esThe Touch, The Feel of Hemp– The Fiber of Our Lives
Imagine how useful a Swiss Army Knife with more than 2500 functions would be if it was compact enough to be manageable. And imagine that this knife could help solve some very important problems that plague our environment as well as our society. Now think if the production of this tool was to be banned by the government. There would have to be some very strong reasons for the government to deny this extremely useful product to the people it governs. If the reasons for this interdiction were not very strong it would be absurd to think that the ban would last for an extended period of time. Well some people will be surprised to know that this very injustice is happening as we speak right here in our wonderful United States of America. The injustice I am describing is our governments ban on the cultivation of the hemp plant in our country. In this article I hope to inform the uninformed and reinform the misinformed on the subject of the hemp plant and how it would benefit us to encourage its widespread production.
Industrial hemp is only a cousin of the drug producing plant, marijuana, but as far as the government is concerned they are the same things. Even though there is no chance a person could get high from smoking hemp, the government still prohibits its growth. Hemp does contain some THC, the chemical in pot that makes you high, but only a trace amount. To get the same buzz that a person would get from smoking one marijuana cigarette you would have to smoke twenty or thirty rolled from hemp and you would have to do in about the same amount of time. Common sense tells us that smoking this much of anything in a short amount of time would make you sick. If you smoke some industrial hemp you will only get a headache, and if you smoke more you will only get a bigger headache. The government has the same reason for the banning marijuana as they do for the ban on hemp, when hemp only contains trace amounts of the intoxicants that makes it illegal. Hemp can be compared to non-alcoholic beer, nutmeg, cough syrup and mouthwash. NA beer and mouthwash contain alcohol, but nobody drinks them to get drunk. Nutmeg and cough syrup contain some psychoactive substances, but nobody uses these common products to get high. The side effects of the use of these substances, as well as with hemp, far outweigh the buzz that is achieved.
Hemp is the supposedly the first crop known to have been cultivated by people about ten thousand years ago. Even cavemen could see the possibilities of this crop. They found that the stalks of the plant had long fibers that could be used to make rope or cloth and the seeds were a good source of nutrition. The hemp plant has played a huge roll in the history of the world. The sails and caulk between the boards of The Nina, The Pinta, and The Santa Maria as well as every other ship used to explore the globe were made from hemp. If some other fiber was used Columbus may never have maid it across the Atlantic. Nearly all the worlds paper before the beginning of the twentieth century was made from hemp. Documents like the early drafts of The Declaration of Independence and the Gutenburg Bible were printed on hemp.
Today industrial hemp is more valuable than ever before. With the growth of new technology have come new and exciting uses for the plant. Hemp can still be made into paper, but today the paper is of better quality. Hemp paper compared to wood pulp paper is much more durable and more resource friendly. The more paper we make from hemp the more trees we save. It is estimated that the prohibition of hemp in our country has cost us more than two thirds of our forests since the 1930s. Another amazing thing that can be done with this wonder plant is that it can be turned in to fossil fuels, such as, gasoline, methane, and charcoal. Thats right gas from hemp it is amazing what we can do these days. Not only can we lower or dependence on over seas oil, but also we can use a cleaner burning fuel to take the place of the oil. The biomass fuel that hemp produces burns the same but it does not contain sulfur, so it will cut down on the amount of acid rain in the country. Also, another advantage would be that these new green crops would eventually convert the carbon dioxide that is produced by burning the fuel and the greenhouse effect would be slowed if not reversed. Another use for hemp is for clothing. When most people think of hemp clothing they think of stiff garments that are not very soft or comfortable. This could not be further from wrong. Hemp can be made into cloth that is as soft as silk while it can also be made into fabrics that are tougher than burlap or as intricate as lace. Existing machines in existing U.S. factories could even weave this fabric. What else can this wonderful plant do? I am glad you asked. You could build a new highly cost and energy efficient house almost entirely out of hemp. There are a number of overseas companies that manufacture wood substitutes made from hemp that are lighter, more insulating, and stronger for about the same price as conventional materials. Right now your probably thinking well you can do every thing with this stuff, but can you eat it? You most certainly can and I would highly recommend it. Hemp seed is as nutritious as Soya, but it is more digestible and is easier to harvest. The seeds are an excellent source of nutrition and animals love them. If it were legal we could rely on it feed our pets and farm animals. There is a plethora of other uses for this resource, but they are too numerous to name. The greatest gain we would encounter from the legalization of hemp cultivation is the jobs that it would create. At this point in time the farming industry is not in good shape. Hemp would be a huge boost to the industry and it would give farming that cash crop that they have been missing for so long. Not only would farmers reap the rewards, but also there would be a huge demand for manufacturers of the products.
I hope you as a reader are now better informed about this subject and I also hope that you agree that it is absurd to keep hemp cultivation illegal. If you as a citizen feel strongly about this subject I recommend you do something about it. Some things that you could do are tell people about this injustice, buy as many hemp products as possible, vote for candidates that feel the same way, or contact your local representative. I thank you for your time.