Industrial Textiles


October 3, 2009 – by Hana Haatainen Caye – Do you know what happens when you smoke hemp? Not a whole lot. You may end up with a cough or a headache, but you certainly won’t end up with a high. Surprised? Most people are hempbecause they mistakenly think hemp is the same thing as marijuana. It’s not; even though they are both members of the plant species cannabis sativa and bear an uncanny resemblance. Actually, the psychoactive properties in marijuana come from the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) found in the flower of the plant. While the THC values in marijuana are about 15% – 20%, they’re only standardized at about 0.3% in industrial hemp.

So what’s all the hype with hemp? It’s actually an eco-friendly renewable resource that is once again warranting attention in the United States (although it’s not legal to commercially grow here). Hemp is an excellent alternative to cotton when it comes to clothing, as hemp is more resilient and water-resistant, offers better breathe-ability, and is, quite simply, softer and warmer. With the look of linen and the feel of flannel, it’s no wonder clothing made of hemp is gaining in popularity.

But clothing isn’t the only thing hemp is used for. Consider these facts:

* When used for building material, hemp is known to be better than wood in terms of quality and strength, as well as being less expensive
* Paper made from hemp can be recycled up to 7 times, versus only 4 times for paper made from wood pulp
* Hemp has 10 times less toxicity than salt and is as biodegradable as sugar
* When used to make bio-diesel fuel, it emits 80% less carbon dioxide and close to 100% less sulfur dioxide
* It boasts a production rate of up to 10 tons per acre every 4 months
* It matures in about 100 days versus the 50 – 100 years for a tree to mature
* Hemp crops are heat, cold, mildew, pest, light, drought and rot resistant
* There are far less chemicals used to produce fabric made of hemp than of cotton and other fibers
* The woody stalks, or hurds, of the hemp plant are used for a variety of products, including: paper, plastics, animal bedding and more efficient and cleaner burning fuels, such as ethanol and methane
* The plant fibers are perfect for clothing, canvas, paper, textiles and rope, as well as replacements for heavier toxic fibers and building materials generally made with recycled plastic and fiber

One of the most beneficial parts of the hemp plant comes from the seed which contains many nutrients for both human and animal consumption. The hemp seed consists of

* Calcium
* Magnesium
* Phosphorus
* Potassium
* Vitamin A
* Protein (25%)
* Insoluble fiber (15%)
* Carbohydrates (30%)

It also is the absolute best vegetable source of essential fatty acids, with 55% Omega 3 linoleic acid and 25% Omega 6 linoleic acid, as well as gama linoleic acid.

Hemp seeds can be used in baking or cooking, crushed or whole. Hempseed oil is the principle product derived from the seed and has many uses from nutrition to cosmetics to paints and varnishes.

The multiple uses of the hemp plant, coupled with its eco-friendly properties, makes it the perfect crop choice for farmers across America. So why are we not seeing this invaluable plant being harvested from coast to coast?

Well, not to sound cynical, but you’d have to ask a politician about this. After all, it’s the powers-that-be that enforce the law that makes industrial hemp production in the U.S. illegal. But it wasn’t always this way.

Up until 1883, nearly 90% of all paper in this country was made with hemp rather than wood pulp. Four million pounds of hemp seed was sold in the States in 1937, and up until that year, almost 90% of all rope and twine was manufactured from the hemp plant. Then there’s the car Henry Ford built in 1941, made from a hemp and wheat straw plastic. However, the popularity of hemp and its abundance seemed to be cutting into the potential profits of men like William Randolph Hearst and Pierre DuPont, who collaborated and succeeded in making hemp an illegal crop in the U.S. in 1937. What did they have to gain? Well, Hearst held interests in multiple lumber mills and personally owned huge forests. DuPont used petroleum to manufacture synthetic fuels and fibers, such as rayon, nylon and a variety of plastics. The versatility of hemp wasn’t welcome in their world.

Seventy-plus years later, what have we learned? Well, we’ve experienced an energy crisis, polluted our air and waterways, found that chemicals in synthetics can be a danger to our health, endangered our wildlife species with the destruction of the forests, created holes in our ozone layer, etc., etc.

Could this have been avoided? Possibly. Researchers estimate the if just 6% of the continental United States would be planted with hemp crops, this would provide for ALL our national energy needs. Is this factual? I don’t know. But it certainly should be worth investigating. So why is our government sitting on its hands on this one? Is it that there are too many Hearsts and DuPonts out there blocking the way for real change?

I don’t know about you, but this makes me angry. When I think about the possibility that we could have fuel with far less toxic emissions, affordable clothing that wouldn’t be chemically treated, healthy alternative sources of essential fatty acids, etc. I just want to schedule a meeting with the higher ups and ask them why it isn’t happening. They talk the talk of independence from foreign oil, but when given a sensible alternative, they turn a deaf ear. Angry…you bet I am. And frustrated with the stupidity and ignorance of people who continue to think it should be illegal, because they refuse to differentiate between hemp and marijuana. Source.

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September 17, 2009 – Talk about a visionary! Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company over 100 years ago, but even back then; his main object was to build cars that were sensibly priced, yet dependable and 09_018efficient. Yet over the years, it seems as if cars have become less reliable and less affordable. Not to mention the price of gas jumping in the past decade.

To bring his dream to fruition, Ford envisioned cars that ran on hemp ethanol. In fact, Ford was all for using materials like hemp and vegetable matter to run vehicles. He once said, “There’s enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for one hundred years.” Can you imagine?

In 1925, he told the New York Times that he thought the fuel of the future would be made of such things as apples, sawdust, weeds, etc. At the time, most others in the car industry agreed. In fact, I read online that government officials had even contacted Ford engineers about coming up with alternatives to leaded gas. Ford felt that growing crops like hemp to make fuel could also help turn around the existing economic crisis that would later become the Great Depression.

By 1941, Ford had created a car whose body was made from hemp, sisal, and wheat straw. Guess what that car ran on? Yes, it ran on hemp ethanol. It seems obvious that gas wasn’t the best fuel for cars. It is toxic, can be dangerous, and has a lower octane rating then ethanol.

If ethanol is better than gas, why aren’t we using it? I’ve read that some people think the auto industry was built around gas powered automobiles and it would be too costly to change. Others think that politics played a hand in the auto industry staying dependent on gasoline.

Whatever the reason, the fact is that the automobile forefathers were thinking of automobiles that ran on something other than gasoline. This idea has been around for almost 100 years and yet we are still oil dependent.

