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The Vote Hemp Report Volume IV, Number 2
April 24, 2009

Dear Reader,

Earth Day has come and gone. You have participated and acted, but you still have that guilty feeling like when you go off a diet. Just as with food, you need to change your habits, and managing change properly will help improve your life and the world around you.

We, or course, would like you to include hemp in that process of change. We field inquiries all the time from people wanting to help change things. We have updated our What Can I Do? page with many tips to help you take action and work towards positive change.

One of the most important things you can do is to help us grow our mailing list. The more people we can reach, the more we can educate. We now have a "Share" button on the upper right-hand side of every page on our Web site. You can use this tool to bookmark any page, email it, or send a page link to a wide variety of social networking and bookmarking sites.

We continue to make progress on state hemp legislation. Bills and resolutions are advancing in Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon and Vermont. You can keep track of all state hemp legislation on our State Hemp Legislation page. Also, in North Dakota the Farm & Ranch Guide reports that NDSU is still looking for funds for their industrial hemp research site. You can help!

Please make a donation today to our Farmer Support Fund to help NDSU, or to our General Fund to help us continue our work and bring hemp farming back to its rightful place in America.

All of us working together can have a huge impact. Let's keep it up!

Best Regards,

Tom Murphy
National Outreach Coordinator

Table of Contents
  • Current Action Alert
  • Public Hearing in Senate for Oregon Hemp Farming Bill
  • Hawaii
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Vermont

  • Public Hearing in Senate for Oregon Hemp Farming Bill

    By Patrick Goggin
    Vote Hemp Director

    Little did I know when I boarded a plane in San Francisco on March 26 en route to Portland, Oregon that I would attend the best legislative hearing on hemp that I have experienced to date. After Christina Volgyesi of Living Harvest picked me up at the airport and gave me a tour of their swank new digs by the Willamette River in Portland, Peter Latvis joined us for the journey to Salem. We were there to attend a hearing before the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on SB 676 that, if passed, would establish a regulatory regime for farming hemp in Oregon.

    After Peter and Christina gave out samples of Tempt, their excellent new hemp frozen dessert, inside the state capitol, we headed to the hearing. North Dakota state Rep. David Monson kicked it off via speakerphone, giving a succinct overview of the efforts to farm hemp in his state and the growing need in the U.S. for a rational hemp policy mirroring Canada's, which would provide our farmers with a much-needed new crop.

    David Seber of Fibre Alternatives followed, articulating hemp's promise as a fuel and biochar source. Gerry Shapiro of Merry Hempsters and Christina then tag-teamed, discussing the fast-growing market for hemp — Living Harvest forecasts a 60% increase in revenues in 2009 to $8 million. After Laura Flannigan, a 3rd-generation Oregon farmer, testified on the need for alternative crops and the benefits hemp would provide, I testified for Vote Hemp, filling in the gaps and emphasizing the need to shift U.S. policy on hemp from criminal justice back to agriculture where it belongs.

    Surprisingly, no opposition showed up. Perhaps this is because long-time hemp booster Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) successfully encouraged Sen. Dave Nelson (R-Pendleton), a farmer from eastern Oregon, to co-sponsor the bill. Or, it could be that local law enforcement has given up making its tired, irrational arguments against hemp. Regardless, SB 676 is the first hemp bill to make it out of committee in Oregon, and it stands a good chance of placing Oregon on the growing list of U.S. states that have re-legalized hemp farming.


    Hawaii had a hemp farming bill, HB 305, introduced on 1/26/09 which provides the authority, procedures and licensing related to the production of industrial hemp in the state. Referred to Agriculture, Judiciary and Finance committees on 1/26/09. The bill was heard by the Agriculture Committee on 2/6/09, and the committee recommended that the measure be deferred.


    Kentucky had a hemp farming bill, SB 131, introduced on 2/12/09, an Act relating to industrial hemp. Create new sections of KRS Chapter 260 to define "department," "industrial hemp" and "THC"; require persons wanting to grow or process industrial hemp to be licensed by the Department of Agriculture; require criminal history checks by local sheriff; require the Department of Agriculture to promulgate administrative regulations to carry out the provisions of the Act; require sheriff to monitor and randomly test industrial hemp fields; assess a fee of $5 per acre for every acre of industrial hemp grown, with a minimum fee of $150, to be divided equally between the Department of Agriculture and the appropriate sheriff's department; require licensees to provide the Department of Agriculture with names and addresses of any grower or buyer of industrial hemp and copies of any contracts the licensee may have entered into relating to the industrial hemp; clarify that the Act does not authorize any person to violate federal law.


    Maine had a Resolve introduced on 3/5/09 and a hemp farming bill introduced on 3/25/09.

    Resolve, To Promote the Use of Alternative Fiber, LD 893, Committee vote "Ought Not to Pass" on 4/8/09 (in deference to LD 1159). Committee report "Ought Not to Pass" on 4/13/09. Senate action: pursuant to joint rule 310.3 placed in legislative files (dead) on 4/15/09.

    An Act Relating to Industrial Hemp, LD 1159, allows a person to grow industrial hemp if that person holds a license issued by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources and the hemp is grown under a federal permit in compliance with the conditions of that permit. Referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on 3/25/09. Public hearing held on 4/6/09 and work session on 4/8/09. Committee vote "Anticipated Divided Report" on 4/8/09.


