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For Immediate Release
Monday, June 5, 2006

CONTACT:
Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
adam@votehemp.com

Public Hearing on Hemp Farming in North Dakota
to Feature Largest Hemp Seed Contractor in
North America
State Expected to License Farmers to Grow Hemp by 2007

BISMARCK, ND — The first in the nation to do so, North Dakota's Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson will hold a public hearing on Thursday, June 15 about rules expected to be finalized later this year that would license farmers in his state to grow industrial hemp under current state law. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in the North Dakota Heritage Center, Lecture Room B, located at 612 East Boulevard Avenue in Bismarck. Members of the media are invited to attend this historic stride towards bringing back hemp farming in the United States after 50 years of prohibition. The proposed hemp farming rules may be viewed online here.

At the hearing a spectrum of agricultural interests, including contractors, farmers, market experts and a certified agrologist, will testify about their personal experiences growing industrial hemp in Canada which expects to plant an estimated 40,000 acres this year.

WHO:

WHAT: Public hearing on proposed North Dakota Hemp Farming Rules

WHEN: Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: North Dakota Heritage Center, Lecture Room B, 612 East Boulevard Ave., Bismarck, ND

In February, Commissioner Johnson, along with agriculture commissioners from three other states, met with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials in Washington, DC to explore acceptable rules on industrial hemp farming. The official meeting marked a turning point in the federal government’s relations with hemp-friendly policymakers who have been routinely ignored by DEA officials. This is seemingly an about face for an agency that has threatened to prosecute anyone who tries to grow non-psychoactive hemp in America.

While North Dakota's proposed rules would require farmers to secure a permit from the DEA before their licenses would become effective, there is precedent for this as the DEA permitted a test plot of industrial hemp in Hawaii from 1999 to 2003. North Dakota's proposed rules cover commercial hemp farming and include a number of restrictions to alleviate law enforcement concerns.

Some highlights of the proposed hemp farming rules include:

  • Farmers must consent to a criminal background check
  • To whom and how much the farmer sells must be documented within 30 days of sale
  • The location of the hemp field(s) must be provided using geopositioning (GPS) coordinates
  • Planted hemp seed must contain less than three-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Currently seven states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia) have passed pro-hemp farming laws. Sales of hemp foods in 2004/2005 grew by 50% over the previous 12-month period. U.S. retail sales of hemp products are estimated to now be $250 to $300 million per year. There are more than 2.5 million cars on U.S. roads that contain hemp composites. European farmers now grow more than 40,000 acres of hemp.

More information about industrial hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com and www.HempIndustries.org.

END

 

 

 
 
 
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