Friday, March 4, 2005
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-232-8997,
Hemp Farming Legislation Gaining
Four States Likely to Pass Bills This Year
Federal Legislation Coming This Spring
WASHINGTON, DC —
Vote Hemp, a non-profit organization dedicated to the
acceptance of industrial hemp, believes that four
state legislatures are likely to pass 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 almost 50 years after the crop was
taken away from farmers who grew the versatile plant
"Hemp farming 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. "The states considering hemp legislation
this year are serious about the issue despite the federal
government's de-facto ban on hemp cultivation that stems
from misguided marijuana prohibition. Regardless of
the federal ban, state legislators are listening to
farmers and business owners who think the federal restrictions
are not based on scientific arguments — and actually
hurt U.S. economic interests since it is legal to import,
process, sell and consume hemp seed and hemp fiber products."
of years different varieties of Cannabis have been
cultivated for non-drug uses such as paper, textiles,
soap, food, building materials and more recently high-tech
biocomposites used in automobiles. Hemp and marijuana
come from different varieties of the Cannabis plant.
"Because there are at least 1.5 million cars on
the road with hemp door panels, tens of millions of
dollars are spent annually on hemp food and hemp body
care, and hemp paper is being made here 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.
Highlights of State Hemp Legislation
Over the past decade at least twenty-five
pro-hemp bills have been considered by state legislatures
and fourteen have become law. Five states (Hawaii, Kentucky,
Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia) allow for hemp
farming on a commercial or research basis.
Bills being considered this year include:
California — Assembly Bill
1147 would give farmers the right to apply for state
licenses 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.
New Hampshire — House Bill
55-FN-A 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 sold to farmers by the NH Commissioner
of Agriculture would be approved for planting to ensure
only low-THC varieties of the plant are grown.
North Dakota — House Bill
1492 passed the House on February 16, passed the Senate
on March 1, and is awaiting action by the Governor.
HB 1492 allows North Dakota State University to start
storing "feral hemp seed" in preparation for
the day it becomes legal to grow industrial hemp in
the U.S. The vote was 87-3 in the House and 46-0 in
the Senate. In 1999 North Dakota was the first state
to pass hemp farming legislation, but to date the state
has not challenged federal supremacy over the issue
in the courts.
Oregon — Senate Bill 294
permits production and possession of industrial hemp
and trade in industrial hemp commodities and products.
The bill authorizes the State Department of Agriculture
to administer a licensing, permitting and inspection
program for growers and handlers of industrial hemp.
Visit www.VoteHemp.com to learn more about
For more information or to arrange interviews with representatives
of the hemp industry, please call Adam Eidinger at 202-232-8997.