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The Vote Hemp Weekly News Update Volume I, Number 4
May 10, 2006

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the fourth issue of The Vote Hemp Weekly News Update! Every week members of the Vote Hemp Board of Directors and our Media Team will help to choose the best hemp news to present to you for your perusal. Please be sure to vote in the poll in our feature story this week.

This has been one of those weeks that hemp supporters dream about! The North Dakota Department of Agriculture issued a news release on proposed rules for the production of industrial hemp in that state. Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson has scheduled a public hearing for 10 a.m., June 15, 2006 in Lecture Room B in the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck, ND. Farmers in North Dakota won't be joining their Canadian counterparts in planting hemp this Spring, but perhaps they will in the near future. Vote Hemp issued a press release on this subject as well.

As you can imagine, most of the week's hemp news was in response to these two press releases. Two of the stories were by James MacPherson of The Associated Press. It is an interesting exercise to compare and contrast the two stories. Also interesting was the fact that the story was mentioned in ag publications like Agriculture Online and Agri News, as well as in small blurbs in the farm sections of papers like the York Dispatch.

There was also a story about the possibility of hemp legislation in the state of Wisconsin, another on the sixth annual Hemp Hoe Down at the Elk View Campground near Piedmont, SD starting this Friday, and one on hemp clothing, the newest trend in fashion.

Please make a contribution to Vote Hemp today to help us fix the messy situation here in the U.S.

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Best Regards,

Tom Murphy
Weekly News Update Editor

Weekly News Update Stories
  • ND Agriculture: Plan would allow hemp
  • Proposed ND industrial hemp license rules submitted
  • ND pushing ahead with hemp farming rules
  • State's first hemp farming rules aimed at clearing federal hurdle
  • Hahn pitches industrial hemp
  • 'Hoe Down' highlights hemp's versatile uses
  • Hemp clothing, newest trend in fashion

  • Proposed ND industrial hemp license rules submitted

    Herald Staff Report
    Grand Forks Herald
    May 3, 2006

    Proposed changes in state law have been formally submitted that, if approved, would license North Dakota farmers to grow industrial hemp.

    North Dakota would be the first state in the nation to do so. But rule ratification would not legalize industrial hemp production in the state, since federal law prohibits it.

    "The final decision is a federal matter," state Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson said in a statement. "It is very likely that some congressional action will be necessary to bring about a major change in federal policy."

    The United States is virtually the only industrialized country that bans industrial hemp cultivation. Canada, for one, has allowed it since its federal ban was lifted nine years ago, Johnson said.


    ND pushing ahead with hemp farming rules

    By James MacPherson, The Associated Press
    The Washington Post
    May 8, 2006

    BISMARCK, ND North Dakota is pushing ahead with plans to license state farmers to grow industrial hemp, even as it tries to allay law enforcement fears about marijuana's biological cousin.

    State Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson and his department are crafting hemp rules after meeting in February with Drug Enforcement Administration officials in Washington. A public hearing on the proposed rules is slated for June 15.

    The rules would require a criminal background check on farmers who want to grow hemp. The sale of hemp and location of the hemp fields must be documented. And the farmer must get a permit from the DEA.


    State's first hemp farming rules aimed at clearing federal hurdle

    By James MacPherson, The Associated Press
    Grand Forks Herald
    May 3, 2006

    BISMARCK, ND State Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson is proposing rules that he hopes will make North Dakota the first state to allow commercial hemp cultivation and quell law enforcement fears about the biological cousin of marijuana.

    Johnson acknowledges it's an uphill battle.

    The rules would require a criminal background check on farmers who want to grow hemp. The sale of hemp and location of the hemp fields must be documented. And the farmer must get a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Hemp contains trace amounts of tetrahydrocannobinol, or THC, a banned substance, and it falls under federal anti-drug rules, said Steve Robertson, a DEA special agent in Washington.

    The DEA does not have the authority to change existing federal law, Robertson said.

    "It's very simple for us. The law is there and we enforce the law," he said Wednesday. "We are law enforcement, not lawmakers."


    Hahn pitches industrial hemp

    By Paul Ferguson
    Portage Daily Register
    May 3, 2006

    Who would imagine that Rep. Gene Hahn, the conservative state representative from rural Cambria, is perhaps the biggest supporter in the Assembly of legalizing marijuana?

    Well, it's quite a stretch to say Hahn is a supporter of legalizing perhaps the biggest drug dogging police agencies in the United States. What he is in favor of, however, is industrial hemp, a potentially fruitful product also grown from the Cannabis sativa plant. Despite hemp's potential uses, supporters say the material gets a bad reputation because of the close association the plant has with marijuana, the most notable symbol of the nation's drug culture.

    The two substances, while seemingly very different, are from the same plant. The chemical nature of any one plant, however, is determined by the genes of that plant and the breeding processes that created it. Some plants get engineered for drug use, others for industrial hemp.

    Those in the latter category have a world full of uses, according to supporters. Hahn introduced proposals in 1999 and 2001 aimed at changing the nationwide ban on hemp production. Neither has made the Assembly floor for a vote.


    'Hoe Down' highlights hemp's versatile uses

    By Journal Staff
    Rapid City Journal
    April 30, 2006

    PIEDMONT, SD It's time for the annual Black Hills Hemp Hoe Down, a musical and educational event where everything including the tickets and the food is made from hemp.

    The sixth annual Hemp Hoe Down, at the Elk View Campground near Piedmont, starts at 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 12, and continues through 2 a.m. Saturday night. People of all ages are invited to enjoy indoor/outdoor live music, workshops, hemp food and beer, speeches and more.

    Event organizers tout the benefits of hemp, a relative of the marijuana plant that is not smoked but can be used to make items including lotions, paper, clothing and burritos. "Hemp seed and oil is the only food source that contains all nine essential amino acids and all four essential fatty acids, making it an almost complete food source," according to a news release.


    Hemp clothing, newest trend in fashion

    By Matt Rouch
    Virginia Tech Collegiate Times
    May 3, 2006

    One New York-based clothing company is trying to change the persona that only "hippies" are into hemp. "We're trying to appeal to a much larger market," said Alex DeVito, public relations manager of Fair Hemp. "Before when people purchased hemp T-shirts they were expecting burlap sacks. Now we have new processing methods and natural enzymes that greatly improve the softness of the clothing as well as the quality of the printing and designing."

    Before these new processes were introduced, hemp was much rougher and had problems with the knits getting twisted up, he said. Hemp clothing was also very much a niche thing found only in small groups. Now with improved technology, hemp is poised to be the fabric of the future.

    "Our hemp clothing is more modern fitted, it gets softer each time you wash it, it's about four times stronger than cotton, and it is very environmentally friendly," DeVito said.

    With more intense focus on the environment these days, the need to use resources wisely is a hot button issue, DeVito said.


    ND Agriculture: Plan would allow hemp

    By Mike Brue
    Grand Forks Herald
    May 4, 2006

    Proposed changes in North Dakota law have been formally submitted that would license state farmers to grow industrial hemp, but require them to consent to criminal background checks fingerprints included.

    North Dakota would be the first state in the nation to draft regulations overseeing state-sanctioned production of industrial hemp a crop not grown without threat of criminal prosecution in the United States in half a century.

    Canada has grown industrial hemp for nine years, as have about 30 other countries, according to industrial hemp supporters. It's used to manufacture paper, rope, textiles, even animal bedding. The seed is used for food and feed. Oil derived from the plant is used in paints, cosmetics and medicinal compounds. Industrial hemp enters this country legally, in raw materials and in finished products.

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