The Secret Life of Hemp

hemp-leaf-productsDamn you Reefer Madness, William Randolph Hearst, Dupont and racist American government of the 1930’s!  Over 70 years later and we in the U.S. are still suffering the ill effects of banning marijuana and all its associates during a period of economic rebound that encouraged greed, paranoia, racism and lax political oversight. (Sound familiar?)

Industrial hemp was going strong throughout the 1920’s.  It found uses in everything from paint to cosmetics to food.  It is even rumored that the first pair of Levi jeans were made from Hemp in the mid-1800’s.  (The evidence was destroyed in the great San Francisco fire.)  People have long derided prohibition as one of the stupider achievements of American history, blaming it for (among other things) giving rise to organized crime.  Well, if prohibition was stupid you have to lump reefer madness into the same category of dumb.

Hemp has long been a product that was known to be useful for fuel, food, feed, textiles, croplands, oil, building materials and many other goods.  It has also been long known to contain such low levels of THC as to be completely inane and harmless when it comes to psychotropics.  But, it’s growth and manufacturing have been banned in the U.S. for over 70 years for several lousy reasons.  First, individuals wanted to continue to get wealthy from timber production and use.  Second, the use of petroleum for almost everything under the sun was just taking root (and people wanted to make money off of this).  Third, Mexicans and blacks were taking good jobs from white people (these minorities were the main users and purveyors of marijuana at the time).

Anyway, you get the picture.  Here we are current day still trying to get back our right to grow and use one of natures miracle products, and despite the huge roil surrounding “green” and sustainable innovation we are still flushing money down the corn ethanol toilet.  What the hell?  We’ve learned nothing.  Again the public is being ignorantly bullied about by powerful interest groups while we light an ecological match to our country’s farmland.  Meanwhile, places like China, Romania, Germany and Canada are greatly outstripping us to the finish for growing, refining and profiting from hemp.

It is not like hemp is some newfangled product or flaccid pipe dream.  It was a miracle crop hundreds of years ago and has remained one.  God bless America, but we just don’t care.

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