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 May 18, 2010 Today marks the start of the 1st Annual Hemp History Week, which is taking place between now and May 23, 2010. As a national grassroots education campaign, 185 events have been planned nationwide in 32 states with the goal of renewing strong support for hemp farming in the U.S. In addition to events across the country, organizers also plan to collect tens of thousands of hand-signed postcards addressed to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder asking them to end the ban on hemp farming and let farmers once again grow the versatile and profitable crop. Hemp History Week volunteers across the country have researched the history of hemp farming and manufacturing in their regions before the crop was essentially banned by its misclassification as a drug. Among this re-discovered history are the diaries of USDA Chief Botanist Lyster Dewey who bred hemp cultivars extensively in the Washington, DC area during the early part of the 20th Century, primarily at Arlington Farms on which the Pentagon was built. The diaries and personal photos of the USDA's top expert on fiber production for more than 45 years reveal a treasure trove of information on hemp farming research by the U.S. Government from the 1890's to the 1940's. This and other research will be presented at scheduled public events this week, along with presentations by local politicians such as David Norris, Mayor of Charlottesville, VA; prominent business leaders such as David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps; and others who support hemp farming in the United States. Events are planned in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas and Washington, D.C. among other states. A complete listing of Hemp History Week events is available at: HempHistoryWeek.com/events Hemp History Week supporters include Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, who submitted an official statement in support of Hemp History Week to Congress earlier this month. "Hemp was an important crop for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and thousands of American farmers until it was outlawed completely in 1970 by the Controlled Substances Act. I know many farmers in my district could benefit greatly from the renewed freedom to rotate industrial hemp into their growing seasons. Hemp History Week will help other elected officials learn about America's rich hemp heritage along with the tremendous benefits of growing hemp in America once again," explains Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. In addition to volunteer-run events nationwide, natural product retail outlets are also participating in Hemp History Week by sampling best-selling hemp products in their stores. Participating stores include Mom's Organic Market in the Washington, D.C. region as well as Westerly Natural Market in New York City, Earthfare in North Carolina, Henry's Farmers Markets, Rainbow Grocery and Jimbo's Naturally in California, New Seasons Market in Portland, Oregon, in addition to local co-ops throughout the country. Sustainable hemp seed, fiber and oil are already used in nutritious food, textiles, body care and even auto-parts. Companies like Ford Motors, Patagonia, and The Body Shop, in addition to Hemp Industries Association members are using imported hemp in their products today. For the last four growing seasons, farmers in North Dakota have received licenses from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp. Despite the state's authorization to grow hemp, these farmers risk raids by federal agents and forfeiture of their farms if they try to grow the crop, due to the failure of the Drug Enforcement Administration to distinguish non-drug industrial hemp from drug types of Cannabis. Grown commercially in Canada since 1998, hemp has become one of the most profitable crops per acre for farmers north of the U.S. border. Due to its many benefits - a reusable resource in every aspect and offering a long list of health and nutritional benefits - hemp is one of the fastest growing industries in natural foods. Hemp seed and oil is a rich source of the Omega-3 & 6 essential fatty acids in an optimum ratio, including the Super Omegas Stearidonic Acid (SDA) and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). Hemp's protein is second only to soybeans in completeness, containing all 10 essential amino acids, with no enzyme inhibitors, thus making it more easily digestible. Hemp seed is also a good source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E and iron, as well as dietary fiber. Simply put, hemp seed is a gluten-free superfood. Hemp History Week - May 17-23, 2010 is an unprecedented industry-wide project initiated by The Hemp Industries Association and Vote Hemp, involving hundreds of hemp manufacturers and retailers. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is a non-profit trade group representing hemp companies, researchers, farmers and supporters. Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit advocacy group founded in 2000 by members of the hemp industry to remove barriers to industrial hemp farming in the U.S. through education, legislation and advocacy. While 16 states have passed pro-hemp farming legislation to date, Hemp History Week organizers want to influence significant policy changes on the federal level as well. For more info visit www.VoteHemp.com