Hemp is a cousin of cannabis, the cannabis plant. It looks similar to marijuana but has only recently been used as a natural alternative to tobacco. hemp is a fibrous plant with a long stem and narrow leaves. The slender cannellike stalks are quite hollow though, except at the base and tip.
Hemp is most often grown as a perennial in tropical, semi-tropical and arid climates as a bi annually cultivated from seed. Hemp can be grown using different methods depending on the availability of sunlight, space, soil fertility, drainage and the height of the hemp plant. Many industrial uses for the fibre include ropes, building material, cosmetics, textiles and fuel. The fibres have high tensile strength, resistance to wear and tear and are durable when exposed to heat, sun and moisture. Hemp is a natural, renewable resource and has many advantages over other raw materials.
Hemp seed contains chlorophyll, which is converted into enzymes that are contained in the plant’s tissues. When hemp is grown, the plants produce new shoots called stalks which will reach a height of several feet. Hemp can be grown almost everywhere and is used for constructing decks, roofing, rope and sails. The most familiar use of the fibres is in the manufacture of clothing, but there are also uses including fabric lining, stuffing, paper lining, packaging, varnish, clothing fabric, drapery and sails. There are even specialist markets for hemp clothing.
Industrial hemp can be used to make sails, ropes and baskets; it is also used in the manufacture of clothing and textiles. A variety of textsiles made from the plant are available today such as: Baby Hawaiian shirts (a very popular fashion fabric); textiles made from cannabis sativa (fabrics used for linoleum); hemp hats, hemp gloves, denim skirts and hemp dresses. A variety of textiles produced from cannabis sativa are also available: Bamboo, hemp burlap and hemp fleece. There is even some speculation that industrial hemp could one day replace silk as the primary fibre used in fashion.
In 1970 the United States federal government banned the production, possession and cultivation of cannabis and seven states adopted similar legislation. These states were Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska and New Hampshire. On 1 July 1970 the Controlled Substance Taxation Act was passed with an exception for hemp and marijuana. The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considered cannabis and other cannabis products to be less dangerous than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. The exception did not apply to persons with certain personality disorders. It is not known whether the Controlled Substance Taxation Act inspired marijuana leniency or if the CTSA was merely an extension of the CTFEA.
In some respects we believe the CTSA hindered the rights of citizens who were arrested under state law for small amounts of cannabis. People arrested on suspicion alone had their cannabis charges dropped if they were willing to enter into a drug rehabilitation program. This was important as many people did not enter rehab programs voluntarily and as such were incarcerated under state law. Many states viewed cannabis users as dealers and therefore made it illegal to purchase or sell cannabis. Although possession is an element of the charges under the CTSA, the Controlled Substance Taxation Act made possession occur wherever the plant was grown including private residences, cars and warehouses. Thus until recently most private individuals could grow cannabis in their homes without fear of arrest.
The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is an international trade association representing hemp producers and processors. Since cannabis is most commonly sold in the form of oil, the association has been attempting to create worldwide hemp cultivation restrictions. By creating international standardization standards for growing, processing and distributing oil, hemp can be regulated like other crops. The association also advocates against marijuana prohibition at the federal level, stating that the “overwhelming evidence indicates that marijuana poses little or no health risk.” They have thus far been unsuccessful in getting the US government to regulate the production, processing and sale of hemp products.
Many of the world’s major banks have started to see the potential profit and are starting to consider hemp cannabis sativa industrial hemp strains as a viable option for financing. The banking industry is currently focusing on finding ways in which to help distressed farmers in countries that are experiencing economic hardship. A large portion of hemp production is concentrated in the West African nation of Cebu. A province located in the southernmost part of the Philippines, Cebu is a popular destination for Filipino immigrants, farmers and retirees, many of whom are interested in starting a hemp plantation. A visit to Cebu will give you a feel for the poverty and distress that often accompany a large influx of new people into a region.
In Canada, marijuana stocks have seen a surge in sales and value, thanks to the resounding success of the marijuana legalization initiative in Colorado. Sales of hemp paper, capsules and inhalable forms of the plant have shot up recently as retail shops in Colorado began offering the new drug. Sales of marijuana in Canada are currently illegal, but many provinces have established an official stance on whether or not the drug should be legalized. While Canadian officials continue to fight for the legal rights of their citizenry, they have yet to announce any plans to release the hemp plant from its current position at the bottom of the food chain. Hemp advocates claim that marijuana is much more harmful than cannabis, but the fact remains that hemp plants are much stronger than marijuana. As a result, marijuana cannot be smoked like the cannabis plant, but can be smoked as a tea.
Growing and selling whole host of products derived from hemp is not new. In fact, centuries ago, Native Americans were using the plant to make products ranging from clothes to baskets. Today, the hemp plant serves as an important source of fiber, fuel and raw material for industries such as clothing manufacturing, bio-diesel production and paper production. If hemp were made illegal, there would be a shortage of materials used in modern day society, which would put a serious crimp in the modern economy.
There is currently no scientific evidence indicating that marijuana and hemp are harmful to the human body. Some claim that marijuana contains a “THC present” that could lead to impaired judgment and driving while under the influence. Hemp proponents assert that a THC present does not exist in the cannabis sativa plant and that there is no evidence proving that current users have had adverse effects. Those who are in favor of legalized marijuana claim that it has been used successfully throughout American history by those who were facing societal marginalization. The use of hemp seed is not against the law and using it for anything other than the fiber, fuel and raw materials it was intended for can be against the law as well.