Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hemp History Week set for June 5-11


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hemp farming at the state level, however federal law still prohibits commercial industrial hemp cultivation due to outdated and inaccurate drug policies.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

Vote Hemp estimates that the hemp market in the U.S. achieved 25% growth in 2016, reaching a total market value of $688 million. The HIA filed a Petition for Review on January 13, 2017, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, seeking to block the implementation of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) recently announced Final Rule regarding “Marihuana Extract,” which attempts to give DEA regulatory control over lawfully cultivated and manufactured cannabinoid products, including CBD products.

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.

Innovative hemp technology

Advancements in hemp research and manufacturing demonstrate the remarkable versatility and product-potential for hemp. Hemp bast fiber has shown promising potential to replace graphene in supercapacitor batteries, which could then be used to power electric cars and handheld electric devices and tools. Hemp fiber can also be used to create environmentally friendly packaging materials, and hard bio-plastics for use in everything from airplanes to car parts. Hemp houses are also on the rise, as hempcrete has many advantages to synthetic building materials, lumber and concrete. Hempcrete is energy-efficient, non-toxic, resistant to mold, insects and fire, and is much more sustainable and renewable.

Celebrity endorsements

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.

Grassroots engagement

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

Now in its eighth year, Hemp History Week is an industry-wide effort made possible by the support of the leading natural product brands known for manufacturing the highest quality hemp products. These HIA members and sponsor brands include Dr. Bronner’s, Farmer Direct Co-op, Living Harvest TEMPT, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path Organic, Nutiva, Pacific Foods, and Plus +CBD Oil.

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.

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