hundreds of natural product retail outlets across the country have signed up to participate in Hemp History Week through promotions and in-store events. Hemp product promotions in retail stores will increase from 400 stores in 2011 to over 700 participating retail stores this year, including most Whole Foods Market locations in the U.S.

National Restaurant Program

New to the 2012 campaign, this week over 20 health conscious cafes and restaurants around the country are participating in Hemp History Week by featuring hemp-infused dishes on their menus. Some restaurants will also be hosting special events. “Candle 79 is looking forward to participating in the 3rd annual Hemp History Week. We 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 seeds, and our customers can’t seem to get enough,” says Joy Pierson, owner of Candle 79 & Candle Cafe in New York City.

Participating restaurants include: Akasha Restaurant in Culver City, CA; Au Lac in Anaheim, CA; Candle 79 and Candle Cafe in New York City; Cafe Gratitude in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA; Cafe Flora in Seattle WA; Euphoria Loves Rawvolution in Santa Monica, CA and New York City, NY; Gaia’s Garden in Santa Rosa, CA; Green Leaf in Ashland OR; Lydia’s Lovin’ Food in Petaluma, CA; Karyn’s on Green in Chicago, IL; VegN Out in San Diego, CA; and Slice of Life in Sebastapol, CA.

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 is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), providing both super omega-stearidonic acid (SDA) and gamma-linolenic acid (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 10 essential amino acids, with no enzyme inhibitors, making it more digestible by the human body. Hemp seeds are also gluten-free.

Unprecedented Industry-Wide Effort

Going into its third 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 products, including foods, cosmetics, clothing, building materials, auto parts, and many others. The sponsors of the 2012 Hemp History Week are Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Living Harvest Foods, Food Should Taste Good, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path Foods, Nutiva, and Vega. Sustainable hemp seed, fiber, and oil are also used by major companies such as Ford Motors, Patagonia, and The Body Shop.

Arran Stephens, founder and CEO of Nature’s Path Foods, North America’s independent, #1 brand of organic breakfast foods, says, “We believe our hemp-based cereals, bars and waffles exemplify all of the goodness that hemp has to offer as a nutritious, gluten-free, non-GMO superfood. Nature’s Path is proud to have been part of the growth of the hemp industry since the beginning. This June, we look forward to celebrating America’s rich history with hemp farming, while educating consumers about the benefits of hemp foods. If hemp production was good enough for George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (note that the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper), then it’s good enough for us.”

Other U.S. hemp manufacturers have been relentless in their struggle for the right to buy hemp from U.S. farmers. “For nearly ten years, the Bronner family has financially supported efforts to lift the ban on non-drug industrial hemp farming because it is an environmentally-sustainable crop,” states David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the top-selling brand of natural soap in the U.S. “Despite our efforts, we are forced to continue purchasing the twenty tons of hemp oil that we use annually from Canada. This is a lost opportunity for American farmers and businesses, a situation that is becoming more absurd and outrageous with each growing season that passes.”

The HIA estimates that U.S. retail sales of hemp products exceeded $419 million in 2010, yet American companies making hemp products have no choice but to import their raw materials due to the federal government’s outdated and misguided ban on hemp farming. While demand for hemp products continues to rise, it is becoming a challenge for Canadian growers and processors, currently the primary suppliers of hemp seed and oil to the U.S. market, to keep up and meet that demand.

“Nutiva’s sales have grown at an average annual rate of 42% since 2006. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, we were named by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing businesses in America,” says John W. Roulac, founder and CEO of Nutiva. “By allowing U.S. farmers to grow and sell hemp seed, it will help the entire industry to meet the growing demand for hemp products.”

Living Harvest Foods is a global leader in hemp food products. “Our mission is to pioneer delicious hemp foods that are good for people and planet,” says Cathy Hearn, President of Living Harvest Foods. “Hemp is a truly remarkable plant that’s packed full of essential nutrients that can improve the way Americans eat. Sourcing hemp from outside the U.S. adds unnecessary costs, which translates into higher retail prices. We want to make this superfood accessible to everyone, and to do that we need Congress to recognize the benefits of a domestic hemp program. There are no valid arguments against it.”

