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October, 2011 UPDATE courtesy of votehemp.com
Jerry Brown wimps out to the Feds

Leading Hemp Advocacy Groups Outraged by Governor Brown's Veto of California Industrial Hemp Farming Act
Veto of SB 676 is Huge Setback for California Farmers, Businesses and the Economy

SACRAMENTO, CA — Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the nation's leading grassroots hemp advocacy organization and industry trade group, respectively, both working to revitalize industrial hemp production in the U.S., are extremely disappointed to report that Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed SB 676, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. After moving smoothly through the California legislature with bi-partisan support, Gov. Brown has vetoed this landmark legislation. The first hemp bill to land on Gov. Brown's desk, SB 676 is the fourth bill since 2002 in support of hemp farming to pass the California legislature but ultimately be vetoed by the Governor. The bill would have established guidelines for farming the oilseed and fiber varieties of the plant, which are used in a myriad of everyday consumer products, including food, body care, clothing, paper, auto parts, composites and building materials.

In a statement dated Oct. 9, Gov. Brown stated,

"Federal law clearly establishes that all cannabis plants, including industrial hemp, are marijuana, which is a federally regulated controlled substance. Failure to obtain a permit from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration prior to growing such plants will subject a California farmer to federal prosecution." Despite his veto of the bill, he went on to express his support for legalizing hemp farming at the federal level. "Although I am not signing this measure, I do support a change in federal law. Products made from hemp - clothes, food, and bath products - are legally sold in California every day. It is absurd that hemp is being imported into the state, but our farmers cannot grow it."

The veto letter from Governor Brown can be viewed at: http://www.votehemp.com/veto

Introduced by Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 676 proposed to create an eight-year pilot program allowing industrial hemp farming in four California counties: Kern, Kings, Imperial and San Joaquin. The legislation would have allowed California farmers to grow industrial hemp for the legal sale of seed, oil and fiber to manufacturers.

"Vote Hemp and The Hemp Industries Association are extremely disappointed by Gov. Brown's veto. This is a big setback for not only the hemp industry — but for farmers, businesses, consumers and the California economy as a whole. Hemp is a versatile cash and rotation crop with steadily rising sales as a natural, renewable food and body care ingredient. It's a shame that Gov. Brown agreed that the ban on hemp farming was absurd and yet chose to block a broadly supported effort to add California to the growing list of states that are demanding the return of U.S. hemp farming. There truly was overwhelming bi-partisan support for this bill," explains Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp and Executive Director of the HIA.

Strong support for the bill had come from Kings and Kern County Sheriffs and the Kings County Board of Supervisors, as well as from the California State Grange, the UCFW-5, the Imperial County Farm Bureau, the California Certified Organic Growers and other leading farm organizations. The bill also had broad based support from businesses and consumers.

"After four vetoes in ten years in California, it is clear we lack a Governor willing to lead on this important ecological, agricultural and economic issue. We will regroup, strategize and use this veto to our advantage at the federal level," notes Vote Hemp Director and co-counsel Patrick Goggin.

Today, more than 30 industrialized nations grow industrial hemp and export it to the United States. Hemp is the only crop that is illegal to grow at the federal level, yet is legal for Americans to import. Among the numerous California-based companies who have supported the bill are Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, makers of North America's top-selling natural soap, and Nutiva, a rising star among innovative health food companies. Both of these businesses currently must import hemp from other countries.

California businesses currently spend millions of dollars each year importing hemp, primarily from Canada, China and Europe. Demand for hemp products has been growing rapidly in recent years, and it is estimated that the U.S. hemp market now exceeds $419 million in annual retail sales. From natural soaps to healthy foods, there is a large variety of "Made in California" hemp products whose manufacturers and buyers will greatly benefit from an in-state source of hemp seed, fiber and oil.

The environmental and agricultural benefits are not limited to the versatility of uses. Industrial hemp is an excellent rotation crop because its dense growth smothers weeds without herbicides and helps to break the disease cycle. Hemp requires less water and agricultural inputs than other crops, has deep taproots that leave the soil in excellent condition for the next crop, and is proven to increase yields. These benefits save farmers money and reduce the amount of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers that run into our waterways.




SACRAMENTO, CA — Introduced by Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 676, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act is moving quickly through the California Legislature. SB 676 would create an 8-year pilot program to allow industrial hemp farming in five California counties, Kern, Kings, Imperial, San Joaquin and Yolo. Passing through the Assembly Committee on Agriculture last week with a 6-0 vote, leading hemp advocacy organization, Vote Hemp, expects the bill to reach the Governor's desk this September.

The bill has the endorsement of the California State Grange, the UCFW, the Imperial County Farm Bureau, California Certified Organic Growers and other leading farming organizations. Dan Rush, UFCW 5 Statewide Special Operations Director, stated, "UFCW enthusiastically supports SB 676 because we see it as a jobs and revenue generator at a time when they are sorely needed in California."

The bill has passed out of the Senate and Assembly committees with votes as follows:

In the Senate: Agriculture - 5 - 1 (4/05); Public Safety - 5 - 2 (4/26); Appropriations - 6 - 3 (5/16); Floor - 22 - 14 (5/31)

In the Assembly: Public Safety - 5 - 2 (6/21); Agriculture - 6 - 0 (6/29)

SB 676 will go to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and Floor in August. After going back to the Senate for a concurrence vote, it will finally head to the Governor's desk.

