Vote Hemp has had a very successful year in 2010. Here are some highlights, with more detailed reports following this introduction:
- Five states introduced hemp legislation, with Colorado passing a hemp resolution and Minnesota passing a hemp study bill.
- We worked with the North Dakota and Rocky Mountain Farmers Unions to get a pro-hemp resolution introduced at the National Farmers Union (NFU) annual meeting. This resulted in the NFU passing a national resolution at their annual meeting in March in Rapid City, SD.
- H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009, now has the most co-sponsors since the bill was first introduced in 2005, a total of 26. All of the co-sponsors of the bill were rewarded with re-election!
- We are now in discussions with officials at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
- Vote Hemp board member Christina Volgyesi and Living Harvest CEO Hans Fastre met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Oregon and briefed him on industrial hemp and why American farmers should be growing it. He then presented a Vote Hemp briefing packet to Attorney General Holder at a meeting the following week. We continue to push the Department of Justice to meet with state officials and work out a plan that would allow them to regulate hemp farming under state law.
- Vote Hemp actively opposed the nomination of Michele Leonhart to be Administrator of the DEA.
- We created The Vote Hemp Guide to Hemp Activism, A Concise Guide to Citizen Lobbying on the Hemp Issue.
- In cooperation with the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), we held the first annual Hemp History Week in May, and plans are already underway for a much larger Hemp History Week celebration in 2011.
Like many non-profits that send out year-end announcements about their accomplishments, we at Vote Hemp would very much appreciate your donation
to enable us to continue our work in the coming year. This year is our tenth anniversary, and you have been a crucial part of our progress over those ten years. With your continued support, we hope that we will not need to work at this for another ten years. Once again this year, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
has generously agreed to match every dollar you donate, doubling the impact of your contribution!
We know that some of you are not in a financial position to give this year, so we also offer you other opportunities to help in ways that money alone cannot buy. Plus, the new people that you help us reach out to may be able to make up the difference. The most important thing that you can do is forward
this email to people whom you know and encourage them to join our mailing list
and support our cause.
Our ability to reach out to new people, educate them about the issues surrounding industrial hemp and ask them to write to their members in Congress is invaluable. We are also expanding our social media outreach. We have a number of people following us on Twitter
, and in the past month alone we have seen the number of fans on our Facebook
page increase dramatically! With your help, we can double all of our subscriber lists again in the coming months.
Please make a contribution
to Vote Hemp today to help us continue working towards a renewal of hemp farming in the U.S. We need and truly appreciate your support!
Thank you in advance,
|Opposition to the Nomination of Michele Leonhart|
In July we wrote a letter
to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary opposing the nomination of Michele Leonhart to be the new Administrator of the DEA. Leonhart is part of the problem at the DEA, and she has not acted reasonably regarding license applications or general policy. The Committee held a hearing and an executive business meeting on her nomination, voting to send it to the full Seante, but Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) announced that he will place a hold on her nomination
on the floor of the Senate. As of this writing, the Senator's hold still stands. Click here
to write to your Senators in Congress and ask them to oppose the nomination of Michele Leonhart!
|NFU Passes a Pro-Hemp Resolution|
Gloria Castillo and Ruth Fahrbach in SD
The National Farmers Union (NFU) passed a strong pro-hemp resolution at their annual meeting in March in Rapid City, SD. Here is the policy that was passed:
"We urge the President, Attorney General, and Congress to direct the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to differentiate between industrial hemp and marijuana and adopt policy to allow American farmers to grow industrial hemp under state law without requiring DEA licenses."
Bill Althouse, left, speaks with a convention attendee
This resolution is the result of some hard work by Vote Hemp advocates in ND and the Rocky Mountain region, including Wayne Hauge (ND), Gloria Castillo (NM) and Ruth Fahrbach (NM). Vote Hemp worked to get resolutions passed at the North Dakota Farmers Union, as well as the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, and then to get the resolution placed into the national strategy.