Do you think we will see a viable alternative to gasoline any time soon? by Libby Pelham. http://green-living.families.com/blog/henry-ford-and-his-hemp-car

August 6, 2009 – Quick: What single plant can you use to build, insulate, and heat a house; help build and run cars; turn into the finest textiles; use to make tortillas, cheese, veggie burgers, perfumes, skin creams, and suntan lotions – and also to get stoned?feat_2

The answer is none. But if you leave out the stoned part, you’re talking about hemp, the non-smokable variety of cannabis sativa, botanical cousin of the cannabis that gets you high. It’s currently grown legally in 30 industrial nations, has a history that dates back to the earliest days of man, was touted by George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, was probably used to make the first American flag, and – if given the chance – might help bring Texas farmers out of troubled times.

Unfortunately, industrial hemp’s association with pot has made it illegal to produce here in the United States for the last seven decades, forcing U.S. manufacturers to import it from China, Eastern Europe, and Canada. For a while during the 1990s it was illegal to import it any form but finished textiles. And even that was suspect under Bill Clinton’s drug czar, retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who, in trying to ban hemp importation, once famously announced to a group of high-ranking Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs officials that “kids are boiling down their hemp shirts and mixing the essence with alcohol to make marijuana.”

That would be a pretty wacky comment coming from anyone, but to have national policy hinge on such impossible wrong-headedness set back hemp’s future in this country a long way.

Nobody’s using that rhetoric now, but the unease persists in many places, including at the Texas Farm Bureau. Spokesman Gene Hall told Fort Worth Weekly that while “hemp has Picture 6come up as a possible agricultural crop for Texas, it’s been a controversial subject.” Hall said that neither the Texas Farm Bureau, a nonprofit organization of farmers, ranchers, and rural families, nor the National Farm Bureau have supported industrial hemp as an ag crop “because there are concerns with the farm bureau supporting the raising of a crop that could be used for illicit drug use.”

But times are changing, even in Texas, and not everyone sees it the way Hall and the Farm Bureau do. This week, Oregon became the 16th state to pass some form of industrial hemp legislation, in hopes of making it possible for farmers to grow, own, and sell the nonsmokable but otherwise highly useful forms of hemp, the kinds with very low quantities of THC, the chemical in pot that gets you high.

State laws can’t trump the federal statute, which currently lists cannabis sativa as a controlled substance and prevent its cultivation. But U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a Libertarian-leaning Republican from Lake Jackson, Texas, is trying to change that. He’s filed a bill to require the federal government to respect state laws on industrial hemp production. Paul has tried and failed at this before, and even he thinks the bill isn’t likely to pass this time either. But he’s gaining some support among his fellow House members and hoping for a friendlier attitude in the White House.

Individually, there are plenty of Texas farmers who are happy to hear about a potential new cash crop.

“If you tell me that there is a crop out there that could earn $400 an acre” – which is what Canadian farmers can earn with hemp – “well, I would have no problem growing it,” said Ralph Snyder, a farmer in North Central Texas. “Farmers would be lined up to grow it.”

Dan Brown, a North Texas leader of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), figures hemp could thrive easily in Texas. “Remember that it’s one of the fastest, most aggressive- growing biomasses in the world,” he said. “It isn’t called a weed for nothing.”

Hemp wasn’t always a banned crop. In colonial America its cultivation was mandated by British law. Back then it was used to make ropes and sails for ships, in fine art canvas, in paint and varnishes, as lamp oil, to make paper, and in some foods.

But the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that effectively outlawed smoking cannabis also essentially outlawed industrial hemp. The act was passed after publisher William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers waged a protracted and vociferous campaign against “marijuana” – a term he introduced to the American public. He ran stories that suggested that white women who smoked it couldn’t resist the lure of “negroes,” that it would bring out the devil in people and could cause otherwise normal people to become violent to the point of murder. Hollywood jumped on the campaign, releasing films such as Reefer Madness and Marijuana, Assassin of Youth, which showed previously virtuous young women jumping out of windows and becoming prostitutes after their first exposure to the evil weed.

Some saw Hearst’s campaign as a disguise for his real purpose – the elimination of industrial hemp, which was just coming into its own as a major modern crop, thanks to new machinery that allowed the hemp to be harvested and cleaned mechanically, rather than by hand. In 1933, Popular Mechanics magazine called industrial hemp “a billion-dollar crop” and suggested that with mechanization it would be used in making more than 25,000 products, including plastics, nylon, and paper.Picture 8

At about the same time, Hearst had invested in millions of acres of trees for paper pulp, and Dupont, the chemical company, had just received patents for making nylon from coal and plastic from oil. Competition from hemp products might have cost both Hearst and Dupont genuine fortunes. According to Industrial Hemp Now, an organization working to legalize hemp, “As a model of deception and orchestrated media manipulation, the anti-hemp crusade constitutes one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetuated on the American people. Few public relations campaigns in history can match its success in eradicating competition while transforming citizens into unknowing pawns of big business.” Those claims have been echoed by dozens of others.

World War II changed the federal attitude temporarily. Cut off from vital natural-fiber supplies by the war, the federal government was forced to ask farmers to grow hemp to aid the war effort, even producing the film Hemp For Victory. Afterward, it was back to hemp-is-banned business as usual – except for the millions of leftover wild hemp plants that still grow along roads and highways throughout the Midwest and are the focus of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “marijuana” eradication efforts, despite the fact that none of the plants have the ability to get anyone high.

In 1970, the newly created DEA developed the Controlled Substances Schedule, which placed drugs in categories according to their medical value and propensity for being abused. Morphine and cocaine, for instance, are in Schedule 2 because they have medical value but are highly likely to be abused. Cannabis, including industrial hemp, was placed in Schedule 1, meaning it has no recognized medical value and is highly likely to be abused. It can’t, under any circumstances, be prescribed by doctors.

The DEA later made an exception for industrial hemp, but those wishing to grow it must have a DEA license. In the past 20 years they’ve given out only a small handful of permits, and the restrictions – including round-the-clock guards on trial plots, exorbitantly expensive fencing, and regular inspections at the licensee’s expense – make it impossible to actually grow anything profitably. Most farmers who have applied for a permit never even receive a response.

Some industrial hemp promoters see a glimmer of hope with the Obama administration in place. “Little birdies have told me that Obama is going to treat hemp as a state’s right, just as his administration is doing with medical marijuana,” said a hemp product manufacturer who asked not to be named. “And if that’s the case, then it’s ‘all systems go’ in a number of states.”

