Monday, December 19, 2016

Move Over Cotton, Say Hello to Hemp — The ‘Forbidden’ Crop That is Taking the World by Storm

by PAUL FASSA
 

Allowing and encouraging domestic hemp cultivation would be a boon for small farmers, especially organic farmers. I’m talking only about industrial hemp, not medical cannabis/marijuana, which continues to prove its merits and gain acceptance.

Industrial hemp’s use should be a no-brainer. But it’s a complex boondoggle of legal and bureaucratic nonsense even without THC, the molecule that leads to “Reefer Madness”.

Industrial hemp commercial cultivation is legal in Canada. But the USA hemp industry was pushed to the side by government connected industry insiders whose monopolies were threatened when it appeared hemp may boom and compete for the very products of their monopolist concerns.

Circa 1937, the hemp industry had been given a mechanical invention gift known as the decoricator machine was invented. It was a machine that was to hemp what the 19th Century cotton gin was. It replaced hand shredding of hemp to glean its fibers, fibers that could be used for textiles, clothing, paper, and plastic.
 

With the advent of the decoricator, hemp would have been able to take over competing industries in paper, textiles for clothing and other applications, fuel, and plastics. Growing hemp in abundance was easy, and it’s plant to harvest time was no more than six months.

According to Popular Mechanics during that time, “10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average [forest] pulp land.” Then a  small number of large businesses with competition concerns used high level government connections to push through the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

The ensuing marijuana scares hyped by movies such as “Reefer Madness” brought about more legislation that would prohibit all hemp cultivation, even hemp without THC.

Prior to this, even without the high speed decoricator, hemp was an easy cash crop for small farmers, some of whom were recruited to continue cultivating hemp during WW II to provide hemp fibers for U.S. Naval ships’ ropes as well as other military applications.

And prior to that, hemp was so important during colonial and early American times that farmers were virtually required to cultivate it along with their other crops.

George Washington – “Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”

Thomas Jefferson – “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”


Hemp for Nutrition

Hulled hemp seeds, their powders and cold pressed oils provide all the essential amino acids for easily digested high protein. Hemp is not only very high in omega-3, but it provides an almost perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.

It is truly a super food that you can buy in health food stores or online. The seeds come from Canada, where industrial hemp is legal. Hemp is so nutritionally dense that one could survive on hemp seeds alone during extreme food shortages. If hemp were legal, you could easily grow your own.

Hemp Improves Farming

Hemp plants don’t need pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, which rely mostly on the phosphate industry. A phosphate industry byproduct is the sodium fluoride that is sold to municipality water works for our poisoned tap water.

The runoff from fields of phosphate fertilizers into waterways that merge with seawater is causing all sorts of nitrogen and phosphorous excesses and imbalances, leading to algae that stifles the water’s ecological support systems.

Hemp’s thick roots ward off weeds, and growing hemp improves the soil’s nitrogen, making that soil better for other crops. They would be useful and lucrative rotation crops for organic farmers.

Hemp plants have a growth cycle of only four months. In mild climates, harvesting hemp two times in one year would create an annual cash cow for farmers. The marijuana taboo is eliminated by allowing the male plants to continually pollinate the female plants. This reduces psychotropic THC to legal levels.


Eliminating Toxic Petrochemical Plastics

There is a clump of plastic waste residue larger than the state of Texas floating in the middle of the Pacific. A lot of it is expected to decompose, creating a plastic soup in the ocean. 


The toxins from this plastic soup spread out into other oceanic regions and are hazardous to fish and bird wildlife. This soup could find its way into our kitchens as well!

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