It’s time to celebrate the illustrious history of the cannabis plant in the USA, where once presidents farmed hemp and Thomas Jefferson lauded it as “first necessity to commerce and the marine and therefore to the wealth and protection of the nation.” Even today hemp is listed as an essential item for national security and opportunities are opening up to grow domestic hemp crops.
To mark the occasion, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp have announced the dates for the eighth annual Hemp History Week, to be held June 5-11 this year.
Over 1500 events celebrating hemp
In 1943 the US Department of Agriculture produced the film Hemp for Victory to encourage farmers to grow cannabis. Over a million acres were subsidized in the program.
During 2016, a record volume of hemp was planted and harvested in the U.S. since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, with successful crops in Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia. Over half of all U.S. states have lifted the ban on industrial hemp farming at the state level, however federal law still prohibits commercial industrial hemp cultivation due to outdated and inaccurate drug policies.
With momentum building across the country, and increasing consumer awareness about the health benefits, economic opportunities, technological innovation and sustainability advantages of industrial hemp-advocates and organizers are eager to see 2017 be the year industrial hemp farming expands across the American agriculture landscape once again. Over 1500 grassroots events and retailer sales are planned to occur in May and June in celebration of Hemp History Week, coordinated by grassroots organizers, hemp farming advocates, and natural products industry leaders around the country. Some events are continuing into August.
Record growth amid new legal challenges
The HIA filed an additional lawsuit February 6, 2017, against the DEA regarding the agency’s illegal attempt to impede interstate commerce of lawfully cultivated hemp food products.
Video chronicles struggles of Lakota hemp farmer
Filmed on the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Hemp History Week campaign video Breaking Ground tells the story of Alex White Plume, Oglala Lakota hemp farmer and activist, whose hemp crop was unlawfully raided and destroyed by the DEA in 2000. An interview with White Plume underscores why the crop should be grown to support sustainable solutions for the next generation; and subsequent scenes elaborate on how Hemp History Week supports this message by generating momentum for hemp advocacy around the country.
“Vote Hemp is actively engaging with hemp farming supporters in Congress, to assure that sovereign tribal nations and U.S. territories are included in any federal le~slation that would lift the outdated prohibition on farming this versatile, sustainable crop,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp.
Health benefits of hemp
Among the fastest-growing categories in the natural foods industry, hemp seed is a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), providing both SDA and GLA, highly-digestible protein, and naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and iron. An excellent source of dietary fiber, hemp seed is also a complete protein-meaning it contains all ten essential amino acids, with n~me inhibitors, making it more digestible by the human body. Hemp seed, milk, ice cream, oil, cereals and snacks, as well as hemp protein powder, and dietary supplements are increasin~y popular and available at natural grocers everywhere, as consumers become turned on to the nourishing health benefits of hemp foods.
Hemp History Week is endorsed by celebrities and high-profile wellness experts, including Dr. Andrew Weil, Alicia Silverstone, Phil Lempert, Ashley Koff R.D., Brendan Brazier, Elizabeth Kucinich, Ziggy Marley, Alexandra Jamieson, Jason Mraz, Dar Williams, Michael Franti, John Salley, Doug Fine, and Grammy awardwinning band Ozomatli.
Over 300 grassroots events will take place nationwide, including a restaurant program, film screenings, community outreach at farmers’ markets, state lobbying days, a letter writing campaign, spring plantings, and other exciting engagement opportunities. Specific details for these Hemp History Weekevents will be listed on the campaign website beginning in early April.
United in the effort to legalize hemp farming
Legislative challenges and opportunities
When the 2013 farm bill was signed into law in February of 2014, it allowed for states that have legalized the crop to cultivate hemp within the parameters of state agriculture departments and research institutions. Read the full text of the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research amendment on the Vote Hemp website.