Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is one of the oldest plants cultivated and harvested in human history. Evidence of the Chinese harvesting the plant go back 8500 years, some think we have been using the plant for 12000 years. By 1600 the plant made its way to North America making it truly global.George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both had hemp plantations. Jefferson was quoted to say "Hemp is of the first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country". Benjamin Franklin owned a hemp paper mill. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp, it was a required crop in American colonies, in 1938 Popular Mechanics said it was the "New Billion Dollar Crop". During World War 1 and 2 the U.S. was mass producing hemp to make up for the lack of supplies being sent over from Europe at the time. In 1938 the U.S. government made a Marijuana Tax Act, making it so expensive to grow hemp that it essentially shut down the hemp industry in the United States. The same year Canada passed the Opium & Narcotics Act making cultivation of cannabis illegal. Small operations continued in Wisconsin until 1958 when the country officially went hemp free. One must ask why.The question that needs to be asked is: What is the difference between hemp and marijuana, and why does it matter?Well, we have classified both industrial hemp and marijuana as Cannabis sativa making them the exact same on paper, so if one is illegal, the other has to be. In reality, the growing of industrial hemp means destroying any marijuana plants in the area. Hemp is a wind pollenating plant and can produce a lot of pollen. With that in mind, Industrial Hemp contains .5% to 1% THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol - the chemical that gets you high) while marijuana contains 3% - 20%. When crossing hemp with marijuana the result is ALWAYS a lower THC count in marijuana. You can never make the THC level in hemp go up by crossing it with marijuana. So with that information it is advised that a hemp crop should have absolutely no marijuana plants within a radius of up to 5km. Putting hemp plantations everywhere would force marijuana crops to be destroyed. The growing style is even different between the two. Hemp is grown in close rows to maximize stock hight while marijuana is grown further apart to allow better budding. With both hemp and marijuana having hundreds of strains, a trained eye can easily tell the difference between a hemp plant and a marijuana plant.So lets fast forward to the present. Hemp is still just as illegal in the United States as it was in the 50's. Many strains of hemp have been lost after years of the government destroying crops and seeds. Some people in the U.S. government are still destroying strains of hemp thinking they are helping in the fight against drugs. Looking outside the boarders of the States you see that Over 30 industrial nations distinguish hemp from marijuana, the EU subsidizes hemp farmers, Canada is again allowing hemp farms, and the U.S. (while ok with dealing with other nations growing hemp) keeps the plant a "drug" and claims to not do business with drug producing countries. ***the whole issue with the U.S. in Afghanistan and their "battle against heroin" is another topic all together*** A group of farmers in North Dakota are trying to fight the government so they can grow hemp. They are getting frustrated by the fact that right next door in Canada farmers are growing hemp, while in the U.S. the plant remains one of the most illegal in the country. In order to get permission to grow hemp in the United States right now a farmer is required to have a fence, razor wire, dogs, guards, and lights (the same security that growing medicinal marijuana requires).Ok, so now we know hemp isn't marijuana. So what? Why do we need to grow hemp?Alright, I don't know why in the past 100 years humans decided to say "fuck nature" and start doing the exact opposite of what a species should do in order to survive - but we did. Over the years we have lost a lot of what makes us part of this planet. we build cookie cutter houses without any thought as to where the house is going, we've abandoned natural healing to eat a bunch of pills that have names you can't pronounce half the time, and we have, and still are, destroying the earth at a very fast rate. Our forests are disappearing from both logging and open pit mining, and as we all know - without the forests, we have nothing. When comparing the difference between logging and growing hemp things don't quite add up.You can get a harvest of 3-5 tons (dry) of fiber/acre which is 4 times more than a forest and the turnover rate is up to 30 times faster.Hemp paper lasts a long time and doesn't yellow, the paper can be recycled several times more than paper made from wood. It is pulpe with less chemicals, it's natural brightness means no chlorine bleach; no toxic dioxin runoff. Instead hydrogen peroxide is used, which is less harmful. It's long fibers mean hemp is stronger and/or lighter than wood. The longer fibers also mean it is more absorbent and more mildew resistant than cotton. Hemp plants are resistant to most pests (50% of pesticides globally are for cotton), and it is hard for weeds to overgrow the crop which means no herbicides.Hemp can be used for a massive amount of thingsFrom that acre of hemp you can get 300 gallons of hemp seed oil & 6000lbs of high protein hemp flour (3 - 5 times more than the next top seed oil crop. This seed oil & flour & seeds themselves can be made into well, food. You gotta eat. The oil can also be used for greasing machines, made into paints, resins, shallacs varnishes, fuel for cars plus many others. The fibers can be used for everything from fiber board, beams, studs, posts, linens... over 25000 products can be made from hemp. BMW and Ford are using hemp in the interior of their vehicles right now (Ford getting their hemp from Canada). And yet - it still remains one of the most illegal substances in the United States, up there with cocaine and heroin... You guys are the people, prove that your government system isn't a joke and stop this silly nonsense. Seriously - get on this shit and force your politicians to change the law now, or else... what the hell are they there for? Darryl.


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