The Obama administration has made enforcement of laws against the medical uses of marijuana the lowest priority for the Department of Justice in states that have passed legislation allowing such use. Farmers in states with laws permitting industrial hemp production are hoping he’ll do at least that much for them. Still, until federal law is changed, farmers are going to be wary about turning over land to a crop that might get pulled out from under them.

Ron Paul, the Houston-area congressman, introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in April, which would require the federal government to respect state laws with regards to hemp production. The bill has 11 co-sponsors.

In introducing the proposal, he noted, “Federal law concedes the safety of industrial hemp by allowing it to be legally imported for use as food.” He also said that the United States is the “only industrialized nation that prohibits industrial hemp cultivation.” Stores in this country already sell hemp seeds, oil, and food products, he pointed out, as well as paper, cloth, cosmetics, and carpet containing hemp. It has been used as an alternative fuel for cars, he said, and, most recently, in the door frames of about 1.5 million cars.

Paul said Tuesday that he holds out little hope for his bill. “If we could bring it to the floor and discuss it and teach people what it is, well, I think it would be passed overwhelmingly,” he said. “But right now, unfortunately, you still have a lot of people who think it’s a drug. And as long as they’re that uninformed, they’re not going to see the real issue.”

Creating a viable hemp industry in this country would take more than legislation, of course. Public awareness of, and demand for, hemp products would have to grow considerably before enough quantities would be needed to make it a profitable crop for large numbers of farmers.

When his country began allowing the production of industrial hemp 10 years ago, said Canadian crop specialist Harry Brook, farmers initially misjudged the market and overproduced. “Our farmers began growing hemp for fiber, and unfortunately, we didn’t have the facilities in place to convert that to paper and textiles and such, and so essentially it was a bust.”Picture 9

But the farmers switched to growing it for seed, used to make oil and food products. “Now that’s where they found a market,” Brook said. “And now there’s talk about reviving the fiber industry because [hemp] grows so fast and tall and produces so much fiber. But that simply won’t get off the ground until someone decides to make the investment in the factories that can utilize it.”

In ideal conditions, he said, hemp can produce about 5 tons of dried biomass per acre in 100 days – considerably more than any other crop. And with its varied uses, its potential is unlimited.

Gordon Scheifele is a retired certified plant breeder with the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture who is currently researching hemp. The stumbling block right now, he said, is that there isn’t a single commercial processor in North America that can produce the fibers in sufficient quantities to sustain various industries.

“We know we can produce it in Canada. We already are [doing so],” he said. “But the next step requires vision, will, determination, and effort. That includes the capital to make it all go.”

In this country, groups such as Hemp Industries of America and VoteHemp.org estimate the current annual sales of hemp products in 2008 totalled about $360 million. Designers such as Donatella Versace, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein have produced everything from hemp-and-cotton-blend jersey knits to hemp-and-silk-blend clothing. Wal-Mart carries a line of hemp suntan lotion and skin creams; Whole Foods and Central Market carry several products from hemp bread and granola to frozen desserts. The Body Shop carries a line of skin-care products.

In San Marcos, Hemp Town Rock – The Hemp Store, has been operating since 1992. And near McKinney, DiaperCo.com sells a line of hemp diapers. But it’s all still just a drop in the bucket compared to what would happen if the crop were legalized.

“What’s being sold now and what can be sold when American farmers are given the green light to produce hemp are worlds apart,” said Oregon State Sen. Floyd Prozanski, who introduced that state’s industrial hemp bill. “We’ve got a hemp food company in Portland, Living Harvest, that currently has $20 million in annual revenues, but they project that in five years they will have revenues of over $100 million annually. That’s exponential growth. And imagine what it could be if they could get their raw products closer to their production sites instead of having to import their seed and oil from Canada? If you bring your prices down, and you’ve got a good product, well, sales climb.

“We’re at a stage now where a lot of the American public recognizes that we were hoodwinked by the DEA and others into demonizing industrial hemp,” he said.

Lawrence Serbin, former national director for the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp and owner of Hemp Traders, a Los Angeles-based company, said this country is “really in a Catch-22” regarding hemp. “The reality is that hemp won’t become more popular in the U.S. until the price goes down, and the price won’t go down until it gets more popular. And the only way to make that price go down is to have us produce our own hemp.”

Serbin’s company sells a range of hemp products, from textiles to paper, but what he’s really concentrating on is fiberboard, which he makes from the hurds, the inner woody part of the hemp stalk left after the fiber has been removed. Typically, hurds are burned or left on the ground as mulch after harvest. He has to go to China to get them.

Beginning in 1999, he said, “We came in and collected the hurds and brought them to a factory and had them make up some medium-density fiberboards with it.” It’s taken him several years to come up with the product he’s just put on the market, a hemp fiberboard bound with a product derived from eucalyptus bark.

The advantage to his fiberboard, he said, is that it’s made without wood pulp and doesn’t use formaldehyde, a standard, inexpensive binder that is carcinogenic. The disadvantage is the price: His half-inch-thick, 4′-by-8′ boards go for about $28, nearly double what similar wood composite and particle boards go for in places like the Home Depot. His primary cost, he said, is transportation. The factory in China where part of the manufacturing takes place is far away from where the hemp is grown. And both hurds and boards are bulky, increasing the transit costs.

He hopes to solve part of the problem by building a factory next to the hemp fields in China, which he said could make his fiberboards “instantly competitive with regular wood boards.” If he could get the hurds from U.S. farmers, he said, he could sell his boards far more cheaply than what’s currently on the market.

Hemp boards, he said, could have “a huge impact on the housing market here in the U.S. … The effect on our forests would be immediate; new home prices would drop, and your house wouldn’t be full of formaldehyde.” He too is hoping that the Obama administration will tell federal law enforcement agencies to “leave it [hemp enforcement] to the states and then leave the states alone.”

Dave Seber, owner of Oregon’s Fibre Alternatives, believes industrial hemp is a “critical component” in saving both the economy and the environment in the United States.

“How are we going to stop carbon accumulation if we keep taking the trees down?” he asked. “We can’t, unless we grow hemp.” Hemp products, he said, could reduce the cost of building materials by 30 to 50 percent. “And that’s what we need to get the building industry, and therefore the economy, back on its feet.” He believes hemp could be used for furniture-quality boards. And he’s seen it used in Europe as a base for concrete, as a replacement for fiberglass insulation, and for plastics for everything from countertops to car parts.

