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Obama Declares War on American Drug Users

Speaking in Mexico today, President Obama embraced the exact hard-line drug war philosophy he rejected on the campaign trail:

Obama acknowledged that the United States shares responsibility for bloodshed and kidnappings in Mexico that have spilled across the border into the United States. Acknowledging that U.S. drug use fuels the cartels, Obama said, "I will not pretend this is Mexico's responsibility alone."

"We have a responsibility as well, we have to do our part," Obama said. He said the U.S. must crack down on drug use and the flow of weapons into Mexico. [AP]

Specifically, he said, "We have to crack down on drug use in our cities and towns," and while I've been accused at times of giving Obama too much credit when it comes to drug policy, there's just no silver lining in any of this. A crackdown is a crackdown. Anyone who talks that way is a full-blown drug warrior. He's always talked tough when it comes to Mexico, but this flat-out endorsement of busting drug users here at home is a new low.

Thus, Obama becomes a rather peculiar specimen as far as drug war politics are concerned. This is a guy who's talked about decriminalizing marijuana and "shifting the model" in the war on drugs, only to then take a step backwards after achieving enough to power to actually move those ideals forward in a meaningful way. Some have questioned his sincerity all along, but I don't. Drug policy reform just makes sense, so when I hear someone talking about it, I assume they understand the words coming out of their own mouth.

…which brings me to the tragic conclusion that Obama is doing all of this even though he knows it's wrong. Lives are being lost in a brutal and escalating war, while billions are being wasted away during an escalating economic meltdown, and he's opting to fan the flames rather than show real leadership. It's arguably even more disgraceful than what we've seen from our opponents in the past, because Obama bears the burden of knowing the truth.

Regardless of whatever the hell is going on in the President's head, it is just a fact that the American people have never been so sick of the war on drugs as they are this exact moment. There is a national dialogue about our drug policy taking place in the press on a daily basis, fueled to no small extent by Obama's own hypocrisy and intransigence. Determined though he may be to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors, Obama will not escape scrutiny as they did. That much is already clear.

Press Release -- Obama in Mexico: Marijuana on the Agenda?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
APRIL 15, 2009

Obama in Mexico: Marijuana on the Agenda?

In Possible Rebuke to Obama, Mexico's Ambassador Said an End to Marijuana Prohibition "Needs to Be Taken Seriously"

CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications ............... 415-585-6404 or 202-215-4205

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With President Obama leaving for talks with Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Thursday, marijuana policy reformers are wondering if the role of U.S. marijuana laws in subsidizing vicious Mexican drug gangs will get the serious attention that Mexico's ambassador to the U.S. recently said it deserves. Obama's visit comes immediately after Mexico's Congress held a historic debate on ending marijuana prohibition.

     "In his only public statement on the issue since taking office, President Obama treated the question of ending marijuana prohibition as a joke, but the families of the 7,000 murdered by Mexican drug gangs know it's not funny," said Marijuana Policy Project executive director Rob Kampia. "By refusing to bring the massive marijuana industry out of the shadows and regulate it as we do beer, wine and liquor, we've handed a massive subsidy to some of the most brutal thugs on the planet."

     In an April 12  discussion of Mexico's brutal drug cartels on CBS's "Face the Nation," Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan was asked by host Bob Schieffer, "What if marijuana were legalized? Would that change this situation?"

     Rather than dismissing the idea as President Obama did in his recent online town hall meeting, Sarukhan said, "This is a debate that needs to be taken seriously, that we have to engage in on both sides of the border."

     "Ambassador Sarukhan got it exactly right," said MPP director of government relations Aaron Houston. "The public in both countries is ready for a serious discussion about the marijuana laws that are directly aiding the murderous gangs that are killing people daily and now operate in 230 U.S. cities. It's time for Presidents Obama and Calderon to show the sort of decisive leadership that's needed to get both of our countries out of this mess."

     With more than 27,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.

####

Media Advisory: Federal Position on Medical Marijuana Put Before Ninth Circuit Today

