BISMARCK, ND — Vote Hemp, the nation’s leading grassroots organization working to give farmers the right to grow industrial hemp (the oilseed and fiber varieties of the Cannabis plant), which can be made into food, clothing, paper, body care products, bio-fuel and even auto parts, has released a new poll of 807 likely North Dakota voters about industrial hemp. North Dakota is the only state to implement rules for farmers to grow industrial hemp; however, those farmers are still threatened with federal prosecution and loss of their farms through asset forfeiture if they do so. The telephone poll has a 3.5% margin of error and sampled likely North Dakota voters on February 11, 2008. The survey was conducted by the respected research firm Zogby International on behalf of Vote Hemp and was sponsored by Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.
According to the poll, a total of 74% of North Dakota voters support changing federal law to allow farmers to grow hemp, including 40% who “strongly support” and another 34% who “somewhat support” changes so that farmers in the U.S. can supply manufacturers with hemp seed, oil and fiber. Presently, American companies must import hemp from other countries. Despite the stifling effect that relying on imports has had on the use of hemp in everyday products, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) estimates that annual retail sales of hemp products in North America exceeded $330 million in 2007.
“The poll results released today confirm that there is overwhelming support in North Dakota for federal relief on the issue of industrial hemp,” said Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. “The state legislature passed bi-partisan hemp farming legislation, Agriculture Commissioner Johnson issued carefully-crafted licensing regulations, and Governor John Hoeven has expressed his support for the effort. Now we need the North Dakota delegation in Congress to help their farmers grow industrial hemp, as the obstacle continues to be the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). We hope that Members of Congress recognize the fact that this issue has broad bi-partisan support in North Dakota and across the U.S. We feel that it is time for North Dakota’s congressional delegation to take on this challenging issue,” added Steenstra, who met with North Dakota Representative Earl Pomeroy’s Chief of Staff last week to discuss the issue. “We hope that evidence of the broad-based support for hemp farming in North Dakota will convince them that they need to learn more about this issue and begin working on a solution.”
More than 30 industrialized nations grow industrial hemp and export it to the U.S. Hemp is the only crop that is illegal to grow in America yet legal for Americans to import. Sales of hemp food and body care products have grown rapidly in recent years, fueling an expansion of hemp farming in Canada, where farmers are expected to grow 10,000 to 15,000 acres this year.
Poll questions and results regarding industrial hemp farming policy and consumer attitudes on hemp products and nutrition can be viewed online.
# # #
Vote Hemp is a national non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow hemp commercially.