Many countries in the European Union have begun levying fines on automakers and car sellers if their vehicles are not made of recyclable materials. That led European car Picture 10manufacturers to begin replacing traditional plastic parts with parts made from hemp, flax, and other natural fibers. In 2007 Lotus introduced its Hemp Eco Elise, a high-end car with a body largely made from hemp fiberglass and seats and other interior parts made largely from hemp/wool/flax materials.

“You’ve got to look at the big picture,” Seber said. “The food and textile industries, as well as paper and such, can definitely benefit from hemp products … but I think you have to look at the major industries if you really want to make the environmental and economic changes that this country and the whole world desperately need. Those are the housing industry, the biofuel industries, the plastics industries, and the automobile industries.”

Thus far, however, that potential revolution is passing Texas by.

Calls to a dozen legislators and agricultural committee members around Texas produced very little feedback and even less knowledge about hemp-based industries. A spokesman for State Rep. Charles Anderson of Waco, vice-chair of the Texas House Agriculture and Livestock Committee, said he’d never heard the issue discussed. The Texas Agricultural Policy Council didn’t respond to e-mail queries. Brian Black, assistant to the commissioner for the Texas Department of Agriculture, said, “I’ve not heard of any discussion of industrial hemp in the agriculture industry in Texas.” Calls to the office of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who sits on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry – three areas that would be affected by hemp production – were not returned.

Even a member of the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, who asked not to be named, laughed at the notion of hemp being grown in Texas. “We can’t even get Texas interested in organic food research, so I doubt very much you’re going to find many politicians in Texas willing to discuss hemp research. That’s just not how people think here.”

Right now, there seems to be only one real hemp store left in Texas, out of the healthy crop that flourished here in hippier-dippier times. Rose Phillips’ Hemp Town Rock is still going strong. When she opened the store in 1992, Phillips said, she sold only products made from hemp – clothing, food, paper, twines, and such.

“Unfortunately,” she said, “I’ve had to add other products over the years because hemp is just plain expensive, what with all of it having to be imported. Now if we could grow it here, that would be different. You bring the price down, and everybody would buy hemp because it’s such a nice material and so durable. But as it is, well, with the economy down, except for Christmastime I don’t put out a lot of my better hemp clothes.”

She still carries hemp purses, wallets, t-shirts, and other products but admits they aren’t enough by themselves to keep her in business.

“There’s a big market” for hemp products,” she said. “But most people would rather just order it from a web page that can sell it cheaper than I can, what with store overhead. And then every major chain store carries some hemp products, so a store like mine isn’t the only place to get those things anymore.”

One of the local online stores that sells a lot of hemp products is DiaperCo.com. Based in Anna, just north of McKinney, the cloth diaper company has nearly 50 hemp-blend products for sale. Jessica Land, a DiaperCo manager, said the products sell well. “A lot of what we sell are hemp inserts – hemp cloth that goes inside pouches in the diaper. And everybody loves them because the hemp is so absorbent.”

Her client base is interested in environmentally friendly, natural products that are reusable, she said. “And what fits that description better than hemp?”

Has she ever had any clients decide not to buy hemp because of its connection with marijuana? She laughed. “I’ve never heard anyone say that, but our client base is pretty well informed,” she said. “I imagine there would be some people who would think that, though.”

Even if federal law were changed to allow unimpeded hemp production, Scheifele said he’s not sure whether Texas would be a prime growing area.

“Hemp requires moisture. The rule of thumb is that wherever you can grow corn you can grow good hemp,” he said. (Texas now ranks 12th among U.S. states in corn production.) Hemp is drought resistant, though, and winter crops probably would work here, Scheifele said. Beyond that, if it became a legal crop, he said, researchers would develop strains adaptable to a wide variety of conditions. In Australia, he said, scientists report they have developed a more drought-tolerant variety.

Don Wirtshafter, a lawyer and pioneer in the hemp movement who spent years researching hemp varieties in southeast Asia, said he thinks he’s already got seed stock that would work well in much of Texas without irrigation. His stock, brought over from Asia some years ago, is being kept alive in Canada, waiting a change in hemp’s legal status in this country, before he can try test plots all over the state.

He pointed out that in China, hemp is relegated to poorer-quality farmland. “If you’re growing for seed, you definitely need good nutrition, good soil,” he said. “But if you’re growing for fiber you can grow it almost anywhere.”

Wirtshafter called it an “agricultural tragedy” that thousands of varieties of hemp seed were lost when laws outlawing hemp cultivation were passed in this country and copied by much of the world.

Brown, the assistant director of the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of NORML, said that growing industrial hemp in Texas is a no-brainer. “Look at East Texas. There’s plenty of moisture there. It’s ideally suited for hemp cultivation. But with some irrigation you could grow hemp anywhere in the state.”

He pointed to the arid landscape of northern Mexico, home to tens of thousands of acres of low-grade marijuana. “If you can grow marijuana in those near-desert conditions, you could certainly grow hemp in southern Texas,” he said. “And with the ethanol craze going on and our focus on growing our own fuel stocks, it would be entirely possible to grow industrial hemp in quantities to replace American dependence on foreign oil. Hemp produces more than twice the biomass per acre that corn does, so it would be a natural for fuel, and we could grow a lot of it on land not currently utilized for agriculture, rather than using good soil to grow corn for ethanol.”

In fact, he said, traditionally independent Texas farmers could come to see hemp-growing as a right they’re being denied. “Texans don’t like their personal rights abridged,” he said. “And once they understand the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp, your average Texas farmer would probably demand the right to grow it.

Daniel Leshiker, who farms near Ralph Snyder in North Central Texas, agreed with Snyder that hemp sounds intriguing.

“We already need another crop, that’s for certain. I just planted 200 acres of sunflowers for their seed for the first time,” he said. “So while I don’t know much about hemp except they used to make rope with it, well, you tell me I could make money with it, and I’ll grow it. That’s what we are in the business to do.” By PETER GORMAN. Source.

July 25, 2009 – What is hemp? The hemp plant, otherwise known as Cannabis Sativa, is a flowering plant or herb that has been cultivated for centuries for a multitude of purposes. It is an extremely robust and versatile plant that has many ecological benefits. The cultivation of hemp has a positive impact on the environment, and it is one of the most environmentally sustainable crops that can be grown. It reinvigorates the soil and has a supportive influence on the biodiversity of the environment wherever it is planted.

The hemp plant is also naturally resistant to pests, and therefore does not require the use of pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. Its large upper leaves naturally push out weeds and it grows very quickly, maturing in three to four months as well as using less water than crops such as cotton.

