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.

Lawmakers File Bill To Introduce Hemp Farming In Kentucky


This past Thursday (January 19, 2012) Kentucky lawmakers filed House Bill 286,  a bill to introduce hemp farming in Kentucky. 12 Kentucky House members signed HB 286, although they are aware that the federal government bans production of hemp.

In 1775 settlers from Virginia brought hemp into Kentucky and started growing it; hemp grew so well there that Kentucky became one of the most prolific growing states for hemp.

In July of 1998 a paper was written, titled Economic Impact of Industrial Hemp in Kentucky, which goes into great detail about the feasibility of growing hemp again in Kentucky.

Currently, 29 states have introduced hemp legislation; 17 have passed the legislation; 9 have removed barriers to production or research (Vote Hemp).

Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner, James Comer, is part of the drive to bring industrial hemp farming back to Kentucky. If the bill is approved, Comer will petition the federal government for permits to grow the hemp. Allowing hemp farming in Kentucky would help the state’s declining agriculture economy.

“It sends a message that this is something that we’re serious about in Kentucky,” Comer said.

The Case For Hemp Farming In The U.S.


Did you know that the average net return for farmers who grow corn or soy is approximately $50 per acre, while hemp farmers in Canada are reaping profits of $200-$400 per acre?

In 2010 retail sales of hemp in the U.S. were $400,000,000, and in 2011 reached nearly $420,000,000. Between 2005-2008 sales of hemp food and hemp enhanced foods increased over 40% each year.

2011 saw Ron Paul introducing H.R. 1831, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011. This was the fourth time since hemp prohibition that a bill was introduced to remove the restrictions on hemp growing and cultivation.

U.S. companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a California company that manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap in the U.S. as well as best-selling hemp food manufacturers, such as French Meadow Bakery, Living Harvest, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path, Nutiva and Sequel Naturals who make their products from hemp grown in Canada. Sustainable hemp seed, fiber and oil are also used by major companies such as Ford Motors, Patagonia and The Body Shop. (hempfarm.org)

“”Public support for industrial hemp farming is growing in leaps and bounds in the U.S.” explains Steenstra.” (Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra)

In the 1800s hemp was an important crop for America. It continued to see growth and expansion until the prohibition in the 1930s. The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act classified hemp as a narcotic; hemp farmers had to have a special tax stamp and federal registration. Contrary to popular belief, this does not make hemp farming in the U.S. illegal; the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, however, made it illegal to grow hemp without the proper permits from the DEA, which very stubbornly refuses to give out the required permits to those who want to grow industrial hemp commercially.

U.S. companies are importing huge amounts of industrial hemp seed from Canada, and are using it in food products, and much more. The market for hemp products is growing yearly, as consumers are turned toward more healthy, environmentally responsible foods, health products, clothing, housing, and much more.

Hemp farming has been banned in the U.S. for nearly 75 years. It is time to allow our farmers to grow hemp.

Why U.S. Hemp Farming Was Banned


For thousands of years industrial hemp was a common staple. It fed us, clothed us, housed us, sailed our ships with hemp rope and sails, it was part of our livelihood.

Then, in the early 1900s, it was banned and pushed aside.

Why? Why did this wonderful, useful plant get labeled with a criminal stamp?

Around the turn of the 20th century companies like DuPont created chemicals that were used in processing of paper; DuPont also created chemicals used for pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, which were used extensively by the cotton industry (cotton is MUCH more chemical and water intensive compared to hemp). While this was going on, William Randolph Hearst invested in timber and mills to produce the paper for his newspaper, which was the largest chain in the U.S. at the time. His investments in the timber industry were backed by Mellon Bank.

The current U.S. Secretary of the Treasury at that time was Andrew Mellon, who happened to own Mellon Bank (and was one of the backers for DuPont as well). Mellon’s niece was married to Harry Anslinger who, incidentally, was connected to the alcohol prohibition campaign. He was out of a job (as were everyone else in that sector of the federal government) after the alcohol prohibition ended. To keep his family employed, Mellon created a new division of the federal government, the Bureau of Narcotics, and made Harry Anslinger the new head of that program.

Also during this time machinery was being developed to make hemp processing easier and more efficient. This was a threat to the paper, chemical, timber, and petroleum industries. Pharmaceutical companies were creating new medicines and drugs and were also threatened by the natural healing properties of the plant we know as hemp.

Harry Anslinger began looking into rumors of the Mexican population smoking the flowers of the hemp plant. Because racism was quite rampant at that time, Anslinger played on that and used the Mexican slang, marijuana, in place of the word ‘hemp’. He spread lies and rumors about blacks and Mexicans becoming violent while smoking it and also labeled it as a narcotic.

Hearst’s newspapers spread the slander and propogated stories about the ‘evil marijuana’ and of people committing rapes and murder while ‘under the influence’ of marijuana. This, of course, had the papers selling like wildfire, but they failed to mention the everyday uses of the hemp (rope, fuel, textiles, food).

After the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was passed, Harry Anslinger ordered the hemp prohibition, using the excuse that his agents wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana, and that the farming of hemp made it too difficult to enforce the marijuana prohibition.

In 1942 the hemp prohibition was put on hold to allow farmers to grow hemp to provide the needed fibers to aid in the war effort. After the war, when the hemp was no longer needed, the Air Force and Marines were ordered to destroy all remaining hemp crops.

To this day, the ‘war on hemp’ is still in full force. However, more people are learning about the vast benefits of hemp – for food, medicinal purposes, textiles, fuel, and tens of thousands of other uses.

It’s time to let nature’s perfect plant flourish again. No more dependence on foreign oil; a return to natural, plant-based remedies for illnesses and diseases; no more petroleum based plastics; less dependency on chemicals that are harming our environment and health.

NOW is the time for HEMP to return.