For Immediate Release
Monday, April 30, 2007
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
California Assembly Passes Hemp Farming Legislation
AB 684 Would Allow Farmers to Grow Non-Drug Varieties of Cannabis
SACRAMENTO, CA — California's Assembly today voted 41 to 29, with 9 not voting, to approve AB 684, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007. The legislation gives farmers the right to grow non-psychoactive Industrial Hemp which is commonly made into everything from food, clothing, paper, body care, bio-fuel and even auto parts. The bill now goes to the Senate where it is expected to have enough support to pass. The text of legislation can be found on our California page.
AB 684, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, was authored by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine). This is the second time in two years that a bipartisan hemp farming bill has passed the Assembly. Last year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 1147 which is nearly identical to AB 864. At that time the Governor claimed that bill would put farmers in jeopardy of federal prosecution if they grew hemp despite assurances by Vote Hemp and other supporting organizations such as the California based Hemp Industries Association and California Certified Organic Farmers there would be a challenge to the Drug Enforcement Administration's legal authority to interfere with the state hemp farming law prior to implementation.
"Passage of the hemp farming bill in the Assembly is a sign it is likely to reach Governor Schwarzenegger's desk for the second year in row," says Vote Hemp legal Council and San Francisco Attorney Patrick Goggin. "The mood in Sacramento is this bill is consistent with California's effort to be leader on US environmental policy. Hemp is a versatile plant that can replace polluting crops such as cotton and is taking off as an organic food and body care ingredient. It is time to jump into the expanding market for hemp that California companies currently import from Canada and elsewhere."
Today more than 30 industrialized nations grow industrial hemp and export to the US. It is the only crop that is both illegal to grow and legal for Americans to import. Sales of hemp food and body care products have grown rapidly in recent years fueling an expansion of hemp farming in Canada which topped 48,000 acres in 2006.
A telephone poll with a 3.5% margin of error of likely California voters taken from February 22 — 26 showed a total of 71% support changing state law to allow farmers to grow hemp. The survey was conducted by the respected research firm Zogby International on behalf of Vote Hemp and five manufacturers of hemp food products including Alpsnack®, French Meadow Bakery®, Living Harvest®, Nature's Path Organic Foods® and Nutiva®.
Poll questions and results regarding industrial hemp farming policy and consumer attitudes on hemp products and nutrition can be viewed online our Polls page. There is evidence of strong support among men and women and self-identified liberal and conservative voters on the issue. Among California Republicans, 60% support changing state law on hemp while 74% of Democrats are in support. Support was also steady among all age groups, ranging from 54% of 18 to 29 year olds to 82% of 30 to 49 year olds, 74% of 50 to 64 years olds and 60% of those over 65 years old.
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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.