By Steve Elliott
America's first legal hemp harvest in more than half a century began this month in Colorado.
Amendment 64, approved by voters last November, didn't just legalize small amounts of marijuana for adults -- it also cleared the way for industrial hemp production. Farmer Ryan Loflin wasted no time; he planted 55 acres of hemp this past spring, reports Melanie Asmar at Westword.
Hemp advocates from across the United States came to watch last week as Loflin and his crew harvested the first plants by hand. "It felt very historic," said advocate Lynda Parker.
"We think that, obviously, this is a symbolic first hemp harvest," said Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). Steenstra predicted that farmers in other states will soon follow Loflin's lead.
Since the federal government doesn't distinguish between marijuana and hemp -- classifying both as a Schedule I controlled substance -- when the federal Department of Justice recently indicated it wouldn't sue to stop state marijuana legalization, Steenstra said that policy should apply to hemp, as well.
The night before the ceremonial September 23 harvest, Loflin hosted a dinner at his farm, featuring hemp-based foods. It was attended by Colorado hemp advocates, as well as national advocates from the Hemp Industries Association, Vote Hemp, and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.
By Steve Elliott
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 566, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, legalizing hemp farming under state law.
Introduced by state Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 566 ensures that California is prepared to begin registering hemp farmers once the federal government gives states the green light, according to hemp advocacy organization Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), an industry trade group.
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 biofuels.
Enforcement and oversight of hemp production would be handled in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and country agricultural commissioners, as is done with other farm crops.
Bipartisan Coalition Works to Give Colleges and Universities Ability to Conduct Critical Research
By Steve Elliott
An amendment allowing colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp in states where it is already legal, without fear of federal interference, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday by a vote of 225 to 200.
Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the amendment to H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, the FARRM Bill.
“Industrial hemp is an important agricultural commodity, not a drug,” said Rep. Polis. “My bipartisan, common-sense amendment, which I’ve introduced with Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes in states where industrial hemp growth and cultivation is already legal.
"Many states, including Colorado, have demonstrated that they are fully capable of regulating industrial hemp," Rep. Polis said. "George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. The first American flag was made of hemp. And today, U.S. retailers sell over $300 million worth of goods containing hemp—but all of that hemp is imported, since farmers can’t grow it here.
Things about hemp that were not taught to Jack in school, he tried to teach others. He was a steward of the plant and devoted his life to the support of cannabis as he believed it was the greatest gift the world has ever known.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff
Hemp for Victory was a 1942 documentary produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to encourage farmers to grow outlawed industrial hemp for the war effort as a way to stabilize America during World War II.
As the War on Drugs proceeded onward, the United States Department of Agriculture Library and the Library of Congress stated no such movie was made by the USDA or any branch of the U.S. government. His creditability threatened, Jack Herer made it his mission to uncover the truth about Hemp for Victory. He knew it was a USDA creation and not simply folklore.
"There is reason to believe there is hope for the 21st Century, and that's the way it will be." Walter Cronkite
Compiled by Hemp News Staff
1. California: DEA To Yield Marijuana Jurisdiction To States - 3/2/2009
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is sending strong signals that President Obama - who as a candidate said states should be allowed to make their own rules on medical marijuana - will end raids on pot dispensaries in California.
"What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing here in law enforcement," he said. "What he said during the campaign is now American policy."
2. Washington State: Kitsap Medical Marijuana Defendant Acquitted - 3/24/2009
By CHARLIE BERMANT, Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer
A medical marijuana patient being prosecuted in Kitsap County Superior Court for drug trafficking was found not guilty on Tuesday morning, after a jury ruled that his use of the drug was within the law.
The jury deliberated for approximately two hours prior to its ruling.
From Drug War Chronicle, Issue #614, 12/29/09
The 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis last Tuesday upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss a lawsuit by a pair of North Dakota hemp farmers who argued they should be able to grow hemp crops without fear of federal prosecution.
Farmers Wayne Hauge and David Monson, who is also a Republican state representative, were awarded licenses from the state department of agriculture to grow hemp three years ago. They sought approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and after the DEA failed to respond, they filed suit in US District Court in Bismarck. There, US District Judge Daniel Hovland dismissed their suit.
The DEA considers hemp to be marijuana. It took a successful federal court challenge to force the DEA to continue to allow for hemp food products to be imported, but American farmers are still forced to stand on the sidelines and watch as their Canadian, Chinese, and European counterparts fill their wallets with profit from hemp sales.
"I guess the next step is we'll have to take it to Congress," Hauge told the Associated Press. "The fastest and easiest way to handle this would be for the president to order the Department of Justice to stand down on all actions against industrial hemp," he added, alluding wistfully to the department's announced policy shift on medical marijuana.
