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For Immediate Release
Monday, January 3, 2005

CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-232-8997, 202-744-2671

Case for Hemp Made at
American Farm Bureau Convention

U.S. Farmers Deserve Right to Grow Industrial Hemp for Global Demand

CHARLOTTE, NC — Representatives of the Hemp Industry will exhibit on January 9-12 at the American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) annual convention at the Charlotte Convention Center to educate farmers about the need to change federal laws that prevent them from growing industrial hemp. Vote Hemp (booth # 614), a non-profit advocacy organization, will give away hemp food and display a wide variety of hemp products, such as automobile parts and paper, sold in the U.S. but made with imported industrial hemp.

"The U.S. government treats hemp the same as marijuana even though dozens of countries including Canada, England and Germany understand the difference. American farmers know that hemp isn't a drug. What we will show them is that there is a global market for industrial hemp that they are unfairly locked out of," says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp, who will attend the AFBF convention. "The American Farm Bureau Annual Convention is the perfect place for Vote Hemp to jump-start our legislative and education efforts by networking with farmers from across the country who want to grow industrial hemp."

Vote Hemp's (www.VoteHemp.com) ultimate goal is to free industrial hemp from restrictions meant for marijuana, so that U.S. farmers and business owners can once again profit from hemp's commercial cultivation. Vote Hemp is working with legislators on the introduction of an Industrial Hemp Farming Act. In January, when the 109th Congress convenes, Vote Hemp will focus lobbying efforts on bills to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

"Farmers are asking, if it's legal to sell hemp here in the U.S., why can't we grow it commercially? Automobile parts, paper, clothing, food, personal care products, and more are all being made from hemp, yet the American farmer is left out of the expanding marketplace, now estimated at more than $200 million in annual North American retail sales," says Steenstra.
In February 2004 the Hemp Industries Association won its three year legal battle against the Drug Enforcement Administration's misguided attempt to ban safe and nutritious hemp foods. The market for hemp seed and oil products that the DEA tried to ban is now among the fastest growing natural health food markets in the natural products industry which itself is among the fastest growing sectors of the US economy.

"More and more health foods containing omega-3 rich hemp nut and oil are appearing on store shelves since the legal status is no longer an issue," says Alexis Baden-Mayer, Director of Government Affairs for Vote Hemp. "Americans are looking for healthy alternative sources of omega-3 to supplement their diets due to concerns regarding trace mercury in fish and fish oil supplements. Right now the U.S. marketplace is supplied with hemp seed grown and processed in Canada and Europe. We are working to convince Congress it is time for the U.S. to again allow American farmers to grow industrial hemp so that they can participate in this lucrative growth market."

Visit www.VoteHemp.com to read court documents and numerous scientific studies concerning hemp foods. For more information or to arrange interviews with representatives of the hemp industry, please call Adam Eidinger at 202-232-8997.

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