Posts tagged ‘DEA’
A group of hemp farmers and business leaders were arrested earlier last week for digging up the DEA headquarters lawn to plant industrial hemp seeds.
Among those arrested were Will Allen, a 70 year old organic sunflower and canola farmer from Vermont, Wayne Hauge, a 51 year old grandfather that grows garbonzo beans in North Dakota, Isaac Nicholson, owner of sustainable lifestyle clothing line Livity and David Bronner, president of US based multi million dollar soap company Dr. Bronners Soaps. For years now, both Nicholson and Bronner have been forced to buy hemp cross borders due to the DEA’s restrictions on industrial hemp.
Although we agree with the message and can completely understand their frustration, we have to disagree with the tactics used. Acts such as these encourage stereotypes of hemp activists and dilute the real story of a crop that has such great potential.
We’ve believe that it’s important to influence law makers by initiating and proving out the market potential for industrial hemp products. We are showing through our relationships with some of the worlds leading consumer brands, such as Hanes and Georgia Pacific, that there is a consumer pull for the product on a massive scale. We believe this pull will demonstrate hemp’s viability and will influence lawmakers and farmers to re-legalize and grow hemp.
Currently nine states – Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia – allow industrial hemp production but federal law, which requires nearly “impossible to obtain” permits in order to grow hemp, trumps state laws.
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Hemp advocates continue to push hard to give back farmers the right to grow industrial hemp. Enthusiastic supporters were thrilled by the decision of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski to sign SB 676 into law on August 4th, 2009. The law permits the production, trade and possession of industrial hemp commodities and products.
By signing SB 676 into law, which passed with strong bi-partisan support, Governor Kulongoski has taken a proactive position allowing farmers to provide American manufacturers with domestically grown hemp and to profit from that effort. American companies will no longer need to import hemp and American farmers will no longer be denied a profitable, new crop.
Despite industrial hemp being legal at a State level, Oregon growers are unable to get on with their business as they are required to obtain a permit from the DEA which is on the Federal level. Washington still classifies hemp as an illegal drug in the same category as marijuana instead of identifying it as the agricultural crop that it is. This sort of bureaucratic nonsense in turn prevents farmers from moving forward, leading to little progress for the state’s nascent industry.
Industrial hemp can be used in a wide variety of products including auto parts, building materials, fuels, paper, clothing and food to name a few. The HIA estimates that the 2008 retail sales of all hemp products in North America to be about $360 million. By allowing US farmers once again to grown hemp, legislators can clear the way for a new Billion Dollar Crop!
To find out what you can do to encourage and support domestic hemp farming, visit Vote Hemp for more information.