By Kevin Coleman
One of the most dynamic plants on the planet has evolved into a despised drug with a horribly misconceived reputation. Although marijuana is perceived as a harmful narcotic and classified as a schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency, the male variation of the plant, referred to as hemp, is capable of solving an untold number of the world’s environmental problems.
To directly quell any confusion as to the morality of hemp, one must suspend society’s crooked view of the plant and know that hemp and marijuana are two variations of the same plant, cannabis. The marijuana that we know, is the victim of disproportionate prohibition, despised because of the buds grown exclusively on the female cannabis plants. The buds contain the psychoactive constituent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. These buds are cultivated and are known to induce the mind-altering euphoria that the government prohibits, but this plant is unlike the durable male variation of cannabis referred to as hemp. Hemp has a significantly similar make up as marijuana but contains such a low level of THC that it cannot be used recreationally or medicinally.
It is pointless to argue the ethics of marijuana use, but it is utterly false to claim that hemp is not an infinitely productive plant. Hemp can be refined into cement to build homes and ethanol fuel that can power cars. It can also produce extremely durable rope, cloth, paper, food and many more products. Not only can hemp produce an array of products and necessities, but also it is a completely sustainable prospect.
The legalization of hemp could very well be the answer in solving deforestation. Think about it, forests take centuries to grow, and massive lumber yards like the Amazon rain forest are being cut down disproportionately. This blatantly unsustainable system is expected to support the present-day consumer society where it has become the norm to use paper as a plate and then throw it in a dump. Hemp would grow agriculturally in massive amounts and is harvested within three to four months. Hemp can be grown nearly everywhere on the planet, but grows better in places with more thorough access to sunlight.
It seems foolish that hemp has yet to be made legal and substituted for the less renewable and nonrenewable raw materials that we incessantly deplete. Paper is far less durable than hemp paper, as Rembrandt and Van Gogh painted on hemp linen and historical documents like the declaration of independence were written on hemp paper. These documents are far less worn than their tree paper counterparts and remain in decent condition to this day, proving the quality that hemp fiber yields for this planet.
It seems too good to be true, but fortunately hemp is all it’s cracked up to be. Refusing to grow hemp in America during the 17th and 18th centuries was against the law, and until the early 19th century, it was completely legal to pay taxes with hemp.
This plant was criminalized when the Uniform State Narcotic Act of 1932 was implemented in most states. This legislation was pushed by the industrial leaders that would have suffered financially by the utilization of this plant. Pierre Du Pont of the DuPont chemical company lead the world industrially with his rubber, and hemp would have provided a cheaper more durable substitute. John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil Company saw that the renewable and affordable ethanol fuel that hemp would produce would make his oil obsolete and hurt his business. William Randolph Hearst of the Hearst Paper Manufacturing Company supplied most paper products and would have lost billions if hemp was legal and the superior paper it produces was utilized.
The possibilities that hemp yields for not only America but the entire planet is startling. It is something to get excited about, as it seems like a sure fire solvent to a number of our environmental problems. The people must unite and resolve to the common sense they have been shielded from understanding. Do your own research and tell everyone you know; the earth is waiting.