The second week of June marks the eighth annual Hemp History Week, and hemp advocates are putting on educational events across America to demystify the multi-tasking plant.
Going into Hemp History Week, the number one (and two) hemp fact to know is: While it’s a cousin of cannabis, the hemp plant is unique in that it can provide the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) with only trace amounts of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp also has limitless industrial possibilities.
For decades, America has had a checkered past with hemp. The once-thriving crop was banned in the 1930’s, then encouraged for the war effort throughout World War II, only to be banned again in the 1970’s. More recently, there’s been progress as the crop can be cultivated under certain circumstances and on a state-by-state basis.
Hemp History Week
Hemp History Week is the largest national grassroots effort to restore support for industrial hemp farming in America. The many events taking place June 5th through June 11th will include retail promotions, hemp plantings (in the states where hemp farming is legal under Section 7606 of the U.S. Farm Bill), documentary screenings, as well as farmer outreach.
Did you know that the hemp you see in national grocery stores like Whole Foods are actually imported from Canada, Europe, and China? It’s a controversial issue for domestic farmers as they fight for the right to grow and profit off American grown hemp.
According to the campaign website, “Hemp not only nets up to 2.5-times the value of U.S. corn and soy, it also has wide-reach environmental benefits including soil remediation, prolific pollen production for our bees and beneficial insects, and no synthetic pesticides nor fertilizers necessary to grow.” While some states continue to fight for hemp farming, progress is being made in states like Kentucky, Vermont and Colorado.
In 2014, these three states became the first to grow hemp under Section 7606, Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, of the 2014 Federal Farm Bill. Now, hemp farming has reached many more states including: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The objectives for Hemp History Week:
- Celebrate America’s rich history with industrial hemp before it was outlawed and educate the public about the barriers to hemp farming in the United States.
- Advocate for a federal policy change while sending a strong, positive message to the Executive Branch and Congress to remove barriers to hemp farming and let farmers grow the versatile and profitable crop.
- Engage consumers by showcasing the range of hemp products available and the nutritional as well as environmental benefits that they provide.
“As recognition of hemp’s excellent nutritional profile grows, along with the demand for regenerative agricultural practices and advancements in plant-based innovations, hemp stands to once again be a vital and viable crop in the United States and around the world,” the Hemp History Week organization said in a statement.
A national nonprofit advocacy group, Vote Hemp was founded in 2000 with the mission to remove legal barriers to American industrial hemp farming. Vote Hemp estimates that the hemp market in the U.S. achieved 25% growth in 2016, reaching a total market value of $688 million.
This year, the focus is on garnering support from constituents across the country to ask their Senators to support the Senate version of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. According to Vote Hemp, “the Bill Amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of “marihuana.” Writing to your senator is only few clicks away with this letter writing tool on their website.
This year’s theme for Hemp History Week is Breaking Ground, which focuses on how regenerative hemp farming, hemp foods, and other hemp products provide sustainability solutions for the next generation. Below are a few hemp-centric events from across the nation. You can also visit the campaign website to search for a nearby event.
Grateful Hearts Unite for Hemp: Boulder, Colorado
The Industrial Hemp Research Foundation (IHRF) has organized an event on June 9th to celebrate and educate people about the history of hemp. From 2:30 – 5:00 Café Aion will host the Grateful Hearts Unite for Hemp, a pre-party fundraising celebration while the Dead & Company is in town for a concert at Boulder’s Folsom Field.
“It’s a great opportunity for the Earth conscience followers of the band to learn more about hemp,” explains Melanie Rose Rodgers, Community Engagement Director for IHRF. The event and fundraiser will highlight the Industrial Hemp Research Foundation, a local 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting industrial hemp research programs at institutions of higher learning and education in Colorado and universities across America.
Attendees are encouraged to wear all the hemp clothes and accessories they own. The ticketed event includes giveaways from hemp sponsors, food, drinks, and music from the band Pistols and Petticoats.
A note from the organizer: “Cafe Aion is conveniently located 0.2 miles (7 min. walk) to the Dead & Co. concert venue, Folsom Field. We welcome the music community, Dead fans, and fellow hempsters for this unique, community event celebrating Hemp History Week!”
Get HIP on HEMP: Washington, D.C.
If you’re in the District and want to learn more about hemp, there’s an educational event at WeWork’s K Street location on June 8. The Hemp History Week event is organized by the local hemp business Get Hemp Butter, an all-natural beauty and wellness salve company. Consult DC and High Caliber Events are also hosting.
Featured speakers include: Lauren Stansbury, Media Relations Manager of Dr. Bronner’s; DC Scroger, local Cultivator and Host of DC’s first Grow Show; and Suzannah L. Simmons, Director of Operations & Outreach for Cogent Law Group. Tickets are free and available online.
Harborside Health Center: Oakland, California
The legendary cannabis dispensary will be celebrating Hemp History week with interactive industrial hemp exhibit displays of building materials, plastics, fabrics, fibers, and clothing. There will also be free samples of hemp seeds and body care products. Proceeds from the purchase of posters, CD’s of John Trudell, and the DVD Bringing It Home will go to the organization Hempstead Project HEART (Hemp Energies Alternative Technologies). The event is on June 11th from 1:00PM to 4:00PM.
Harborside’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Steve DeAngelo, is well-known in the cannabis and hemp space. A lifelong cannabis activist and businessman, DeAngelo has positioned himself as one of the most respected experts in the industry.
He literally wrote the book on the plant, called The Cannabis Manifesto, and is credited with creating the model medical cannabis dispensary with Harborside. According to his dispensary website, “he sees hemp and cannabis as one issue, not two.” DeAngelo is also the Co-founder and CEO of Ecolution, an international manufacturer of hemp clothing and accessories.
Search for Hemp History Week events near you with this handy search tool from the campaign website.