Pubdate: Fri, 15 Mar 2002
Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)
Contact:  2002 Pulitzer Community Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Sarah Perfetto, lives in Napa.
Bookmark: (Hemp)


Do you ever stop and think about what will happen when we've squeezed every
last drop of fossil fuel out of our earth and destroyed every bit of land
searching for more? It won't be a happy day; cars will die and lights will
dim; 85 percent of our energy comes from fossil fuels.

Do you ever wonder what happens to all the plastic packaging we throw away?
It sits in a landfill polluting the soil beneath it because it's

How will you feel when all the old growth forests have been slaughtered for
our consumption? These forests will not renew themselves for hundreds and
thousands of years.

If I were to tell you industrial hemp could solve these problems and many
more, would you believe me? Me, a 16-year-old Temescal High School student,
what do I know about all this? Well, maybe a little more than you. So please
hear me out.

*  Bio-diesel fuel can be made from hemp seed oil, corn oil and animal fats.
So why not use corn or animal fat? Hemp seed oil can produce 10 times the
methanol than corn and to use animal fat may upset vegetarians and animal
rights activists. It is the only alternative fuel in the U.S. to complete
the Environmental Protection Agency's Tier II Health Effects Testing under
section 211 (b) of the Clean Air Act ( ). It is
compatible to fuel any unmodified diesel engine car. Production and use
produces about 80 percent less carbon dioxide emissions and almost 100
percent less sulfur dioxide. Farming only 6 percent of the U.S. acreage with
biomass crops such as hemp would provide for all of America's extensive
energy needs.

Which brings me to this point: why are we wasting all this money on imported
fossil fuels when we can make all we need right here and use them to help
boost our economy? It would provide many new jobs and could be sold or
traded to other countries helping to clear our national debt.

*  Replacing Trees: Hemp fiber is the strongest of the quickly renewable
resources we have. When pressed and heated it creates a practical, strong,
inexpensive, rot resistant building material. With its thermal and sound
insulating qualities it could replace wood paneling, particleboard, and
drywall. Trees cut for paper take anywhere from 50 to 500 years to grow
while hemp can be cultivated in 100 days and can yield four times more paper
over a 20 year period of time. It is longer lasting and can be recycled up
to seven times whereas wood's paper only four. Now with all the paper
schools alone use, wouldn't it be more environmentally sound to promote a
quickly renewable resource?

*  Biodegradable Plastic: Believe it or not it has been done before. In 1941
Henry Ford built a biodegradable plastic car from hemp oil and wheat straw.
It works like this: Hemp stems are 80 percent hurds which are 77 percent
cellulose which is the primary chemical feedstock used to make plastic. One
acre of hemp can produce as much cellulose as 4.1 acres of trees.

*  The Legal Issue: Marijuana and industrial hemp are both derivatives of
the cannabis plant, which is the only plant genus to contain a unique class
of molecular compounds called cannabinoids. There are many but the two most
prevalent being delta 9 Tetrahydrocannibinol or THC, the psychoactive
ingredient, and cannibidol or CBD, the anti-psychoactive ingredient.
Marijuana has a large amount of THC in it and not enough CBD to cancel out
the effect, therefore it is illegal -- plain and simple. Yet industrial hemp
contains less than 1 percent THC in it and a large amount of CBD, which in
turn cancels out any miniscule effect the THC might cause. So hemp is not
marijuana; in fact it could be called "anti-marijuana."

Please take this information and share it with somebody. There are so many
people misinformed about this subject and so many other alternatives to the
energy we're using and the products we're consuming. There is always room
for furthering.
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