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The Vote Hemp Report Volume 1, Number 2
March 16, 2006

Dear Reader,

State legislation, negotiations with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), federal lawsuits, Congressional legislation Ñ action on industrial hemp is happening on all fronts. There's never been a more exciting time to be involved in the movement to help industrial hemp farming make a comeback as an engine of the U.S. economy.

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Thanks again for your ongoing support. Read on to learn why 2006 is shaping up to be a great year for hemp!


Eric Steenstra
Vote Hemp

CA, ND and VT make progress
  • AB 1147 passes CA Assembly
  • ND prepares to issue hemp licenses, meets with DEA
  • Vermont House considers H-455

  • ND prepares to issue hemp licenses, meets with DEA

    North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson is prepared to be the first state official to issue regulations implementing a law that allows commercial industrial hemp farming. Johnson organized a meeting for himself and agriculture commissioners from West Virginia, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, last month with Joseph Rannazzisi, a top DEA official, and other agency representatives to discuss his plans.

    DEA officials told Johnson that growers, processors and importers of hemp seed would have to be separately licensed, and that the DEA would have to establish quotas for industrial hemp production and processing.

    In the past, the DEA has refused to acknowledge the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana. The sole researcher who obtained a DEA permit to research industrial hemp (in Hawaii) was required to secure his crop with cyclone fencing and security guards as if it were marijuana. No one has ever obtained a DEA permit to grow industrial hemp commercially.

    Roger Johnson has gone further than any other state official in his work to make hemp farming a reality for North Dakota. He introduced and passed a pro-hemp resolution at NASDA, the association of state agriculture departments, and now is leading the effort to make North Dakota the first state to plant a commercial hemp crop. If Johnson is successful, he will have blazed a trail for all US farmers back to hemp farming.

    Vermont House considers H-455

    A bill that would create a regulatory and licensing program for industrial hemp farming, is before the Vermont House Agriculture Committee. Introduced by Rep. David Sharpe (D-Bristol), H-455 has 8 co-sponsors, including Rep. Betty Nuovo (D-Middlebury), Rep. Lynn Bohi (D-White River Junction), Rep. Michael Fisher (D-Lincoln), Rep. Robert Kiss (Progressive-Burlington), Rep. Mark Larson (D-Burlington), Rep. Steven Maier (D-Middlebury), Rep. Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) and Rep. Floyd Nease (D-Johnson).

    Vermonters testifying in support of H 455 included Vermont Biofuels Association, Rural Vermont, Vermont Farm Bureau, Vermont Land Trust, Dr. John McPartland (author of Hemp Diseases and Pests - Management and Biological Control), dairy farmers from East Montpelier, Bridport, Hyde Park, Highgate and Putney, a vegetable and berry farmer from Westfield, and Vermont Organic Fiber Co., LLC. The Agriculture Committee also heard from Canadians, including Cool Hemp, Inc., John Baker of Hemp R&D, cultivator of internationally-licensed hemp seed, Alex Chwaewsky of Manitoba Harvest from Winnepeg, and Arthur Hanks of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) from Saskatchewan.

    Calling all Vermonters: You can send a letter to your state legislators and learn more about legislative action in Vermont, including bills introduced from 1996 through the present, at our Vermont State Legislation page. The page also hosts the Vermont State AuditorÕs Cannabis Eradication Report and the Vermont Legislative Research ShopÕs report, Viability of Industrial Hemp. Please take action today.

    AB 1147 passes CA Assembly

    On January 27th, Assembly Bill 1147 passed the California Assembly and now awaits a hearing in the Senate Public Safety Committee. Thanks is due to Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), pictured above with Vote Hemp Director of Government Relations Alexis Baden-Mayer and Hemp Industries Association President Steve Levine.

    Endorsements from Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) and the Orange County Register were essential to the bill's passage.

    Read the OC Register editorial...
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