To date, thirty-one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and seventeen have passed legislation, while eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. However, despite state authorization to grow hemp, farmers in these states risk raids by federal agents and possible forfeiture of their farms 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 drug varieties.

“My co-founders of Manitoba Harvest and I are proud to have successfully petitioned our government to legalize hemp in Canada over a decade ago. We are very appreciative of the Canadian government’s support and hope that the U.S. government will soon see the opportunities with industrial hemp as well,” says Mike Fata, co-founder and CEO of Manitoba Harvest. “With consumer demand for hemp products growing, why shouldn’t American farmers also be allowed to benefit from this huge opportunity?”

For more information on Hemp History Week 2012, please see the completely re-designed campaign Web site at: www.HempHistoryWeek.com.

Public Education Campaign Aims to Allow Industrial Hemp Farming Again in the U.S.

Washington, DC — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp have announced plans for the 3rd Annual Hemp History Week to be held on June 4-10, 2012. A national grassroots education campaign designed to renew strong support for hemp farming in the U.S., Hemp History Week 2012 will feature events in cities and towns throughout all fifty states. The multi-faceted campaign will feature grassroots volunteer-led events, retail promotions, a restaurant program, a day of action and an online petition drive to encourage the Obama Administration and Congress to change federal policy and allow American farmers to once again grow industrial hemp. A new Web site, along with a promotional video for the 2012 campaign, is viewable at www.HempHistoryWeek.com.

The theme of the 2012 campaign is Hemp for a Healthy Future: Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Economy, Healthy Planet. “As more Americans recognize the health and environmental benefits of hemp products, hemp farming promises job creation and economic opportunity for farmers and manufacturers and ensures that nutritious foods and sustainable goods are more accessible and affordable for consumers,” says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “In turn, this means healthier lifestyles, a stronger economy and a more sustainable world. Through Hemp History Week 2012, we’re spreading the message that we need to change federal policy on industrial hemp to reflect today’s realities and ensure a better tomorrow for America’s families and farmers, the economy and our planet.”

Petition Drive

A primary objective of Hemp History Week is to advocate for a federal policy change while sending a strong, positive message to President Barack Obama and Congress to end the ban on hemp farming and let farmers grow the versatile and profitable crop. In 2010 and 2011, the campaign generated thousands of postcards and online petition signatures to the President and Congress. Representatives Ron Paul (R-Texas), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) and many other members of Congress support legislation in favor of a federal policy change. A companion Senate bill is expected to be introduced later this year.

“There are several successful businesses in my state who are manufacturing healthy and sustainable products made from hemp,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). “Currently these companies are forced to import their raw materials from Canada and other countries. Changing federal policy to allow American farmers the right to grow hemp right here at home will help these companies thrive, while creating new economic opportunities in Oregon and across the country. The Hemp History Week campaign is a good opportunity to educate other elected officials and the American public about the benefits that the ability to once again grow hemp in America can bring.”

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 double in size once again compared to last year’s event, which mobilized supporters of hemp farming nationwide, including hundreds of volunteers who organized over 500 events throughout all fifty states, and generated tens of thousands of letters and postcards to the President and Attorney General in support of hemp farming. Volunteers are being called upon once again to organize events in 2012, with specific details about those planned events to be announced in early April on the Hemp History Week Web site.

Retail Promotions

Hundreds of natural product retail outlets across the country have signed up to participate in Hemp History Week through promotions and in-store events. Hemp product promotions in retail stores will increase from 400 stores in 2011 to as many as 1,000 participating retail stores this year, including most Whole Foods Market locations in the U.S.

National Restaurant Program

New to the 2012 campaign, this year’s effort will also feature a national restaurant program. Health conscious cafes and restaurants around the country are being invited to participate in Hemp History Week by featuring hemp-infused dishes on their menus during the week of the campaign. Some restaurants will also be hosting special events. “Candle 79 is looking forward to participating in the 3rd annual Hemp History Week this June. We 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 seeds, and our customers can’t seem to get enough,” says Joy Pierson, owner of Candle 79 & Candle Cafe in New York City.”

