Did you know that at one time in the U.S., it was mandatory for all farmers to grow Hemp? That is right, during the 1619 Virginia Assembly, legislation was passed making it a requirement that all farmers grow hemp. Hemp was even used as legal tender in PA, MD, and VA.
Domestic production flourished until after the Civil War. During WWII, the Government began a campaign called “Hemp for Victory”. It encouraged farmers to plant hemp, they gave out seeds for free, and granted draft deferments to those who stayed home and grew hemp. By 1943, 375,000 acres of hemp were being grown.
Today more than 30 countries: England, France, Germany, China and Canada have a legal hemp industry. The U.S. is the largest importer of hemp, and yet you see no signs of a legal hemp industry here.
Why is that you might ask? Well the answer has a lot to do with big corporations. Hemp is better for material, lasts 2 times longer than cotton, more durable, UV resistant, and has anti-bacterial properties. Yet we have a much larger cotton industry. Cotton production can only be grown in the southern states, while hemp can be grown in all 50 states. Cotton uses 25 – 50% of all chemicals used in crop production worldwide. Hemp requires no chemicals.
Hemp paper prevents deforestation and helps save the environment. Hemp paper requires no chlorine for bleaching, doesn’t yellow and lasts a very long time. One acre of hemp provides more than 4 times as much pulp from one acre of trees. Yet, big business owns millions of acres of timberland, and owns patents on the sulfuric acid wood pulp paper process.
Some may say it is illegal due to the THC that one can get from hemp….it is a drug. Well, industrial hemp has very little THC and if someone tried to “get high” on it, it would be like trying to get drunk on non-alcohol beer.
There are two parts of the hemp plant that are ideal for making literally hundreds of various products. The stalk produces the fiber and the hurd (inner woody core). Hemp is the most durable of all vegetable fibers, and is the longest lasting and strongest. It won’t mildew and is softer than cotton. The hemp nut & seeds produce hemp oil and in addition is used in food, body care and technical products. It is very high in protein. Hemp oil is beneficial to the immune system and can help avoid build up of plaque in arteries. Shelled hemp seeds have a rich nutty flavor, and three tablespoons contain: RDA 20% Iron, 25% Thiamine, 45% Magnesium, 20% Zinc, and 110% Manganese. It is one of nature’s most perfect sources of nutrition also containing Omega 3 and Omega 6 with a 25% high quality protein.
In 1929, Henry Food begain extensive research into production of methanol from hemp, and also the manufacture of plastics from this renewable vegetable crop. In 1930 he invented the hemp car made with hemp composites and ran on hemp fuel. Why didn’t it take off? It was the same time the oil boom hit the nation. Enough said.
Today, hemp is used in a variety of products including hemp plaster, hempcrete, chipboard and more. In Europe hemp housing is growing. Hemp makes an excellent insulator and is naturally pest and mold resistant.
With so many jobs needed in the U.S. and such an obvious opportunity bringing manufacturing and new agricultural production to the U.S. Why is Hemp still illegal? No one ever accused the Government for being logical, and I think this is just one more proof of that being so.