MEDIA ADVISORY Americans for Safe Access For Immediate Release: April 14, 2009 Contact: 510-251-1856 x307 Federal Position on Medical Marijuana Put Before Ninth Circuit Tuesday Federal hearing is latest battle on whether policy is based on science or politics San Francisco, CA -- Medical marijuana advocates will get to argue before the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, April 14th, the right to challenge an outdated position held by the federal government: "marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." The national advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) filed a lawsuit in February 2007 demanding that the federal government cease issuing misinformation and correct its statements on medical marijuana. "We welcome the Obama Administration's recently stated commitment to making policy decisions based on science, not politics," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with ASA. "This case is designed to ensure that the federal government's policy on medical marijuana is not politically motivated." What: Oral arguments in a case before the Ninth Circuit that challenges the government's position on medical marijuana When: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. Where: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Courtroom 4 at 95 Seventh Street, San Francisco, CA In order to challenge the government's position, advocates are using a little-known law called the Data Quality Act (DQA). The DQA requires federal agencies such as Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to rely on sound science when disseminating information to the public. One of the main issues in the case is whether citizens have a right to challenge government information believed to be inaccurate or based on faulty, unreliable data. "The science to support medical marijuana is overwhelming," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "It's time for the federal government to acknowledge the efficacy of medical marijuana and stop holding science hostage to politics." On March 9, 2009, President Obama issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies stating that, "The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions," and calling for "transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of scientific and technological information in policymaking." The original DQA petition was filed in October of 2004, aimed at forcing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) -- the FDA's parent agency -- to correct statements about the medical value of marijuana. After more than two years of delay by the federal government and a refusal to act on the petition, a lawsuit was filed in February of 2007. Despite a rejection by the federal district court in late 2007, Science Magazine published an editorial that year claiming that HHS had "violated its own DQA guidelines." Preeminent legal scholar Alan Morrison, who founded Public Citizen's Litigation Group and who currently teaches at American University's Washington College of Law, is co-counsel in the case and will be arguing before the court on behalf ASA and patients across the country. "Citizens have a right to expect the government to be transparent and to use the best available information for policy decisions," said Morrison. "Unfortunately, so far, the government has been anything but transparent and has failed to produce any evidence for its policy statements on medical marijuana." In April 2006, while ASA was awaiting a response to the petition from HHS, the FDA issued a statement claiming that it conducted an "inter-agency review" and had "concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana..." However, none of the alleged scientific evidence used to reach that conclusion was ever provided to ASA or the public. Further information: DQA Opening Appeal Brief: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/DQA_Appeal_Brief.pdf President Obama's memorandum on scientific integrity: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Memorandum-for-the-Heads-of-E... DQA Background info: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/DQA
Location: 
San Francisco, CA
United States

Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Cool Madness: The Trial of Dr. Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer," by Vanessa Nelson (2008, MMA Publishing, 353 pp., $19.95 pb.)

[Order "Cool Madness" by making a donation to StoptheDrugWar.org and specificying "Cool Madness" as your requested membership premium.]

UC Berkeley-trained journalist Vanessa Nelson has found a niche for herself reporting on medical marijuana prosecutions in California. One can only hope it will not be a lasting niche; that the events of which she is reporting will soon be the stuff of history, a quaint reminder of what is was like to live in the bad old days.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/coolmadness.gif
But as the recent DEA raid on a San Francisco dispensary suggests, the era of mindless persecution by the federal government of medical marijuana patients and providers is not over yet -- despite the nice words coming from Attorney General Holder. Other California medical marijuana providers are currently serving prison terms, some are waiting to be sentenced, and some are in the midst of appeals. All of them are facing (or already enduring) harsh federal sentencing laws for the crime of trying to help their fellow sufferers.

The case of Dr. Mollie Fry and her husband, attorney Dale Schafer, is among the most outrageous. A physician residing in the Sierra Nevada foothills town of Cool (thus the title) who came to embrace the therapeutic benefits of cannabis after a bout with breast cancer, Dr. Fry became an enthusiastic advocate of the herb, recommending it for patients, and, with the help of her husband, encouraging them to grow their own (and even selling them starter kits), and trying -- not very successfully -- to grow it themselves.

Fry and Schafer had consulted with local law enforcement and thought they were safe from prosecution, but they were naïve and mistaken, as started to become evident on September 26, 2001, when their home and offices were raided by aggressive DEA agents, and a whopping 34 marijuana plants seized. [Ed: This is what federal law enforcement had time to spend on, barely two weeks after major terrorist attacks on two US cities.]

Then, as is often the case with DEA medical marijuana raids, nothing happened, as if the bust had disappeared into limbo. That is, nothing happened until the US Supreme Court came down on the side of the federal government in the Raich case in 2005. Within a matter of days, Fry and Schafer found themselves indicted and arrested on federal marijuana manufacture and distribution charges.

Oddly enough, the 34 plants seized had somehow morphed into more than 100 plants in the government's case. That makes an important difference -- the difference between a short sentence, or even probation, and a mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years. And that's what Assistant US Attorney Anne Pings was determined to get when Fry and Schafer finally went to trial on August 1, 2007.

