We are happy to announce the release of the newly updated The Vote Hemp Guide to Hemp Activism for the 2013 August Recess. This twelve page guide will give you the information and tools that you need to confidently and effectively ask your elected representatives to support legislation which will lift the current ban on hemp farming in the U.S. Please click here to download a PDF copy of this concise guide to citizen lobbying on the hemp issue.
For many people the name lobbyist conjures up images of well-dressed groups of people trying to influence the decisions of legislators and government officials. Often times these images are negative ones, but it need not always be so.
As constituents our elected officials should be representing us and serving our best interests. We at Vote Hemp like to refer to the work our supporters do asking their representatives to introduce hemp farming, study bills and resolutions and supporting them in the legislature as advocacy. To be an effective advocate you need to learn how the system works and where the levers of power are, as well as a well balanced knowledge of the issues surrounding industrial hemp.
An advocate should not resort to misinformation or hyperbole, obvious and intentional exaggeration, to educate people about hemp farming. All to often well-meaning hempsters end up sounding like an over the top TV commercial selling something that you don't really need, or even worse, a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist. Your pitch should not sound like this: "As a hardy perennial, hemp needs no year-after-year replanting, nor pesticides or herbicides. It doesn't need water, either. Easily grown in the Sahara, hemp yields thousands of gallons of oil per acre along with tens of thousands of tons of dry matter as well. Plus, you would have to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole to just get high. It chops, it grates, it dices, it slices, it juliennes fries in three different ways and costs only $9.95. Order before midnight tonight. Hemp, it's better than magic beans!"
It's obvious to us that these statements are not true, but to someone who does not know a lot about the subject it sounds like you are intentionally misleading them just to get a law passed.
We do not want to fall into the same trap that our opponents are in by using these techniques. All too often we unintentionally end up using arguments that are the opposite of the ones that they do and since many of those arguments are disingenuous at best, what does that make ours? So, how can we do better?
The best thing to do is to read up on the issues surrounding industrial hemp. To start with we highly recommend watching the six minute video Controversial Crop from Episode 315 of America's Heartland, which is produced by KVIE in Sacramento, California.
When you are done with that you should download and read the Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity by Renée Johnson. You want the latest revision from January 19, 2012. At least please take the time to read the Summary at the beginning. One you read this you will know more than most legislators and public policy makers.
Next please download and read the Reason Foundation Policy Study Illegally Green: Environmental Costs of Hemp Prohibition by Skaidra Smith-Heisters. You will notice that all of these documents are from third party sources.
Lastly, please check out our Legislation page, where you can find the text of both bills in Congress, H.R. 1831 in the House and S. 3501 in the Senate. There are also plenty of educational materials in our Download Center that you can learn from.
Now that you have some new found knowledge, please click here to write to your Representative in the U.S. House and Senate urging him or her to consider cosponsoring the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011.
If you receive a reply from one of your elected representatives please email a copy of it to Tom Murphy, Vote Hemp's National Outreach Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. It will help with our lobbying efforts to know the contents of these letters. Please click here to see our current list of replies from representatives. We will not publish your name or address and hold them in confidence
Once you have written to your representatives in Congress, please check out our State Industrial Hemp Legislation page and see what's up in your area. There is also a draft resolution our Hemp Resolution page. The resolutions urge Congress to recognize industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity and to pass legislation that removes barriers to state regulation of the commercial production of industrial hemp. This is also a great way to to educate legislators and get a hemp bill passed in your state in the future as well.
Please sign up for our Vote Hemp Action Alert email list so you can keep up to date on the hemp issue. You can also sign up for our Hemp News Update list as well as state specific Action Alert Lists.
You can also keep current on hemp news by regularly checking our Facebook page and please remember to check our State and Federal legislation pages for updates, especially during the legislative season!
If you are looking to take your lobbing to the next level please read and use The Vote Hemp Guide to Hemp Activism. This twelve page guide will give you the information and tools that you need to confidently and effectively ask your elected representatives to support legislation which will lift the current ban on hemp farming in the U.S. Please click here to download a PDF copy of this concise guide to citizen lobbying on the hemp issue.