Restore Hemp

404_img focuses on the industrial uses of cannabis sativa, including paper, fuel, foods, clothing, building materials and, potentially, over 50,000 different products.

Hemp can produce more fuel, fiber and food than any other crop per land cultivated. Hemp will be the agent of transformation from today’s current dependence on nonsustainable, toxic petrochemicals to nontoxic, sustainable agriculturally-based alternatives.

The Latin name for hemp is cannabis sativa. Sativa means “useful” in Latin, and was given to only the most resourceful staple crops. Paper was invented from hemp in China over 2,000 years ago and a US Department of Agriculture report, Bulletin No. 404, “Hemp Hurds as a Paper-Making Material,” states that a waste product from producing rope, linen, lace and fine paper, this hitherto waste product, the hemp hurd, or the core of the hempstalk, produces more than 4 times more paper than trees per land area cultivated.

The hempseed is higher than any other plant source for protein (though soybeans have more protein, hempseed is more readily usable by people). Hempseed, with 30 percent oil by weight, has an oil that is high in the good cholesterol, GLA, or gamma lineolic acids, and raw hempseed oil can also be used without any modifications to power existing diesel engines. Thousands of new natural food products are being made with hempseed too, everything from chips and pretzels to cheese and milk.

Hemp seed oil can be used as fuel to drive cars and heat homes because Hemp produces biomass, which can be converted into charcoal for electricity, ethanol, methanol and other sources of fuel. Burning biomass for energy, instead of fossil fuels, helps keep the carbon dioxide cycle in balance, and thus helps to stop global warming, instead of contributing to it as the burning of fossil fuels does.

Hemp produces more biomass than any plant practical for farming, substantially more than corn, sugarcane, or kenaf. One acre of hemp can produce 10 tons of biomass every four months of growing season. Hemp fuel is the most cost effective and environmentally friendly reusable energy source on the planet, and could potentially make the U.S. less dependent on foreign petroleum.

Why should farmers grow hemp?

Because hemp is the ultimate cash crop, producing more fiber, food and oil than any other plant on the planet.

According to the Notre Dame University publication, The Midlands Naturalist, from a 1975 article called, “Feral Hemp in Southern Illinois,” about the wild hemp fields that annual efforts from law enforcement eradication teams cannot wipe out, an acre of hemp produces:

1. 8,000 pounds of hemp seed per acre.
When cold-pressed, the 8,000 pounds of hemp seed yield over 300 gallons of hemp seed oil and a byproduct of 6,000 pounds of high protein hemp flour.

These seed oils are both a food and a biodiesel fuel. Currently, the most productive seed oil crops are soybeans, sunflower seeds and rape seed or canola. Each of these three seed oil crops produce between 100 to 120 gallons of oil per acre. Hemp seed produces three times more oil per acre than the next most productive seed oil crops, or over 300 gallons per acre, with a byproduct of 3 tons of food per acre. Hemp seed oil is also far more nutritious and beneficial for our health than any other seed oil crop.

In addition to the food and oil produced, there are several other byproducts and benefits to the cultivation of hemp.

2. Six to ten tons per acre of hemp bast fiber. Bast fiber makes canvas, rope, lace, linen, and ultra-thin specialty papers like cigarette and bible papers.

3. Twenty-five tons of hemp hurd fiber. Hemp hurd fiber makes all grades of paper, composite building materials, animal bedding and a material for the absorption of liquids and oils.

4. The deep tap root draws up sub-soil nutrients and then, when the leaves fall from the plant to the ground, they return these nutrients to the top soil for the next crop rotation.

5. The residual flowers, after the seeds are extracted, produce valuable medicines.

Our farmers need this valuable crop to be returned as an option for commercial agriculture.

While marijuana is prohibited, industrial hemp will be economically prohibitive due to the artificial regulatory burdens imposed by the prohibition of marijuana. When marijuana and cannabis are legally regulated, industrial hemp will return to its rightful place in our agricultural economy.

Hemp may be the plant that started humans down the road toward civilization with the invention of agriculture itself. All archaeologists agree that cannabis was among the first crops purposely cultivated by human beings at least over 6,000 years ago, and perhaps more than 12,000 years ago.

Restoring industrial hemp to its rightful place in agriculture today will return much control to our farmers, and away from the multinational corporations that dominate our political process and destroy our environment. These capital-intensive, non-sustainable, and environmentally destructive industries have usurped our economic resources and clear-cut huge tracts of the world’s forests, given us massive oil spills, wars, toxic waste, massive worldwide pollution, global warming and the destruction of entire ecosystems.

Prohibiting the cultivation of this ancient plant, the most productive source of fiber, oil and protein on our planet, is evil. In its place we have industries that give us processes and products that have led to unprecedented ecological crisis and worldwide destruction of the biological heritage that we should bequeath to our children, grandchildren and future generations.

Restore hemp!