Nelson provides a blow-by-blow account of the proceedings, from the defense's selection of famed defense attorney Tony Serra and his less flamboyant but equally dogged co-counsel Laurence Lichter to the bail hearing after they were convicted. In so doing, she has crafted a gripping narrative tale more akin to a page-turning novel than a dry and dusty trial transcript.

Not only is the narrative gripping, it is also infuriating for anyone sympathetic to the medical marijuana movement or who holds to the notion that trials are about justice. With Serra and Lichter forbidden to even mention medical marijuana, as is typically the case in those federal medical marijuana trials, that the prosecution would win convictions was almost a foregone conclusion to anyone other than those medical marijuana supporters so blinded by the righteousness of their cause that they couldn't see the approaching freight train. That didn't stop the defense duo from repeatedly trying to introduce the topic, leading to rapid-fire prosecution objections, repeated sidebars, and courtroom fire-works. Still, the jury that heard the case got only the faintest hints of what it was really all about.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/fry-schafer-family.jpg
Fry, Schafer and family at August 2007 demonstration (courtesy indybay.org)
There were some real villains in this little drama, and some buffoons. (While Nelson was clearly sympathetic to the defendants, the following characterizations are mine, not hers.) Prosecutor Pings spared no tactic, no innuendo, no insinuation in trying to convince the jury that Fry and Schafer were money-hungry dope dealers, even going so far as to tell the jury they advertised their services on a rock radio station! Nor was she in the least reluctant to intimidate and threaten former employees facing their own legal problems into turning state's evidence and portraying the couple as mercenary marijuana peddlers. Actions like those may make Pings an effective prosecutor, but they also paint her as a terrible human being, willing to do whatever it takes to send some harmless people to prison.

Another villain worth noting was a Sergeant Ashworth of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department. At Fry and Schafer's request, Ashworth visited their properties repeatedly, enjoying their hospitality and assuring them they were acting within the law. But by the summer of 2001, when he got done sipping coffee with Dr. Fry he was reporting to the DEA. Even worse, Ashworth actively encouraged the couple to grow another crop that year, getting the prosecution to the magic 100 plant number. This kind of sleazy, backstabbing behavior deserves a response. In this case, it seems the appropriate response would be to vote his boss out of office and send Ashworth out to patrol the dog pound.

As for the buffoons, the sobriquet was earned by the DEA agents on the case, from the supervisor who seemed exceedingly clueless about the things he was testifying about to the DEA undercover agent who infiltrated medical marijuana meetings where no pot was smoked and worried that he was getting a contact high just from being there. In an even more unbelievable, but revealing, example of DEA buffoonery, Nelson relates the story of two agents at the trial who, upon heading to the court house parking lot to get in their car to go to lunch, saw a member of the medical marijuana community attending the trial walk toward that very same parking lot (!) and assumed they were being stalked. The spooked agents fled the scene on foot and called their supervisors for back-up, only to be laughed at and told to go back and get their vehicle.

The DEA guys may be idiots and the prosecutor may be a nasty person, but behind them was the full power of the federal government. Nelson's account is a very disturbing window into just how these villains and bozos managed to wield that power. Again, this should be a wake-up call for those who think federal medical marijuana prosecutions have anything to do with justice.

[Order "Cool Madness" by making a donation to StoptheDrugWar.org and specificying "Cool Madness" as your requested membership premium.]

Finally, Congress discusses prohibition!

"Make sure your legislators are part of the 'Drug War' discussion on Capitol Hill!"

Jack Cole
26-year veteran cop
New Jersey State Police

Congress is Debating the Drug War. 
Are Your Representatives Part of the Discussion?


Dear Friends,

The war against the "War on Drugs" is really starting to heat up.  

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition has spent the last two years asking every single congressional office to take a thorough look at the failure of our drug laws, and now it is happening!

Recently on Capitol Hill, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia) introduced a bill to create a blue ribbon commission to initiate a comprehensive review of America's criminal justice and drug policies.  The commission will spend eighteen months studying all aspects of the criminal justice system, report the findings to Congress and offer tangible recommendations for reform, including, possibly, an end to the cruel drug laws that send too many people to prison for too long.

But that's only if we build enough support to pass this important legislation.  

We've made it easy for you to contact your legislators about supporting Sen. Webb's bill.  All you have to do is go to http://www.DrugWarDebate.com and enter in your contact information.  Edit the pre-written letter if you want, and click send.  Then, use our automated system to let your friends know that they can take action too.  That's it.  

If enough of us put this already-bipartisan legislation on our senators' and representatives' radar screens, we can and will make a difference.

The United States is the number one incarcerator in the world, with one out of every one hundred American adults behind bars.  Sadly, the lion's share of this insane level of incarceration is driven by drug prohibition.

