Hemp production and cannabis culture have long been linked in the minds of conservative Americans. Keeping Hemp production illegal in the United States is coming to an end as local governments are realizing the substantially lucrative source of revenue and job production that industrial hemp can create. Here’s what’s happening now in the world of hemp from sea to shining sea.
Hemp is the New Crop (although quite ancient)
What some lawmakers and even educators are having a tough time wrapping their brains around is the fact that hemp is grown to be completely free of psychoactive properties. Which means if you wanted to get high on industrial hemp, you’re going to be very well disappointed. This variety of cannabis sativa (hemp) is specifically bred to have only trace amounts of THC, and, as many of us have known for years, has a remarkable amount of industrial and commercial uses, from textiles to personal care and hygiene products, to building materials and bio-fuel (1). Of course hemp foods are one of the largest sectors of the current hemp industry with thousands of choices. You’ve got hemp bars, hemp cereals, hemp milks, hemp ice cream, burgers; you name it!
Cotton, Petroleum, Lumber: No Longer the Kings
While cotton only makes up less than 3% of the crops grown annually, it uses a reported 16% of the world’s pesticides. The inclusion of industrial hemp into our crop rotations can immediately cut that number in half based on the simple fact that it takes half the square footage to produce the same amount of finished textiles. And even better yet, hemp cultivation uses less water, (hello worst drought in the history of California (2)) and is far more durable than it’s main competitor cotton with dozens of industrial as well as retail uses (3).
This product has already been embraced by American consumers for almost two decades. In fact, we’re one of the biggest hemp consumers in the world – if not the biggest. However, the most ironic part about that is it’s being produced outside of the US, mostly coming from China, Canada & Europe(3), and they’re seeing monumental profits. Some Canadian based grow ops are reporting anywhere from 20%-40% growth in just the last few years (4).
Hemp is a powerful, sustainable, lucrative replacement for essentially any product that can be made from trees as well as petroleum. Not only was Henry Ford’s model-T car made from hemp and sisal but it was designed to be run on vegetable-based fuel (cough cough – hemp). Hemp paper is able to be recycled up to eight times whereas paper made from trees can only be recycled up to 4 times before loosing it’s strength and quality. (5)
New Laws and Old Ideas
Some lawmakers are dragging their feet and some are embracing hemp for the revenue generating beast that it is. Industrial hemp cleared the New Jersey Assembly Committee in December by a landslide (5). But surprisingly enough, Oregon of all places is having trouble with the Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Agriculture dragging its feet (6). North Carolina passed the bill to legalize industrial hemp in October of last year, but governor Pat McCrory refused to sign it or veto it, allowing it to sit on his desk for a month and passively become law, citing “legitimate concerns” about the abuse of the crop (7).
But as New York Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Tom O’Mara point out in their Hemp Research Bill, such concerns have little legitimacy, considering the fact that hemp and cannabis plants look very different, with hemp stalks reaching 10-20 feet and cannabis topping out at 5-6 feet tall, not to mention that hemp would actually cross contaminate cannabis plants, nullifying their THC properties and making them non-psychoactive (8).
Hemp Isn’t Going Away in the USA
But even with all the inaccurate preconceived notions about hemp, it clearly has a solid foundation in the USA both for creating sustainability based jobs and generating massive amounts of revenue. Just look at the Growing Warriors Project, which raised a hemp American flag over the US Capitol in November 2015, just like the original American flag made from hemp by Betsy Ross (9). 2016 is a sensational year for young and old entrepreneurs. Anyone who wants to make a difference and a dollar has a prime opportunity to be part of a global shift in consciousness. Not only in the way we do business, how we manufacture products, but in how we live our day to day lives.
We predict that in the very near future, you will be seeing a lot more people wearing hemp clothing, living in hemp homes and consuming mass quanitities of the essential fatty acid, and amino acid rich hemp foods. The world IS becoming a healthier, happier, more abundant place as a result of the revival of industrial hemp in the United States and around the world!