Representatives of the Hemp Industry recently exhibited at the American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) annual convention at the Charlotte Convention Center to educate farmers about the need to change federal laws that prevent them from growing industrial hemp. Vote Hemp (booth # 614), a non-profit advocacy organization, gave away hemp food and displayed a wide variety of hemp products, such as automobile parts and paper, sold in the U.S. but made with imported industrial hemp.

“The U.S. government treats hemp the same as marijuana even though dozens of countries including Canada, England and Germany understand the difference. American farmers know that hemp isn't a drug,” says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp.

Vote Hemp's (www.VoteHemp.com) ultimate goal is to free industrial hemp from restrictions meant for marijuana, so that U.S. farmers and business owners can once again profit from hemp's commercial cultivation. Vote Hemp is working with legislators on the introduction of an Industrial Hemp Farming Act. In January, when the 109th Congress convened, Vote Hemp focused lobbying efforts on bills to be introduced to Congress.

“Farmers are asking, if it's legal to sell hemp here in the U.S., why can't we grow it commercially? Automobile parts, paper, clothing, food, personal care products, and more are all being made from hemp, yet the American farmer is left out of the expanding marketplace, now estimated at more than $200 million in annual North American retail sales,” says Steenstra.