ORGANIC HEMP IS IN DEMAND BUT CURRENTLY IT CANNOT BE CERTIFIED IN THE U.S.

 

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.

Background

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:

  1. We highly-value the congressionally-mandated NOSB process and the integrity of the USDA Organic Certification. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

SOURCE LINK

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Hemp Industries Association Sues DEA For Ignoring 9th Circuit Decision in HIA v. DEA (& Please sign this petition for Hemp)

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.

 

Image result for kentucky hemp

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'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

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:

https://hoban.law/sites/default/files/2017-01/17.01.13%20Petition%20%5Bfinal%5D.pdf

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.

Eric Steenstra is stepping-down as executive director of the Hemp Industries Association

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 eric@votehemp.com 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 colleen@thehia.org 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
Global Hemp

Tyler Frank, Secretary

Hemptopia Apparel


Steve Levine, Treasurer

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

Anndrea Hermann

The Ridge International Cannabis Consulting

David Bush

DavidLaw

Shaun Crew

Hemp Oil Canada

Richard Dash

Dash Hemp

Rick Krantz

Tahoe Hemp Company

The hemp industries association; lawrence serbin, president, introduces himself…

Hello everyone!

On October 14, 2015 the new board of directors for the Hemp Industries Association had their first board meeting and elected me, Lawrence Serbin to be the new president. Our previous president, Anndrea Hermann will continue to serve on the board of directors.

I would first like to applaud Anndrea Hermann for all the work she has done over the years with the HIA as well as all the great work she has accomplished for the hemp industry as a whole. It will be a challenge to follow in her footsteps.

Many people know me in the industry, but for those who do not, I would like to provide an introduction.

I first got involved with hemp 25 year ago in 1990, right after I graduated from college. I had been contemplating what to do with my life and wasn’t sure which industry I should pursue. I knew I wanted to start a company and felt I should do something which would help the planet. One morning I awoke and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I would start an environment hemp company to promote and sell hemp products.

It was not easy at first because at that time, there were no hemp companies in existence. I bought a copy of the “Emperor Wears No Clothes” and began to do my research. From that book, I got to know Chris Conrad of the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp (BACH) where I volunteered to help out. I also met Jack Herer the author of the Emperor Wears No Clothes. Within 6 months of volunteering, Chris Conrad moved to Europe to write his own hemp book, and I became the national director in his place. I ran BACH for about a year and a half from early 1991-to late 1992. I left BACH to start my own business in 1994. I formed Hemp Traders, specializing in selling hemp textiles. During the next 22 years, my business slowly grew and my company is now the largest supplier of hemp textiles, twine, yarn, rope and fiber in the United States.

I joined the HIA in 1995 and have always been a member. I served as an early Fiber and Fabric committee leader, and around 5-6 years ago I was elected to the board of directors and became the secretary and vice president. 

There have been so many changes in the hemp industry over the years. From the beginning, hemp enthusiasts constantly had to endure the jokes about smoking our products. People were constantly inferring the only reason we supported industrial hemp was because we wanted to legalize marijuana. The early days were mostly about educating the public on the difference between hemp and marijuana and the benefits of industrial hemp.

But it has been a long and frustrating process. We did see some early advances with a number of western European countries legalizing industrial hemp in the mid to late nineties and Canada legalizing industrial hemp in 1998. But nothing seemed to change for industrial hemp in the United States. Even when a number of states began legalizing medical marijuana during the next decade, the status of industrial hemp stayed the same. A few states did legalize industrial hemp, but without federal approval, viable seeds could not be imported and practically nothing was grown.

But things finally began to change with Colorado legalizing industrial hemp in 2012. The U.S. Congress included a provision in the Agricultural Act of 2014 that allowed colleges and state agencies to grow and conduct research on hemp in states where it is legal. 2015 has seen the first viable industrial hemp crops grown for commercial and research purposes, with Colorado and Kentucky taking the lead.

So what is happening with the HIA and what is the status of hemp? In my next article I will discuss the exact measure the HIA will be taking to promote hemp and empower our members and state chapters. In the meantime, I would like to provide a parable.

Imagine there is a farmer who has magical seeds. The farmer knows these seeds are special and represent tremendous possibilities. These seeds hold the potential to provide food, clothing, shelter, and medicine for all humanity. The farmer talks about the magical seeds to the neighbors who are also stewards of the land. Some listen intently but others dismiss his claims. They don’t quite seem to believe what the farmer is telling them. They want to see proof.

But something is wrong with the land and the seeds will not grow. Year after year the farmer plants the seeds, and year after year they fail to germinate or are eaten by birds. The neighboring farmers shrug their shoulders and shake their heads. After many years the farmer feels frustrated and even contemplates giving up. 

