Did you know that Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper? Did you know that hemp is one of the most ecologically friendly and versatile resources and make everything from fuel to carpet?
And did you know that industrial hemp is not marijuana? Farmers do. So do scientists. State legislatures seem to know, but for some reason, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) does not.
From the North American Industrial Hemp Council:
Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. Due to the similar leaf shape, hemp is frequently confused with marijuana.
And therein lies a nearly a century of misunderstandings and misconceptions about this valuable plant.
Right now, the city of Denver, Colorado, is considering a bill to fund a study that will examine the benefits of using hemp plants to remove pollutants from the soil, such as heavily industrialized areas and Superfund sites. This ecological process is known as phytoremediation.
Let’s applaud the fact that the bill made it through round one in the Colorado state legislature. Let’s shake our heads over the fact that industrial hemp is STILL under a cloud of suspicion by the federal government, not to mention the public, that it is somehow promoting the use of marijuana. According to the Feb. 12 Denver Post: “… concerns arose over whether Colorado’s hemp study would be a federally illegal conspiracy.”
Please. You could smoke and eat a barrel of industrial hemp and all you are going to get is a headache or stomach ache. And if your hemp plant cross-pollinates with my marijuana plant, I’m in trouble, because hemp nullifies the narcotic effect of the weed. And yet, the DEA continues to classify industrial hemp as a drug.
This in spite of nearly half of U.S. states considering cultivation and our own industries being forced to import hemp from Canada.
Why did this useful plant, once used to make everything from fuel to homespun clothing to rope, fall into such ill repute? As with so many other traditional products (whole wheat bread vs. white bread, for one example), hemp represented a threat to robber barons and industrialists with vested interests in everything from fossil fuels (hemp oil was a clean alternative) to paper milling.
The fact is, hemp could reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and create a home-based clean fuel industry in itself; it is sustainable plant, meaning it grows fast and doesn’t suffer from pests like other key crops; it can be used instead of trees for building construction; it makes paper and textiles; it’s a superfood, rich in omega-3 fatty acids; it’s a profitable rotation crop for farmers.
More than thirty nations are considering promoting hemp agriculture in order to meet growing international demand for eco-friendly materials.
We’re suffering under superstitious nonsense and Puritanical thinking–again–and hurting U.S. agriculture and industry in the bargain. Hemp cultivation means jobs and an expansion of environmental efforts.
It’s just dopey not to support it.
NAIHC.org; thehia.org; denverpost.com, Feb 14th, Read more: Colorado House bill allowing study of hemp’s soil-cleaning potential has panel’s backing – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19958149#ixzz1niTrn8vf