Vote Hemp held a fly-in in Washington, DC on March 1st in coordination with Hemp On the Hill. Attendees included 55 farmers, business owners and advocates who engaged in more than 80 meetings with Senate and House members and staff. A number of attendees were able to meet with their representatives including Senators Grassley, Ernst, Graham, Scott, Manchin and Wyden. Meetings are critical to building support for passage of The Industrial Hemp Farming Act which should be introduced soon. If you couldn’t make it to Washington, you can still help by attending a district meeting. See below for more info.
You can still schedule meetings with your Senators and Representative in your district. Click here to view our advocacy toolkit documents. Make sure and let us know if you are interested in doing a district meeting. We can assist with scheduling, preparation and follow up with you post meeting. Contact Ben Droz at email@example.com. We are coordinating with the Hemp Road Trip on a number of state lobby day’s as well. Contact us for more info.
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Vote Hemp depends entirely on contributions, bequests and in-kind donations from supporters like you to do our work. Please help us continue this very important work. Your contributions help make action alerts like this possible, help defend farmers and much more.
Vote Hemp | www.VoteHemp.com
The KYHIA is pleased to welcome Chad Rosen as our new president. Chad shares his thoughts and thanks you for your support of the Kentucky hemp industry.
It’s with a great respect for all persons of the Kentucky Hemp Industry that I address you today as the new president of the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association.
Dr. Trey Riddle will continue to serve as a board member for the KYHIA and we thank him for his leadership this past year.
For those of you that attended yesterdays Annual Conference, thank you for coming out to educate yourselves and engage with the community of advocates in our young industry in order to arm yourselves with knowledge that will continue to build upon the strong foundation of this industry that we are shaping. Also, thanks is due to the researchers across the state who continue to do the hard work of helping us understand what all is possible with this plant as we move to commercialize hemp in the myriad of possibilities. The research findings and presentations we heard yesterday are in large part what make Kentucky the leading state for our industry.
I ask each of you individually as members of this industry to share with me your thoughts on how we can build a stronger industry alliance and think of what your role in this process might be. The members of the KYHIA board are volunteer, and it’s in the spirit of service that most serve. If you have ideas of how the KYHIA can have broader or better impact to serve our industry please speak up and take action, your voice serves to alert, and your action serves to lead and effect. The platitude about a rising tide lifting all boats could not be more acute to our highest objective as an industry and I hope to hear from you throughout the year as we continue to build an industry that serves our communities.
ps. for those of you that attended yesterdays event, a few asked me for the recipe of the hemp encrusted salmon. Enjoy!
ORGANIC HEMP IS IN DEMAND
BUT CURRENTLY IT CANNOT BE
CERTIFIED IN THE U.S.
HELP US CHANGE THIS!
See “Take Action” Section Below to Act Now.
Your participation in this call-to-action is crucial to our collective progress regarding organic certification of domestic hemp production.
Currently, hemp cultivated in the U.S. per Sec. 7606 Farm Bill regulations cannot be certified organic by the USDA, due to misinterpretation by the National Organic Program that aligns industrial hemp with other forms of cannabis.
We are asking all our supporters to register public comments for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Spring 2017 Meeting, which is being held in Denver, Colorado, this April 19-21.
Congressionally mandated by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) and governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the NOSB considers and makes recommendations to the USDA National Organic Program (USDA-NOP) on a wide range of issues involving the production, handling, and processing of organic products.
Out of any rule-making process left functioning at the federal level, the NOSB is the most openly democratic in that any citizen is able to contribute to the process through written and oral public comment. It is because of this process that we have such robust standards where if international production is under equivalency and certified compliant under USDA-NOP standards, it may carry the USDA Organic Seal.
The USDA-NOP is currently basing approval of organic certifications for domestically-produced industrial hemp on a misinterpreted definition articulated on the “Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp,” which is in contravention of the Sec. 7606 definition and is confusing certifiers, producers, consumers, State Departments of Agriculture and law enforcement in the implementation of legal hemp pilot programs.
Take Action! Here’s What We Need YOU to Do:
The official NOSB-USDA-NOP Docket for the meeting can be found here. All written comments must be registered through this site by 11:59pm ET, Thursday, March 30, to be considered.
