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For Immediate Release
Monday, March 28, 2005

CONTACT: Adam Eidinger at 202-986-6186

State Hemp Legislation Making Advances
ND Hemp Bill Signed into Law; NH Hemp Bill Passes House "Floor Fight;"
Hearings on Hemp Bills Set in CA and OR in April

WASHINGTON, DC — Vote Hemp, a non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of industrial hemp, is excited by recent advances made in four state legislatures considering hemp legislation this year that would allow farmers and researchers to grow industrial hemp. In California, New Hampshire, Oregon and North Dakota business leaders, farmers and legislators are backing legislation that would bring back hemp farming and support research almost 50 years after the crop was taken away from farmers who grew the versatile plant for centuries. See more on industrial hemp at http://www.votehemp.com.

Recent advances in state hemp legislation include:

North Dakota — VICTORY! On March 9 the Governor John Hoeven signed House Bill 1492 which directs the North Dakota State University to start storing "feral hemp seed" in preparation for the day in which it becomes legal to grow industrial hemp under federal law. The vote in the House was 87-3 and in the Senate was 46-0. In 1999, North Dakota was the first state to pass hemp farming legislation but to date has not challenged federal supremacy over the issue in the courts.

New Hampshire — House Bill 55-FN-A — PASSED HOUSE "floor fight" on March 23 by a margin of 199-168 after coming out of the House Environment and Agriculture Committee. The bill will now be heard anytime by the House Finance Committee before going on to the final House floor vote, and then will go on to the Senate for their consideration. If passed and signed into law it would let farmers apply for a state license to grow industrial hemp. Qualifying farmers must have no criminal convictions and plant at least five acres per year. Only hemp seed that was sold to farmers by the New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture would be approved for planting to ensure only low-THC varieties of the plant are grown.

Oregon — Senate Bill 294 — HEARING SET for April 6 in the Oregon Senate Environment and Land Use Committee at 3:00pm in room B. The bill would permit production and possession of industrial hemp and trade in industrial hemp commodities and products. The bill would authorize the State Department of Agriculture to administer a licensing, permitting and inspection program for growers and handlers of industrial hemp.

California — Assembly Bill 1147 — HEARING SET for April 27 before the California Assembly Agriculture Committee. If passed, AB 1147 would give farmers the right to apply for a state license to grow low-THC varieties of hemp. The law would be similar to regulations on industrial hemp in other countries such as Canada and the European Union. The University of California would also conduct research on industrial hemp.

"Industrial hemp has become a lucrative crop for farmers in Europe, Canada and Asia, so farmers here are asking 'Why are we being left out?'" says Alexis Baden-Mayer, Director of Government Relations for Vote Hemp. For thousands of years different varieties of Cannabis have been cultivated for non-drug uses such as paper, canvas, soap, food, building materials and recently high-tech bio-composites used in automobiles.

Hemp and marijuana come from different varieties of the Cannabis plant. "Because there are millions of cars on the road with hemp door panels, tens of millions of dollars spent annually on hemp food and hemp body care, and hemp paper is being made in the U.S., people are asking tough questions about why the U.S. government won't distinguish low-THC hemp from high-THC drug varieties. I believe there will be federal legislation soon to address needed reforms," says Baden-Mayer.

Visit www.VoteHemp.com to learn more about state legislation. For more information or to arrange interviews with representatives of the hemp industry, please call Adam Eidinger at 202-986-6186.

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