Economic Stimulus? Think HEMP!


Last night’s vice-presidential debate had me thinking quite a bit this morning. Almost all of the topics, in some way or other, had to do with money. Defense – money. Economy – money. Taxes – money. Medicare – money. Health – money. Social Security – money. Employment/unemployment – money.

And by now you are wondering, “Where is she going with this?”

I’ll tell you. The United States’ economy is not at it’s healthiest point right now. People are hurting. Businesses are hurting. Some American farmers are hurting. Unemployment is at an unacceptable level. Fossil fuel energy is HIGH. Now, I must also remind you that everything is energy, money is energy. Energy fluctuates. Everything fluctuates, up and down, never in a steady, static line.

I came across several articles stating that greener businesses are growing at a faster percentage rate than the actual economy growth. Here are a few examples of some ‘green’ business types: bicycles, thrift and re-purposing stores, electric/hybrid cars (some which use hemp panels), wind/solar energy, and green construction (both industrial and residential).

BUT, like I stated above, green businesses are GROWING. What does this growth mean? Jobs. Income. Security. Economic growth. And…environmental conscience.

Below is an excerpt from one of the articles I read:

 

  • Greener industries grow faster than the overall economy. For every percentage-point increase in an industry’s green intensity, annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher. Future projections suggest continued job growth from green intensity.
  • States with greater green intensity generally fared better in the economic downturn.
  • Green jobs are accessible to workers without a college degree. For every 1 percentage-point increase in green intensity in a given industry, there was a corresponding 0.28 percentage-point increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.
  • Manufacturing plays a strong role in the green economy. The sector accounts for 20.4 percent of all green jobs despite representing only 10.8 percent of total private employment. Furthermore, the green industries within the manufacturing sector are projected to grow 25 percent faster than the overall sector.

Much of the current discussion about green jobs focuses on the renewable-energy industry and thus overlooks how pervasive green jobs are throughout the economy. In truth, the utility sector accounts for just three percent of total private green jobs, and even within that sector, the water and sewage industry accounts for over four times the number of green jobs as renewable energy.  Occupations such as garbage collectors, sewage workers, construction workers, household-appliance manufacturers and bus drivers are as integral to the green economy as solar-panel installers or wind-turbine manufacturers.

“Transitioning to a greener and more sustainable economy is good for the environment, but it also helps promote stronger economic growth and opportunity,” said Pollack.  “And the seeds of this transformation are planted throughout the economy, oftentimes in unexpected places.”  (enewspf.com)

“Seeds.”  Did you see that? And you KNOW which direction I am taking that – HEMP!

Hemp is one of the GREENEST products on the planet. It is carbon negative. It’s growing season is approximately 4 months. It can be used to manufacture ANY product that is also made with carbon-based fossil fuels. Hemp can also be used in construction – interior, exterior, foundation to roof. It is biodegradable, cleans the air, heals the soil, uses less water than cotton or other crops, doesn’t need fertilizer or pesticides, and can be grown ABUNDANTLY in many climates. Not only that, it’s nutritional value makes it an important food crop.

Hemp can put our farmers to work. (See also American Farmland Trust.) Hemp, being a GREEN resource, can help our economy grow faster, put manufacturers to work, and start the process to heal our planet from the damage done by pulling fossil fuels out of the ground.

My vote is for HEMP!

Hemp – A Cash Crop For Medicine, Food, And Shelter


The 1938 Edition of Popular Mechanics called hemp The New Billion Dollar Crop. (You can see the article here: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/popmech1.htm)

Unfortunately, the Billion Dollar Crop was not meant to be. Randolph Hearst’s newspapers depended on wood (he owned several sawmills) and his investments in timber would be threatened. DuPont’s chemicals were also a factor, in that they were used with the wood pulp to create the paper. Hemp was a threat to timber, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and oil.

What exactly is a cash crop? A cash crop is a crop grown for direct sale, as opposed to being grown for the farmer’s use (livestock feed, etc.). Before prohibition, hemp WAS  a cash crop. Hemp was used for food, textiles, fuel, medicine, and housing. It was also used as money. People could pay their taxes with hemp!

Hemp can produce ten times the methanol as corn. Crop rotation is not necessary, as the hemp enriches the soil on its own. It does not need pesticides or herbicides.

Up until the 20th century, hemp WAS the largest cash crop in America.

Today there is a movement to get BACK to hemp. Hemp farming is legal in several states, but getting the permits from the DEA is next to impossible. Farmers WANT to grow hemp. With over 50,000 products that can be produce from hemp, it IS the perfect choice.

