You have probably heard that hemp, a variety of cannabis sativa (marijuana) that lacks the high-inducing compounds has a multitude of industrial uses ranging from paper, textile, plastics, and food… and that barely scratches the surface. To say that hemp is one of the most useful plants in existence is not an overstatement. I'm not going to provide an A-Z list of all the uses for hemp but I encourage you to read up on its many uses, and take into consideration that hemp is easy to grow, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
The Downside to Hemp
The downside to hemp is that it's not being produced in America. And it's not a downside, it's a travesty and an abomination. Hemp is legally grown all over the world. Spain, China, Japan, Korea, and Ireland all produce hemp and enjoy the economic and environmental benefits that are involved.
Do you know which country produces the most hemp in the world? China. Do you know which country imports the most hemp in the world? The United States. Does anyone else view that as a missed opportunity?
The Foolishness of Hemp Prohibition
Hemp is illegal to produce in the United States because of its distant relation to THC-laden cannabis sativa. Hemp will not get you high, but because it looks like a plant that will, its management and oversight have been handed off to the bureaucratic dunce cap known as the Drug Enforcement Administration. This is stupid to a mind-blowing degree because hemp is not a drug and has no narcotic value whatsoever. It makes about as much sense as entrusting the ports of San Francisco to the IRS.
The DEA is not interested in opening up new economies in America, nor is it interested in improving environmental issues or enacting progressive, make-sense legislation. The DEA is interested in obtaining and maintaining power. Hemp has so many uses and positive attributes that it could be considered a "super plant" the same way pomegranates are a "superfood." But, rather than figure out a way (not hard) to implement production in America and generate organic growth, literally and figuratively, the push to legalize hemp production remains deadlocked.
It's not for lack of effort. North Dakota, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, California, Montana, West Virginia, and Vermont have legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp legal, but have not begun production because of pouting from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The cited concern is usually that, "someone might hide a real marijuana plant in the hemp field." Really? That's a sad justification to halt responsible and environmentally friendly economic expansion in the United States.
Hemp Can Rebuild the Nation
I saw an article the other day about Hempcrete, a hemp-based building material. Hempcrete is similar in function to concrete but made with hemp and lime. It's not quite strong enough to use for structural support and needs to be doubled up with framing, but it provides fantastic insulation and other benefits. Check out the above video for a short and very informative overview. If I were about to embark on a building project, I would very strongly consider using a product like this.
Call to Action
It is time to end the obtuse-minded prohibition of hemp production in the United States. If you're not regularly communicating with your elected officials about issues that concern you, I encourage you to begin. If you care about America and the environment, this is a real issue and should be one of yours.
- Scott Morgan. They only have one argument against hemp...and its wrong. The Speakeasy Blog. 2007 February 02.
- Doug Yurchey. The marijuana conspiracy: the reason hemp is illegal. Lew Rockwell. 2010 July 9.
- Drew Guarini. Hempcrete, made from hemp, used to build houses. The Huffington Post. 2012 May 10.
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