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 is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.

(EFAs), providing both super omega-stearidonic acid (SDA) and gamma-linolenic acid (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 10 essential amino acids, with no enzyme inhibitors, making it more digestible by the human body. Hemp seeds are also gluten-free.

Unprecedented Industry-Wide Effort

Going into its third 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 products, including foods, cosmetics, clothing, building materials, auto parts and many others. The sponsors of Hemp History Week 2012 are Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Living Harvest Foods, Food Should Taste Good, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path Foods, Nutiva and Vega. Sustainable hemp seed, fiber and oil are also used by major companies such as Ford Motors, Patagonia and The Body Shop.

Arran Stephens, founder/CEO of Nature’s Path Foods, North America’s independent, #1 brand of organic breakfast foods, says “We believe our hemp-based cereals, bars and waffles exemplify all of the goodness that hemp has to offer as a nutritious, gluten-free, non-GMO superfood. Nature’s Path is proud to have been part of the growth of the hemp industry since the beginning. This June, we look forward to celebrating America’s rich history with hemp farming, while educating consumers about the benefits of hemp foods. If hemp production was good enough for George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (note that the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper), then it’s good enough for us.”

Other U.S. hemp manufacturers have been relentless in their struggle for the right to buy hemp from U.S. farmers. “For nearly ten years, the Bronner family has financially supported efforts to lift the ban on non-drug industrial hemp farming because it is an environmentally-sustainable crop,” states David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the top-selling brand of natural soap in the U.S. “Despite our efforts, we are forced to continue purchasing the twenty tons of hemp oil that we use annually from Canada. This is a lost opportunity for American farmers and businesses, a situation that is becoming more absurd and outrageous with each growing season that passes.”

The HIA estimates that U.S. retail sales of hemp products exceeded $419 million in 2011, yet American companies making hemp products have no choice but to import their raw materials, due to the federal government’s outdated and misguided ban on hemp farming. While demand for hemp products continues to rise, it is becoming a challenge for Canadian growers and processors, currently the primary suppliers of hemp seed and oil to the U.S. market, to keep up and meet that demand.

“Nutiva’s sales have grown at an average annual rate of 42% since 2006. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, we were named by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing businesses in America,” says John W. Roulac, founder and CEO of Nutiva. “By allowing U.S. farmers to grow and sell hemp seed, it will help the entire industry to meet the growing demand for hemp products.”

Living Harvest Foods is a global leader in hemp food products. “Our mission is to pioneer delicious hemp foods that are good for people and planet,” says Cathy Hearn, President of Living Harvest Foods. “Hemp is a truly remarkable plant that’s packed full of essential nutrients that can improve the way Americans eat. Sourcing hemp from outside the U.S. adds unnecessary costs, which translates into higher retail prices. We want to make this superfood accessible to everyone, and to do that we need Congress to recognize the benefits of a domestic hemp program. There are no valid arguments against it.”

To date, thirty-one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and seventeen have passed legislation, while eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have already authorized the licensing of farmers to grow the crop. However, despite state authorization to grow hemp, farmers in these 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.

“My co-founders of Manitoba Harvest and I are proud to have successfully petitioned our government to legalize hemp in Canada over a decade ago. We are very appreciative of the Canadian government’s support and hope that the U.S. government will soon see the opportunities with industrial hemp as well,” says Mike Fata, co-founder and CEO of Manitoba Harvest. “With consumer demand for hemp products growing, why shouldn’t American farmers also be allowed to benefit from this huge opportunity?”

For more information on Hemp History Week 2012, please see the completely re-designed campaign Web site at: www.HempHistoryWeek.com.

