In support of the 5th annual Hemp History Week, June 2-8, 2014, a coalition of Ohio farmers, consumers and business owners are asking state lawmakers to permit industrial hemp farming research through legislative action in 2014.

 Hemp History Week is part of a national grassroots campaign started by the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp to amplify support for U.S. industrial hemp farming, highlighting the important role the crop has played in U.S. agricultural heritage. Thousands of products ranging from food, cosmetics, fuel, fiber and industrial lubricants can be derived from hemp.

 Hemp History Week will feature events in cities and towns across all 50 states. Celebrity endorsements, volunteer-led grassroots events, educational seminars and community screenings of the film Bringing It Home are just some of the ways awareness is catalyzing the national movement to end the federal ban on industrial hemp farming. In the states where limited hemp research is now permitted, there will be ceremonial plantings of hemp. Unfortunately, it is still illegal to plant viable, non-drug hemp seed in Ohio's soil.

 Even so, many of the state's businesses who sell imported hemp products will be taking part in Hemp History Week by offering promotions alongside their calls for legislative action. With two locations in the Greater Cincinnati area, independently-owned Hemptations will be offering retail promotions and free giveaways all week.

 Owner E.R. Beach is encouraging people to come explore what is possible if Ohioans were able to grow this valuable plant on our farms. "We have the largest selection of hemp products on the planet; people can come gain some knowledge and support the future of industrial hemp in Ohio.” stated Beach. On Saturday, June 7, Beach will be screening the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued Hemp For Victory film as well as the documentaries Hempsters and Bringing It Home at his Sharonville location.

 In recognizing the super food potential of non-drug hemp seed as a nutritional powerhouse, it is a rich source of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) like Omega-3s and is a rich source of digestible protein, minerals and other nutrients such as Vitamin E and iron. It is also a good source of fiber and has no known allergens.

 In Northeast Ohio, Jeremy Koosed, owner of Plant Kingdom Snackery in Lyndhurst, recognizes that hemp food consumers are no longer just a “niche” market and that demand has increased significantly since his company began producing hemp seed snacks in 2009. "It is definitely a fast growing natural food sector. We can't make energy bars fast enough at our facility. We've introduced hemp seed snack bars to over 40 independent business locations and several farmers markets where our snacks serve as nutrient-dense and vegetarian-protein options. While it may not be the first protein source people think of, it's getting there. The businesses and snackers we serve tell us time and again how thankful they are to have hemp as part of their services and part of their diets.” said Koosed.

 The Root Cafe in Lakewood knows that demand is there, with people regularly ordering hemp seed menu items. During their weekly "Raw Food Night," Chef Nicole Tuzzio will even make dessert drinks featuring house-made hemp nut "mylk." Owner Julie Hutchinson stated, "The Root Cafe already sees the demand for hemp products and is eager to carry more hemp as it becomes available as a locally-grown crop. It is our mission to procure ingredients locally and organically. Once hemp is available from local farmers, we can fortify our vegetarian products with locally-grown plant-based protein in the form of flour for pizza and other baked goods."

 Until recently, hemp farming was banned in the U.S. for the better part of the 20th century. The Agricultural Act of 2014, which became law in February, included the Industrial Hemp Research Amendment which allowed states who've passed laws supporting hemp farming to use their agricultural and educational institutions to begin research. While state legislators haven't acted yet to allow Ohio farmers to benefit from this law, there is growing support from all over the state to support sensible policy.

 Representing thousands of citizens, Ohio Rights Group is the state's premier non-profit, educational advocacy organization supporting responsible regulation of industrial hemp, as well as for the medical and therapeutic use of the cannabis plant. Ohio Rights Group is also gathering signatures for a statewide ballot initiative, The Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment, which contains language asserting the "right to grow" industrial hemp through a constitutional amendment.

 "The Ohio Rights Group is advocating for a balanced approach to the end of prohibition, in part through the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment," said Lissa Satori, Executive Director of Ohio Rights Group. "However, we understand the urgency of job creation and are encouraging our lawmakers to use common sense today by supporting state legislation permitting industrial hemp research through our agricultural institutions and by passing a state resolution in support of the federal Industrial Hemp Farming Act, H.R. 525 and S. 359."

 The Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.R. 525 and S.359) would end the federal ban on hemp farming and not limit it's cultivation to research-only initiatives. It currently has 49 bipartisan cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, and leadership support in the U.S. Senate.

 Citizens and other organizations that support policy to encourage hemp farming in Ohio and nationwide are encouraged to sign and circulate a coalition letter outlining these recommendations to lawmakers. A digital copy in the form of an online petition will be linked on Ohio Rights Group's website,, beginning Hemp History Week.