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Vote Hemp Related Questions
I am a member of the media. How do I get in contact with Vote Hemp's Communications Director?
Please see our Media Center & PR page for contact information. There you will also find our latest Press Releases and News Coverage as well as links to many other resources.
How can I help?
The best way to show legislators and the public that hemp is a great environmental and economic commodity is to buy hemp products! Nothing talks like money. As the market grows, so does general interest. Please see our What Can I Do? page for more on this and other ways to do something.
I recently watched the documentary "Standing Silent Nation." How can I help Alex White Plume and his family?
The best way help is to read this page for contact information and ideas on how to help.
Why Industrial Hemp?
The subject of why or whether to grow industrial hemp in the United States is often debated yet much misunderstood. The controversy surrounding the plant obscures much of its historical and potential impact — and its adaptability to diverse industries. Please click here to download the recently updated one page white paper "Why Industrial Hemp?" for a complete answer to this question. (PDF file 198k)
Where can I buy hemp products?
Hemp foods, which are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and hemp body care products are carried by large chains such as Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and Trader Joe's and by thousands of smaller independent natural food chains, stores and co-ops, and even by some mainstream grocery stores.
You can search for local retailers at HempStores.com. Please buy hemp food products from TestPledge Companies. We especially ask that you support Vote Hemp Supporters as without them we would not be able to do our work!
Outdoor retailers, ecological specialty stores and some department stores carry hemp clothing and accessories. You can see the wide range of hemp products available, and their makers, listed in the Hemp Industries Association's (HIA) Members/Product Directory.
What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Marijuana and hemp both come from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa L., but from different varieties or cultivars. There are different varieties of Cannabis, just as Chihuahuas and wolves are different breeds of Canis lupus.
Marijuana is the flowering tops and leaves of psychoactive varieties of Cannabis that are grown for their high THC content.
Hemp, also referred to as industrial hemp, are low-THC varieties of Cannabis that are grown for their seeds and fiber. Hemp is grown legally in just about every industrialized country except the USA.
What are the names of the varieties of hemp that are being grown around the world?
Some of the most common varieties or cultivars being grown in Canada, in order of predominance are: USO 14, Finola (formerly FIN 314), Crag, USO 31, Alyssa, and Felina 34. These are all on the Health Canada List of Approved Cultivars. The 2007 List of Approved Cultivars (PDF file 170k), as the lists before it, are based on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) List of varieties eligible for certification. Cannabis is listed in the list of "Crucifers and other oil or fibre species." (PDF file 236K) The OECD is a worldwide economic development organization based in Paris, France and was founded in 1961. The United States is one of the 30 member countries. Please see our Different Varieties Of Cannabis page for more detailed information.
Can you be more technical, what exactly is Industrial Hemp?
Industrial Hemp is a number of varieties of Cannabis sativa L. that are intended for agricultural and industrial purposes. They are grown for their seed and fiber content as well as the resulting byproducts such as oil, seed cake, hurds, etc. Industrial Hemp is characterized by being low in THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and high in CBD (cannabidiol). THC is less than 1% and in Canada and Europe the current legal level for cultivation is 0.3%. The ratio of CBD to THC is greater than one.
Then, what is marijuana?
Marijuana is a preparation made from varieties of Cannabis sativa L. that are intended for medical and recreational drug use. They are grown for their THC content, primarily in the flowering tops and to a lesser extent in the leaves. Cannabis sativa L. grown for marijuana is characterized by being high in THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and low in CBD (cannabidiol). The THC content is greater than 1%, usually 3% to 20%. The ratio of CBD to THC is less than one.
Is Industrial Hemp marijuana?
No. Even though they both come from Cannabis sativa L., the varieties that are used to make Industrial Hemp products (seed, fiber, etc.) and those that are used to make marijuana (flowering tops and leaves) are distinctly different. They are scientifically different and are cultivated in very different ways.
Is industrial hemp illegal to grow in the United States?
Technically the answer is no, it is not illegal to grow hemp in the U.S. and it has only been in its current state since the adoption of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970. Tara Christine Brady noted this in her 2003 story "The Argument for the Legalization of Industrial Hemp" in the San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review:
"Currently it is illegal to grow hemp in the United States without a special Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) permit being issued."
Jean Rawson, of the Congressional Research Service, also noted this in her 2007 CRS Report "Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity" for the U.S. Congress:
"Strictly speaking, the CSA does not make Cannabis illegal; rather, it places the strictest controls on its production, making it illegal to grow the crop without a DEA permit."
Growing hemp is kind of like driving, you can't drive without a license and you can't grow hemp without a permit. The difference is that it is almost impossible to get a permit from DEA to grow hemp. An excellent example is John Stahl, of The Evanescent Press, and his DEA permit story.
I'd like to learn more about hemp, but I don't have a lot of time. What can I read to get a good understanding of the issues surrounding hemp?
Please read Hemp is Hip, Hot and Happening, which was in Utne magazine in September-October 2004. Then read The Vote Hemp Treatise: A Renewal of Common Sense: The Case for Hemp in 21st Century America, written by Erik Rothenberg, President of Atlas Corporation and a former Director of Vote Hemp. Then you should download and read Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity by Jean M. Rawson, a Specialist in Agricultural Policy for the Congressional Research Service. Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity can be downloaded here. (PDF file 100k) If after reading these three documents you find that you would like to know even more please check out our Download Center where you will find even more information about industrial hemp.
Are hemp foods legal to import, buy, and consume in the United States?
Yes. The case HIA v DEA established that hemp foods are exempt from control in the Controlled Substances Act and that they remain legal. An excellent overview of the case can be found on the DEA Hemp Food Rules page. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion invalidating DEA final rules can be downloaded here and directly from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals here. (PDF file 72k)
How much is the hemp foods market worth in the United States?
Market research obtained by the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) shows that hemp food sales grew by at least $3.4 million to a total of $9.7 million from December 2006 to December 2007. The SPINS report shows that hemp food sales grew 55% during the prior reporting period. The previous report showed a 35% sales growth. The sales data, collected by the market research firm SPINS, was obtained from natural food retailers only, excluding Whole Foods Market and mass-market food and pharmacy stores, and thus under-represents actual sales by a factor of two to three. The HIA estimates that the total value of annual sales of hemp foods in the United States is in the range of $20-30 million.
If I recently consumed hemp foods, could I fail a drug test?
If the only source of THC in your body is from hemp foods that are produced from Canadian grown hemp seeds and eaten in reasonable quantities, it is virtually impossible to fail a drug test by eating hemp foods.
The TestPledge program is a voluntary commitment by the North American hemp food industry to limit THC concentrations to levels that cannot result in positive drug tests.
We recommend that you read the TestPledge Answers page first. If you need more technical information please download and read the study summary "Evaluating Interference of THC in Hemp Food Products With Employee Drug Testing," which was prepared by Gero Leson, D.Env. and Petra Pless. Please click here to download. (PDF file 21k)
I have read that hemp can be used to produce more than 25,000 products. I see that figure quoted everywhere. What is the source of that number of products?
The quote comes from the fourth paragraph of the Popular Mechanics Magazine story the New Billion-Dollar Crop that was in the February 1938 issue.
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