Hemp is also highly useful and can be grown for the purpose of manufacturing a wide variety of industrial and consumer products. In fact, it is probably one of the most useful plants known to humanity, as nearly every part of the hemp plant can be utilized in some way.

Hemp fiber, which comes from the stalks of the plant, is known as bast. It is extremely durable and is known for its comfort, strength, resistance to mold and ultraviolet light, as well as its absorbent qualities. Hemp produces 250% more fiber than cotton. It is also stronger than cotton and can be used to make clothing, shoes, paper, canvas, carpeting, rope, bags, luggage, home furnishings, construction materials, biodegradable plastics, and even auto parts. It can be used to create building materials that are twice as strong as wood or concrete.

The use of hemp in the production of paper products, along with other fibers such as kenaf, could help save forests and trees from deforestation. Hemp is 77% cellulose and unlike wood pulp, it does not require toxic chemicals such as dioxins and chloroforms to make paper. In fact, it can produce four times as much paper per acre as trees without the environmental hazards and in a more sustainable manner.

Hemp oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, also has a variety of uses. It can be used in cosmetics and body care products, nutritional supplements, and food products, as well as for industrial purposes.

The oil is high in essential fatty acids or EFA’s, particularly in omega-6 and omega-3 EFA’s, as well as Gamma Linolenic acid(GLA). It can be used in cooking, added to salads, and used in dressings and condiments.

The seeds themselves can also be eaten. In addition to their EFA content, they are also rich in protein, containing 20% protein content, as well as minerals. The seeds may be eaten raw, added to soups and salads, used in baking, used as cereal, flour, sprouted, turned into tofu or nut butters, used as a protein powder, added to smoothies or shakes, or made into tea. The fresh leaves of the hemp plant are also edible.

Oil from hemp can also be used to create an eco-friendly alternative to petroleum based paints, oils, and inks. In addition, there is the potential for the oil to be used as a base in household cleaners.

Yet one of the most promising and compelling uses of the hemp plant is its potential as an alternative source of energy in the form of clean-burning bio-fuels like bio-diesel and ethanol fuel. In fact, energy from hemp based fuel is higher than any other crop produced for the purpose of creating bio-fuel.

Hemp is like a gift to humankind. It seems like there is no limit to what can be done with this versatile plant. With all these advantages, one would think that hemp products would be more widely available and utilized. However, there is much controversy surrounding this plant. The controversy stems (pardon the pun!) from its botanical composition and its relation to marijuana.

Industrial hemp is characterized by its low levels of the chemical THC (tetrahydrocannibinol) in its leaves and flowers Hemp was widely cultivated in the US from colonial times up until the mid 1800’s. It was commonly used in the production of fabrics, as well as twine, hemp paper and rope, which were all commonly used during this time period. The use of hemp was phased out when cotton became more widely grown to make fabrics but also because of US government fears of cannabis being used as a recreational drug.

Between 1914 and 1933, 33 states passed laws to restrict the legal production of hemp. This was a result of the government attempting to control the use of Cannabis leaves for their recreational drug use. The US govt. first restricted the use of hemp in the late 1930’s under the Marijuana Tax Act (50 stat 551). This was due to the psychoactive properties of some varieties of the Cannabis plant. Because of this, hemp cannot be grown in the United States, and all hemp or hemp products must be imported or manufactured from imported hemp.

Although it is still illegal to grow hemp in the US, it is widely cultivated in the rest of the world, including Canada, Europe, the UK, and China, the latter of which grows more hemp than any other country in the world. There is a growing movement in the US to legalize the production of hemp crops in the United States. Please see: Vote Hemp

July 21, 2009 – It will come as absolutely no surprise to some, that in 1971, the year British Petroleum took out the largest bank loan in history to finance its offshore oil explorations (a statistic which still stands today), the serving British government implemented the Misuse of Drugs act. A law which would take away the cannabis plant from those that need it most, forever.Picture 12

Ever since, successive governments have told the wider population how bad cannabis is for us. Indeed the evidence delivered through a carefully crafted press campaign which spans almost a century, has been delivered with such force and magnitude, the very mention of the word ‘Cannabis’ these days brings about much sharp-intaking-of-breath, accompanied by lots of nudge’s and wink’s.

But does it really deserve the bad rap it gets in the press? Because the fact is, and whether the British Government, the police or even President Obama himself will admit it in public, the much maligned cannabis plant is the most often used recreational illicit narcotic in the world. And with regular user numbers reaching over 250 million around the world, and barely a ripple of adverse reactions to the active elements in the marijuana plant, it could also quite possibly be the safest substance in the world. According to their own statistics.

Now before all our Conservative readers change the channel I would like to present for you some evidence.

Legalize Cannabis? Not anytime soon
All around the globe the politics surrounding cannabis present us with mixed up, convoluted theories. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called it “lethal”, even though half of his serving Cabinet admitted using it whilst they climbed the political ladder from University to Whitehall. That’s a fact.

President Obama famously admitted not only to using cannabis, but also to inhaling..frequently, stating “Thats the point, right?”, when he was asked about his past drug use in the Presidential Elections in 2008 and rather than bore the pants off the long-suffering reader with a long and very well documented list of who inhaled, suffice to say enough people of influence and power have used cannabis recreationally, without any ill-harm coming to them, to push through a decision to decriminalize the substance if they so desired.

So its fair to assume no matter how much the lobbyists spend in communicating with the powers that be, due to how the political system actually works, career politicians can just keep causing delay after delay, keeping cannabis illegal pretty much as long as they want to, and regardless of what the electorate wants.

Yes we can? (Oh no we can’t!)
Which is NOT exactly the new democratic beginning we were promised when Obama was swept to power, is it? One of the primary arguments for NOT legalizing cannabis is its propensity to induce amotivational behavior – the tendency not to care, when you really should care.

But the list of politicians, actors, industrialists and sportsmen and women, including the Olympian with the largest haul of gold medals to date, (Michael Phelps) who admit to using cannabis disproves this theory out of hand.

Motivation
If you give a person the motivation to succeed a large majority of them will. So blaming cannabis for the failings of humanity is nothing more than a convenient cop out. And its a cop out which no longer holds any water.

United Nations
The health argument against cannabis is a campaign which is being orchestrated by the highest office within the United Nations. A global quango inspired by a political machine more set on finding ‘jobs for the boys’ than actually solving the worlds drug problems.

And the motivations behind such a steadfast campaign for an unrealistic pipe dream in which abstinence is the key word in a nations drugs policy can only be speculated, but one thing is for sure. You can bet its down to money somewhere along the line.