Hemp fibers are the longest and strongest in the plant kingdom. Hemp fabric lasts longer than cotton and is less chemical and water intensive.

Hempseeds and hempseed oil are an excellent nutrition source, with the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids, easily digestible proteins, and other nutrients needed for optimum health.

Hemp fuel is safe and clean.

Hemp used in construction means cleaner, stronger structures – and structures made from hemp are carbon neutral; in some cases they are carbon negative.

Hemp fabric and clothing are becoming more popular; hemp foods are found in health food stores, food co-ops, and some grocery stores.

Hemp plastics and automobile components are becoming more popular as well.

Most of the hemp imported into the U.S. comes from Canada and China. New figures show that the U.S. spends more than $300,000,000 per year on hemp products – both finished products and raw hemp.

In Kentucky, lawmakers are promoting hemp as a cash crop.

Willie Nelson, in the following video, explains why hemp farming should be restored to the U.S.

The hemp market is GLOBAL. Imagine if the U.S. could put farmers to work, growing cash crops of hemp, and having the ability to be a SUPPLIER of hemp world-wide. It truly WOULD be a billion dollar crop.

Why Oil Is One Of The Reasons For Our Economic Decline, And Why Hemp May Be The Remedy


We are in an economic crisis. But don’t panic, there are always good things that come out of crises. It’s all a matter of being aware, being ready, and being educated.

Our economy, put simply, really sucks right now. But the United States is not alone. Other countries are facing the same pain. There are several factors that have had a hand in the decline.

Here is a simplified example:

A country has good currency and a strong economy. It sees a population growth and economic growth. More programs are implemented (public works, healthcare, public housing assistance, welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Workman’s Comp., etc.), aiding in influence in economic issues and politics…and then the money and influence gets channeled into a huge military fund/presence. The military is then utilized, and enormous expenditures occur (funding wars). This transfer of money, or wealth, is the cause of economic pain for most of the population, and results in inflation and the declining value of the dollar.

(image from rickety.us)

Here are the main reasons for our economic state today:

1. Housing Bubble

2. Record amounts of debt

3. Oil

If you look at history about 100 years ago, when the big oil boom started, that is when the economy surged and the population started seeing an increase. And, when you think about it, almost everything you have is the result of oil. Clothing, food, homes, vehicles, transportation, electronics, household goods – all are/were dependent on oil, either in the manufacturing of those goods or the transportation used in getting those goods to you.

The United States uses 25% of the world’s daily oil supply, and imports 70% of that. (forestecologynetwork.org)

Oil is not a renewable resource, and it is a DECLINING resource.  Easy, cheap oil is on the decline. Countries are seeing a decline in oil extraction, and there is a rush to find either new oil fields or alternate sources of energy. Again, at this point, it is the EASY, CHEAP oil that is on the decline.

Global oil production is declining at 8-10% per  year. And what does this mean? Higher prices. For EVERYTHING.

Now, this is not the end of the world as we know it. There IS a solution, and that solution is HEMP.

Hemp does everything that petroleum does, AND BETTER!

Extracting fossil fuels are harmful to the environment and to human health. Petroleum extracting and processing is a chemical-intensive, expensive process.  Hemp oil for fuel is simply a matter of growing, harvesting, and processing.

Petroleum-based plastics are not biodegradable. Hemp-based plastics are recyclable and biodegradable.

Fuel for transportation can be replaced with hemp-based biofuels. Hemp fuel is clean, efficient, and…if it spills it does not harm the environment, it is more like a fertilizer.

Everything, EVERYTHING, that petroleum does, hemp does. So, why are we feeling this pain from fossil fuels?

Why are we not allowing our farmers to grow hemp?  Well, we know the reasons – big oil, pharma, timber, and chemical companies do not want to lose their investment dollars; the military – using OUR dollars to fund wars, some of which have to do with…yes, you guessed it…OIL.

What would happen if in the next few years we, in the U.S., farmed hemp on a large scale? We would have no more independence on foreign oil, we certainly wouldn’t need so much money spent on the military, we would have a clean, safe alternative, and every single factor in our lives when it comes to food, clothing, health, transportation, housing, etc. – it would all be thanks to HEMP. Our economy would start to heal. The government wouldn’t need to print new money, causing more debt (which, by the way, is NOT the answer to reviving a sucky economy).

So, what do we do now? We keep speaking, we keep educating, we work toward legalizing industrial hemp farming in the U.S. We put our energy into doing everything we can to rid ourselves of dependence on foreign and domestic fossil fuels. Will this happen overnight? No. Of course not. But we can begin taking steps NOW to take us in that direction.