Veto of SB 676 is Huge Setback for California Farmers, Businesses and the Economy

Sacramento, CA — Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the nation’s leading grassroots hemp advocacy organization and industry trade group, respectively, both working to revitalize industrial hemp production in the U.S., are extremely disappointed to report that Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed SB 676, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. After moving smoothly through the California legislature with bi-partisan support, Gov. Brown has vetoed this landmark legislation. The first hemp bill to land on Gov. Brown’s desk, SB 676 is the fourth bill since 2002 in support of hemp farming to pass the California legislature but ultimately be vetoed by the Governor. The bill would have established guidelines 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 and building materials.

In a statement dated Oct. 9, Gov. Brown stated, “Federal law clearly establishes that all cannabis plants, including industrial hemp, are marijuana, which is a federally regulated controlled substance. Failure to obtain a permit from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration prior to growing such plants will subject a California farmer to federal prosecution.” Despite his veto of the bill, he went on to express his support for legalizing hemp farming at the federal level. “Although I am not signing this measure, I do support a change in federal law. Products made from hemp — clothes, food, and bath products — are legally sold in California every day. It is absurd that hemp is being imported into the state, but our farmers cannot grow it.” The veto letter from Governor Brown can be viewed at: http://www.votehemp.com/veto

Introduced by Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 676 proposed to create an eight-year pilot program allowing industrial hemp farming in four California counties: Kern, Kings, Imperial and San Joaquin. The legislation would have allowed California farmers to grow industrial hemp for the legal sale of seed, oil and fiber to manufacturers.

“Vote Hemp and The Hemp Industries Association are extremely disappointed by Gov. Brown’s veto. This is a big setback for not only the hemp industry — but for farmers, businesses, consumers and the California economy as a whole. Hemp is a versatile cash and rotation crop with steadily rising sales as a natural, renewable food and body care ingredient. It’s a shame that Gov. Brown agreed that the ban on hemp farming was absurd and yet chose to block a broadly supported effort to add California to the growing list of states that are demanding the return of U.S. hemp farming. There truly was overwhelming bi-partisan support for this bill,” explains Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp and Executive Director of the HIA.

Strong support for the bill had come from Kings and Kern County Sheriffs and the Kings County Board of Supervisors, as well as from the California State Grange, the UCFW-5, the Imperial County Farm Bureau, the California Certified Organic Growers and other leading farm organizations. The bill also had broad based support from businesses and consumers.

“After four vetoes in ten years in California, it is clear we lack a Governor willing to lead on this important ecological, agricultural and economic issue. We will regroup, strategize and use this veto to our advantage at the federal level,” notes Vote Hemp Director and co-counsel 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.

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 $419 million in annual retail sales. From natural soaps to healthy foods, there is 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 taproots 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 Ryan Fletcher at 202-641-0277 or ryan@votehemp.com.

SB 676 is Supported by Kings and Kern County Sheriffs, Local Governments, Leading Unions, Businesses and Farming Groups

Sacramento, California — Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association, the nation’s leading grassroots organizations working to revitalize industrial hemp production in the U.S., urge Governor Brown to support SB 676, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. After moving smoothly through the California legislature with bi-partisan support, this landmark legislation is now up for the Governor’s signature and would establish guidelines for farming the non-psychoactive plant that is used in a wide variety of every day consumer products, including food, body care, clothing, paper, auto parts, building materials and bio-fuel.

“California is one step closer to building a successful hemp industry in the Central Valley,” said Senator Mark Leno, following news on September 7 that the Assembly approved the legislation in a vote of 49-22. The legislation allows California farmers to grow industrial hemp for the legal sale of seed, oil and fiber to manufacturers. The Senate approved the bill last night in a concurrence vote of 26-13, making the next stop, Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.

Introduced by Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 676 would create an 8-year pilot program to allow industrial hemp farming in four California counties: Kern, Kings, Imperial, and San Joaquin. This is the third time in ten years that the California legislature has passed a hemp farming bill. However, SB 676 is further refined than previous bills and has significant support from businesses, farming groups, local governments, labor unions, and even law enforcement.