1937 Marijuana Tax Act
When the campaign against the drug which ‘makes blacks think they’re as good as whites’ was presented to US congress by Harry Anslinger in 1937, the resultant Act did not itself criminalize the possession or usage of hemp, marijuana or cannabis, but levied a tax equaling roughly one dollar on anyone who dealt commercially in cannabis, hemp or marijuana.

The Act did however include penalty provisions and a complex Regulation 1 codifying the elaborate rules of enforcement to which marijuana, cannabis, or hemp handlers were subject. Violation of these procedures could result in a fine of up to $2000 (a kings ransom back then) and five years’ imprisonment.

The net effect was to increase the risk for anyone dealing in the substance. It also signaled the start of the longest lasting conflict in the history of mankind. The drug war.

In 1937 its worth remembering the oil industry was still in its infancy. We simply didn’t have the convenience of rotary moulded plastics, and liquid resins with which to fit out a nations war machine, so when the US were drawn irresistibly into the second world war on December 7th 1941 with the devastating attack on Pearl Harbour, all of a sudden there was a materials crisis which needed the nations full attention.

Hemp for Victory
The American government’s answer to the crisis was to make a movie. But not just another old Ronald Regan movie. This was a film which was designed to encourage all of the farmers whose livelihoods had recently been removed by the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, to step up to the plate and grow Hemp for Victory. Again.

The 1942 movie encouraged and taught farmers to grow variants of hemp suitable as raw material for hawsers used by the U.S. Navy and the Merchant Marine, prior to the adoption of Nylon rope – an oil industry by-product which was not yet widely available.

The hemp was also used as a substitute for other fibrous materials that were blocked by Japan. Materials for the construction of uniforms, webbing, canvas for tents, truck-backs and footwear (the list is endless) and it was quickly realized humanity was not yet ready to live without industrial hemp. Maybe we could live without it, but we couldn’t win a war!

Soon afterward every person with some spare ground was playing their part in the overall victory, by growing hemp.

Just how versatile IS hemp?
Hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes, including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, clothing, and nutritional products.

The long (hemp grows tall) bast fibers can be used in 100% hemp products, but are commonly blended with other organic fibers such as flax, cotton or silk, for apparel and furnishings, most commonly at a 55%/45% hemp/cotton blend.

The inner two fibers of hemp are more woody, and are more often used in non-woven items and other industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding, insulation materials and litter.

More recently a British company has found a lime/hemp mix which is ideal for building ‘carbon neutral houses’ cheaply and quickly.

Natural ‘Organic’ Plastics
The oil from the fruits (“seeds”) dries on exposure to air (similar to linseed oil) and is sometimes used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturizing agent, for cooking, and in plastics.

Many of these products which today we rely on the oil industry to produce for us.

Have I seen the movie? What movie?
Interestingly, before 1989, the ‘Hemp For Victory’ film was relatively unknown, and the United States Department of Agriculture library and the Library of Congress told all interested parties that no such movie was made by the USDA or any branch of the U.S. government.

But much to their chagrin, two VHS copies were recovered and donated to the Library of Congress on May 19, 1989 by Maria Farrow, Carl Packard, and the ‘Grandfather’ of hemp, Jack Herer.

We can only ponder why the US government would deny all knowledge of a film it made.

Hemp Nutrition
Hemp nutrition is also a hot potato at the moment. Due to it being able to give the human body an almost perfect ratio of omega 3, 6 and 9, its an ideal replacement which could help save our struggling deep-sea stocks.

Perhaps surprisingly this combination of essential fatty acids, (they’re called essential because we can’t make them ourselves), minerals and vitamins is delivered in its most rudimentary form. A seed.

But before we can actually get at it, we need to get the good stuff out, and we achieve this by cold pressing the seed, and harvesting the valuable hemp seed oil.

A New ‘Oil’ Industry?
Cold pressing hemp seed oil is a practice which can be traced back through time. The hemp seed has traditionally provided the entire oil requirements for many races, just as the Olive continues to do today.

Just over a decade ago a Canadian entreprenour called Mike Fata acquired some cold-oil pressing equipment and started supplying four local health food shops in Canada with fresh cold pressed hemp seed culinary oil.

11 years on and his company Manitoba Harvest is one of the most well-known hemp nutrition vendors in the world, with an annual turnover which is counted in the tens of millions of dollars. From little acorns…

Drill your own oil
As more people become aware of the benefits of a high hemp seed diet, so the markets require new products to furnish the demand. One British company to take advantage of the rise in hemp’s popularity has a particularly GOOD story to tell.

Good Oil
Henry Braham, is a Director of Photography, and Glynis Murray, a Movie Producer. They met around 15 years ago, when filming together.

Something they still do in fact – their latest film is Everybody’s Fine , with Robert De Niro, Kate Beckinsale and Drew Barrymore.

Soon after they met they found they had more in common than movies – both grew up on farms.

Henry & Glynis bought Collabear Farm in 1996, and started farming themselves.

Henry says that they never set out to produce a culinary oil, “like all the best journeys, we never had a specific destination in mind.”

They started by looking at options for sustainable farming.

Hemp had just been reintroduced to the UK – a crop that had been key to the economy in Northern Europe for centuries, but had fallen out of fashion in recent years.

It fitted their requirements perfectly. Hemp is hugely beneficial to the environment, and can be used in an impressive range of eco friendly products. It meant they could grow a crop that was both sustainable and profitable.

Henry and Glynis grew hemp successfully for fibre – used to manufacture the interiors of Mercedes and BMW 5 and 3 series cars. But it was only when they picked and tasted the seeds in the fields that they were inspired to develop a culinary oil.

‘They were delicious,’ says Henry.

‘And then we began to learn all about the incredible health properties of hemp seed. It is very high in essential fats, has about half the saturated fats of olive oil and is the most naturally perfect oil in terms of omega -3 and -6.’

But getting the oil to taste as good as the raw hemp seed wasn’t easy.

‘It took us ages to get it right,’ explains Glynis. ‘It was a question of trial and error. And, when you’re growing a crop, you do one trial, have your error, and then have to wait another year.’ It was 10 years before they perfected the harvesting and pressing of the seeds to produce an oil that tastes like the seed in the field. Hence why GOOD Hemp Seed Oil today tastes so GOOD!

But a great taste isn’t the only consideration. Hemp seed oil will run a power station just as readily as it will power a car engine or a domestic central heating system. And when you take into account for an investment of around £10,000 every community in Wales could theoretically own its own hemp seed oil press, the ramifications for the petroleum industry start to manifest a little more clearly.

