For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
Eleven Farming States Introduce Hemp Legislation in 2007
Bills Change State Law to Allow Hemp Farming, Allow for Studies, and/or Resolutions Urging Action from DEA and Congress
WASHINGTON, DC — Vote Hemp, the nation's leading grassroots organization working to give farmers the right to grow non-psychoactive industrial hemp to be made into everything from food, clothing, paper, body care, bio-fuel and even auto parts, is pleased by the progress of hemp bills on the state level so far in 2007. The states that have introduced industrial hemp bills this legislative season are: California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
North Dakota leads the pack with five bills introduced in 2007, with two of the five, SB 2099 and HB 1490, having been signed by Gov. John Hoeven. Two of the bills were resolutions urging Congress to recognize the multiple benefits of industrial hemp and to direct DEA to differentiate between industrial hemp and marijuana. The fifth bill, HB 1020, has passed both the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor's desk.
California's hemp farming bill, AB 684 has passed through two Assembly committees on its course to a floor vote. HB 1535, the hemp farming bill in Hawaii is in three committees and will be carried over to the next legislative session. Idaho's resolution asking the U.S. Congress to legalize hemp farming was killed in the House Agricultural Affairs Committee earlier this year without gaining a bill number. New Hampshire hemp farming bill, HB 424, passed the House on a 190-76 vote earlier this month and had a hearing in the Senate Commerce, Labor and Consumer Protection Committee this week. New Mexico passed a hemp study memorial and Congressional resolution, HM 49, with an overwhelming 59-2 vote in the House.
Minnesota had a hemp farming bill, HF 2168, introduced late last month and has been referred to the House Agriculture, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs committee. South Carolina study bill, H 3305, was introduced in January and is stalled in the House Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. In Oregon there is SB 348 which would allow farmers to grow hemp under state rules. Vermont's hemp farming bill, H 267, is in the House Agriculture Committee and hearings will take place this week. Wisconsin's hemp study bill, AB 146, just had a successful hearing last week in the Assembly Rural Economic Development committee.
All state hemp bills and resolutions introduced since 1995 are listed in the chart at: http://www.votehemp.com/state.html
H.R. 1009, the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007," was introduced in Congress in January. The bill excludes industrial hemp from the definition of "marihuana" in the Controlled Substances Act and gives states the exclusive authority to regulate the growing and processing of industrial hemp under state law. The full text of H.R. 1009, Rep. Paul's House floor comments, and the CRS Report "Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity" can all be read at: http://www.votehemp.com/federal.html
"Under the current national drug control policy, industrial hemp can be imported, but it can't be grown by American farmers," says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "The DEA has taken the Controlled Substances Act's antiquated definition of marijuana out of context and used it as an excuse to block industrial hemp farming. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007 will bring us back to more rational times when the government regulated marijuana, but told farmers they could go ahead and continue raising hemp just as they always had," says Mr. Steenstra.
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Vote Hemp is a non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow low-THC industrial hemp. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.HempIndustries.org. BETA SP or DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.