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For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 26, 2006

CONTACT:
Patrick Goggin 415-312-0084 or Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671

Hemp Farming Bill Passes California Assembly
Vote Hemp Applauds Assembly Leadership on AB 1147
Looks to Senate for Passage

SACRAMENTO, CA — California business leaders and farmers are celebrating today’s passage of AB 1147, which clarifies that the cultivation of industrial hemp is legal on the condition it contains no more than three tenths of one percent (0.3%) tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC). AB 1147 passed with a clear majority of 44 votes in favor and 32 against, and the bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. Final passage of AB 1147 could revitalize commercial industrial hemp farming, which occurred in the state up until shortly after World War II.

AB 1147 was introduced last February by Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno and in recent months was amended and jointly authored by Republican Assemblyman Chuck Devore. “Industrial hemp is a bipartisan agricultural issue whose time has come,” says David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps of Escondido which imports hemp seed and oil from Canada and Europe for their soaps and snack bars. “We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars importing industrial hemp, so we think it is time to give California farmers a chance to grow it for us,” adds Bronner who is also a board member of Vote Hemp.

From natural soaps to healthy foods, a variety of “Made in California” hemp products could benefit from an in-state source of hemp seed, fiber and oil. According to the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) there are over 50 member businesses that make or sell hemp products in California. Currently these businesses must import millions of dollars of industrial hemp from countries such as Canada, China and England. “We are very pleased that this bill passed the Assembly and congratulate Mark Leno and Chuck DeVore whose leadership was essential in passing this bill,” says HIA President Steve Levine.

Additional credit for passage of AB 1147 goes to the Organic Consumers Association, the Rainforest Action Network and the California Certified Organic Farmers, who mobilized their members to support AB 1147.

If AB 1147 now passes the Senate and is signed by the governor, California will join the six other states that currently have laws removing barriers to industrial hemp production or research (including Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia). To date, twenty-six state legislatures have considered industrial hemp legislation and fourteen have passed laws or resolutions, including the California Assembly which in 1999 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.”

AB 1147 would not conflict with or be pre-empted by federal law, nor would it interfere with the enforcement of marijuana laws. It would only allow farmers to produce the parts of the plant that are already legal to import under state and federal law: industrial hemp seed (and oil), fiber and woody core (hurds).

Nutritious Hemp Foods
Hemp seed is one of the most perfect nutritional resources in all of nature. In addition to its excellent flavor profile, the seed meat protein supplies all essential amino acids in an easily digestible form and with a high protein efficiency ratio. But most importantly, hemp seed and oil offer high concentrations of two essential fatty acids (EFA's omega-3 and omega-6) in perfect balance. EFA's are the “good fats” that doctors recommend as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

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BETA SP Video News Release featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.

More information about industrial hemp may be found at www.VoteHemp.com and www.HempIndustries.org.

END


To read Assemblyman Mark Leno's official press release, click here.

 

 

 
 
 
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