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DEAR MEMBERSHIP

    The last issue of the Journal of the International Hemp Association proved to be our most popular yet, and we are seeing more small distributors carry it.  Suggestions for additional venues would be appreciated.  This issue was produced by Dr. Hayo van der Werf in Colmar, France.  Peer review and editing was contributed by our members via telefax, the Internet and conventional post.
    In mid-May, David Watson and Rob Clarke traveled to the Vavilov Research Institute in St. Petersburg to begin the VIR/IHA Cannabis Germplasm Preservation Project for 1996.  The project has once again been supported solely by generous donations from IHA members Joyce Donoghue (US$10,000), Ohio Hempery (US$500), J. Craig Melville (US$130), Dr. Andrew Katelaris (US$100) and Hemptech (DF100).  The budget for the 1996 reproduction of about 90 accessions is US$17,500 and US$5,000 is still owed.   The Vavilov now has refrigeration equipment and electrical generators for storing freshly reproduced seeds.  Long-term refrigerated storage will allow reproductions every 5 to 10 years or more, rather than every 3 to 5 years, as with ambient temperature storage.  This will enable us to complete the first round of reproductions in 1996 or 1997, and begin to characterize the accessions with the aim of building a core collection for use by hemp breeders.  A Cannabis core-collection would contain only accessions with genes for unique agronomic traits, and duplicate accessions would no longer need to be maintained.   Once a smaller core collection has been established, the work and expense of maintaining it will be much reduced, and it will be much easier for breeders to use.   The VIR also supplied the IHA with 20 seeds from each of the approximately 400 accessions of its entire Cannabis collection for analysis of fatty acid content, to be performed by Roland Theimer and Helga M–lleken at Bergische Universit”t in Germany.  Results of this survey will appear in a later issue of this journal.
    The IHA "Cannabis Educational Package" offer appearing on the back cover of our last issue has been well-received by our members, and the first 25 have been distributed.   Many of our members are involved in the hemp business and have made generous donations of their products and explanatory information.  As a result, the contents of the Cannabis Educational Package has considerably increased from our original modest goal, and we hope that the assortment of hemp items and information will continue to grow.  In the future, we would like to include additional supplementary transparencies and samples earmarked for the use of specific Cannabis specialty interest groups.
    The bad news is that the Colorado bill was again (rather narrowly) defeated, primarily due to misguided intervention from the drug-enforcement lobby.  Our condolences to those who have worked so hard on this project.  Maybe later.....  The good news is that the first American industrial hemp initiatives passed in Hawaii on April 12 and in Vermont on May 16.  Both of these bills were less ambitious than the Colorado bill and that may have helped their passage.
    With the German legalization of industrial Cannabis for this growing season, their situation is developing rapidly.  Farmers with end-user contracts have planted and will be eligible to receive a subsidy of approximately DM1500/hectare.  These recent developments will inevitably result in cheaper and logistically easier raw material sourcing for the German hemp movement.
    The IHA has continued its policy of making small amounts (5 kg) of seed available to interested parties and presently has 12 varieties available.  Some of these seed varieties are EC-approved for subsidy in European member countries.  Those in the Southern Hemisphere may want to order soon for the September planting season.   However, they should be aware that these varieties were developed for latitudes greater than 40 degrees and will flower prematurely in tropical environments.
    It is not too early for a reminder that several hemp events are being held for this Autumn.  Preliminary announcements have even been made for conferences scheduled in the Spring of ‘97, for details see page 45 of this issue.
    Overall, this year promises to be one of steady progress.  Members are invited to contact us if we can be of any assistance (and vice-versa!).

Irene Bijl
Treasurer
Robert Clarke
Projects Manager
David Pate
Secretary
David Watson
Chairman
Hayo van der Werf
Editor-in-Chief

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