Strong support for the bill has come from Kings County Sheriff David Robinson who wrote in a letter to Senator Leno: “I strongly support this important step in giving our farmers another crop option and another economic opportunity, to help create jobs during these difficult economic times.” Letters of support from the Kings and Kern County Sheriffs, as well as the Kings County Board of Supervisors who voted unanimously to support the bill, can be viewed at: http://votehemp.com/letters

The bill is also endorsed by the California State Grange, the UCFW-5, the Imperial County Farm Bureau, California Certified Organic Growers and other leading farm organizations. SB 676 takes careful and measured steps toward industrial hemp cultivation with a 4-county pilot program that will sunset after 8 years. Near the end of the pilot program the Attorney General will report to the legislature on law enforcement impacts, and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) will provide a report on the economic impacts.

“Hemp is a versatile cash and rotation crop with steadily rising sales as an organic food and body care ingredient. Today, more than 30 industrialized nations grow industrial hemp and export it to the U.S. Hemp is the only crop that is illegal to grow yet legal for Americans to import,” explains Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp and Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association.

California businesses spend millions of dollars each year importing hemp from Canada, China and Europe. Demand for hemp products has been growing rapidly in recent years. It is estimated that the U.S. hemp market now exceeds an estimated $419 million in annual retail sales. From natural soaps to healthy foods, there is a large variety of “Made in California” hemp products that could greatly benefit from an in-state source of hemp seed, fiber and oil.

For the environment, the 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 chemicals than other crops, has deep 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, defoliants and chemical fertilizers that run into our waterways.

“Vote Hemp’s goal is to relieve California farmers of the over-reaching prohibition on industrial hemp cultivation and reintroduce the crop to the state,” says Patrick Goggin, California Legal Counsel for Vote Hemp. Among the numerous California based companies supporting 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. “We expect Governor Brown to do what’s best for the state of California and sign this important bill into law,” continues Goggin.

Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, nonprofit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and 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 Ryan Fletcher at 202-641-0277 or ryan@votehemp.com.

Sacramento, California — Introduced by Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 676, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act is moving quickly through the California Legislature. SB 676 would create an 8-year pilot program to allow industrial hemp farming in five California counties, Kern, Kings, Imperial, San Joaquin and Yolo. Passing through the Assembly Committee on Agriculture last week with a 6-0 vote, leading hemp advocacy organization, Vote Hemp, expects the bill to reach the Governor’s desk this September.

The bill has the endorsement of the UFCW, the Imperial County Farm Bureau, California Certified Organic Growers and other leading farming organizations. Dan Rush, UFCW 5 Statewide Special Operations Director, stated, “UFCW enthusiastically supports SB 676 because we see it as a jobs and revenue generator at a time when they are sorely needed in California.”

The bill has passed out of the Senate and Assembly committees with votes as follows:

In the Senate: Agriculture – 5 – 1 (4/05); Public Safety – 5 – 2 (4/26); Appropriations – 6 – 3 (5/16); Floor – 22 -14 (5/31)

In the Assembly: Public Safety – 5 – 2 (6/21); Agriculture – 6 – 0 (6/29)

SB 676 will go to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and Floor in August. After going back to the Senate for aconcurrence vote, it will finally head to the Governor’s desk.

“Support for hemp farming and manufacturing in California has been very strong. It is passing through committee after committee with a positive reception. We expect this bill to be on its way to the Governor’s desk by early September. Governor Brown will then have 30 days to act on the bill,” explains Patrick Goggin, California Legal Counsel for Vote Hemp.

The bill clarifies that industrial hemp is separate and distinct from forms of Cannabis used to produce marijuana and if passed will allow commercial farming of industrial hemp in five counties (Imperial, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin and Yolo) under an 8-year pilot program. Industrial hemp was grown in California up until shortly after World War II. Industrial hemp is the non-psychoactive, low-THC, oilseed and fiber varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp has absolutely no value as a recreational drug.

SB 676 was introduced on February 18 by state Senator Mark Leno. Senator Leno believes that hemp farming will help revitalize California’s economy, “The time is long over due for California farmers to be allowed to grow this sustainable and profitable crop once again. The passage of SB 676 will create new jobs and economic opportunities for many farmers and manufacturers through out the state.”

