Today is an interesting day. Finally, a state in the United States of America is allowing the legal sales of marijuana and marijuana products. Many are discussing the merits of whether or not we should be able to smoke it. I want to point out something far more significant and a far greater opportunity than the business of getting high. I’m talking about hemp.
When you say marijuana, I always flip the switch back to hemp. Marijuana is actually the spanish word for hemp. The only difference is that the flower bud of the hemp plant happens to be smokeable. The rest of the hemp plant is way more important than the smokeable flower, however.
The real reason that hemp/marijuana was made illegal is because you can make paper, plastic, fuel, clothes, medicine and food from it. So naturally, it threatened the paper industry, the oil industry, the plastic industry, the alcohol industry, the pharmaceutical industry and others. Those industries all happen to have some pretty strong lobbyist groups. Especially back in the 1930s.
The growing of the hemp plant became illegal in 1937 with the passing of the Marijuana Tax Stamp of 1937, and eventually made it punishable by law in 1952*. Was it because when you smoked it, you’d go crazy… like “Reefer Madness” warned. You really have to put on your thinking caps to see the true story.
Many of the most beneficial properties of hemp is it’s fibrous stalk, leaves, and seeds. Each part of the can be used for many things. Hemp is exponentially more important than the fact that you can smoke it for recreation and medically. I’m talking about using hemp and becoming more sustainable as a civilization and utilizing the far superior plant instead of using virgin wood and petroleum products. I’m tired of cutting down rain forests for wood. 1 acre of Hemp creates more pulp for paper than 4 acres of trees. Trees take 20+ years to mature. You can have 2 harvests a year with hemp.
And I’m tired of non-biodegradable plastics. Have you seen the five gyres in the world’s oceans? They are fucking huge. Big balls of plastic in the ocean, choking numerous fish and the oceanic ecosystem. [And don’t get me started on Fukushima or the Gulf Oil spill. ]
We pollute the shit out of this Earth, like we can just jump on another one. We only have ONE Earth, ya’ll. You can make the same plastics with hemp and they are both biodegradable and recyclable. Everything made of hemp is easily biodegradable and recyclable? Holy shit. This is the miracle plant.
You can make the same paper with hemp. In fact, you could go to the grocery store and walk down the cereal aisle and grab a box of Hemp cereal, let’s say… “Hemp Nuts” and the cereal inside could be hemp, and the box could be made from hemp. And the plastic freshness pouch inside box of cereal would be made of hemp… oh and so could the ink that was printed on the side of the box. Then… you could put the box of cereal into your plastic shopping basket… and take it to the cash register and pay with cash or credit cards… both make from hemp. You would then put your box of cereal into the bag that you take home… paper or plastic… both made from hemp.
And did I mention that when you recycle it, you can make very strong paper out of it? And and if you throw it in the ocean or bury it in a landfill it will biodegrade? Both biodegradable and recyclable blends of hemp plastic also help address global policies for CO2 reduction and oil dependence.
You know what else happened around that time? Henry Ford constructed a car of resin stiffened hemp fiber, and even ran the car on ethanol made from hemp. Ford knew that hemp could produce vast economic resources, if widely cultivated.
I think the marijuana reform in Colorado is a good thing. Let’s take the power from the underground, crime cartels and regulate & tax it.
— Travis Wright (@teedubya) January 1, 2014
This doesn’t even cover the fact that when you made something illegal, it creates a dirty underbelly full of crime. You literally empower drug cartels by making this plant illegal. Then again, the US prison system is mostly privatized, so they make money from the laws we break. If marijuana was no longer a crime, there would be the need for like 1/2 of the prisoners that we currently support through the tax system.
Now, it is regulated and taxed. It takes power and money away from drug cartels. And now, more importantly people in Colorado can grow hemp. The amount of economic fortunes that will be gained from this revitalized hemp industry should be substantial.
Most people will want to talk about smoking it, but we have to look beyond that, and envision a world where we are optimized using sustainable practices on Earth. Hemp allows us to leave as small of a footprint on Earth as we can. And if you want to smoke some marijuana… in 2014, you can legally do this. The times they are a-changin’.
Learn more at the Hemp Industrial Association
Great post Travis. Now, I have to poop.
Will the increased production of the smokeable part, create the byproduct of the more useable parts of the hemp plant? Sound like it should. Have you heard of any plans in Colorado to start production utilizing the waste product (small pun, intended.)
Yeah, there will be more “waste” while they are in producing the marijuana… I know that Colorado isn’t necessarily focusing on the hemp aspect of it, as much, currently… but hopefully, that changes. 🙂
It’s very strain specific (for both hemp and marijuana). For example, if you are growing hemp for use in textiles, you will want the varieties that grow really tall (up to 12 feet). If you are looking for the seed for food stock or ethanol, you would want the shorter varieties that yield high seed counts instead (such as the crops grown in Canada as they are almost all used for food production).
Speak on it.
Yes, it’s my understanding that all the bio waste from even the THC oriented plant is useful, especially for the resourceful.