More than 250 hemp happenings take place in early June, when Hemp History Week arrives.
The campaign — set for June 4–10 — is coordinated by the Hemp Industries Association and Vote Hemp. HIA is a nonprofit trade group representing hemp companies, researchers, farmers and supporters. Vote Hemp is a nonprofit advocacy group.
Hemp History Week is an industrywide effort sponsored by brands such as Dr. Bronner’s, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path Organic, Nutiva, Pacific Foods and Plus+ CBD Oil.
A focus will be on lobbying in Washington, D.C., and at state capitols, but some 250 other grass-roots events also are planned — plantings, markets, film screenings and more.
Last year, more than 25,000 acres of hemp were planted and harvested in the United States. That’s a record in the few years since passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, which has resulted in 34 states lifting a ban on industrial hemp farming at the state level.
States that legalized industrial hemp farming — per provision Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill — include Wisconsin, as well as Alabama, Arkansas, 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.
Still, federal law prohibits commercial industrial hemp cultivation. And challenges for the industry include:
• Inability of hemp farmers to obtain crop insurance and financing.
• Difficulties involved with sourcing certified hemp seed.
• Lack of adequate processing infrastructure in the United States for raw hemp materials.
• Government interference with interstate commerce of U.S. grown and manufactured hemp products.
• Misregulation of CBD products.
Organizers of Hemp History Week plan to lobby to change state and federal laws, expose the depth of the industry’s roots in the United States and build awareness to the health, economic, technological and sustainability benefits of hemp.
Celebrities and wellness experts onboard for the campaign include Dr. Andrew Weil, Alicia Silverstone, Phil Lempert, Ashley Koff R.D., Brendan Brazier, Elizabeth Kucinich, Ziggy Marley, Alexandra Jamieson, Jason Mraz, Dar Williams, Michael Franti, John Salley, Doug Fine and Ozomatli.
With months still to go before Hemp History Week, organizers of the campaign in mid-February released a new video, “Deep Roots,” which was filmed at the Rodale Institute Experimental Farm in Pennsylvania.
The video explores the research on cultivating hemp in a regenerative organic no-till agriculture model. In an interview, Rodale farm manager Ross Duffield talks about how industrial hemp could play a key role in rejuvenating the soil and economic health of U.S. farmlands. Also, research technician Tara Caton discusses the attraction pollinators demonstrate toward hemp.