We also funded a booth at the NFU convention, which was staffed by Gloria and Ruth. During the convention, they distributed flyers and hemp product samples from Natures Path, Nutiva, Dr. Bronner's and Living Harvest, educating the 600+ delegates in attendance. Apparently there was no dissent, and the policy was passed easily.
|Guide to Hemp Activism Developed|
Vote Hemp is pleased to remind you about The Vote Hemp Guide to Hemp Activism, A Concise Guide to Citizen Lobbying on the Hemp Issue
. This guide takes you from the easiest ways to get involved to the more influential ways, including setting up a meeting with a Congressional staffer or even with a member of Congress. It shows you how it can be empowering, exciting and meaningful to become part of the democratic process.
The guide gives you the information and tools you need to confidently and effectively ask your elected representatives to support legislation that will lift the current ban on hemp farming in the U.S. Please click here
to download a PDF copy of our concise guide to citizen lobbying on the hemp issue. The Vote Hemp lobbying page
has more information, and you can also share this page on Facebook
|Please Write to President Obama and Attorney General Holder|
As part of our Hemp History Week campaign this year, we circulated postcards for people to sign.
The American hemp industry today is proving to be a thriving commercial success, with estimated annual retail sales of $400 million. Growing hemp in America will allow farmers to supply U.S. manufacturers with hemp raw materials for their products
Unlike farmers in most industrialized nations across the world, American farmers are unable to participate in the burgeoning hemp economy because they are prohibited from growing hemp domestically. Currently, all hemp-based raw materials (fiber and seed) must be imported from other countries. We are advocating that the federal government change its policy concerning industrial hemp, which confuses oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis
grown for food and fiber with drug varieties of the plant.
Please click here
to write to President Obama and Attorney General Holder and urge them to change our federal policy and allow U.S. farmers to once again grow industrial hemp.
|Two States Pass Hemp Legislation|
Five states introduced hemp legislation in 2010, with Colorado
passing a hemp resolution urging the federal government to allow the states to regulate industrial hemp farming, and Minnesota
passing a hemp study bill as part of an omnibus agriculture and veterans policy bill. The other bills introduced in Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin were unfortunately not successful in this session. The passage of industrial hemp legislation on the state level is just one part of our multi-faceted strategy to get hemp farmed and processed here in the U.S. once again.
|Progress Made With USDA and ONDCP|
Hans Fastre, CEO and President of Living Harvest Foods, Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, and Christina Volgyesi, Vote Hemp board member
On August 20, Vote Hemp board member Christina Volgyesi and Living Harvest CEO Hans Fastre attended a private event at Congressman Kurt Schrader's home in Canby, OR, where they had an opportunity to meet Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. They discussed the economic benefits of resuming industrial hemp farming and asked for the Secretary's help in obtaining a meeting with the Department of Justice on behalf of American farmers and the seventeen states which have passed hemp farming legislation.
The following week, Secretary Vilsack personally hand-delivered our briefing documents to Attorney General Eric Holder at a meeting they had previously scheduled. Vote Hemp is now working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and various Congressional staff to arrange a meeting with the Department of Justice. We are also encouraging the USDA to revise the inaccurate, ten-year-old Economic Research Service report, Industrial Hemp in the United States: Status and Market Potential.
Eric Steenstra, Vote Hemp President, and Tom Murphy, Vote Hemp National Outreach Coordinator, in front of the White House
In addition to securing meetings with officials at the USDA and continuing to work towards meetings with the Department of Justice, we also held a meeting with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in the first week in August. Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp, and Tom Murphy, National Outreach Coordinator, met with Kevin Sabet, ONDCP Special Advisor for Policy, and Regina LaBelle, ONDCP Senior Policy Advisor, to discuss a range of important issues surrounding industrial hemp policy.
The follow-up from this meeting has been positive, and we are currently discussing changes to the ONDCP Web site while they work on our request to get a copy of the ONDCP's current policy on industrial hemp in writing. Even if the Obama Administration and the ONDCP don't currently have an official policy on industrial hemp, we aim to get that in writing.
|Current Action Alerts|
|Nationwide: Click here to write to President Obama and Attorney General Holder and urge them to change our federal policy and allow U.S. farmers to once again grow industrial hemp.|
Click here to write to your Senators in Congress and ask them to oppose the nomination of Michele Leonhart to be DEA Administrator!
Click here to write your Senators in Congress and ask them to introduce a Senate version of H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.
Click here to write your Congressional representative and ask him/her to become a co-sponsor of H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009. If he/she is a co-sponsor already, you will be able to thank them and ask them to help get the bill a hearing in committee.