Then one spring morning the farmer notices something has changed in the air. The wind is blowing from a different direction and the soil seems more fertile. There is a feeling of positive energy all around the land. So the farmer decides to give it one more try. He takes his magical seeds and scatters them across his fields. At first, nothing seems to be happening, but after a couple of weeks the farmer notices a few sprouts have appeared. Not all the land is fertile, but in a few fields, the green leaves of his miraculous plants have begun to grow. The farmer does not get discouraged because the plants are only growing in some areas, nor does he feel impatient because the plants are not fully grown. The farmer is thrilled because he realizes this is the beginning of something tremendous.

Even with some of the plants now growing, the farmer understands the work is just beginning. With new vigor, the farmer sets out to cultivate the plants which have developed. He also continues to plant in the areas of his fields which did not sprout. For the farmer knows these areas will eventually become ripe for growing.

It is the spirit of the farmer’s new vigor that the HIA should to emulate. Hemp in America is just starting to sprout, but there is a lot of work which needs to be accomplished to bring our industry to harvest. Don’t be discouraged or impatient if things seem to be moving too slowly. Hemp plants grow on their own time and only need to be nurtured.

Over the years I have been told certain things about hemp were impossible. It would be impossible for hemp to be legalized. It would be impossible to get seeds. It would be impossible to make fine textiles, it would be impossible to build a house. It would be impossible to make paper. When I hear these things I just smile, for I know todays impossibilities are tomorrows realities. There are miracles happening everywhere with hemp. All it takes is love, imagination, and application.

Membership in the HIA has doubled during the past year, and our annual conference was the biggest and best ever. We expect more states to legalize industrial hemp and lots more acreage to be planted next spring and in the years to come.

I look forward to working with all hemp entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, students, and farmers during the next year. I am always available for business advise and will be happy to listen to your questions and plans for hemp. I am most easily reached by email.

Be blessed.

Lawrence Serbin

Board President

Hemp Industries Association

President

Hemp Traders

About the Hemp Industries Association

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new products made from industrial hemp, oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis. To learn more about the HIA and the benefits of membership, visit our web site at: http://www.TheHIA.org

Report: $620 Million in Hemp Products Sold in the U.S. in 2014

Report: $620 Million in Hemp Products Sold in the U.S. in 2014

Hemp Foods and Body Care Retail Market in U.S. Achieves 21.2% Growth in 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has released final estimates of the size of the 2014 U.S. retail market for hemp products.

Data from market research supports an estimate of total retail sales of hemp food and body care products in the United States at $200 million.  Sales of popular hemp items like non-dairy milk, shelled seed, soaps and lotions have continued to skyrocket against the backdrop of the new hemp research provision in the Farm Bill, and increasing grassroots pressure to allow hemp to be grown domestically on a commercial scale once again for U.S. processors and manufacturers. The HIA has also reviewed sales of clothing, auto parts, building materials and various other products, and estimates the total retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S. in 2014 to be at least $620 million.

The sales data on hemp foods and body care, collected by market research firm SPINS, was obtained from natural and conventional retailers, excluding Whole Foods Market, Costco and certain other key establishments, who do not provide sales data — and thus it underestimates actual sales by a factor of at least two and a half. According to the SPINS data, combined U.S. hemp food and body care sales grew in the sampled stores by 21.2% or $14,020,239, over the previous year ending December 31, 2014 to a total of just over $80,042,540. According to SPINS figures, sales in conventional retailers grew by 26.8% in 2014, while sales in natural retailers grew by 16.3%. Indeed, the combined growth of hemp retail sales in the U.S. continues steadily, as annual natural and conventional market percent growth has progressed from 7.3% (2011), to 16.5% (2012), to 24% (2013), to 21.2 in 2014.

“The HIA estimates the total retail value of all hemp products sold in the U.S. to be at least $620 million for 2014,” says Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the HIA. “Eleven new states have passed legislation and new businesses are rapidly entering the market now that American farmers in a handful of states are finally beginning to grow the crop legally. Challenges remain in the market and there is a need for Congress to pass legislation to allow farmers to grow hemp commercially in order for the market to continue its rapid growth,” continues Steenstra.

When the 2013 farm bill was signed into law in February of 2014, the hemp amendment to the farm bill, Sec. 7606 Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana in states where hemp is regulated under authorized hemp pilot programs. This was an historic moment in the longstanding effort to legalize hemp as the act asserts that industrial hemp is not psychoactive, having less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis and therefore presenting no drug value.

The bill further allows for states that have already legalized the crop to cultivate hemp within the parameters of state agriculture departments and research institutions. In 2014, 1831 acres of hemp were licensed in Kentucky, Colorado and Vermont. Many licensees were unable to obtain seed in time to plant due to DEA seed import requirements. We estimate that approximately 125 acres of hemp crops were planted during 2014.

In January of 2015, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced in both the House and Senate, H.R. 525 and S. 134 respectively. If passed, the bill would remove all federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, and remove its classification as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Currently, 21 states may grow hemp per Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill, including California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.

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