Growing Hemp – An Act Of Social Responsibility


Social responsibility is a way of acting that has a positive, ethical result or impact on society.

Throughout history, industrial hemp has had nothing but a positive impact. It is one of the most nutritionally complete food plants, it’s nutritious properties are medicinal, it is used in construction, textiles, and plastics. It is an energy source. During its growing season hemp also heals and nourishes the soil, as well as cleans the air.

The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. The first Levi Strauss jeans were made from hemp. The first Betsy Ross flag was made of hemp fabric. The first Bibles were made from hemp. Hemp was used as legal tender – one could pay their taxes with hemp. Our first presidents grew hemp. Henry Ford grew hemp, processed hemp fuel, and built a hemp car. During WWII farmers were required to grow hemp to aid in the war effort.

Hemp was desirable because of its long, strong fibers; it needed little to no fertilization or pesticide; it was clean food and clean energy.

All of that changed with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and the resulting prohibition of hemp farming without proper permits (which have been impossible to get from the DEA). Hemp was banned because it threatened the investments of oil, timber, chemical, and pharmaceutical companies. Using products that were less healthy for the environment and human health became the norm.

This is where social IRRESPONSIBILITY comes into play.

Fossil fuels – fossil fuels replaced hemp fuel and other biomass. Fossil fuels are dirtier, create more pollution, are non-renewable, and are toxic. The process of extracting and processing fossil fuels is chemical-intensive and causes large amounts of pollution. Look at fracking (hydraulic fracturing,  the process for extracting natural gas) – fracking is the process of extracting natural gas by pumping fracking chemicals into the ground. These chemicals have shown up in drinking water and soil, potentially harming the health of those who are in the vicinity of the fracking projects.

Plastics – plastics made from fossil fuel products are NOT biodegradable. They are full of chemicals that harm health and body. Plastic made from hemp IS biodegradable and recyclable.

Timber – now, I am not saying cutting forests is ALL bad, (we do need wood for buildings and furniture) but I am saying that some products made from wood can be made from hemp – cardboard, paper products, fiberboard for construction, etc. Forests take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turns it into oxygen. Massive deforestation reduces the cleaning of the air, and also affects animal habitats and causes erosion problems.

Pharmaceuticals – I am not against chemical medication as a whole, there are some instances where medication is needed to save a life or to bring someone’s health back into balance. However, it has become the norm to treat illness and disease with pills and chemicals instead of looking at the CAUSE. Proper nutrition has a big hand in health. So does eating hemp. Hemp treats, cures, slows down the incidence, and prevents many diseases and conditions, and it does so in a healthy way. There are many chemical medications that are extremely dangerous and some of them do more harm than good. We’ve become a pill-popping society, when we should be a hemp-eating, nutrition-conscious society.

Chemicals – hemp rope was replaced with nylon rope. Why was hemp rope desirable? It’s long, strong fibers and UV resistance made it perfect in that it did not break down easily. Natural fabrics were replaced with nylon and polyester, rayon, and orlon – all of which are petrochemical based. (I am not saying that you have to rush out and buy a new wardrobe, but I am saying that we need to be conscious of what we wear and where the fibers come from).

In all of the above products – chemicals, fossil fuels, timber, pharmaceuticals – we see that each one of them in some way does more harm than good. THAT is socially irresponsible.

Allowing farmers to grow hemp, and allowing hemp to take its rightful place BACK in our economy is the socially and economically responsible thing to do.

Hemp – Nature’s ‘Green Gold’


Gold. For as long as time, gold has been sought after for it’s value, beauty, and usefulness.

We’ve heard or read the phrases that reflect gold as important or valuable or honored:

“Gold Standard”

“As Good as Gold”

“Gold is Forever”

“The Golden Rule”

Yes, gold is shiny, gold is precious, gold is respected. However, there is another element that has as much value as gold, if not more. It is green gold. Yes, I am talking about hemp.

For thousands upon thousands of years hemp has been revered, valued, and utilized. It has fed us, clothed us, healed us. Hemp has given us oil, fuel, energy.

As food, hemp is one of the most nutritionally complete plants on earth. It is a complete protein, containing all necessary amino acids needed by the human body. It has the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids; it contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, chlorophyll, calcium, and iron. Because it is so nutrient dense, it can literally be a meal itself.

Hemp fibers produce strong, durable, and yet soft textiles. Hemp textile artifacts have been found from thousands of years ago – still intact! Hemp fabric is UV resistant, is slow to break down under many washings, and can be as soft as cotton. Hemp clothing has been proven to last longer than cotton and some synthetic fibers.