Hemp in Wales
Imagine a farmer growing hemp on his own land, never having to buy fuel oil again for his machinery, or central heating oil to warm his farm house?

Electricity from a ‘green’ oil electricity generator is a not too distant option, making the entire farm self-sufficient power-wise.

As a one-off, as is the case of Henry Braham and Glynis Murray above to a degree, it makes for a novel tale. But if the concept were taken up on a much wider scale you can be sure the petroleum industry would have something to say about it.

Conspiracy Theory
So the government fans the flames of ambiguity by publishing this story or that regarding cannabis-the-drug.

Its a health risk. It could cause cancer. It could cause mental illness, and pressure-groups spring up, run by mothers who failed as mothers, and who “lost their children to cannabis”.

But the fact is the numbers of people who have an adverse reaction to cannabis are precious few in relation to how many actually use it.

In the meantime around 7 million UK citizens and in the region of 240 million others elsewhere around the world sit wondering what all the fuss is about.

Climate Change
Simply by deploying hemp in a number of situations which are currently fueled by fossil oils, we could substantially reduce the amount of CO2 we pump into the atmosphere every single year, so it comes as a huge surprise to hear not one global leader mention hemp playing a part in any of their plans to reduce Co2 levels.

The fact is the petroleum industry holds the world in its vice like grip, and any talk of further freeing up the industrial hemp plant would doubtless lead to sanctions from OPEC – The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. A powerful council indeed, and one which has in its power the ability to raise the price of crude oil from $65 to $140 per barrel in under a year, with the huge financial burden this would (and did) place on society as a result.

In the United Kingdom, when the oil industry and the government meet they do so not at the place of work of the government, in London.

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequor must fly to the far north of Scotland, to Aberdeen, to meet the oil men, and there are not many industries in the UK which have this financial hold over the government. One or two at the most.

Chicken & Egg
Going back to 1937 its fair to assume that when Harry Anslinger appeared before the US Congress, an appearance which brought about the implementation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, he did so (as the story goes), to stop the influence of marijuana being brought in from Mexico with the influx of foreign workers which had traveled north in the hunt for work, as well as to escape Pancho Villa’s marauding revolutionary army.

At least, that’s how history will tell it.

However, the fact is, the move was motivated not by any great public health concerns, but by how much money a few wealthy men stood to lose from their infantile petroleum explorations.

Explorations which went on to create some of the wealthiest families on the planet and in doing so, could well have destroyed our fragile eco-system for good.

But all is not lost, and if we can disentangle cannabis-the-drug, and industrial hemp for long enough to attract some outside investment, who knows where that will end?

What we do know though, is the petroleum industry stands to be hit hardest, should cannabis, (and as a result industrial hemp) ever become legalized.

So don’t hold your breath waiting.

For everything you ever wanted to know about the fantastic hemp plant but didn’t know who to ask, please visit http://www.jackherer.com/

For more information about GOOD Oil, please visit their website which can be found at; http://www.goodwebsite.co.uk

Source.

July 15, 2009 – What is hemp? Hemp is of the most versatile natural resource in the world. Hemp can be used to make hundreds of useful items. In fact certain uses of it can be very useful and profitable to every American. Hemp can be used industrially and as a major food source. The question we have to ask is, why is it Illegal to grow but perfectly legal to consume? Before we can answer that question we must look at hemp’s history in the United States.Industrial+Hemp

Hemp’s history in the United States is a very frustrating one because you get the sense that we as a country had a very independent mindset. Hemp provided us with liberty until someone took it away from us. Hemp was second to tobacco as the crop to grow in early America. The demand for tobacco in England, kept the farmers busy with this cash crop. Most of the hemp crop in America was used at home in local commerce, much to the dismay of King George and the English navy. The first hemp laws in America were passed in 1619 and they were ‘must grow’ laws. If you were a farmer living in America and you didn’t grow hemp, you would be jailed or kicked out of the country as a non patriot. These first laws were put in place by the Colonist Government of Great Britain. In 1773 and again in 1776, (the year the Declaration of Independence was signed). American made their own must grow laws. At that time, it was one of the most widely used plants in the world. Cannabis hemp was legal tender (money) in most of America from 1631 until the early 1800s. Thomas Jefferson risked his life bring hemp seeds to America from overseas. Benjamin Franklin started the first paper mill in America and all of the paper was made out of hemp. Wars were fought over hemp and without it; America never would have won the Revolutionary war. Betsy Ross’s flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp; U.S. Government Archives. In the 1920’s during alcohol prohibition, almost every newspaper in the country was running ads for smoking hemp the only legal high left.

With hemp having a rich history in America; why was it outlawed to grow in America? Hemp was outlawed in 1937 because it threatened the corporate interests of William Randolph Hearst ­ and DuPont. They had to get rid of the competition. Hearst’s yellow journalism newspaper chain wrote scathing stories about “marijuana” a word he made up because he knew no one would believe them about hemp, which George Washington himself grew hemp. Popular Mechanics called hemp the New Billion Dollar Crop, because of printing and bindery lead time required for publication, this February 1938 article was actually prepared in the spring of 1937, when cannabis hemp was still legal to grow and was an incredibly fast-growing industry. Newsprint could now be produced far more cheaply than any other method, and one acre of hemp could produce as much newsprint as four acres of forest trees. Hearst owned vast timber acreage and competition from the hemp industry might have driven his paper manufacturing out of business. He stood to lose millions of dollars. DuPont stood to lose on two fronts. DuPont owned the patent for converting wood pulp into newsprint and supplied Hearst with the necessary chemicals. Secondly, in the 1930s DuPont was gearing up to introduce nylon and other man-made fibers, along with synthetic petrochemical oils, which they hoped would replace hemp see oil used in paints and other products. The decorticator meant that hemp fibers could be manufactured as fine as any man-made fibers. DuPont would lose untold millions of invested dollars, plus an estimated 80 percent of all future business, unless hemp was outlawed. DuPont’s financial backer was Mellon Bank, owned and chaired by Andrew Mellon. Andrew Mellon at the time was also Secretary of Treasury Department, which was in charge of drug taxes, i.e., prohibition. Harry Anslinger, commissioners of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which answered to the Treasury Department, was married to Andrew Mellon’s niece. Thus they had the power and the means. Anslinger’s lies about hemp were repeated endlessly in Hearst’s newspapers. Stories about marijuana, the killer weed from Mexico, instilled fear and completely misled the public that the weed was, in fact, just good old hemp. Cannabis hemp was not prohibited because it was dangerous. Indeed, for thousands of years it was the world’s largest agricultural crop used in thousands of products and enterprises, producing the majority of fiber, fabric, lighting oil, paper, incense, medicine and food. – No, cannabis hemp was prohibited to protect the Hearst and DuPont corporations from devastating competition, as well as appealing to the overt racism stirred up by Hearst’s yellow journalism.

