Vote Hemp 2013 Year-End Wrap-Up
Is Industrial Hemp Finally Taking Root in Washington, DC and U.S. States?
|Ryan Loflin (center), the first American hemp farmer in 55 years, walks with other activists in the Hart Senate Office Building on a lobbying visit. Photo credit: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post|
Our progress in 2013 marks a tipping point for industrial hemp in the U.S.
Thanks to you, Vote Hemp had our most productive year in 2013 including the first U.S. hemp harvest in over 55 years and a 225-200 bipartisan vote in the House to pass a hemp research amendment onto the Farm Bill. Will you please help us continue the fight? If you make a donation today, your gift will be doubled by Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, who will match it dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000!
Some Highlights from 2013
- The first harvest of a hemp crop on U.S. soil in the modern era at Loflin Farms in Springfield, Colorado on September 23rd.
|Vote Hemp board and staff members celebrate hemp harvest.|
- The Industrial Hemp Farming Acts (H.R. 525 and S. 359) gained unprecedented support in Congress with 49 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House and key leaders in the Senate expressing support including Sen. Leahy and Sen. McConnell.
- An Industrial Hemp research amendment to the Farm Bill (H. AMDT. 208) passed on the House floor with 225-200 margin, including yes votes by 63 Republicans and 162 Democrats. In the highly partisan environment of this Congress, this was a huge victory and the first vote in Congress for industrial hemp policy since the 1950s!
|Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO).|
- Vote Hemp held several Congressional briefings and met with hundreds of offices during the year to educate on the benefits of the crop and need for reform.
- Industrial Hemp legislation was introduced in a record 21 states.
- In California, the 4th time was a charm with hemp legislation passing nearly unanimously in the legislature and finally being signed by Governor Brown.
- Hemp legislation also passed in Colorado, Kentucky and Vermont. Hawaii passed a pair of pro-hemp resolutions.
- Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) cosponsored a hemp farming symposium in Loveland, Colorado to a packed house of farmers, businesses, policy makers and media. Hemp farming experts from Canada spoke, along with state legislators, and the president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.
- Vote Hemp sponsored a hemp lobby day in Washington, DC during the HIA Conference with more than 40 staff meetings and several supporters speaking with their Senators.
- Vote Hemp president Eric Steenstra spoke at a hemp farming forum hosted by Rep. Earl Blumenauer in Portland, Oregon on November 9th along with state officials, prospective hemp farmer Rick Rutherford and Errol Schweizer from Whole Foods Market.
- Oregon U.S. Attorney Marshall sends a letter to Rep. Blumenauer stating that she will allow hemp farming if well regulated. Vote Hemp applauds her position and responds with a legal memorandum titled, "Ability of States to Implement State Laws Authorizing and Regulating Cultivation of Industrial Hemp."
|Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado and Eric Steenstra|
- Hemp Legislator of the Year Award 2013 was given to Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado for his efforts to pass the industrial hemp research amendment to the Farm Bill.
- Hemp Leadership Award for 2013 is given to Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer for his excellent leadership in the promotion of legislation which furthers the goal of legal hemp farming.
The Year Ahead: 2014
- We are working hard to keep the Polis hemp research amendment in the final version of the Farm Bill, which is in Conference and is expected to be finalized in January of 2014. If we are successful in this effort it will be the most significant development in federal hemp legislation in over a half a century!
- We will also work to build grassroots support and expand our coalition in the U.S. Senate. We plan to hold a briefing for Senate staffers and push for hemp reform language to be included in legislation which has a chance of passage.
- We will work with the Hemp Industries Association to hold more hemp farming symposiums in states where hemp farming is legal.
- We will work aggressively in California, Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington to help develop good administrative hemp regulations, and in other states to help introduce more pro-hemp legislation and resolutions.
- Our goal is to apply even more intense pressure on Congress and the Obama Administration to remove all federal barriers and once again allow states to regulate hemp farming without interference.
Vote Hemp is only able to continue this work through the generosity of advocates, activists and supporters like you!
We need your donation to enable us to continue our work in the coming year. 2014 will mark our 13th anniversary, and you have been a crucial partner in our progress over those years. With your continued support, we can keep hemp farming in the forefront at both the state and federal levels. Once again this year, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps has generously agreed to match every dollar you donate, doubling the impact of your contribution!
Please make a contribution to Vote Hemp today to help us keep working towards hemp farming in the U.S. We need and truly appreciate your continued support.
Happy holidays to you and yours, and may 2014 be a banner year for hemp!