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The Vote Hemp Report Volume 1, Number 5
June 29, 2006

Dear Reader,

When AB 1147, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, passed the Senate Public Safety Committee, we thought the bill had seen its last policy committee and would sail from there right through the Appropriations Committee to the Senate floor. When we learned the Senate Agriculture Committee was taking up the bill, we knew we had hit a bump in the road. The vote was too close to call and there was a danger the bill could be passed over to die in committee.

The bills authors, Assemblymen Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine), their staff members, and the Vote Hemp lobbying team pulled out all the stops to prepare a presentation that would prove to the five Senators on the committee that entering the growing market for industrial hemp would be a boon for California agriculture.

Testifying in favor of the bill were Patrick Goggin, John LaBoyteaux, Charles Meyers, and Kevin Friesen. Goggin, one of the lawyers who helped the Hemp Industries Association beat the DEA's ban on hemp food, spoke as a Vote Hemp Board Member. LaBoyteaux, an organic farmer, spoke on behalf of the California Certified Organic Farmers. (He also happens to be the president of the Humboldt County Farm Bureau.) Meyers, a Kings County cotton farmer and life long conservative, explained conventional farmers' interest in industrial hemp. Friesen, the Seed Production Manager for Hemp Oil Canada, offered his experience managing 100 farmers growing 11,000 acres of industrial hemp.

No one testified in opposition.

The hearing earned us a surprizing 3-0 victory. Vice Chair Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego) and Senators Sheila Kuehl (D- Los Angeles) and Edward Vincent (D-Inglewood) voted for; Chair Jeff Denham (R-Central Valley) and Senator Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) abstained.

Vote Hemp owes this victory to your support! Please stay with us as we continue our work. When the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act is law, the right to farm industrial hemp will be affirmed by state law. But first, the bill must be approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and win a vote on the Senate floor. It may have to go through another Assembly committee and the full Assembly will have to approve amendments passed in the Senate. Last, but not least, it needs the governor's signature.

There is work yet to be done and we need your support more than ever!

Sincerely,

Eric Steenstra
President
Vote Hemp



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