It’s National Hemp Week: Why Should You Care?
This week marks the 3rd annual Hemp History Week movement and activists are hoping to spread the message that it’s time to bring back hemp to United States farms.
In case your familiarity with hemp doesn’t extend beyond those
annoying necklaces they sell at the beach let’s rewind a bit. What is hemp, really?
Essentially it’s the non-drug variety that’s grown from Cannabis. Yes, cannabis is often known as marijuana but hemp contains almost zero tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the marijuana part of the plant.)
Hemp is an environmentally friendly plant as it requires no herbicides and very few pesticides. It’s one of the earliest domesticated plants known, and can grow very quickly in a variety of soil climates.
So why aren‘t we growing it in the US? Well, part of the hesitation seems to be based on the stigma that it’s a drug. My suspicion is that growing hemp in a very large quantity would make it easier for one to mix in some marijuana should they be inclined to do so. This risk – for lack of a better word – and potential lack of regulation is scary to big government.
Growing hemp was banned in the US under the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 as the “evils” of marijuana began to spread. Unfortunately, federal law makes no distinction between cannabis and industrial hemp.
Hemp continues to be a multi million dollar export for Canada, China, and France to name a few. Farmers here and worldwide grow hemp commercially for seed, oil and fiber. Importing to the US is costly; So you’re paying more for hemp products.
What is hemp used to make? A lot! Biodegradable plastics, clothing, handbags, backpacks, wallets, the aforementioned necklaces ….
Food items including hemp milk (good dairy alternative for vegans) energy shakes, bars and ice cream.
Readers, what do you think? Should we start growing hemp again in the states?
Photo: Hemp History Week