Farmers in the United States Want Hemp Now
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff
This past August, the Seattle Hempfest Hemposium Stage hosted a panel of experts who held an intellectual conversation with the audience discussing the various uses of the hemp plant. This talented panel featured the speakers Steve Levine (HIA/Vote Hemp), Anndrea Hermann (CHTA), Adam Eidinger (Vote Hemp), George Rohrbacher (former Washington Senator/Farmer), Sue Kastensen (Dr. Bronner's) and Denny Finneran (Crucial Creations).
By Wayne Hauge, American Citizen
I am a fourth generation farmer, grandfather of three, and have never been arrested for anything. I traveled to Washington, D.C. to join hemp business leaders in a symbolic planting of hemp seeds on DEA headquarters' front lawn. This action was taken to raise awareness of the distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana. Today non-dairy milks, protein powders, cereals, soaps and lotions are made from the nutritious omega 3 rich hemp seed, while everything from clothing to building materials to automobile paneling is made from the fiber and woody core.
Along with another North Dakota farmer and state Rep. David Monson, I am involved in a lawsuit against DEA, now in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, to prevent DEA interference with licensed North Dakota farmers cultivating and processing industrial hemp under North Dakota's state industrial hemp program. However, it has been almost a year since the case was given to the judges to decide if states can act without federal government intervention.
By Matthew Brown, Associated Press
Montana this month issued its first license for an industrial hemp-growing operation to a woman who said she wants to develop a domestic market for the plant despite federal law barring its cultivation.
Laura Murphy, of Bozeman, was the first to apply for the two-year license since the state Legislature approved hemp's commercial cultivation in 2001.
Federal law prohibits such activity, but the license issued by the Montana Agriculture Department on Oct. 14 could challenge whether the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is willing to override the state.
Hemp is similar to illegal marijuana but without the mind-altering ingredient of the drug. It is grown in parts of Canada and Europe and has a range of uses, from fibers for clothing to a source of biofuels.
Murphy called the application process "pretty easy."
"I went in and had a criminal history check and fingerprints and said I had land to grow it on," she said. "They didn't have an official license for me; it's just a letter."
She said she intends to lease 160 acres of unused ranch land near Ennis and is trying to arrange contracts with buyers.
Murphy, 42, said she is a former dog groomer who works as the office manager for a Bozeman medical marijuana business. She said there would be a separation between that business, which is run by her fiance, and the planned hemp growing operation.
New State Program for Hemp Farmers to be Established
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has signed SB 676 into law, which permits the production, trade and possession of industrial hemp commodities and products.
"I am glad that Oregon has joined the other states that have agreed that American farmers should have the right to re-introduce industrial hemp as an agricultural crop," says SB 676 sponsor, Sen. Floyd Prozanski. "By signing SB 676 into law, which passed the Oregon Legislature with strong bi-partisan support, Governor Kulongoski has taken a proactive position allowing our farmers the right to grow industrial hemp, to provide American manufacturers with domestically-grown hemp, and to profit from that effort."
The new law sets up a state-regulated program for farmers to grow industrial hemp which is used in a wide variety of products, including nutritious foods, cosmetics, body care, clothing, tree-free paper, auto parts, building materials, fuels and much more.
Patrick Goggin, the Director of Vote Hemp, says Oregon's federal delegation can now take this law to the U.S. Congress and 'call for a fix to this problem, so American companies will no longer need to import hemp and American farmers will no longer be denied a profitable new crop.'
Another group called the Hemp Industries Association estimates the 2008 annual retail sales of all hemp products in North America to be about $360 million.
Oregon becomes the sixth state in 2009 to take control; pressure to grow hemp continues to mount as business booms.
By Vote Hemp
(SALEM, Ore.) - Today, by a vote of 46 to 11, the Oregon House passed SB 676, a bill that permits production and possession of industrial hemp and trade in industrial hemp commodities and products.
"I am glad that Oregon has joined the list of states that have agreed that American farmers should have the right to re-introduce industrial hemp as an agricultural crop," says SB 676 sponsor, Sen. Floyd Prozanski.
"By passing SB 676 with strong bi-partisan support, the Oregon Legislature has taken a proactive position to allow its farmers the right to grow industrial hemp, to provide American manufacturers with domestically-grown hemp, and to profit from that effort."
The Oregon Senate passed the bill by an overwhelming majority vote of 27 to 2 on June 19th. Vote Hemp is optimistic that Governor Kulongoski will sign the bill. Oregon would become the ninth state to authorize regulated hemp farming under state law.
"The time has come for the federal government to act and allow farmers to once again grow hemp, so American companies will no longer need to import it and American farmers will no longer be denied a profitable new crop," comments Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra.