What’s New in the World of Hemp?


modern-uses-for-hemp

Greetings!

Much has been going on lately, both in my world and in the world of hemp!

Let’s start with my world. My book transcript is finished, now I am editor shopping and working on a book cover, as well as a cover for a spoken word CD I will be creating to go with the book…and one other creative project I may add to the package! Exciting times!!

There has been so much news about hemp lately, I almost don’t know where to start!

It is exciting to see daily, weekly, and monthly progress in education and legalization of hemp. Having said that, below, in outline style, is a run-down of what is happening nationally:

1) The call for hemp homes is getting stronger! Hemp Industries Association is offering a 3-day hands on course for building homes from hemcrete. Hemcrete is strong, versatile, and a high performance alternative to traditional building materials. Homes made with hemcrete leave a negative carbon footprint. The class is in September, so there is still time to check it out! You can find the information HERE.

2) Virginia is currently drafting a hemp farming act; when I hear more about the details I’ll share them here!

3) Next year, California may finally be planting hemp seed in research fields. Last year the bill passed, but it as been slow to get the action going. Again, as more details become available I’ll be writing and keeping you up to date!

4) GREAT NEWS FOR WASHINGTON STATE! First of all, I’m sure most of you know that recreational marijuana use has been legalized in Washington State. I do believe that this helped get the door open for industrial hemp farming. Currently there is pending legislation to allow hemp farming. Washington State has much farmland, and some of that isn’t even being used. How great it would be to see that land utilized for a crop that can feed, heal, house, and clothe us, fuel our cars, and much, much more! Whatcom county soil (which is where I live!!!) will be tested, and hopefully some test plots planted here. In my honest opinion, this is an excellent choice – we are, after all, the berry capital of the world (raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries) with our wonderful soils, as well as producers of corn, potatoes, and other crops. You can see the news clip from NBC News HERE.

5) “On May 12, Murray State University made history by becoming the first entity of any type in the nation to legally place industrial hemp seeds in the ground as part of a statewide trial.” What great news to see that hemp is legally planted in U.S. soil! http://murrayledger.com/news/growing-like-a-weed-msu-industrial-hemp-crop-thriving-in/article_2f1fb430-fe7f-11e3-bec4-0019bb2963f4.html

6) Tennessee is jumping in: “The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s proposed rules for hemp farming include plenty of red tape.

Under the proposal, farers would have to obtain a $500 license, be subjected to random testing of THC levels (to ensure trace amounts compared to marijuana) and provide GPS coordinates for their fields, Nashville Public Radio reports.

State Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) told the station that strict rules were necessary to open Tennessee’s’ doors to industrial hemp, but that he hopes there will be fewer hoops to jump through in the future. Farmers wishing to grow hemp can submit applications to the state later this year to begin growing in 2015.” http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/morning_call/2014/06/stateagriculture-department-proposes-many-hoops.html

7) And here comes Nebraska! “The first federal law mentioning hemp came in 1937. Congress discouraged the high THC varieties of cannabis, like marijuana, while exempting farmers who grew the crop for industrial uses like fiber and seed. It enjoyed a short resurgence during World War II, when the federal government actually promoted the crop, petering off in the 1950s. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 put the current kibosh on the plant. It required farmers apply for a federal permit before growing it. No commercial permits have been granted since then.

But in a historic move, the 2014 farm bill allowed hemp cultivation in areas where state laws have legalized the crop.” http://netnebraska.org/article/news/921662/now-appearing-hemp-first-time-decades

 

As you can see, the movement toward hemp farming, cultivation, and use is increasing as populations are learning about the excellent uses and versatility of hemp (not to mention a huge boost to the economy!). Can you feel the momentum? I can!

Kentucky, California, and Colorado are among states that have welcomed its return. Nebraska recently passed a law opening the door for farmers to grow hemp. Currently 12 states have legislation on the books that would allow cultivation of hemp as laid out in the recent Farm Bill.

Is Kentucky Close To Growing Hemp Again?


Hemp in Kentucky

My friend Alan Tracy sent me a link this afternoon, with the comment, “Big News!” (A great followup to yesterday’s post!)

This is from the website of Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=f0db455a-2152-4e7a-9ccd-358fb7f2f9bd)

Here is what it says

Jan 31 2013

Industrialized Hemp Will Help Spur Economic Growth and Create Jobs in Kentucky

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement today regarding industrialized hemp and its impact on Kentucky:

“After long discussions with Senator Rand Paul and Commissioner James Comer on the economic benefits of industrialized hemp, I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy. Commissioner Comer has assured me that his office is committed to pursuing industrialized hemp production in a way that does not compromise Kentucky law enforcement’s marijuana eradication efforts or in any way promote illegal drug use. The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times that sounds like a good thing to me.”

A commitment to pursue a crop that can help our economy, our planet, and our health – that IS great news!

Let’s hope that Kentucky can get BACK to growing hemp, as it did 150 years ago.  It looks as if it is going in the right direction – again!

photo credit: jimmywayne via photopin cc

Washington State Passes Cannabis Legalization Initiative 502


November 6 2012 – a day that will go down in history. Not only was it a very close presidential election (following one of the most aggressive campaigns I can ever remember), but it was also an opportunity for 4 states to approve Marriage Equality (my sister can now marry in our home state!) AND Colorado and Washington approved the legalization of cannabis.

Colorado and Washington have each defined cannabis in their own way, but they basically make the same point. In Washington State, there will be a 1 year period in which to decide on the rules and regulations.

Almost 40 years ago a group called Blossom Seattle was able to put the cannabis issue on a ballot.  20 years after Blossom Seattle we saw the inception of Seattle Hempfest, the world’s largest 3-day hemp rally, with over a quarter million attendees each year – and growing.  Our progressive state is making strides and making history – we have legalized a plant that helps many patients, even those with cancer; we have not given up in decriminalizing one of the safest medicines on the planet.

Now, why is this so important to industrial hemp lovers like myself? Initiative 502 opens the door wider toward the next progressive step – allowing industrial hemp farming. Will it happen overnight? No. Because this plant will be heavily regulated, it will take time, and hopefully much ‘adult conversation’ and the realization that this is what we need for our planet, to heal the soil, to provide healthy, organic foods, and to slow down or reverse global warming. Big oil, pharma, and the chemical industries will fight it…but the will of the people is strong. And the need for clean energy and clean products is strong.

How will the federal government respond? Well, technically, the federal level still overrides the state level decisions as far as cannabis is concerned. It remains to be seen if they will take this to the Supreme Court. But for now, we’ve taken an important step on the path to full cannabis and hemp legalization.

Next step – hemp farms? Let’s hope so.

Hemp – The Answer To The Global Food Crisis?


There are indications (and there have been for a while) that we are entering a stage where food will be in short supply in some regions of our world, and in other areas it will be in abundance, but just too expensive to buy.

Right now our grocery stores are filled with food, but most of it is packaged, processed, chemical-laden junk. Yes, some of it is cheap, but it isn’t ‘food’, it’s simply packages of unhealthy empty calories.  Good nutrition is of utmost importance, yet many are finding it difficult to find nutritious food that they can afford.

I’ve seen longer and longer lines at the food banks, but most of that is canned, packaged, unhealthy food, with only a fraction being healthy fruits and vegetables and fresh meat.

There are 2 terms we to look at here : world hunger (lack of food) and malnutrition (lack of nutritional elements needed for good health).

There are two basic types of malnutrition. The first and most important is protein-energy malnutrition–the lack of enough protein (from meat and other sources) and food that provides energy (measured in calories) which all of the basic food groups provide. This is the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed.  The second type of malnutrition, also very important, is micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiency. This is not the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed, though it is certainly very important.

Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is the most lethal form of malnutrition/hunger. It is basically a lack of calories and protein. Food is converted into energy by humans, and the energy contained in food is measured by calories.  Protein is necessary for key body functions including provision of essential amino acids and  development and maintenance of muscles.(www.worldhunger.org)

Childhood malnutrition alone affects approximately 19,000,000 children worldwide. And this includes the United States. Children and families in our own country are HUNGRY.

There are many factors that contribute to the global food crisis, here are a few:

Changing weather patterns, drought

Rising food prices – wheat, soybeans, orange juice and corn prices are getting higher and higher

Depleted water tables

Higher cost of oil – the higher the oil cost, the higher the food prices (transportation, farm equipment, delivery)

Let’s look at corn, for example. The price of corn has doubled since last year. 40% of the US corn crop is consumed by the heavily subsidised biofuel industry, despite the presence of viable non-food materials such as hemp. (opendemocracy.net)

Corn- ethanol subsidies in the US….leads to farmers switching to corn production and convertion away from food and toward fuel production, which has resulted in more expensive grain prices around the world.  This is having a huge impact on both poor and rich world farmers, and consumers around the world.

1.  By Washington giving subsidies for ethanol, they are creating incentives for farmers to shift labor away from producing food, and toward making fuel. 

2.  And, they are giving farmers of other crops the incentive to switch production to corn (for fuel)

3.  this has the perverse effect of driving up food prices (less supply vs. demand).  Note:  corn is used to make high fructose corn syrup (in almost all foods), and is a key feedstock for animals, so it will cost more for steak, pork, etc.   Ethanol production has driven up the prices of corn-fed livestock, such as beef, chicken and dairy products, and products made from corn, such as cereals. As a result of higher demand for corn, other grain prices, such as soybean and wheat, have risen dramatically. The fact that the U.S. is the world’s largest grain producer and exporter means that the ethanol-induced higher grain prices will have a worldwide impact on food prices. (kookyplan.pbworks.com)

Another note about corn – Currently, up to 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered as are 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton (cottonseed oil is often used in food products). It has been estimated that upwards of 70 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves–from soda to soup, crackers to condiments–contain genetically engineered ingredients. (truefoodnow.org)

Now, let’s look at hemp. Hemp can be grown for food AND fuel. It grows even in poor soil – in fact, it ENRICHES the soil that it is grown in. Hemp can be used as feedstock as well.  Farming hemp can be dual-purpose – as a cash crop AND as fuel and food for the farmers themselves and their livestock.

As far as a nutritional aspect, protein malnutrition would not even be a problem with hemp. Hemp has edestin protein, the protein closest to human globulin, so it is easily digestible. Only a few tablespoons a day would fill dietary protein needs. In addition, hemp has Omega fatty acids needed for optimum health, as well as chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals.

Hemp does not need fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. It is clean, natural, healthy, nutritious FOOD!

I have personally found that when I eat hemp during the day with plenty of fruit and vegetables, I need no other foods, and I am not hungry, or am I craving the garbage (sugar, sweets, salty snacks). My body feels clean, energized, and healthy (as well as my mind).  Yes, hempseeds (because they are imported) can be a little expensive. But I SAVE money on groceries when I eat hemp, because it is so nutrient dense. Aside from purchasing fruits and veggies, my body really doesn’t NEED anything else. I eat much less, yet my hunger is satisfied.

Our farmers want to grow hemp. Imagine with me, if you will, a world that is NOT hungry or malnourished; imagine a world that is healthy and getting proper nutrition, all due to one little plant – HEMP.

The White House (Kerlikowske’s) Response To Hemp Farming Petition: “Hemp Is Marijuana, Thus A Schedule 1 Controlled Substance” (Paraphrased)


 

Yes, that is what he said. Here are excerpts and my added responses.

The petition, “Allow Growing of Hemp,” sent to the White House, has received a reply. Gil Kerlikowske, former Seattle Police Chief and now “Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy” had this to say:

America’s farmers deserve our Nation’s help and support to ensure rural America’s prosperity and vitality. Federal law prohibits human consumption, distribution, and possession of Schedule I controlled substances. Hemp and marijuana are part of the same species of cannabis plant. While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, can contain THC, a Schedule I controlled substance. The Administration will continue looking for innovative ways to support farmers across the country while balancing the need to protect public health and safety.

First of all, hemp and marijuana are 2 different plants. The THC level in industrial hemp is less than 1%, sometimes even .03%. To try to extract the miniscule, almost non-existent amounts in industrial hemp would be so time consuming and extensive that it would not even be worth the effort.

What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana
When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects.

According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment. We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms. Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20’s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.

Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.” (Kerlikowske)

For years the government has done studies and research into the medicinal value of industrial hemp and marijuana, including the superb nutritional value of hemp and the multitude of products that can be processed from hemp.

“In the new study, which was published in the The Journal of The American Medical Association and financed by the National Institutes of Health, roughly 5,100 men and women in four cities – Oakland, Calif.; Chicago; Minneapolis; and Birmingham – were interviewed and given lung function tests repeatedly over 20 years. They were on average about age 25 at the start, and more than half smoked marijuana, cigarettes or both.

The researchers found that for moderate marijuana smokers, an exposure of up to seven “joint years” — with one joint-year equivalent to smoking 365 joints or filled pipes, or an average of one joint a day for seven years — did not worsen pulmonary function.” (nytimes.com)

As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem. We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

That is why the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities. Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we’ve seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We’re also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.

Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.

Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President’s approach to drug control to learn more.” (Kerlikowske)

So. Let’s get this straight. You, Mr. Kerlikowske, a government employee, are saying that Industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same. Yet you are a member of the same government that LEGALIZED and DEMANDED that farmers grow industrial hemp during WWII to aid in the war effort. You are a member of this United States Government that had its ROOTS in hemp cultivation, used as food, fiber, fuel, textiles, and, used to pay TAXES. Yes, hemp was the equivalent of American currency.  Our first presidents grew hemp, and knew the value of this wonderful, versatile plant. The government has studies and research proving the benefits of hemp and marijuana. You can’t deny that. It’s public knowledge.

Other countries that grow industrial hemp have no problem identifying the difference between hemp and marijuana. Two different plants – they look different and each must be grown in completely different ways. Yet, you, the government, sit back and (knowing the truth) continue to spout something different. That either makes you a really big fibber, or you really aren’t knowledgeable about hemp and marijuana. But, if the latter is the case, why in the HELL are you sitting in a seat that puts you in control of national government drug policies?

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.

People Who Are Anti-Hemp ~ Uninformed, Unprincipled, or Just Afraid Of The Truth?


Enjoy today’s ramblings!

I used to be anti-hemp. No, really. It’s true. However, my anti-hemp stance was strictly from lack of knowledge. I didn’t even KNOW there was such thing as industrial hemp. I didn’t know that hemp and marijuana were 2 different plants. All I ‘knew’ was what I heard now and then, “Hemp is pot! Pot is bad! Hemp is marijuana! It’s immoral!” Of course, we all can see that I am now one of the Informed ones.

In order to be Informed, one must have an open mind. One must be open to new ideas, open to learning, open to study, open to see all points of view – medical, scientific, social, political, economical, etc.

Next are those who are Unprincipled. Is that harsh? Maybe, but true. There are many companies, corporations, entities, and people who are anti-hemp because hemp would threaten their investments. The pharmaceutical business makes anywhere from $18 billion to $35 billion a year. I am not anti-pharmaceutical per se, but I am anti-medicine when it is known to be dangerous, or prescribed when it doesn’t need to be – especially when there is a healthier or natural alternative such as hemp.

What about law enforcement? Again, I am not anti-law enforcement, but I AM pro-ethical/moral law enforcement. How many in law enforcement believe the propaganda? How many ‘get’ that hemp prohibition is unethical? (I am a big fan of L.E.A.P, by the way.)

Professional lobbyists are hired by corporations, groups, or individuals, and their job is to influence the official decision-makers in the government. We can be certain that investors in timber, oil, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and agriculture have lobbyists on their side making sure that hemp farming in the U.S. remains under the chains of prohibition.

Who is afraid for the Truth? It could the the Uninformed, it could be the Unprincipled, or it could be those who fear change or a return to what was once the norm.

I know people who are very set in their beliefs. Sure, beliefs are a basis of strength for some. But what happens when someone’s beliefs are challenged? “If the truth as I know it is not REALLY true, then what else is not true?” That can really shake some people up. They have to re-think their position. And some will simply stay with what they believe no matter what because change is frightening.

What we need to do is continue the hemp dialogue, continue teaching, and continue working toward the goal of ending hemp prohibition. We MUST work together to bring hemp back to where it belongs – farmed again on American soil.

Hemp: “Don’t Tread On Me!”


The phrase ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ was a phrase on the Gadsden Flag. To better understand this, let’s take a little history lesson.

The Gadsden Flag was a flag from the earlier part of American history, named after American General Christopher Gadsden. It was bright yellow with an image of a rattlesnake on it, and the words ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ were below the snake. The main principle of the flag was unity.

In an original drawing by Benjamin Franklin (which was the country’s first political cartoon), the rattlesnake was cut into pieces, each symbolizing the original colonies, and had the words ‘Join or Die’ below the pieces of the snake.

I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?” (Benjamin Franklin)

In fall 1775, the United States Navy was established to intercept incoming British ships carrying war supplies to the British troops in the colonies. To aid in this, the Second Continental Congress authorized the mustering of five companies of Marines to accompany the Navy on their first mission. The first Marines enlisted in the city of Philadelphia and they carried drums painted yellow, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the motto “Don’t Tread On Me.” This is the first recorded mention of the future Gadsden flag’s symbolism.” (Wikipedia)

This flag was later replace with Old Glory.

Here is the significance of the Gadsden Flag – it meant ‘Don’t mess with us!’ It was a symbol of unity between the colonies. The rattlesnake symbolizes reputation and respect.

Of course there is more to it than that, in that a rattlesnake will fight back when threatened, even after a warning with the rattles. It keeps a sharp eye and weighs the situation carefully.

So, now you are probably asking why I chose to blend the Gadsden Flag with the topic of hemp?