A variety of products made from industrial hemp including healthy food and natural body care products as well as eco-friendly clothing are made in California. “There are over 50 member businesses of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) that make or sell hemp products in the state of California alone that could benefit from an in-state source of hemp seed, fiber and oil,” says Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the HIA. “Because of outdated federal and state policies these businesses are forced to import millions of dollars of industrial hemp from Canada, China and Europe.” 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 French Meadow Bakery, Living Harvest, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path, Nutiva and Sequel Naturals who make their products from hemp grown in Canada. Major companies such as Ford Motors, Patagonia and The Body Shop also use sustainable hemp seed, fiber and oil.

“Dr. Bronner’s currently purchases twenty tons of hemp oil each year from Canada. We look forward to the day that we can meet our supply needs from hemp produced right here in our home state,” says David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps of Escondido.

On May 11th, Rep. Ron Paul introduced The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011 (H.R. 1831) in Congress along with 22 co-sponsors including 6 Representatives from California (Farr, McClintock, Miller, Rohrabacher, Stark, Woolsey). If passed, H.R. 1831 will remove federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp.

To date, 17 states have passed pro-hemp laws or resolutions, including the California Assembly in 1999 when it passed a resolution declaring that “the Legislature should consider action to revise the legal status of industrial hemp to allow for its growth in California as an agricultural and industrial crop.”

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products. 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 and www.TheHIA.org.

Assembly Committee to Hold Hemp Bill Hearing, April 27 at 1:30

Thousands of local businesses, organizations, individuals, and farmers are backing new industrial hemp legislation (AB 1147), that would give California farmers the right to grow low-THC varieties of hemp. On Wednesday, April 27 at 1:30pm, in Room 444 supporters of AB 1147 will testify at a California Assembly Agriculture Committee hearing.

Who: Assembly Agriculture Committee

The following individuals will speak in favor of AB 1147: David Bronner, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, based in Escondido, San Diego County; Candi Penn, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association, based in Sonoma County; Vanessa Bogenholm, VB Farms, Chair of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF); Dr. Gero Leson, Principal, Leson & Associates, Berkeley, CA; Michael Greene, Principal, CDS Consulting, Sacramento, CA

What: Hearing on hemp farming bill, AB 1147, introduced by Assemblyman Mark Leno

Where: California State Capitol, Room 444

When: Wednesday, April 27 at 1:30 p.m.

“California farmers are always looking for new crops. AB 1147 will enable them to meet the rising intra-state market for hemp created by the growing number of California businesses that make and sell hemp based foods, fibers, and cosmetic products,” Vote Hemp’s Sacramento lobbyist Michael Greene says, “AB 1147 will enable California businesses to buy hemp grown by California farmers rather than importing hemp from Canada, Europe, China and the many other hemp producing countries.”

Supporters of AB 1147 include: 1300 members of the California Certified Organic Farmers; 199,546 members of the Sierra Club of California, City and County of San Francisco; Vote Hemp; 200 member companies of the Hemp Industries Association; North American Industrial Hemp Council, Inc.; 50,000 California members of the Organic Consumers Association; Organic Ad Advisors; Nutiva; Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps; Knoll Farms; Rainforest Action Network; Environmental Wholesale Products; Sweetgrass Natural Fibers; Hempy’s; Hemp Traders; Heartsong Herbal Brewing Company; Burcaw Chiropractic; Robinson’s Health Products; Luvland Farms Lavender; Alice’s Mountain Market; CDM Corp; Heavenly Low Carb; PAD; J. Ginsberg & Associates; Living Foods.Com; Eagle Trust Union; Center for Healing; New Hope Natural Media; Salon Charisma; Whole Balance; Raw 4 Real; Hemp Sisters; Malu Healthcare; The Living Temple; Strictly Hemp.com; Eco Goods; French Meadow Bakery; and EnviroGentle.