    Minnesota had a hemp farming bill, HF 0608, introduced on 2/9/09. Industrial hemp industry development and regulation provided, possession and cultivation of industrial hemp defense provided, and marijuana definition modified. Introduced, first reading and referred to Agriculture, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Committee on 2/9/09. Committee report, to pass as amended and re-refer to Public Safety Policy and Oversight committee on 3/26/09.


    Montana had a resolution, SJ 20, introduced on 2/7/09. Resolution urging Congress to legalize industrial hemp. Introduced, first reading and referred to Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee on 2/7/09. Committee hearing held on 2/17/09. Third reading and passed the Senate by a vote of 48 to 1 on 2/23/09. Transmitted to the House on 2/23/09. Referred to House Agriculture Committee on 2/24/09. Committee hearing held on 3/17/2009. Third reading and passed the House by a vote of 89 to 11 on 4/02/09. Signed by Senate President on 4/3/09. Signed by House Speaker on 4/6/09. Filed with the Secretary of State on 4/6/09.

    New Hampshire
    New Hampshire

    New Hampshire had a hemp farming bill, HB 399, introduced on 1/8/09. Establishes an industrial hemp special program fund. Referred to the House Environment and Agriculture Committee. Public hearing held on 2/5/2009. Subcommittee work session held on 2/10/09. Executive session held on 2/19/09 with a Majority Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate (the bill should be killed) for March 4 RC (vote 9-8) and a Minority Committee Report: Ought to Pass. Floor date was scheduled for 3/4/09.

    New Mexico
    New Mexico

    New Mexico had a pair of hemp farming bills, HB 403 and SB 377, introduced on 1/28/09 and 1/29/09, and a pair of hemp study memorials, HM 47 and SM 30, introduced on 2/16/09 and 2/19/09. The pair of hemp study memorials replaced the hemp farming bills, both of which passed.

    HM 47 is a memorial requesting the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to investigate the feasibility of state incentives for commercialization of industrial hemp. Companion bill to SM 30. Introduced on 2/19/09. Passed the House by a vote of 44-23 on the 32nd legislative day. Signed on the 33rd legislative day.

    SM 30 is a memorial requesting the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to investigate the feasibility of state incentives for commercialization of industrial hemp. Companion bill to HM 47. Introduced on 2/16/09. Passed the Senate by a vote of 25-12 and signed on the 47th legislative day.

    North Dakota
    North Dakota

    There are two new bills, HB 1549 and HCR 3026, in North Dakota this year. One is a bill to amend and re-enact section 4-41-02 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to industrial hemp. The other is a concurrent resolution urging the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to allow North Dakota to regulate industrial hemp farming.

    The state is also now issuing licenses to farmers to grow hemp under existing state law and North Dakota Department of Agriculture rules.

    In June 2007, the two North Dakota farmers granted state hemp farming licenses, Rep. David Monson and Wayne Hauge, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota in an effort to end the DEA's obstruction of commercial hemp farming in the U.S. The case was dismissed by the District Court in November 2007. The prospective hemp farmers have appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and an opinion is expected in early to mid-2009. Please see our North Dakota Case page for the latest information.

    HB 1549, a bill for an Act to amend and re-enact section 4-41-02 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to industrial hemp. Introduced on 1/19/09. Referred to the House Agriculture Committee. House committee reported back amended, do pass on a vote of 11 to 0 on 2/2/09. House second reading and passed on a vote of 88 to 4 on 2/6/09. Received in Senate from House on 2/9/09. Introduced in Senate, first reading, referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee on 2/18/09. Senate Committee reported back amended, do pass on a vote of 7 to 0 on 3/4/09. Senate second reading and passed as amended on a vote of 40 to 1 on 3/6/09. Emergency clause carried. Returned to House on 3/9/09.

    HCR 3026, a concurrent resolution urging the DEA to allow North Dakota to regulate industrial hemp farming without requiring federal applications, licenses or fees. Introduced in the House on 1/29/09. Referred to the House Agriculture Committee. Adopted by the House on 2/19/09. Adopted by the Senate on 3/24/09. Returned to the House on 3/25/09. Signed by the Senate President on 4/1/09. Filed with the Secretary of State on 4/7/09.


    Oregon had a hemp farming bill, SB 676, introduced on 3/3/09 (see above story). Permits the production and possession of industrial hemp and trade in industrial hemp commodities and products. Introduction and first reading. Referred to President's desk on 3/3/09. Referred to Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on 3/9/09. Public hearing held on 3/26/09. You can click here to listen to the public hearing (mp3 audio file, length 54:40, size 49MB). Work session held on 4/14/09. Second work session held on 4/21/09.


    Vermont had a resolution, JRS 26, introduced on 3/27/09. A joint resolution in support of Act 212 of 2008. The General Assembly urges Congress to recognize industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity and that the DEA allow the states to regulate industrial hemp farming without federal applications, licenses or fees. Senate: read first time and placed on action calendar per Rule 51 on 3/27/09. Adopted by the Senate on 4/14/09. House: read first time, treated as a bill and referred to Committee on Agriculture on 4/15/09.

    Current Action Alert
    Take Action

    Nationwide: Click here to write your Congressional representative and ask him/her to become a co-sponsor of HR 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009. If he/she is a co-sponsor already, you will be able to thank them.

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