We are collectively recommending the main points in our registered written comments to the NOSB,
feel free to copy & paste the following points into the NOSB-USDA-NOP Docket page:
- We highly-value the congressionally-mandated NOSB process and the integrity of the USDA Organic Certification.
- Like many other common crops, hemp is bioaccumulative in that it has the potential to uptake toxins in whatever medium it is growing. It is important for hemp products consumed by humans and animals to be distinguished as organic if they are grown as such, for consumers with these food safety considerations in mind.
- We ask that the NOSB make a strong recommendation to the USDA-NOP to immediately clarify the instruction “Organic Certification of Industrial Hemp Production” to allow organic certifications of Industrial Hemp adhering to the congressional intent of the Sect. 7606 definition, and removing the language “as articulated in the Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp” from the instruction.
Please consider adding your own comments on how this issue affects you and your involvement in the hemp industry.
We encourage you to share this action so that others may join in solidarity.
Thank you for all you do!
Above: Arthur Laffer, the former Reagan Administration economist who advised Gov. Sam Brownback on his tax plan, testifies before the Kansas House Tax committee at the statehouse, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 in Topeka, Kan. Thad Allton AP
Last fall, a group of five wealthy men from out-of-state dumped at least $211,500 into Republican efforts to take over the Kentucky House of Representatives for the first time since 1921.
They live from Miami to New York, but have one common bond: Arthur Laffer, a prominent conservative economist who served in the Reagan administration.
They also share a similar goal: reshaping how Kentuckians pay taxes.
“I think now’s a good time for any state like Kentucky to look at their tax structure and say ‘how can we modernize?’” said Travis H. Brown, a Missouri lobbyist who donated $23,000 to GOP House members, more than any other individual.
They picked a winning horse, pumping $105,000 of their money directly to winning candidates and another $59,500 to state GOP committees that gave more than $1.8 million to successful GOP House candidates.
Republicans claimed a super majority in the House and quickly pledged support for Gov. Matt Bevin’s promise to call a special law-making session later this year to transition Kentucky’s tax system from one based on production (income taxes) to one based on consumption (sales taxes).
That economic philosophy was, in many ways, coined by Laffer. His message of lowering income taxes and reducing business taxes has been embraced by scores of Republican politicians across the country.
Though Laffer and his associates may feel the time is right for business-friendly tax reform in Kentucky, there’s a roadblock — massively underfunded pension systems for state workers and teachers.
Last November, financial projections showed Kentucky’s state pension systems had an unfunded liability of $32.5 billion, with the main pension system for state employees only 16 percent funded (anything below 80 percent is considered underfunded). Now, Bevin claims that number is grossly miscalculated, suggesting the state’s real pension debt is closer to $82 billion.
To meet that challenge, Bevin warned in his State of the Commonwealth Address last month that any changes to Kentucky’s tax code will have to raise revenue, not reduce it.
“This is not going to be a revenue neutral tax plan,” Bevin said in the speech. “It’s not. We can’t afford for it to be, that’s a straight up fact. We cannot pay off eight times what we bring in if we simply reshuffle the deck.”
Brown, though, says Kentucky can still raise revenue without raising taxes, arguing that the state can even cut taxes if it’s on the right side of the “Laffer Curve,” an economic concept that says a higher tax rate doesn’t necessarily mean more government revenue.
“What percent of your state government is not efficient as it should be?” Brown asked. “What voters typically believe is they know how to spend their money better than the government knows how to spend their money.”
Regardless of how lawmakers in Frankfort decide to rewrite the tax code, Laffer and his associates clearly thought Kentucky was ripe for an influx of conservative philosophy.
“It just looked like the time and place where it was to come,” Brown said.
Here’s a closer look at the five men, of which only Brown responded to Herald-Leader requests for interviews.
Here’s a video explaining the entire thing, transcript with links below.
