Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Legalize Industrial Hemp


By A.S. Kinser

Legalize Industrial Hemp for American Jobs and Prosperity
America is confronted today with a plethora of problems, many of which can be solved by ending a sixty-year-old policy rooted in racism and corporate greed. We are speaking, of course, of the industrial growing of hemp, also known as cannabis, for industrial purposes as well as medicinal and recreational uses. The medicinal uses of cannabis (in this form known as marijuana) are well-documented, from AIDS and cancer patients using the plant's effects to reduce nausea, to Mr. Joe Average on the street using it for muscle pain and even enjoyment. We will not deal with that in this leaflet. Rather instead we will focus on the industrial and consumer uses of cannabis.

When the U.S. was in its infancy in 1776, one plant was considered so important to national independence that it was required that a set amount of acreage be given to it. That crop? Was it wheat? No. Cotton? No. Corn? No. Tobacco? Certainly not. That crop was hemp. Even back then, humans knew the value of the long, strong fibers that this plant produces. In fact, these fibers are the strongest natural fibers known to mankind. They are perfect for ropes, cords and caulking. The United States Navy imports "manila" fiber from the Philippines. This "manila" fiber is nothing more than imported hemp fibers, grown on land which would be more appropiately used for growing food for Filipinos. Fibers which could be grown in the U.S., supporting U.S. farmers and U.S. workers to process it!

That is not all—the very best art and writing paper is made from hemp. The long fibers of the plant make it superior to wood in paper-making. That also means hemp paper-making requires less chemicals to produce. Indeed, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence both were originally drafted on hemp paper. These same long, strong fibers can be used to make clothes. Hemp clothes used to be coarse, but thanks to new processes for hemp it is now possible to make hemp shirts and pants as comfortable and absorbent as cotton, using less than 1% of the oil, fertilizers and pesticides to produce.

Hemp seeds provide an excellent source of protein and fats for humans. In fact, hemp has been eaten and used by humans to feed themselves and their livestock for at least 6000 years. The Hindu religion attributes hemp to the god Shiva. The oil of the hemp seed is very high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are instrumental in healthy brain development and cholesterol control.

The hemp seed is useful for food and for making bio-diesel. Research in other countries has lead to breakthroughs in bio-diesel. Hemp seed oil is superior to all other forms of vegetable oils and it requires no solvents to be released from the hemp seed. The only other such vegetable oil is olive oil, the use of which is limited to waste stream reclamation due to its comparatively lower total global production limits. Hemp is also the most efficient means known to man to turn sunlight into biomass, which is critical to the production of ethanol and methanol for fuels. Given the uses in food, fiber and fuel alone, even if we ignored the medicinal properties of this plant, we have every reason to demand in this world where food is scarce, where fiber is needed for paper and clothes and where oil, our primary fuel is running out, to demand that American farmers be allowed to grow this useful product.


1 comment:

Paul Carlyon said...

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