For Immediate Release
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
CONTACT: Patrick Goggin 415-312-0084
Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
California Legislature Passes Industrial Hemp Bill for Second Time in Two Years
AB 684 Would Allow Farmers to Grow Non-Drug Varieties of Cannabis
New Compromise Legislation is Ripe for Governor's Support
SACRAMENTO, CA — Last night, California's Senate and Assembly each voted to approve AB 684, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007. The legislation gives some California farmers the right to grow non-psychoactive industrial hemp which is commonly used in everything from food, clothing, paper and body care to bio-fuel and even auto parts. The bill now goes to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature.
The text of the legislation can be found online.
AB 684 was authored by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine). Thanks to their leadership, this is the second time in two years that a bi-partisan hemp farming bill has passed the legislature. Last year, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill, AB 1147. The new version of the bill addresses his concerns.
"The new legislation significantly limits the scope of hemp farming to just four agricultural counties, includes a sunset provision, and contains rules on testing crops to ensure the industrial hemp contains less than 3/10 of 1% (0.3%) THC," says Vote Hemp legal council and San Francisco attorney Patrick Goggin. "This bill is a response to the Governor's detailed explanation of his veto last year. Everyone knows hemp farming is consistent with California's efforts to be a leader on U.S. environmental policy. We believe this new hemp legislation is deserving of the Governor's signature," adds Goggin.
Farmers would only be able to grow industrial hemp as a pilot program in four counties – Imperial, Kings, Mendocino and Yolo. Sales of industrial hemp products, especially in the food and body care markets, are skyrocketing, prompting the TODAY Show to dub hemp "a hot food trend" for 2007. Exports from Canada of hemp seed grew 300% between 2006 and 2007. Today more than 30 industrialized nations grow industrial hemp and export it to the U.S. Hemp is the only crop that is illegal for American farmers to grow yet legal to import.
There is strong support for hemp in California. A telephone poll of likely California voters, taken from February 22-26 of this year, showed a total of 71% (+/- 3.5%) support changes to state law that would allow farmers to grow hemp. The survey was conducted by the respected research firm Zogby International on behalf of Vote Hemp and five manufacturers of hemp food products, including ALPSNACK, French Meadow Bakery, Living Harvest, Nature's Path Organic Foods and Nutiva.
Poll questions and results regarding industrial hemp farming policy and consumer attitudes on hemp products and nutrition can be viewed online.
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Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, nonprofit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.HempIndustries.org. BETA SP or DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.