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
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
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
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
"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.
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
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..