Let’s be clear about a couple of pertinent facts:
1. The FDA made up arbitrary rules, then accused Sam of breaking those rules.
2. There are no victims. Samuel Girod has hurt no one.
3. FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs kill 1 person every 19 minutes. Merck’s FDA-approved Vioxx killed over 68,000 people. Nobody in Big Pharma goes to jail. They pay out billions in fines (after making billions in profits.) No companies close, nobody goes to jail. Nobody. Even after killing and harming 100s of thousands of people.
4. Sam Girod and his products have hurt no one.
The Story of the FDA v Samuel Girod
Samuel Girod and his family have been making and selling 3 all-natural herbal products for nearly 20 years. In all those…
View original post 427 more words
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., left, and Dana Rohrabacher, D-Calif., two of the four U.S. congressmen who have launched the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. Photo by Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call,Inc
With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) have formed the first-ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus to promote sensible cannabis policy reform and to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.
The official establishment of a Congressional Cannabis Caucus represents yet another step forward toward ultimately reforming cannabis policy at the federal level. The creation of this caucus is yet another manifestation that our political power is growing — even inside the beltway.
NORML has been in this fight for over 47 years, representing the position that responsible adults who choose to consume marijuana should not be be persecuted or stigmatized. Throughout the country, our chapters are organizing to advocate for state level reforms. NORML represents a growing community of individuals who are coming together and working toward the mutual goals of building a more just and verdant society.
The end of marijuana prohibition will not come overnight. In fact, the forces of prohibition remain strong and the misinformation campaign that has spanned from Reefer Madness to D.A.R.E. is deeply entrenched in the psyches of lawmakers and voters alike. But just as we have for decades, we will not be deterred.
In order for our state and federal laws to be more reflective of the cold truths of reality and science rather than hysteria and racism, we must continue to educate our legislators and neighbors alike. Having a coalition of lawmakers in Washington, DC who will go on the record in support of advocating for cannabis freedom is something we haven’t had before, but it is an event that is long overdue.
So let’s keep building.
12:10 AM Central
Four members of the U.S. congress are banding together to protect the growing marijuana industry.
A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers launched the Congressional Cannabis Caucus in a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday afternoon. Republican congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (California) and Don Young (Alaska) joined Democrats Earl Blumenauer (Oregon) and Jared Polis (Colorado) to launch the new group. They are dedicated to developing policy reforms that can bridge the gap that currently exists between federal laws banning marijuana and the laws in an ever-growing number of states that have legalized it for medical or recreational purposes.
“We’re stepping forward together to say we’ve got to make major changes in our country’s attitude toward cannabis,” Rep. Rohrabacher said at the start of the press conference. “And if we do, many people are going to live better lives, it’s going to be better for our country, better for people, and it makes economic sense at a time when every penny must count for government.”
Various polls show that a majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana in some form, and a strong showing in November’s elections pushed the number of states that have legalized medical cannabis to 28, while another eight have voted for recreational legalization. (Notably, each of the four congressmen forming the Cannabis Caucus represent districts in states that have legalized both medical and recreational pot.)
In recent years, under President Barack Obama, federal law enforcement mostly left individual states alone to enact and enforce their own marijuana legislation. Three years ago, Congress passed a bill that prohibited the Justice Department from using federal funds to target cannabis operations that comply with local laws.
Hemp Industries Association Sues DEA
For Ignoring 9th Circuit Decision in HIA v. DEA
In 2001, the DEA issued new rules to ban hemp foods despite the fact that Congress had exempted them in the Controlled Substances Act. The HIA, Dr. Bronner’s, Nutiva and other plaintiffs went to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge the illogical rules and won a victory. This ruling prohibited DEA from treating legal hemp products as controlled substances and helped the burgeoning hemp foods market to take off.
Despite this victory and the clear order from the court prohibiting DEA from enforcing the rules, DEA has continued to put out incorrect and confusing information advising the media and state officials that hemp foods are still illegal if they are intended for human consumption!
Today the HIA filed a motion with the court to ask that DEA be found in contempt for refusing the follow the courts order. You can read the filing here.
Let American Farmers Grow Hemp Once Again to Create Jobs and Rebuild the Rural Economy – Sign This Petition
Created by E.S. on January 20, 2017 – Sign This Petition
Industrial hemp was once a dominant crop on the American landscape. This hardy and renewable resource was refined for various industrial applications, including paper, textiles, and cordage. Unfortunately hemp was conflated with marijuana but hemp can&#039;t be used as a drug.
