Support for Hemp Farming in the U.S. Grows in Congress
Historic Early 20th Century USDA Hemp Research Documents Re-Discovered
WASHINGTON, June 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- May 17-23, 2010 marked the 1st Annual Hemp History Week, a national grassroots education campaign organized by the leading hemp advocacy organizations Vote Hemp and The Hemp Industries Association. Hemp History Week was organized with the goal of renewing strong support for hemp farming in the U.S. In addition to events across the country, thousands of hand-signed postcards addressed to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder were also collected, which asked them to end the ban on hemp farming in the U.S. and let farmers grow the versatile and profitable crop.
Political momentum in support of hemp farming grew during the lead up to Hemp History Week with six new Congressional co-sponsors for H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009. All co-sponsors now total 25 members, but H.R. 1866 has yet to be heard in the Judiciary Sub-Committee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, which handles bills affecting drug laws.
Leading up to Hemp History Week, volunteers across the country researched the history of hemp farming and manufacturing in their regions before hemp was essentially banned by its misclassification as a drug by federal authorities. Among this re-discovered history are the diaries of USDA Chief Botanist Lyster Dewey who bred hemp cultivars extensively in the Washington, D.C. area during the early part of the 20th Century, primarily at Arlington Farms on which the Pentagon was built. The diaries and personal photos of the USDA's top expert on fiber production for more than 45 years reveal a treasure trove of information on hemp farming research by the U.S. Government from the 1890s to the 1940s. Additional research was presented at dozens of events across the country.
In Asheville, NC, the 'Asheville Hemp History Week Committee' organized a week of events highlighting the many uses of industrial hemp, including a tour of a newly built house constructed of 'Hemcrete'. In San Diego, supporters hosted a presentation on the history of hemp in San Diego and an overview of ongoing efforts in the hemp movement to legalize hemp farming by prominent business leader David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, the best selling brand of natural soap in the U.S. David Norris, Mayor of Charlottesville, VA addressed a crowd in his hometown, promoting hemp farming and the economic benefits it would bring. In Portland, OR, over two hundred people attended an event at the Bridgeport Brewpub, the former site of a hemp rope factory. Other Hemp History Week celebrations took place in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Vermont, South Dakota, Texas and Washington, D.C. among other states. A complete listing of Hemp History Week 2010 events is available at: www.hemphistoryweek.com/events
Hemp History Week supporters include Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, who submitted an official statement in support of Hemp History Week to Congress earlier this month. "Hemp was an important crop for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and thousands of American farmers until it was outlawed completely in 1970 by the Controlled Substances Act. I know many farmers in my district could benefit greatly from the renewed freedom to rotate industrial hemp into their growing seasons. Hemp History Week will help other elected officials learn about America's rich hemp heritage along with the tremendous benefits of growing hemp in America once again," explains Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.
In another highlight, 6-year-old Arundhati Eidinger, whose father owns two hemp clothing stores in Washington, D.C., delivered a small stack of postcards signed by hemp farming supporters to First Lady Michelle Obama while she visited the kindergartners' school garden.
Due to its many benefits – a reusable resource in every aspect and offering a long list of health and nutritional benefits – hemp is one of the fastest growing industries in natural foods. Hemp seed and oil is a rich source of the Omega-3 & 6 essential fatty acids in an optimum ratio, including the Super Omegas Stearidonic Acid (SDA) and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). Hemp's protein is second only to soybeans in completeness, containing all 10 essential amino acids, with no enzyme inhibitors, thus making it more easily digestible. Hemp seed is also a good source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E and iron, as well as dietary fiber. Simply put, hemp seed is a gluten-free super food.
Over 100 natural product retail outlets also hosted Hemp History Week celebrations by sampling best-selling hemp products in their stores. Thousands of consumers were introduced to hemp foods for the first time through the sampling of items such as: Nature's Path's Hemp Plus™ Granola Cereal, Sunny Hemp™ Granola Bars and Hemp Plus™ Waffles; Living Harvest Foods Tempt™ hemp milk and frozen desserts; Nutiva's organic shelled hemp seed; Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro™ 70 and Hemp Pro™ 50 protein powders; as well as bodycare products made with hemp oil from Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Participating stores included Mom's Organic Market in the Washington, D.C. region as well as Westerly Natural Market in New York City, Earthfare in North Carolina, Henry's Farmers Markets, Rainbow Grocery and Jimbo's Naturally in California, New Seasons Market in Portland, Oregon, in addition to local co-ops throughout the country.
Organizers are already looking to next years Hemp History Week and tentative plans are underway for the 2nd annual Hemp History Week to occur sometime in the spring or summer of 2011.
The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is a non-profit trade group representing hemp companies, researchers, farmers and supporters. 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. While 16 states have passed pro-hemp farming legislation to date, Hemp History Week organizers want to influence significant policy changes on the federal level as well.
For further information and a list of sponsors, go to: http://www.hemphistoryweek.com
SOURCE Hemp Industries Association