Legalize Industrial Hemp Essay, Research Paper
Legalize Industrial Hemp
It?s time to do something about it! Our government has kept it away from us
for long enough. The hemp plant is a misunderstood natural resource that if
legalized would solve many problems in the United States. Our founding fathers
grew and used this plant faithfully. It is a remarkably strong and versatile plant. In
fact, it is helpful to our diminishing environment. We need to decide the outcome of
our future, and legalize growing industrial hemp for the good of humanity.
?The oldest relic of human history is hemp fabric dated to 8,000 BC from
Ancient Mesopotamia, an area in present-day Turkey.? Both George Washington
and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. America was founded on hemp. The first
American flag and the Declaration of Independence were made from hemp fiber. At
about the turn of the 20th century companies like DuPont, who developed chemicals
to allow trees to be processed into paper, began to eliminate the need for hemp.
Before that hemp was used for thousands of years to make paper and textiles.
DuPont was able to make wood pulp paper cheaper than hemp paper due to these
chemicals. In 1942 the American government introduce a film called ?Hemp for
Victory? which showed the most efficient way to grow and cultivate hemp for war
efforts. By the end of the war hemp was not needed and the soldiers that used hemp
in battle were forced to destroy the hemp that once helped them survive. Human
history shows that hemp is a valuable resource with it?s many uses. People
throughout history have grown this plant for everything from food to fuel.
Hemp seeds are high in protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous,
potassium, and vitamin A. Hemp seeds are the most nutritional and potentially
abundant food source on Earth. Hemp seeds can be eaten in many different ways,
eaten whole, pressed into oil like soybeans, and ground into flour for baking. The
nutritional value alone would make this a great resource, but hemp has many other
uses. The hemp plant produces a stalk which contains fibers that are among the
world?s longest and strongest. It was used widely in the United States for sails,
rope, clothing, and much more for hundreds of years before once again DuPont
patented nylon. The cotton industry is also a competitor of hemp. Not only does
cotton produce a shorter, weaker fiber, but it also consume half of the world?s
annual supply of pesticides, and depletes the soil. Hemp products are stronger than
cotton and they last longer.
?The oldest paper in existence is a 100 percent hemp Chinese text dated to
770 AD.? Hemp paper is stronger, lasts longer, and can be recycled more often
wood pulp paper. Hemp has a cellulose level three times larger than wood, and
yields four times more pulp per acre than trees. Hemp is also friendlier to the
environment than the process used to produce wood pulp. A hemp crop is ready to
be harvested 120 days after planting, while trees take hundreds or thousands of
years to mature. Hemp paper manufacturing will reduce the level of the chemical
by-products that are produced by wood paper manufacturing. This reduction of
chemicals will do wonders for the environment.
Hemp can be the perfect answer to most of our ecological problems. Hemp
will reduce deforestation by producing more fiber more often than trees.
Environmentalists and farmers have a full spectrum of reasons to value and
appreciate the hemp plant. It absorbs four times more carbon dioxide than trees per
acre, and doesn?t require heavy fertilizers or pesticides. It grows tightly spaced, out
competing any weeds, so herbicides are also not necessary. Hemp stabilizes,
enriches, and replenishes the soil with its root structure and fallen leaves after
harvest. They can not only grow in depleted soil, but hemp will leave it more
enriched than when it was planted. Eco-friendly hemp can replace most toxic
Ethanol is the cleanest burning liquid to gasoline. The high level of cellulose
in hemp make it great in the production of ethanol fuel. The use of gasoline in the
United Sates is very high. The use of it however is dangerous to the environment
and costly. Gasoline prices are very high and will keep rising as the world?s oil is
used up. The much more abundant hemp seed however could produce a fuel that is
cheaper and much safer for the environment. As the highways and byways get
busier and busier the atmosphere gets more and more polluted. If our society must
always have their own car than we must not deprive ourselves and our environment
and grow hemp.
The government has made everyone believe that hemp is the same as
marijuana, when in fact hemp has no delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is
the psychoactive chemical present in marijuana. Industrial hemp contains no THC
and is therefore not a drug. All of the products produced from hemp are also
THC-free and are also not drug related. Before anything can be done about the
hemp prohibition Americans must realize that the hemp plant is not a drug, but a
very versatile natural resource.
Some people claim that it would be difficult to tell the difference between the
hemp plant and the marijuana plant. That is not a problem because hemp looks more
like bamboo than marijuana. The 30 nations that legally cultivate hemp have no
trouble telling the difference between the types of cannabis. The government would
have no trouble if they look at the crop before deciding if it is hemp or marijuana.
The government was obviously able to tell the difference between the two plants
when they needed the fiber for the war. The hemp plant could possibly change the
way this country works. The hemp industry would provide thousands of jobs for
unemployed Americans. The farming industry would thrive due to their ability to
replenish their soil while still profiting off of depleted soil. Legalizing this plant
would do much more good than harm to our society.
The American government is moving in the right direction. They have put it
off for long enough and now is the time to make a change. Hawaii has made hemp
history in America. In December of 1999 the state of Hawaii planted the first
industrial hemp seeds since world war II. This is a big step in the direction of a
cleaner environment and wealthier society. Although this small test crop in Hawaii
will not produce economic profit, it will provide information on the benefits of the
plant economically and environmentally.
Industrial hemp is more versatile than the soybean, the cotton plant, and the
reliable douglas fir combined. Dollars speak louder than words however. Millions of
dollars of hemp is imported into the United States every year. The government and
American farmers are missing out on the great profit that comes with the hemp
product. If the government continues to treat the actual plant as a Schedule I
Controlled Substance, it will continue to make it impossible to grow hemp. If they
make it impossible for the farmers to grow it we will never know if the hemp plant
will really help out our farmers, environment, and economic profit along with
unemployment. Hemp could be the next billion dollar crop, but the nation will never
know if the government keeps it away from us.
If our founding fathers were able to see the hemp plant as a great resource we
should also be able to do so. Let us put everything we thought the hemp plant was
behind us and take it for what it is. A versatile cash crop that is environmentally safe
and has the possibility to be very abundant. THC-free hemp will let many farmers
get back on their feet and will make the United States a more prosperous country.
It?s time to catch up with the rest of the industrial world that is producing this
wonderful yet misunderstood crop.
Roussel, Scott. ?The history and benefits of hemp.?
http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0199/et199s11.html. Earth Times, San Diego.
Hemp Industries Association. Occidental, CA. http://thehia.org/hempfacts.htm