Our current policies are not serving the public interest, and the results have been devastating: since the inception of the "war on drugs," more than 38 million arrests have been made for nonviolent drug offenses.  Under Sen. Webb's legislation, the commission will, among other things, "make recommendations for changes in policies and laws designed to....restructure the approach to criminalization of, and incarceration as a result of the possession or use of illegal drugs."

A thorough examination of the criminal justice system as it relates to the failed "war on drugs" will go a long way toward awakening more policymakers about the reasons for reform, and Sen. Webb's efforts are exactly what we need right now.  Please visit http://www.DrugWarDebate.com today to contact your senators and representatives, asking them to support S. 714, the National Criminal Justice Act of 2009.  

And please consider making a donation to help LEAP continue our important efforts.  If you can afford to help, please go to http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com/donate and make as big a gift as you feel comfortable giving.

We can't do it without your help!

Sincerely,

Jack Cole
Executive Director
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

MPP testifies before Congress

Dear Friends:

Yesterday, MPP's Aaron Houston testified before Congress, urging lawmakers to rein in the DEA. You can read his testimony (posted on the House Appropriations Committee's Web site) here, or watch him discuss it below.

Each year, Congress passes a spending bill that funds the Justice Department, including the DEA. At yesterday's hearing about next year's budget, MPP asked Congress to tell the DEA to:

  • Stop interfering with state and local law enforcement in California and other medical marijuana states;
  • Immediately stop the practice of sending letters to landlords of state-legal medical marijuana dispensaries, threatening to seize their assets; and
  • Stop blocking medical marijuana research and approve the application for a medical marijuana research facility at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

MPP was the only reform organization to provide expert testimony at the hearing yesterday. In fact, MPP is the only marijuana policy reform organization with a full-time lobbyist on Capitol Hill. Would you please support this important work by making a contribution today? We appreciate anything you can give.

Thank you,

Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $2.35 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2009. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

Press Release: Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul Introduce Hemp Bill HR 1866


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2009

 
   
CONTACT:     Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
                                    [email protected]
                     Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
                            [email protected]


Representatives Barney Frank and Ron Paul Introduce
Hemp Farming Legislation - HR 1866

 
WASHINGTON, DC - A federal bill was introduced yesterday that, if passed into law, would remove restrictions on the cultivation of non-psychoactive industrial hemp.  The chief sponsors of HR 1866, "The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009," Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX), were joined by nine other U.S. House members split equally between Republicans and Democrats.
 
 "It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, from competing in the global industrial hemp market," said Representative Ron Paul during his introduction of the bill yesterday before the U.S. House.  "Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government.  Therefore, I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers and co-sponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act," concluded Paul.
 
"With so much discussion lately in the media about drug policy, it is surprising that the tragedy of American hemp farming hasn't come up as a 'no-brainer' for reform," says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra.  "Hemp is a versatile, environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown here for over fifty years because of a politicized interpretation of the nation's drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  President Obama should direct the DEA to stop confusing industrial hemp with its genetically distinct cousin, marijuana.  While the new bill in Congress is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful that President Obama's administration will prioritize hemp's benefits to farmers.  Jobs would be created overnight, as there are numerous U.S. companies that now have no choice but to import hemp raw materials worth many millions of dollars per year," adds Steenstra.
 
U.S. companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a California company who manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap, and FlexForm Technologies, an Indiana company whose natural fiber materials are used in over two million cars on the road today.  Hemp food manufacturers, such as French Meadow Bakery, Hempzels, Living Harvest, Nature's Path and Nutiva, now make their products from Canadian hemp.  Although hemp now grows wild across the U.S., a vestige of centuries of hemp farming here, the hemp for these products must be imported.  Hemp clothing is made around the world by well-known brands such as Patagonia, Bono's Edun and Giorgio Armani.
 
There is strong support among key national organizations for a change in the federal government's position on hemp.  The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) "supports revisions to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial production of industrial hemp."  The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has also passed a pro-hemp resolution.
 
Numerous individual states have expressed interest in and support for industrial hemp as well.  Sixteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation, and eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research.  North Dakota has been issuing state licenses to farmers for two years now.  The new bill will remove federal barriers and allow laws in these states regulating the growing and processing of hemp to take effect.
 
"Under the current national drug control policy, industrial hemp can be imported, but it can't be grown by American farmers," says Steenstra.  "The DEA has taken the Controlled Substances Act's antiquated definition of marijuana out of context and used it as an excuse to ban industrial hemp farming.  The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 will return us to more rational times when the government regulated marijuana, but allowed farmers to continue raising industrial hemp just as they always had."
 
