Growth of the hemp market is fueling the legislative and economic energy that has been evident in 2009. After years of enduring artificial obstacles by the federal government and antiquated laws, the U.S. hemp industry had been stunted and relegated to a small part of the natural products industry. The market, however, is about to explode into a new era for industrial hemp and the natural products industry as a whole. The “green economy” is no longer a radical threat, but a viable alternative which is finally being supported by a U.S. President.
Hemp businesses are becoming a driving force behind the passage of legislation on the state level. During the 2009 legislative session, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and North Dakota all passed resolutions or memorials urging Congress to allow states to regulate hemp farming, while Maine and Oregon (still to be signed by the Governor) passed laws allowing hemp production. Sixteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation to date, and nine states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. North Dakota has even issued state licenses to would-be hemp farmers for two years running. Please visit Vote Hemp’s Legislation page to learn about the phenomenal rise in hemp legislation this year alone.
Now that we have successful business owners providing testimony in favor of hemp bills and resolutions, legislators are taking notice and lending their support as a result. We hope to be able to take this success on the state level and make it something that our representatives in Congress can not ignore.
Vote Hemp supporters will be lobbying in Washington, DC the day after the HIA Convention in October, which takes place directly after the Green Festival. New this year at the Green Festival will be the HIA Hemp Pavilion, which will be appearing at both the DC and San Francisco events.
National Outreach Coordinator
OREGON Passes Hemp Bill
SALEM, OR, June 29 — Today, by a vote of 46 to 11, the Oregon House passed SB 676, a bill that permits production and possession of industrial hemp and trade in industrial hemp commodities and products. “I am glad that Oregon has joined the list of states that have agreed that American farmers should have the right to re-introduce industrial hemp as an agricultural crop,” says SB 676 sponsor, Sen. Floyd Prozanski. “By passing SB 676 with strong bi-partisan support, the Oregon Legislature has taken a proactive position to allow its farmers the right to grow industrial hemp, to provide American manufacturers with domestically-grown hemp, and to profit from that effort.” The Oregon Senate passed the bill by an overwhelming majority vote of 27 to 2 on June 19. Vote Hemp is optimistic that Governor Kulongoski will sign the bill. Oregon would become the ninth state to authorize regulated hemp farming under state law.
“The time has come for the federal government to act and allow farmers to once again grow hemp, so American companies will no longer need to import it and American farmers will no longer be denied a profitable new crop,” comments Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra. “Under current federal policy, industrial hemp can be imported, but it cannot be grown by American farmers. Hemp is a versatile, environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown in the U.S. for over fifty years because of a misguided and politicized interpretation of the nation’s drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). While a new bill in Congress, HR 1866, is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful that President Obama’s administration will recognize hemp’s myriad benefits to farmers, businesses and the environment,” adds Steenstra.
Many businesses in Oregon manufacture, market and sell hemp products, including Living Harvest, The Merry Hempsters, Wilderness Poets, Earthbound Creations, Sweetgrass Natural Fibers, Sympatico Clothing, Mama’s Herbal Soaps and Hempire. Living Harvest of Portland was recently ranked the third-fastest-growing company in Oregon, as awarded by The Portland Business Journal’s “Fastest-Growing Private 100 Companies” annual award.
Maine had a hemp farming bill introduced on 3/25/09.
An Act Relating to Industrial Hemp. This bill 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.
On June 9, with little fanfare, Maine Governor John Baldacci signed the Maine hemp farming bill, LD 1159, into law. Maine’s House had previously passed the bill without objection, and the Senate later passed it by a strong vote of 25 to 10.
The bill establishes a licensing regime for farming industrial hemp, although the licensing is contingent upon action by the federal government. Maine had previously passed a study bill that also defined industrial hemp.
Residents of Maine, please write to Your Representative and ask them to become a co-sponsor of HR 1866.
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.
Montana residents, please write to Rep. Denny Rehberg and ask him to become a co-sponsor of HR 1866.
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 and that Congress be requested to acknowledge the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp and to clearly legalize the commercial production of industrial hemp. Companion bill to SM 30. Introduced 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 and that Congress be requested to acknowledge the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp and to clearly legalize the commercial production of industrial hemp. Companion bill to HM 47. Introduced 2/16/09. Passed the Senate by a vote of 25-12 and Signed on the 47nd Legislative Day.
Residents of New Mexico, please write to Your Representative and ask them to become a co-sponsor of HR 1866.
There were 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.
A bill for an Act to amend and reenact section 4-41-02 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to industrial hemp. Introduced on 1/19/09. House: Second reading, passed, yeas 88 nays 4 on 2/6/09. Senate: Second reading, passed as amended, yeas 40 nays 1 on 3/6/09. House: Second reading passed, yeas 89 nays 3, Senate amendment Concurred on 4/16/09. Signed by Governor on 4/24/09. Filed with Secretary of State on 4/29/09.
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.
North Dakotans, please write to Rep. Earl Pomeroy and ask him to become a co-sponsor of HR 1866.
Oregon had a hemp farming bill, SB 676, introduced on 3/3/09.
Permits 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. Click here to listen to the Public Hearing for SB 676 (mp3 audio 54:40, 49 MB). Work Session held on 4/14/09 and 4/21/09. Recommendation: Do Pass with amendments (Printed A-Eng).
Passed the Senate by a vote of 27 to 2 on 6/19/09. Passed the House by a vote of 46 to 11 on 6/29/09. Vote Hemp is optimistic that Governor Kulongoski will sign the bill.
Residents of Oregon, please write to Your Representative and ask them to become a co-sponsor of HR 1866.
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 United States Drug Enforcement Administration allow the states to regulate industrial hemp farming without federal applications, licenses or fees. Senate: Read first time & placed on action calendar per Rule 51 on 3/27/09. Adopted on the part of the Senate on 4/14/09. House: Rules Suspended and Taken up for Immediate Consideration, Read second time, proposed amendment agreed to, the resolution was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposal of amendment on 5/4/09. Senate: House proposal of amendment concurred in on 5/6/09.
Residents of Vermont, please write to Rep. Peter Welch and ask him to become a co-sponsor of HR 1866.
– Article from The Vote Hemp Report.
Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit advocacy group founded in 2000 by members of the hemp industry to remove barriers to industrial hemp farming in the U.S. through education, legislation and advocacy. We work to build grassroots support for hemp through voter education, registration and mobilization, as well as defend against any new laws, regulations or policies that would prohibit or restrict hemp trade.
Visit Vote Hemp.