Ever wondered why hemp was made illegal in the first place ?
Hemp was criminalized when the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was enforced. This act made marijuana (a new drug at the time) illegal in the United States.
The question still remains: Why did Hemp get dragged down with marijuana ?
Hemp cannot get you high. It is an industrial crop. Marijuana and Hemp are not the same thing! Unfortunately, the common answer to this question is: “They look too much alike.” Sorry..we just can’t buy that.
The conspiracy theory of why Hemp was criminalized with marijuana goes a little something like this……
Prior to the 1800s, it was very common to see Hemp products as mainly paper and textiles. After the invention of the cotton gin, Hemp became a forgotten fiber because cotton was much easier and cheaper to produce for textiles. In the early 1900s, George Schlichten introduced the Hemp Decorticator. This invention was going to revolutionize the Hemp industry, making it much easier to process. Soon after, negative propaganda skyrocketed about the cannabis plant. W.R Hearst fabricated stories in his newspapers about this new drug called “marihuana,” which was causing blacks and Mexicans to rape and kill white women. Prior to his articles, marijuana was never used as slang for cannabis—Hearst intentionally did this to demonize this plant with a new name. This led to a propaganda movie in 1936 called “Reefer Madness,” portraying cannabis as the most dangerous drug in the world.
So, why such an extreme effort to criminalize the cannabis plant? Not only did W.R Hearst own the largest newspaper company at the time, but he also owned many acres of forests to create his papers. He wasn’t the only one trying to protect his interests. In the 1920s, DuPont invested heavily in synthetic fibers and also saw Hemp as a threat. Not to mention, DuPont produced chemicals to process timber into paper.
Things got even worse in the early 1930s after Harry J. Anslinger was appointed the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which is known today as the DEA. Anslinger targeted minorities and supported Hearst’s outrageous stories about cannabis. After nearly a decade of negative stories about cannabis and minorities, Anslinger proposed the Marijuana Tax Act to congress and was passed on August 2, 1937. This eventually banned its production, sale, & use. Industrial Hemp was dragged down with it. Even though Hemp is not marijuana and there is a clear distinction between the two. The government says Hemp is kept illegal because it’s too similar to marijuana. These claims are hard to believe and that is why they must be questioned.
Hemp and its many uses
1. Paper & Cardboard Products
Hemp regenerates in months; it grows extremely quickly, sounds like a perfect thing to make paper with. Unlike trees that can take over 30 years to be ready to harvest hemp is ready to go right away! Why are we still clear cutting forests? Hemp is a way better alternative! The paper that is made from hemp doesn’t become yellow or brittle because hemp is naturally acid free. Did you know that the original declaration of independence was written on hemp paper? Hemp can be recycled up to 7 times, while wood pulp paper can only be recycled a maximum of 3 times. Not to mention that 220 million pounds of toxic pollution are added into the air and water every year during the production of wood paper and pulp. Hemp paper does not need to be bleached with chlorine; it can be whitened with hydrogen peroxide, which is a lot safer for the water and soil of the earth.
2. Clothing & Fabrics
As a fabric, hemp is the optimal choice! ‘Hemp doesn’t wear out, it wears in!’ Hemp clothing becomes softer every time you wash it. Growing hemp requires the use of very little pesticides and no herbicides, so not only is this great for the environment, but in turn, if used for clothing and blankets, it is not harmful for your skin. One acre of hemp will produce as much material as 2-3 acres of cotton. Wow, this hemp really is amazing isn’t it? Hemp material will keep you cool in the heat and keep you warm in the cold, it is known to be 4 times warmer than cotton material! The production of hemp into fabric instead of cotton, as if there aren’t enough amazing facts about hemp fabric as it is, it is also naturally fire retardant! So as oppose to most other fabrics, clothing, bed sheets, linens etc.. it would not need to have fire repellant chemicals added, what a great bonus! ????
3. Plastic & Building Materials
Did you know that Henry Ford made a body for a car that was lighter than steel but could stand 10 times the impact without denting? Of course, it was made of hemp! Hemp can be made into various different building materials, hempcrete, fiberboard, carpet, stucco, cement blocks, insulation, and plastic. Not only are Hemp building supplies a lot better for the environment but also walls made from Hemp are rot free, pest free, mold free and fire resistant! Walls made from hemp can last up to 500 years. How’s that for sustainability? Hemp plastic can completely replace oil based plastic materials that we are using today that contain large amounts of dangerous chemicals such as the very well known Bisphenol A. If all our plastics were made from hemp material you could literally purchase something that came in a plastic hemp container and then throw that container directly into the compost, as hemp plastics are completely biodegradable. Now why have we even been using the other harmful destructive ways of producing plastic?
Hemp can be made into fuel in two ways: the oil from the pressed hempseed can be turned into biodiesel, or the fermented stalk can be made into ethanol and methanol. Biodiesel is completely biodegradable and a much cleaner fuel for the air. Even the exhaust produced from burning hempseed biodiesel has a pleasant smell. Although hemp is not the greatest alternative to fuel that is available, hemp fuel can be used temporarily because it can be used in all the existing vehicles today without making any alterations. Both sources of hemp fuel are non-toxic and are completely biodegradable.
So, not only is hemp great for the environment, it is great for your body too! Hemp seeds are known to be one of the most nutritious seeds on the planet! Quite impressive, I know. Along with magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber and almost every vitamin and mineral that the body needs, Hemp seeds contain high amounts of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are very high in protein, containing 25% protein content. They do not contain phytic acid, which means every last bit of goodness that these tiny seeds have to offer can be absorbed and utilized by the body! Hemp seeds have a great nutty taste to them too, so you’ll enjoy sprinkling them over salads or your other favorite dishes!
As you can see Hemp is an excellent choice for many different reasons. Almost everything created out of hemp is biodegradable, so not only do hemp products seem to last a lot longer, but when it is time to replace them, they can be returned back to the Earth. What a beautiful cycle! Really its design is perfect. It’s time to implement these new resources, we have the information, we have the technology, so what’s stopping us? The way I see it, Hemp will be at the forefront of a new Earth!