Hemp is the ancient, eco-friendly fiber of the future. For over 5,000 years, hemp has been used for textiles, paper, building materials, fuel, food and personal care products. Hemp can be grown with little or no toxic chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. Today hemp is grown all over the world. The crop is used to make over 25,000 consumer products. From hemp apparel and accessories to housewares and hempseed oil cosmetics, hemp is an eco-shopper's dream.
So, why is the cultivation of hemp and the numerous related job-creating, revenue generating industries forbidden in the U.S.?
Are we supposed to believe that the government, peopled with those who supposedly have brains, and unlimited access to the smartest scientists in the world, are so stupid they don't know the difference between the plant that produces hemp and the plant that produces 'pot' ? Uh...
The world leading producer of hemp is China while more hemp is exported to the United States than to any other country.
Well, isn't that special. Score another point for the U.S. in 100% import v. 0% export.
We can purchase all we want of imported products made with hemp, but it's illegal for Americans to cultivate it themselves. Brilliant!
*Hemp has been grown for at least the last 12,000 years for fiber (textiles and paper) and food. It has been effectively prohibited in the United States since the 1950s.
*George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.
*When US sources of "Manila hemp" (not true hemp) was cut off by the Japanese in WWII, the US Army and US Department of Agriculture promoted the "Hemp for Victory" campaign to grow hemp in the US.
*Because of its importance for sails (the word "canvass" is rooted in "cannabis") and rope for ships, hemp was a required crop in the American colonies.
*Henry Ford experimented with hemp to build car bodies. He wanted to build and fuel cars from farm products.
*BMW is experimenting with hemp materials in automobiles as part of an effort to make cars more recyclable.
*Much of the bird seed sold in the US has hemp seed (it's sterilized before importation), the hulls of which contain about 25% protein.
*Hemp oil once greased machines. Most paints, resins, shellacs, and varnishes used to be made out of linseed (from flax) and hemp oils.
*Rudolph Diesel designed his engine to run on hemp oil.
*Kimberly Clark (on the Fortune 500) has a mill in France which produces hemp paper preferred for bibles because it lasts a very long time and doesn't yellow.
*Construction products such as medium density fiber board, oriented strand board, and even beams, studs and posts could be made out of hemp. Because of hemp's long fibers, the products will be stronger and/or lighter than those made from wood.
*The products that can be made from hemp number over 25,000.
*Industrial hemp and marijuana are both classified by taxonomists as Cannabis sativa, a species with hundreds of varieties. C. sativa is a member of the mulberry family. Industrial hemp is bred to maximize fiber, seed and/or oil, while marijuana varieties seek to maximize THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana).
*While industrial hemp and marijuana may look somewhat alike to an untrained eye, an easily trained eye can easily distinguish the difference.
*Industrial hemp has a THC content of between 0.05 and 1%. Marijuana has a THC content of 3% to 20%. To receive a standard psychoactive dose would require a person to power-smoke 10-12 hemp cigarettes over an extremely short period of time. The large volume and high temperature of vapor, gas and smoke would be almost impossible for a person to withstand.
*If hemp does pollinate any nearby marijuana, genetically, the result will always be lower-THC marijuana, not higher-THC hemp. If hemp is grown outdoors, marijuana will not be grown close by to avoid producing lower-grade marijuana.
*Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent and more mildew-resistant than cotton.
*Fabrics made of at least one-half hemp block the sun's UV rays more effectively than other fabrics.
*Many of the varieties of hemp that were grown in North America have been lost. Seed banks weren't maintained. New genetic breeding will be necessary using both foreign and domestic "ditchweed," strains of hemp that went feral after cultivation ended. Various state national guard units often spend their weekends trying to eradicate this hemp, in the mistaken belief they are helping stop drug use.
*A 1938 Popular Mechanics described hemp as a "New Billion Dollar Crop." That's back when a billion was real money.
*Hemp can be made in to a variety of fabrics, including linen quality.
*The US Drug Enforcement Agency classifies all C. sativa varieties as "marijuana." While it is theoretically possible to get permission from the government to grow hemp, DEA would require that the field be secured by fence, razor wire, dogs, guards, and lights, making it cost-prohibitive.
*The US State Department must certify each year that a foreign nation is cooperating in the war on drugs. The European Union subsidizes its farmers to grow industrial hemp. Those nations are not on this list, because the State Department can tell the difference between hemp and marijuana.
*Hemp was grown commercially (with increasing governmental interference) in the United States until the 1950s. It was doomed by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which placed an extremely high tax on marijuana and made it effectively impossible to grow industrial hemp. While Congress expressly expected the continued production of industrial hemp, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics lumped industrial hemp with marijuana, as it's successor the US Drug Enforcement Administration, does to this day.
*Over 30 industrialized democracies do distinguish hemp from marijuana. International treaties regarding marijuana make an exception for industrial hemp.
*Canada now again allows the growing of hemp.
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and it is illegal? OMG!!! I love the feel of hemp cloth ... so airy and lasts forever. It is nicer then cotton and I love cotton. If we truely want to do our dear earth a favor we must make this industrial hemp very available and very legal again.
Let me rephrase that ... we must make ALL hemp very available and very legal again.
This post was modified from its original form on 02 Mar, 18:48
Laura, if you like hemp clothing you can buy it in the UK. There are plenty of companies on-line and I am sure some of them would ship overseas?
And there's the rub, Lynn. We can purchase clothing and linens made from hemp here, but it's very expensive 'because' it's imported, which then makes it pretty scarce.
There is no logical reason we shouldn't be able to enjoy American grown hemp and all the products and industries it would provide.
I totally agree there, Katii!!!