It’s quite simple. Hemp has been walked on, stomped on, tread on. Hemp has been demonized by corporations and the government in the name of greed, to protect investments in oil, pharmaceuticals, timber, chemicals, and synthetics. It was given a bad reputation through ugly UNTRUE propaganda. Hemp has been ostracized through lies and deliberate misconceptions.

This wonderful plant that feeds us, houses us, clothes us, heals us…this plant that heals our environment and can create jobs and boost our economy is banned where it once flourished and was revered for it’s strength and diversity.

Those of us who believe in the power of hemp, this perfect plant that nature has given us, are uniting in the knowledge that hemp WILL be a LEGAL part of our economy again. It is through education and making our voices heard that we are taking the steps needed to allow this plant to flourish on American soil once again. Will it happen overnight? No. But that is ok. Each step takes time. But there WILL  be a time when hemp will rise above…

And not be tread on any more.

Hemp History – Hemp Banned in Politics and Religion in the Middle Ages (History is Repeating Itself)


I am continuing my foray into history, specifically hemp history. My favorite read? The Emperor Wears No Clothes (Jack Herer). And surprisingly, the Middle Ages also saw politics and the church controlling/banning/ostracizing hemp.

“The Politics of Paper

 The masses of people, “the commons,” were kept in check through a dual system of fear and enforced ignorance. All learning except the most rudimentary was controlled and strictly regulated by the priests.

The commons (about 95% of the people) were forbidden to learn to read or write – not even an alphabet – and often were punished or put to death for doing so.

The people were also forbidden to learn Latin, the language of the Bible. This effectively enabled the few priests who could read to interpret the scriptures any way they pleased for about 1,200 years, until the Reformation in Europe, circa 1600.

To prohibit knowledge, people were literally kept in the dark, without a piece of paper to write on. The monasteries preserved and guarded hemp’s secrets. They saw that cannabis held two threats to this policy of absolute control: papermaking and lamp oil.

Something had to be done.” (The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer)

My first thought after reading this was, “Wow. This sounds so familiar!”  If you saw my previous articles about the Rockefellers, Hearst, oil, timber, and the prohibition of hemp, you will remember that they did the same thing. Hemp was a threat to their investments, so they (and their lobbyists and their money) succeeded in running rampant propaganda against hemp which ultimately led to hemp farming in the U.S. being banned without a permit from the DEA (the permit being nearly impossible to get). The underlying factors were: 1) Money and 2) Control.

“Cannabis Medicines Forbidden

 While embracing wine as a sacrament, and tolerating beer and hard liquor, the Inquisition outlawed cannabis ingestion in Spain in the 12th century, and France in the 13th. Many other natural remedies were simultaneously banned. Anyone using hemp to communicate, heal, etc. was labeled “witch.”

Saint Joan of Arc, for example, was accused in 1430-31 of using a variety of herbal “witch” drugs, including cannabis, to hear voices.” (The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer)

Again, sound familiar? Natural remedies were banned, yet beer and hard liquor were tolerated. Read on:

“Church Sanctioned Legal Medicines

 Virtually the only legal medical cures allowed the people of Western Europe by the Roman Catholic Church Fathers at this time were:

1. (a.) Wearing a bird mask for plague. (b.) Setting fractured bones or cleaning burns.

2. Bleeding pints and even quarts of blood from all flu, pneumonia or fever patients (victims) which was the most used treatment in Europe and America by doctors until the beginning of the 1900s. It does not work! And did not work no matter how much blood they took.

3. Praying to specific saints for a miraculous cure, e.g., St. Anthony for ergotism (poisoning), St. Odilla for blindness, St. Benedict for poison sufferers, and St. Vitus for comedians and epileptics.

4. Alcohol for a variety of problems.

In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII singled out cannabis healers and other herbalists, proclaiming hemp an unholy sacrament of the second and third types of Satanic mass. This persecution lasted for more than 150 years.”  (The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer)

Now, back then they didn’t replace natural remedies with chemical drugs like we do today, yet, as you can see, the remedies that WERE allowed were just as dangerous (or more), or ineffective, as chemical drugs. (Have you actually read the 3-page list of warnings and side-effects that come with chemical medications today?)  You can also see that they didn’t look for specific causes of illness (when applicable), but that’s another story.

They say history repeats itself. And I am definitely seeing that today.

I am looking for ward to the day when (like our own previous history in the U.S.) hemp will be embraced for the wonderful economic, health, and medicinal properties that it possesses. Perhaps soon, our history will repeat itself and hemp will be legally grown in the U.S., used as ‘money’, used as medicine, fuel, paper, and more.