Copyright © 2005, Vote Hemp. All rights reserved.

ND Hemp Bill Signed, NH Hemp Bill Passes House; Hearings on Hemp Bills Set in CA, OR in April

Washington, DC — Board members of Vote Hemp, a non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of industrial hemp, is excited by recent advances made in four state legislatures considering hemp legislation this year that would allow farmers and researchers to grow industrial hemp. In California, New Hampshire, Oregon and North Dakota business leaders, farmers and legislators are backing legislation that would bring back hemp farming and support research almost 50 years after the crop was taken away from farmers who grew the versatile plant for centuries.

Recent Advances of State Hemp Legislation

North Dakota — VICTORY. On March 9 the Governor John Hoeven signed House Bill 1492 which directs the North Dakota State University to start storing “feral hemp seed” in preparation for the day in which it becomes legal to grow industrial hemp under federal law. The vote in the House was 87-3 and in Senate was 46-0. In 1999 North Dakota was the first state to pass hemp farming legislation but to date has not challenged federal supremacy over the issue in the courts.

New Hampshire — House Bill 55-FN-A — PASSED HOUSE on March 23 by a margin of 199-168. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. If passed and signed into law it would let farmers apply for a state license to grow industrial hemp. Qualifying farmers must have no criminal convictions and plant at least five acres per year. Only hemp seed that was sold to farmers by the New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture would be approved to be planted to ensure only low THC varieties of plant are grown.

Oregon — Senate Bill 294 — HEARING SET FOR APRIL 6 in the Oregon Senate Environment and Land Use Committee at 3 p.m. in room B. The bill permits production and possession of industrial hemp and trade in industrial hemp commodities and products. The bill authorizes the State Department of Agriculture to administer a licensing, permitting and inspection program for growers and handlers of industrial hemp.

California — Assembly Bill 1147 — HEARINGS SET FOR APRIL 27 before the California Assembly Agriculture Committee. If passed, AB 1147 would give farmers the right to apply for state licenses to grow low THC varieties of hemp. The law would be similar to regulations on industrial hemp in other countries such as Canada and the European Union. The University of California would also conduct research on industrial hemp.

Copyright © 2005, Vote Hemp. All rights reserved.

Dear Vote Hempsters,
When I brought the idea of forming a Hemp Voting Block within the electoral process to the Board of Directors of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), they unanimously embraced the concept — and a great many HIA members and ordinary citizens volunteered and contributed funding to see our vision come true. To everyone who helped build our momentum in the last election cycle and establish Vote Hemp as a player on the political map, on behalf of the Board of Directors and the staff of Vote Hemp, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I feel it is important at this time to recognize the contribution to Vote Hemp by David Brower formerly of Earth Island Institute. When David resigned from the Board of the Sierra Club, his fire inspired me to ask him to join the Board of Directors of Vote Hemp. Thanks to careful nurturing by David’s good friend and confidante, Mikhail Davis, David agreed to join in our effort.

The one thing out of the many things that David gave Vote Hemp that we can always look to for inspiration is his June 2000 Hemp quote that we put in the press release announcing his addition to the Vote Hemp board.

“In the 1930’s hemp ropes helped us climb mountains said to be “insurmountable.” Today we need industrial hemp to help us surmount the much larger challenges presented by global climate change, toxic contamination, and the other hazards of our petrochemical-dependent economy.”
— David Brower

He gave to others even when he was aware of his own fragile condition, which inspired us and expanded our consciousness of how frail indeed the life on this planet we are all working to save really is.

David Brower passed into the spirit world on November 6th, 2000 and sits beside the great spirit gaining knowledge and advice for his return to Earth and the fight that he gave his every breath to. My colleagues and myself are humbled and deeply thankful to David Brower’s life in the arms of the great mother.

  • Lloyd Hart
  • Eric Steenstra
  • Eric Lineback
  • Candi Penn
  • David Frankel
  • David Bronner
  • Erik Rothenberg

Copyright © 2000, Vote Hemp. All rights reserved.