Hemp as medicine – nutrition is one of the foundations for good health. However, we often find ourselves dealing with diseases or conditions – sometimes from injuries, lack of proper nutrients, genetics, or environmental toxins. Hemp is a known anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory plant. It helps with brain disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD), diabetes, cancer, Crohn’s disease, stroke, heart disease, cellular repair, MS, Lupus, skin disorders, vision…the list goes on and on. What other plant on earth can help these conditions (and more)?

Hemp fuel (biomass) can remove or dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels. It can fuel our cars, we can cook with it, we can heat with it. Hemp energy, or carbohydrate energy, is clean, efficient, and does not harm the environment or the air. If spilled,  hemp fuel will not damage the earth or poison the water – it will simply act more like a fertilizer.

Farming hemp would boost our economy; the hemp farms would also have a hand in cleaning our air and soils.

Building with hemp – did you know in France there is a bridge that was built with hemp? It is still there, and it was built in the 6th century. Homes with hemp construction (foundation, baseboards, walls, insulation, roof tiles, pipes, carpets, etc.) leave a NEGATIVE carbon footprint. Hemp insulation helps keep the air in the home clean; hemp is also mold- , insect-, and rodent-repellent.

I can think of no other substance on earth that can feed us with perfect nutrition, clothe us with fibers that are durable and soft, treat and heal our diseases, house us, give us clean renewable energy, (and be used for automobile construction), clean our air and soil, give us paper and plastics…and while doing all this bringing no harm to the earth or the populations.

Hemp – a VALUABLE renewable resource. Hemp IS green gold.

Hemp – The Best Biomass Energy Around!


Energy. We all use energy, and NEED it. There are many forms of energy. Some are clean and healthy for the environment, some are not.

There are 2 sources of energy – non-renewable and renewable.

Non-renewable sources of energy include fossil fuels and uranium (which is not a fossil fuel). Combustive fossil fuels emit dangerous elements into the air and environment – sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. These are products that are the cause of pollution and acid rain.

Renewable sources of energy include hydropower, geothermal, solar, and biomass. These create less pollution and are cleaner to process.

Let’s look at biomass. Biomass, renewable energy, is biological material from living or recently living organisms. It can be used directly or converted to create other forms of energy. Examples of biomass are wood, crops, food waste, vegetable oils, and hemp.

In the 1900s Henry Ford, and others, realized the importance of using biomass as energy and fuel as opposed to using fossil energy. Henry Ford grew his own hemp, built a hemp car, and processed hemp fuel for his car – his dream was to have hemp fuel (a renewable, clean energy)  replace fossil fuel (a non-renewable less clean energy).

“Henry Ford recognized that up to 90 percent of all fossil fuel used inthe world today (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.) should long ago have been replaced with biomass such as: cornstalks, cannabis, waste paper and the like. Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol or gasoline at a fraction of the current cost of oil, coal, or nuclear energy – especially when environmental costs are factored in – and its mandated use would end acid rain, end sulfur- based smog, and reverse the Greenhouse Effect on our planet – right now!*
*Government and oil and coal companies, etc., will insist that burning biomass fuels is no better than using up our fossil fuel reserves, as far as pollution goes; but this is patently untrue. Why? Because, unlike fossil fuels, biomass comes from living (not extinct) plants that continue to remove carbon dioxide pollution from our atmosphere as they grow, through photosynthesis. Furthermore, biomass fuels do not contain sulfur. This can be accomplished if hemp is grown for biomass and then converted through pyrolysis (charcoalizing) or biochemical composting into fuels to replace fossil fuel energy products.*
*Remarkably, when considered on a planet-wide, climate-wide, soil-wide basis, cannabis is at least four and possibly many more times richer in sustainable, renewable biomass/cellulose potential than its nearest rivals on the planet – cornstalks, sugarcane, kenaf trees, etc.” (The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer)

It is a known fact that hemp cleans the air as it grows, and cleans the soil as well. Hemp is carbon negative. (Fossil fuels are NOT.)

Ethanol and Methanol can be produced from hemp, and these fuels are cleaner. They produce less carbon monoxide than fossil fuels and have a higher octane.

In the past, wood was used for cooking fuel and heating fuel. However, the deforestation lowers the air quality (as well as the burning of the wood fuel). It takes 20-40 years for a new crop of trees to be at the harvestable age.

Hemp, however, produces approximately 2-3 crops per year; it is 77% cellulose (trees are 60%) and hemp. It is a known fact that hemp cleans the air as it grows, and cleans the soil as well. Hemp is also carbon negative.

It makes sense, from an environmental point of view as well as a health point of view, that hemp should be used as a clean, renewable source of energy.

