Washington, DC– The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade group that supports hemp companies, researchers, farmers and supporters, and Vote Hemp, a non-profit that removes barriers for industrial hemp farming, have announced the 8thannual Hemp History Week, which will be held June 5 to 11, 2017. Hemp History Week works to raise awareness about environmental sustainability, health benefits, regenerate agriculture potential and introduce innovative technological applications of industrial hemp, in order to advocate for full federal legalization of industrial hemp farming.

Hemp History Week has grown into an industry-wide effort supported by natural product brands known for their high-quality hemp products, including Dr. Bronner’s, Farmer Direct Co-op, Living Harvest TEMPT, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path Organic, Nutiva,Pacific Foods, and Plus+CBD Oil.

The hemp market has grown about 25% in 2016 and reached a market value of $688 million. According to a Hemp History Week press release:The HIA 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,” which attempts to give DEA regulatory control over lawfully cultivated and manufactured cannabinoid products, including CBD products. On February 6, 2017, the HIA filed an additional lawsuit against the DEA regarding the agency’s illegal attempt to impede interstate commerce of lawfully cultivated hemp food products. Over 1500 grassroots events and retailer sales are planned to occur in May and June in celebration of Hemp History Week, coordinated by grassroots organizers, hemp farming advocates, and natural products industry leaders around the country.

The Congressional Agriculture Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) made significant progress toward lifting the prohibition on hemp farming. However, current regulations allow only for “States” to enact hemp-farming programs. Hemp History Week works to “advocate for comprehensive, free market legalization of industrial hemp cultivation, and the removal of industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, so that all may benefit from the commercial benefits of this versatile, high-demand crop.”

Hemp History Week released their 8thannual campaign video,Breaking Ground which tells the story of hemp farmer and activist, Alex White Plume whose hemp crop was raided and destroyed by the DEA in 2000. To learn more and view this video, please clickhere.

Being that hemp is a versatile and sustainable crop, it can be environmentally beneficial in a number of ways. Hemp can reduce dependence on non-sustainable materials such as wood and petroleum, and help support efficient land and water use. The plant can also help reduce pesticide use, contribute to forest conservation and contribute to environmentally responsible food and fiber production. Hemp has potential to replace graphene in batteries, which could be used to power electric cars and handheld electronics. Along with environmental benefits, hemp has also been found to be good for health. Hemp seed contains all 10 essential amino acids, making it an easily digestible protein, and also contains vitamin E and iron. Hemp now can be found in a variety of foods from snacks, to ice cream, to cereal and available at natural grocers.

Many challenges still stand in the way of industrial hemp farming including the “inability of hemp farmers to obtain crop insurance and financing, difficulties involved with sourcing certified hemp seed, lack of adequate processing infrastructure in the U.S. for raw hemp materials, barriers to interstate commerce for hemp products, and the potential mis-regulation of CBD products as pharmaceuticals rather than nutritional supplements.”

Currently 32 states have legalized industrial hemp farming, per provision Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill, and include: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

To learn more, please visitwww.thehia.organdwww.votehemp.com.