"Support for hemp farming and manufacturing in California has been very strong. It is passing through committee after committee with a positive reception. We expect this bill to be on its way to the Governor's desk by early September. Governor Brown will then have 30 days to act on the bill," explains Patrick Goggin, California Legal Counsel for Vote Hemp.

The bill clarifies that industrial hemp is separate and distinct from forms of Cannabis used to produce marijuana and if passed will allow commercial farming of industrial hemp in five counties (Imperial. Kern, Kings, San Joaquin and Yolo) under an 8-year pilot program. Industrial hemp was grown in California up until shortly after World War II. Industrial hemp is the non-psychoactive, low-THC, oilseed and fiber varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp has absolutely no value as a recreational drug.

SB 676 was introduced on February 18 by state Senator Mark Leno. Senator Leno believes that hemp farming will help revitalize California's economy, "The time is long over due for California farmers to be allowed to grow this sustainable and profitable crop once again. The passage of SB 676 will create new jobs and economic opportunities for many farmers and manufacturers through out the state."

A variety of products made from industrial hemp including healthy food and natural body care products as well as eco-friendly clothing are made in California. "There are over 50 member businesses of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) that make or sell hemp products in the state of California alone that could benefit from an in-state source of hemp seed, fiber and oil," says Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the HIA. "Because of outdated federal and state policies these businesses are forced to import millions of dollars of industrial hemp from Canada, China and Europe."

Companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a California company that manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap in the U.S. as well as best-selling hemp food manufacturers, such as French Meadow Bakery, Living Harvest, Manitoba Harvest, Nature's Path, Nutiva and Sequel Naturals who make their products from hemp grown in Canada. Major companies such as Ford Motors, Patagonia and The Body Shop also use sustainable hemp seed, fiber and oil.

"Dr.Bronner's currently purchases twenty tons of hemp oil each year from Canada. We look forward to the day that we can meet our supply needs from hemp produced right here in our home state," says David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps of Escondido.

On May 11th, Rep. Ron Paul introduced The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011 (H.R. 1831) in Congress along with 22 co-sponsors including 6 Representatives from California (Farr, McClintock, Miller, Rohrabacher, Stark, Woolsey). If passed, H.R. 1831 will remove federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp.

To date, 17 states have passed pro-hemp laws or resolutions, including the California Assembly in 1999 when it passed a resolution declaring that "the Legislature should consider action to revise the legal status of industrial hemp to allow for its growth in California as an agricultural and industrial crop."


The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products. Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org..


 

 

 
 
The Governor Did What!?


The Governor of California, who allegedly represents his state and is by law a defender/supporter of the medical cannabis industry in his state, has vetoed the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act because he is afraid of federal intervention.  It saddens me greatly that half a lifetime ago I revered the then California Governor Jerry Brown as a political hero in the mold of Tom Hayden, Cesar Chavez and even Robert Kennedy.  It's tragic what time can do to a man, and Jerry Brown is no longer worthy of anything other than pity and anger. He has lost his courage.

Industrial hemp has great promise as a renewable alternative raw material to petrochemicals in composite and textile products. Its seed, as a food source, is second to none nutritionally, with a perfect balance of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids and is a nearly complete, easily digestible protein.  Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, an organic/free trade and progressive company, currently imports 20 tons of hemp oil annually from Canada for use in their soaps.  It is their goal to source this hemp oil from hemp grown on American soil.  This is the case for many California companies. Industrial hemp is not capable of producing any kind of high whatsoever, yet our government continues to block re-commercialization of industrial hemp by conflating it with medical marijuana.  On October 9th Governor Brown of California used his voice to call the federal ban on industrial hemp farming "absurd" while at the same time hypocritically using his pen to veto the CA Industrial Hemp Farming Act.  The corporate stranglehold and hysterical drug warriors' lock on cannabis/hemp policy continues unchecked under President Obama.

In a state that is floundering in a massive debt, with high unemployment and apparently no leadership, the Governor has vetoed a bill that promised to give jobs to its citizens, while growing an eco-industry that is sorely needed in this country.  AND, it would not have cost the taxpayer a dime.  Corporate members of the Hemp Industries Association, including Dr. Bronner's, Natures Path, Nutiva and several others have pledged to jump in and sponsor this amazing opportunity for California and the entire country, at no cost to the government and its citizens.  While every product derived from the industrial hemp plant is legal, we are the only industrialized country in the world that does not grow this versatile and durable plant. What the hell is wrong here?
As I see it our government, state, federal and otherwise is broken.  It has become incumbent upon the people of this country to get involved and take back the freedom and power it has relinquished.   This is a good place to start. If you also believe that industrial hemp is a unique plant that can help build a green economy, in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, please make yourself heard.  For more information on industrial hemp and how to bring it back to our farmers, please go to www.votehemp.com and www.hempindustries.org.

The veto of SB676, the California Hemp Farming Act, borders on being a treasonous act on the citizens and the environment of this country, which is facing disaster with global warming spreading and unemployment rising.  At the very least, this veto by Brown was highly irresponsible and callous.  As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said “To stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the Nation.  It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

It’s up to us now, as it always has been.

Sincerely,

Steve Levine, President, Thehia.org