#   #   #
 
More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses can be found at www.VoteHemp.com.
BETA SP and DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

The Drug Czar's Office Doesn't Know What to Say About Marijuana

Ever since Obama's awful attempt to duck the marijuana legalization debate last week, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that the issue of marijuana reform is a major challenge for the new administration. They aren't ready to endorse legalization, but they're equally intimidated by the rapidly growing movement to reform marijuana laws.

Another example is found at the drug czar's blog, which posted the video of Obama's statement, yet withheld any further comment on the matter. It 's a subtle, yet profound departure from the way this blog was run during the previous administration. Every post related to marijuana ended with, "Click here to learn more about how marijuana is highly f#$king toxic."

I can't prove that, though, because they deleted everything when Obama took office (which just further demonstrates that the new ONDCP is a very different creature). Considering that ONDCP's charter mandates opposition to drug policy reform efforts, their failure to actually even applaud Obama's statement against marijuana legalization is remarkably tame.  

It almost feels like we're running out of people to argue with.

End the D.C. medical marijuana ban

Dear Friends:

A decade has passed since Congressman Bob Barr thwarted the will of D.C. voters by blocking a medical marijuana program, voted into law by nearly 70% of the district. Please help MPP remove the legislation blocking D.C. from implementing its medical marijuana program.

Since 1999, when Congressman Barr's legislation took effect, national support for medical marijuana has grown to nearly 80%, the American College of Physicians (America's second largest medical association) has come out in support of medical marijuana, and even Congressman Bob Barr has switched sides, lobbying with MPP to repeal his own legislation and allow D.C. medical marijuana patients the protections they deserve.

Please take action today. Send an e-mail to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton and ask her to remove the Barr Amendment from the D.C. appropriations bill.

Sincerely,

Ben Morris
Assistant Manager of Government Relations
Marijuana Policy Project
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Press Release: New Bill Allowing Industrial Hemp Farming Expected to be Introduced this Week

VOTEHEMP.COM  
NEWS ADVISORY
April 1, 2009
 
    CONTACT: Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
                             [email protected]
                   Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
                              [email protected] 

 

New Bill Allowing Industrial Hemp Farming Expected to be Introduced this Week
 
WASHINGTON, DC - For the third time since the federal government outlawed hemp farming in the United States over 50 years ago, a federal bill will be introduced that will remove restrictions on the cultivation of non-psychoactive industrial hemp.  The chief sponsors, Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX), have circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter seeking support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.  The bill will be identical to HR 1009, which was introduced in the 110th Congress in 2007. 
 
"With so much discussion lately in the media about drug policy, it's surprising that the tragedy of American hemp farming hasn't come up as a 'no-brainer' for reform," says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra.  "Hemp is a versatile, environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown here for over 50 years because of a politicized interpretation of the nation's drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  President Obama should direct the DEA to stop confusing industrial hemp with its genetically distinct cousin, marijuana.  While the new bill in Congress is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful that the new leadership in the White House will prioritize the crop's benefits to farmers.  Jobs would be created overnight, as there are numerous U.S. companies that now have no choice but to import hemp materials valued at $360 million in annual retail sales and growing," adds Steenstra.
 
U.S. companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a California company who manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap, and FlexForm Technologies, an Indiana company whose natural fiber materials are used in over three million cars on the road today.  Hemp food manufacturers, such as French Meadow Bakery, Hempzels, Living Harvest, Nature's Path and Nutiva, now make their products from Canadian hemp.  Although hemp now grows wild across the U.S., a vestige of centuries of hemp farming here, the hemp for these products must be imported.  Hemp clothing is made around the world by well-known brands such as Patagonia, Bono's Edun and Giorgio Armani.
 
There is strong support among key national organizations for a change in the federal government's position on hemp.  The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) "supports revisions to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial production of industrial hemp."  The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has also passed a pro-hemp resolution.
 
Numerous individual states have expressed interest in and support for industrial hemp as well.  Sixteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation, and eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research.  North Dakota has been issuing state licenses to farmers for two years now.  The new bill will remove federal barriers and allow laws in these states regulating the growing and processing of hemp to take effect.
 
"Under the current national drug control policy, industrial hemp can be imported, but it can't be grown by American farmers," says Steenstra.  "The DEA has taken the Controlled Substances Act's antiquated definition of marijuana out of context and used it as an excuse to ban industrial hemp farming.  The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 will return us to more rational times when the government regulated marijuana, but allowed farmers to continue raising industrial hemp just as they always had."
 
#   #   #



More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses can be found at www.VoteHemp.com.
BETA SP and DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.

     
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

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