The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp have announced the dates for the 7th annual Hemp History Week, to be held June 6-12, 2016. This year promises to be an historic time in the movement to legalize hemp farming, as more farmers than ever before are planting hemp in states that have lifted prohibition on the crop. Over half of all U.S. states have lifted the ban on industrial hemp farming at the state level, however federal law still prohibits commercial industrial hemp cultivation due to outdated and inaccurate drug policy.
Hemp in Current Events
On March 28, 2016, the United States District Court of South Dakota lifted an injunction that had been placed against Alex White Plume of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, in 2004, which until recently prevented him from ever growing hemp again in his lifetime. This landmark reversal in the court order against Mr. White Plume signifies a pivotal shift in the attitude of federal judges toward industrial hemp cultivation, as the original government allegation against Mr. White Plume’s 2002 industrial hemp crop which resulted in this 14 year long injunction, was that he was “manufacturing and distributing marijuana.” Now that Mr. White Plume’s right to cultivate industrial hemp has been restored, he intends to plant a hemp crop on his land near his home on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation this year.
In October of 2015, Federal Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration raided a harvested hemp crop on the Wisconsin reservation of the Menominee Indian Tribe. Similar to the 2002 DEA raid of Mr. White Plume’s farm, federal prosecutors claimed the industrial hemp crop was “marijuana.” The Menominee Nation has filed suit against the federal government, in defense of the tribe’s right to cultivate hemp per the 2014 Farm Bill; the case remains open.
The American market for hemp products remains the largest worldwide, and continues to expand with 10.4% market growth achieved in 2015 according to estimates from the Hemp Industries Association. At least 3,900 acres of U.S. soil were planted in industrial hemp in 2015, across Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont. To date, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act has 75 cosponsors in Congress: 65 cosponsors of HR 525, and 10 cosponsors of S.134 in the House and Senate respectively.
Hemp for Our Earth
Hemp farming is an important step toward creating raw materials, finished products, and innovative technologies to catalyze a sustainable future in which every-day products are renewable and grown using regenerative agriculture. Hemp is a renewable resource that can help reduce market dependency on synthetics, lumber, cotton, and other non-sustainable industrial materials. It contributes to environmentally responsible food and fiber production, forest conservation, reduction in agricultural pesticide use, and soil remediation. Hemp sequesters carbon from the atmosphere thus mitigating the rise of CO2 levels responsible for climate change. Furthermore, pollinators thrive on the proliferous pollen created by hemp plants. Grassroots organizes will host events across the country this coming Earth Day, to advocate for hemp farming as part of a larger dialog on agriculture and sustainability. From hemp batteries to efficient hemp homes, industrial hemp is a crop that can Grow Our Future. To view the new video for the 7th annual campaign, visit: http://bit.ly/1NAxtZY.
Hemp for Our Health
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 gluten-free and has no known allergens.
United in the Effort to Legalize Hemp Farming
Now in its seventh year, Hemp History Week is an industry-wide effort made possible by the support of the leading natural product brands known for manufacturing the highest quality hemp products. These HIA members and sponsor brands include Dr. Bronner’s, Living Harvest, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path Foods, Nutiva, Pacific Foods, Himalania and CV Sciences.
Legislative Challenges and Opportunities in 2016
When the 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law in February of 2014, the hemp amendment to the bill, Sec. 7606 Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, defined industrial hemp as distinct from the Cannabis sativa L. subject to prohibition per the Controlled Substances Act. This was an historic moment in the longstanding effort to legalize hemp as the act asserts that industrial hemp is not psychoactive, having less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis and therefore presenting no drug value.
The bill further allows for states that have already legalized the crop to cultivate hemp within the parameters of state agriculture departments and research institutions. Read the full text of the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research amendment on the Vote Hemp website: http://www.votehemp.com/PDF/Pages_from_farm0127.pdf.
Over half of all states have now removed barriers to hemp cultivation and production, with strong support from farmers, businesses, manufacturers and consumers. Advocates for industrial hemp farming see 2016 as a pivotal political opportunity in which grassroots momentum and bi-partisan support in Congress may finally culminate to declassify industrial hemp as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance and once again allow states to regulate hemp farming.
The 27 states that have legalized industrial hemp farming, per provision Sec. 7606 of the farm bill, include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Virginia.
Hemp History Week, June 6-12, 2016, is an industry-wide initiative of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp. The 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.
Source: Vote Hemp