Over time, the use of industrial hemp has evolved into an even greater variety of products, including health foods, body care, clothing, auto parts, construction materials, biofuels, plastic composites and more.
Farmers in Europe, Canada and China all grow hemp and over $600 million in imported hemp products were sold in the USA in 2016. Congress has 2 bipartisan bills which would bring back hemp farming and create rural jobs. We request that President Trump work with Congress to pass hemp legislation in 2017 – Sign This PetitionSign This Petition
Hemp Industries Association Files Petition Against DEA to Defend Lawful Hemp-Derived Products from Agency Overreach
19 Jan 2017 5:41 PM
Suit Seeks to Defend Hemp Farmers, U.S. Businesses and Consumers from Illegal Attempt to Schedule Non-Psychoactive Hemp Derivatives as ‘Marihuana Extract’
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the leading non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, filed a Petition for Review on January 13, 2017, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, seeking to block the implementation of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) recently announced Final Rule regarding “Marihuana Extract.” The proposed DEA Final Rule attempts to unlawfully designate hemp-derived non-psychoactive cannabinoids, including cannabidiol, as “marihuana extract,” and append the Controlled Substances Act to add all cannabinoids to its Schedule I. Furthermore, this action by the DEA contravenes clear Congressional intent and legal parameters for the production and consumption of hemp-derived products containing cannabinoids, enacted by Sec. 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).
To read the full petition, please visit:
The DEA does not have the authority to augment the Controlled Substances Act; that power resides with Congress. Congress has clearly mandated, through the 2014 Farm Bill and the 2016 Omnibus Spending Law that the Controlled Substances Act does not apply to hemp grown in state pilot programs, and that it is a violation of federal law for agencies such as DEA to interfere with these programs. The DEA’s proposed rule regarding cannabinoids thumbs its nose at Congress and threatens to undermine the market for legal hemp products containing cannabinoids, including those produced in the U.S. under state laws that regulate hemp cultivation and processing pursuant to, and in accordance with the federal Farm Bill. These products, such as hemp foods and supplements, fall outside the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and are not subject to regulatory control by the DEA.
“Hemp-derived products containing cannabinoids are an increasingly in-demand category within the hemp market—and U.S. consumers constitute the largest market for hemp products worldwide,” said Colleen Keahey, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “We are committed to defending the rights of our members, of entrepreneurial hemp farmers, businesses and consumers, who all are acting entirely within the legal framework of the CSA and Farm Bill, including those adversely affected by trying to source American-grown hemp and hemp derivatives to supply this demand. The DEA’s attempt to regulate hemp derived products containing cannabinoids lawfully sourced under the CSA, and farmed and produced under the Farm Bill in states like Kentucky and Colorado, is not only outside the scope of their power, it’s an attempt to rob us of hemp’s economic opportunity.”
The DEA has made previous attempts to interfere with legal hemp products, notably from 2001-2003 when the agency contended that hemp food products such as cereals, hemp seed and hemp oil, are a Schedule I substance due to trace insignificant residues of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. On February 6, 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in response that hemp is not included in Schedule I; that the trace THC in such products is similar to trace opiates in poppy seed bagels, and does not render them controlled substances. The HIA believes this 2004 ruling sets strong legal precedent for the current petition, which asserts that cannabinoids derived from lawful portions and varieties of the Cannabis plant exempted from control under the CSA and through the Farm Bill, may not be regulated as “marihuana” or “marihuana extract” by the DEA.
More recently, in 2014, the DEA interfered with the implementation of state pilot programs for hemp farming, when the agency unlawfully seized 250 lbs. of certified industrial hemp seed imported from Italy. The viable hemp seed had been legally sourced to supply six hemp research projects licensed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and coordinated in conjunction with Kentucky State academic institutions. The seed was quickly released, following the filing of a lawsuit against the DEA on May 14, 2014 by then Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, now U.S. Congressional Representative James Comer.
