Pubdate: Tue, 13 Nov 2007
Source: Appalachian, The (NC Edu)
Copyright: 2007 Appalachian State University
Author: Brandon Brown
Note: Brandon Brown, a senior journalism major from  Huntersville, is a
lifestyles reporter.


"Make the most of the Indian hemp seed."

No, that's not a quote from a half-baked hippie at  Mellow Mushroom.

That's George Washington speaking.

There is a foolish misconception rampant in today's  society that hemp
and marijuana are synonymous terms.

While marijuana, like industrial hemp, is indeed a  byproduct of the
cannabis sativa plant, the latter is a  nearly tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC)-free, soil-enriching,  multi-faceted resource aE" which the
United States  doesn't grow.

It didn't always used to be that way.

Actually, during World War II, the U.S. Department of  Agriculture
released a propaganda film titled "Hemp for  Victory," which
encouraged farmers and citizens alike  to plant hundreds of thousands
of acres of hemp for the  war effort.

In 1970, lawmakers and bureaucrats started humming a  different tune
and passed the Controlled Substances  Act, which prohibited the
cultivation of hemp in the  United States.

How can the government go from being staunchly pro-hemp  to anti-hemp
in the span of 28 years?

If the drug movement of the 1960s is to blame, then I  suppose
lawmakers forgot to read their history books  because industrial hemp
does not produce any of the  effects of marijuana.

The THC levels in industrial hemp are less than 0.05  percent,
according to

Basically, if you smoked industrial hemp, all you would  get is a
massive headache.

Lawmakers are aware of this, but their concern is that  THC-heavy
strands would be hidden among the industrial  hemp plants.

However, marijuana must be grown away from industrial  hemp plants 
because the high levels of CDC in hemp  plants would counteract and 
taint the THC in the  marijuana plants, leading to a much 
lower-quality drug  that would have little or no street value, 
according to  Hemp and Marijuana: Myths & Realities by Dr. David 
West  of the University of Minnesota.

The hemp stalk is a valuable source of fiber, which is  used in a
plethora of products around the world.

Fiber produces greater resiliency and breathability  than cotton,
which accounts for 25 percent of  pesticides sprayed on the world's
crops, according to

Even Mercedes-Benz uses a bio-composite of hemp to make  stronger,
cheaper door panels.

And speaking of cars, as the price of a barrel of oil  creeps over
$100, hemp seeds produce oil that can be  used as a biodiesel

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, hemp as a  biomass fuel
producer requires the least specialized  growing and processing
procedures of all products.

Hemp can also be used as an alternative to timber for  the production
of paper. According to the Hemp  Industries Association, hemp produces
more pulp per  acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be
used for every quality of paper.

Thomas Jefferson actually drafted the Declaration of  Independence on
hemp paper.

If that's not irony, I don't know what is.

Growing hemp in the United States is technically legal,  but farmers
must receive a DEA permit in order to grow  the plant aE" which is
about as easy as getting  permission from a cop to drive his or her

So if we hold our forefathers in such high esteem, and  I'm starting
to think for multiple reasons that we  don't, how can our government
not see the benefits of  hemp production in the United States?

With the agricultural economy in the shape that it is  in, continuing
a hemp ban seems like one illogical slap  in the face to the farmers
of America.

It shouldn't even be a debate.

Early colonists and Americans were actually required to  grow

Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark,  Finland, France,
Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain all  cultivate hemp for a variety of
uses. Even our  steadfast ally Great Britain lifted its hemp ban 15
years ago!

Thomas Jefferson once said, "The greatest service which  can be
rendered by any country is to add a useful plant  to its culture."

Oh, how foolish we would look to our forefather today.
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MAP posted-by: Derek