This cousin of the marijuana plant - hemp - is an eco friendly, environmentally sustainable, crop. Being naturally resistant, it requires no fungicides or pesticides; it needs less water than other plants; it grows quickly (taking just 3 to 4 months to mature); and it even revitalizes the soil at the same time. Hemp sounds to me like a wonder crop.
And yet it is illegal to grow hemp in the United States
Hemp can be used to manufacture a wide variety of industrial and consumer products with every part of the plant being utilized. Bio-fuel, paper, injection molded plastics, food, construction materials, bio-composites, textiles – all can be made utilizing the hemp plant.
Hemp fiber (from the stalks) has 250% more fiber than cotton as well as being stronger. Hemp fiber is used to make textiles, clothing, shoes, paper, canvas, carpeting, rope, bags, luggage, home furnishings, construction materials, biodegradable plastics and even auto parts (as in BMW and Mercedes Benz vehicles). Hemp fiber is an amazing source for renewable materials including composite fibers to replace heavier toxic fibers as well as building materials made with recycled plastic and fiber. In the future, you could see a house that is completely constructed with hemp!
(from the seeds) is used in cosmetics and body care products, nutritional supplements, food products and even in industry. High in essential fatty acids as well as gamma linolecic acid, hemp oil can be added to salads or in dressings.
Hemp seed itself is actually not a seed but a fruit and extremely nutritious for humans and animals alike. The hemp seed is made up from 25% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 15% insoluble fiber and also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin A. Hemp seed is the best vegetable source of the essential fatty acids, containing omega 3 linolenic acid (55%) and mega 6 linolenic acid (25%) in a close to perfect ratio as well as containing the rare nutrient gama linolenic acid. Hemp seeds are good to eat and good for you. They can be eaten raw or used in cooking and baking for cookies, burgers, porridge, cakes, casseroles or even roasted and eaten whole (sometimes with garlic or tahini seasoning).
Paper products from hemp
Hemp is 77% cellulose and can produce 4 times per acre compared to trees and without the need for chemicals, making hemp much more sustainable with no risk to the environment.
Hemp as a fuel
Hemp oil has a further eco friendly use in paints, oils and inks instead of petroleum while hemp has a great future as a bio-fuel (ethanol, methan, co-firing with coal and more). These fuels burn cleaner and are more efficient that other fuels not made with hemp. In a letter to President Obama, Josh Davis, as senior editor at hemp.com, included the following points: "So why is it illegal to grow hemp? Because it is considered marijuana by the DEA. First let me address this issue: Hemp is not marijuana. It is in the same family, but it is not marijuana. The THC content (the active drug in Marijuana) of hemp is less than 3% while marijuana plants typically have 15-30% THC. The content in hemp makes it useless as a drug. You cannot hide marijuana plants in a hemp field as the DEA and law enforcement officials would have you believe. The hemp will pollinate the marijuana and lower the THC content, rendering it useless as a drug. The Federal Government must understand and concur that hemp is NOT a drug and cannot be used as a drug. We do not need to live blindly behind ignorance any longer."
With so many positives going for it, don't you think it is time that hemp was grown commercially in the US like it is in so many other countries? China is the world's leading producer but Canada, Great Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Romania and other countries are also growing hemp. The USA is cutting off its nose to spite its face.