It’s Time to Get Back to Industrial Hemp, and Embrace the Change That Comes With It


Industrial hemp has had a long, fruitful, and interesting history. It has been used for over 10,000 years as food, medicine, clothing, fuel, and in construction.

It is now classified as a schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act – a move that made it illegal to grow without a permit from the DEA.

It is amazing (or, perhaps a better word would be disturbing) that this wondrous, healthy plant was made illegal so investors in oil, chemicals, pharma, and timber could reap their benefits at the expense of our health and the health of our planet.

The chemical, drug, oil, and timber industries have taken their toll. Our nation is an industrialized nation, which means we consume huge amounts of oil, gas, chemicals, additives in foods, chemical drugs to treat every illness under the sun. We’ve become a nation addicted to ‘fast, quick, easy’. But that system isn’t always healthy.

Our fast foods, canned foods, and prepared foods are laden with chemicals. We have gone from fresh, farm or home-grown to over-processed nutrient-deficient foods.

Our illnesses are treated with chemical drugs, most of which have warnings because they, themselves, are dangerous. Have you looked lately at the side effects of most chemical meds? If you take a close look, you will realize that these are what are making us sicker and even killing us. (Now, I am not saying all meds are bad, and yes, some people do need to be on meds for health or stabilization.) Hemp can (and does) treat many illnesses and disease. If we look at the causes of disease, we will find that many are the cause of emotional or nutritional imbalance. And how can we best treat disease and illness? Nutrition. And what is one of the most nutritional plants around? Yes, you guessed it. Hemp.

We have become dependent on oil. Look at this, though. Oil and fuel processing in itself is unhealthy for the environment (and humans). Oil extraction can be as well. (See: Gulf of Mexico) And the alternative? Hemp fuel! Hemp fuel is safe, clean, and non-toxic. If it spills it acts more like a fertilizer than a health hazard. Henry Ford’s idea to build hemp cars and use hemp fuel (he grew his own hemp) was an excellent option.

Many of the substances we use today are petroleum based or synthetic (chemical based) – plastics, nylon to name a couple. Anything that can be made from fossil fuels/oil can be made from hemp.

William Randolph Hearst (yes, the newspaper guy) had a huge stake in timber and owned a couple sawmills. He was one of the main supporters of banning the use of hemp. Why? It was a threat to his timber investments. Did you know that The Declaration of Independence was made with hemp? Paper products made from timber are very chemical intensive. Writing paper, paper bags, napkins, toilet paper, paper towels, books – all of these have been processed with chlorine and numerous other chemicals. Yes, paper from trees can be recycled; yet the chemicals in them remain. Do you know, even recycled toilet paper has chemical residue from the paper it was recycled from? Hemp paper is stronger, lasts longer, and is processed easily and with less toxic chemicals.

Hemp does not need pesticides or herbicides. It does that naturally. Hemp uses less water than cotton.  (Did you know, cotton growth/manufacturing uses HUGE amounts of water and chemicals – cotton is one of the most chemical intensive crops.) Hemp heals the soil and cleans the air. It is healthy – for body, environment, and economy.

Now, this is where the change must occur. Yes, in the 1930s there was change – our country went from being one that embraced hemp and all it’s greatness to one that shunned it in favor of unhealthy alternatives, thanks to lobbyists for the big oil, chemical, pharma, and timber investors.

It is time to change once again, BACK to the plant that will help our planet, our health, and our economy. There will be people kicking and screaming. There were (and are) those who will fight hard and dirty to keep hemp illegal. They do not want their investments threatened. However, CHANGE is needed.

The propaganda about hemp needs to be dispelled. Ideas need to change; minds need to embrace the idea that yes, hemp IS a good thing. For some, change is a scary thing.

There have been families, for generations, whose livelihoods have depended on the oil and timber industries. In some areas those were the main industries. These people worked hard to feed their families and send their kids to college, to build their lives. I am not bashing those who worked, sweated, and died working to care for their families, especially those in the timber industry. I’ve been touched first-hand by that. My ex-husband’s brother died working for a logging company. I have other friends who were injured badly or disabled in that industry. I am NOT saying that the timber industry is all evil. We need wood for construction, etc.

What I AM saying, though, is that there are some products that can be replaced with hemp – paper, for example – simply because hemp is the better, cleaner, healthier alternative. We DO need to reduce the amount of trees that we use. They take 20-40 years to grow. Hemp, however, takes months and can produce much more per acre than trees.

Yes, change can be scary. Going back to hemp is a good change – healthier earth, healthier bodies, healthier air, healthier environment. But, in order to evolve, to GROW, we must EMBRACE that change…

One hempseed at a time.