Hemp has many uses that can be used to sell outside this country as a commodity. Popular Mechanics called hemp the New Billion Dollar Crop, cannabis hemp was still legal to grow and was an incredibly fast-growing industry. The hemp seed is not actually a seed but a fruit. They are extremely nutritious for human as well as animals. The seed is made up from 25% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 15% insoluble fiber. The hemp seed contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, and is our best vegetable source of the essential fatty acids, containing Omega 3 linolenic acid (55%) and Omega 6 linolenic acid (25%) in a near perfect ratio, and even containing the rare nutrient gamma linolenic acid. Essential fatty acids are necessary for maintaining healthy life and are found in few food sources such as fatty fish and flax oil. Hemp seeds are used whole or crushed to make cookies, burgers, porridge, cakes, casseroles or even roasted and eaten whole (sometimes with garlic or tahini seasoning). The hemp seed is used for hempseed oil for nutrition, soaps, cosmetics, paints, and etc. Natural fiber from the stalks is extremely durable. It can be used for all kinds of wonderful things. Textiles, clothing, canvas, rope, cordage, for archival grade paper, & composite fibers replacing heavier toxic fibers and building materials made with recycled plastic and fiber. This means there is reason to believe that you might in the future see a house that is completely constructed with hemp! Biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp. With over 30 million successful U.S. road miles hemp biodiesel could be the answer to our cry for cheaper fuel. We have spent the last century polluting our beautiful country with our petroleum based fuels that could have easily been replaced with fuels derived from hemp. Hemp stems are 80% hurds (pulp byproduct after the hemp fiber is removed from the plant). Hemp hurds are 77% cellulose a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics, and fibers. Biodiesel is the name for a variety of ester based oxygenated fuels made from hemp oil, other vegetable oils or animal fats. The concept of using vegetable oil as an engine fuel dates back to 1895 when Dr. Rudolf Diesel developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 using peanut oil as fuel. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine. It can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored. Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has a high flashpoint of about 300 F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 F. Biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp. Biodiesel is a proven fuel with over 30 million successful US road miles, and over 20 years of use in Europe. When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of hemp, popcorn or French fries. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel in the US to complete EPA Tier I Health Effects Testing under section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act, which provide the most thorough inventory of environmental and human health effects attributes that current technology will allow. Biodiesel is 11% oxygen by weight and contains no sulfur. The use of biodiesel can extend the life of diesel engines because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel, while fuel consumption, auto ignition, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel. The Congressional Budget Office, Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, and others have determined that biodiesel is the low cost alternative fuel option for fleets to meet requirements of the Energy Policy Act.

Hemp can become food paper cosmetics and fuel oil from one strong plant. No one has ever died from it no one has ever overdosed on it. Hemp is safe cheap to produce. Stop believing the scare tactics do your own research then contact your STATE government and make them legalize hemp. Make them understand that it will bring much needed revenue to your state and, much more needed jobs. These will be Jobs that will be in manufacturing and producing a commodity. All the solar and wind generators in the world producing free electricity along are not going to save the economy unless you are able to sell these good out side of the country. Perhaps use these goods to pay off our debt like our forefathers did bank in the 1700’s. FURTHERMORE, IT IS A TRULY GREEN INDUSTRY!!

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July 10, 2009 – For reasons I do not fully understand, Americans seem to have lost the common sense that has always been a hallmark of our culture, as once again we seem to be routinely shooting ourselves in the Hempfoot by adopting public policies that run counter to our own best interests. A good example is allowing the so-called War on Drugs to outlaw the use of hemp, one of the most beneficial crops in the history of the world, by burdening it with unnecessary and restrictive regulation in the name of fighting the War.

Hemp is a harmless plant that is the source of an almost endless list of benefits. Wikipedia notes that it can be used in everything from food products to clothes as well as having multiple industrial or commercial uses, such as “paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel.”

China, France and Canada are all major producers of hemp and, although more hemp is exported to the U.S. than to any other country, our government generally does not distinguish between marijuana and a type of hemp that is used only for industrial and commercial purposes.
The North American Industrial Hemp Council, Inc. (NAIHC) notes, “The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies all C. sativa varieties (of hemp) 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 a fence, razor wire, dogs, guards and lights, making it cost-prohibitive.”
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 “placed an extremely high tax on marijuana and made it effectively impossible to grow industrial hemp…(and) the Federal Bureau of Narcotics lumped industrial hemp with marijuana, as its successor, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, does to this day.” As Groucho Marx famously remarked “Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.”

Other facts about hemp offered by NAIHC include:
“Hemp has been grown for at least the last 12,000 years for fiber (textiles and paper) and food.”
“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.”
“Rudolph Diesel designed his engine to run on hemp oil.”
“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.”
Over 25,000 products can be made from hemp.
“To receive a standard psychoactive dose (of hemp) would require a person so 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.”
“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.”
“Hemp can be made into a variety of fabrics, including linen quality.”
“Hemp grows well in a variety of climates and soil types. It is naturally resistant to most pests, precluding the need for pesticides. It grows tightly spaced, out-competing any weeds, so herbicides are not necessary. It also leaves a weed-free field for a following crop.”
“Hemp can yield 3-8 tons of fiber per acre. This is four times what an average forest can yield.”
The bottom line is that by treating hemp as a drug, the United States has effectively shut down one of the most profitable and useful crops in history and once again essentially abandoned the market to other nations that have a more realistic attitude.
We are preventing our farmers from growing a crop that has almost unlimited uses. It’s cheap and easy to plant and cultivate, and could potentially rejuvenate the small farming industry in America. While spending billions of dollars in what has been an almost fruitless effort to keep small farmers on the farm, we have also been unwilling to simply let them to do it for themselves by allowing them to cultivate one of the best cash crops they could possibly grow.
By stubbornly refusing to change or adapt our thinking, we are once again abandoning a major market to our competition by preventing one of our own industries from producing an important product. As the King of Siam said in Oscar Hammerstein’s musical, The King and I, “It’s a puzzlement.”

By Harris R. Sherline. Source.

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