“Over a decade ago, the Ninth Circuit held that non-psychoactive hemp is not controlled by the CSA,” said Patrick Goggin, co-counsel for the HIA. “The DEA is again attempting to schedule under the CSA cannabinoids and non-psychoactive hemp beyond its authority. We believe the Ninth Circuit will invalidate this rule just like it did in 2004.”
To date, 31 states have passed hemp legislation that allows their farmers to cultivate hemp according to guidelines set forth in the Farm Bill. Per these guidelines, U.S. farmers planted nearly 10,000 acres of hemp in 2016. Farmers and agri-business across the country have invested many millions of dollars in infrastructure to comply with federal law; this retroactive misreading of statute puts the livelihood of these law-abiding companies and individuals at risk.
Recent DEA pronouncements indicate that DEA is threatening to flout prior court rulings, and assert regulatory authority over hemp seed, oil, and products made from hemp seed and oil, which have always been exempt from the Controlled Substances Act. HIA continues to monitor these developments, and will consider further actions to resist DEA’s unlawful attempts to regulate legal hemp products.
# # #
The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products. More information about hemp’s many uses and hemp advocacy may be found at www.TheHIA.org.
A message from the Board of Directors
Eric Steenstra is stepping-down as executive director of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). Going forward, he has decided to work full time lobbying Congress and states on behalf of industrial hemp legislation via his role as President of Vote Hemp. Eric is a respected figure of the hemp industry with twenty-four years of service, and HIA and Vote Hemp will continue to work closely together for full re-commercialization of hemp under federal law.
Since cofounding his hemp clothing business Ecolution in 1993, Eric’s commitment to the hemp movement has been remarkable. He became a founding member of the HIA in 1994, and fought alongside David Bronner and fellow hempsters to stop the DEA’s attempted ban of hemp food and oil from 2001-2004. Eric served on the HIA board for a decade, from 1997-2007. In 2008, he stepped into the role of HIA Executive Director, following the retirement of former executive director Candi Penn.
During his nine years of executive leadership, the HIA has grown substantially both in membership and annual event attendance. He also created the popular chapter program, co-created and helped build key education efforts and marketing initiatives, such as the HIA’s Hemp History Week program.
Eric’s legacy in the hemp industry is deeply admired-he has demonstrated discerning, passionate leadership. In addition to his service with HIA, Eric pioneered the cofounding of Vote Hemp in 2000, of which he remains President. Under his leadership, Vote Hemp has become the nation’s foremost hemp lobbying organization working towards full re-commercialization of industrial hemp. Vote Hemp lead the effort to pass breakthrough hemp language in the Farm Bill and has helped passage of legislation in dozens of states.
It is our hope that Eric will shepherd the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to become law during the 115th Congress, and we are grateful to him for focusing his insight and experience toward this important task. You can reach Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org and (703) 729-2225
After a formal review, we would like to announce our decision to name Colleen Keahey as new Executive Director. Colleen has been working with Eric Steenstra as National Outreach Coordinator with Vote Hemp since June of 2014. Colleen joined Vote Hemp after assisting with the development and passage of Tennessee’s hemp law. She left her role as publisher at a Tennessee non-profit trade association dedicated to rural water industries. In 2014, Colleen founded the first state chapter of the HIA in Tennessee (TNHIA). Colleen successfully contributed to hemp pilot program rules and regulations and also held eighteen meetings as leader of TNHIA. Colleen’s skills in non-profit trade association management will bring new opportunities to the HIA and its members. This transition will not disrupt current projects or campaigns, nor interrupt any services HIA provides to its membership. Members are encouraged to reach out to Colleen with any questions or concerns; she can be reached via email@example.com and at (707) 874-3648.
We look forward to serving you in 2017-a new year full of opportunity. Join us in congratulating and honoring Eric Steenstra for his years of service! And join us in welcoming Colleen Keahey as the new Executive Director for our association.
– HIA Board of Directors
Lawrence Serbin, President
Hemp Traders Inc.
Eric Pollit, Vice President
Tyler Frank, Secretary
Steve Levine, Treasurer
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
The Ridge International Cannabis Consulting
Hemp Oil Canada
Tahoe Hemp Company