(information compiled by Lynn Kempen)
Hemp, formerly the cornerstone of industry and mainstay of American agriculture, can revolutionize today’s US economy.
Cannabis is such a versatile natural raw material it competes with:
* petroleum/fossil fuels * coal
* natural gas * timber
* nuclear energy * textiles
Methane and methanol from hemp could replace 90% of the world’s energy needs.
The threat hemp posed to a handful of natural resource corporate giants in the 1930’s largely accounts for its original ban.
The love of money is the root of all evil. (1Timothy 6:10).
Hemp paper is superior to wood paper (without toxic byproducts that wood paper mills emit.)
The first two drafts of the US Constitution were written on hemp paper (the final draft is on animal skin.) Hemp paper contains no dioxin or toxic residue.
ONE acre of hemp can produce as much paper in one season as 4 acres of trees
that take 20 years to harvest.
In warm climates, hemp can be harvested 2 or even 3 times per year.
In 1937 Dupont Chemical Company was granted a patent on a sulfuric acid process for making paper from wood pulp. At the time, Dupont predicted their sulfuric acid process would account for 80% of their business for the next 50 years. (1937 was a critical year in turning the mindset of the nation against cannabis.)
* Hemp grows in bad soil,
* Hemp restores soil nutrients,
* Hemp even detoxifies land contaminated with radiation! (It has been helping detoxify soil at Chernobyl for well over a decade.)
HEMP IN AMERICAN HISTORY:
A 1619 Jamestown law ordered farmers to grow Indian hemp. One third of crops had to be hemp; in 1631 Massachusetts passed a compulsory grow law and Connecticut followed in 1632. Mid 18th century Chesapeake colonies (Virginia and Maryland) law ordered farmers to grow cannabis.
Township names like Hempstead and Hemphill dot the American landscape, reflective of areas with historically intense marijuana cultivation.
From 1842 through the 1890’s a powerful concentrated extract of cannabis was the second most prescribed drug in the US. Cannabis remained a prevalent ingredient in medicine well into the 1930’s. In all that time, medical literature didn’t list any of the ill effects claimed by today’s prohibitionists.
The last commercial hemp fields before federal prohibition were planted in Wisconsin in 1957.
HEMP AS BIOFUEL:
Hemp is the most efficient biofuel. When Rudolph Diesel created his diesel engine in 1896 he presumed it would be powered by hemp seed oil.
By volume, 30% of the hemp seed contains oil suitable for high grade diesel fuel, aircraft engine oil and precision machine oil.
In the 1930’s Ford Motor Company in Iron Mountain Michigan operated a successful biomass conversion plant that included hemp, extracting methanol (now used in modern race cars), charcoal fuel, tar, pitch, ethyl-acetate, and creosote, all fundamental ingredients for modern industry, and now supplied by oil related industries. Hemp, however, is cheap, renewable, and clean, while petroleum and coal sources are limited, expensive, and dirty.
With this natural, renewable alternative to synthetics and petro products we can say farewell to dependence on big oil, oil spills, and Middle East wars over oil.
HEMP AS TEXTILE:
In the 1930’s, a mechanical device to strip the outer fibers of hemp was invented to turn hemp into paper and fabrics, quickly and cheaply.
Hemp fiber stripping machines were bad news to the Hearst Paper manufacturing division, and a host of other natural resource firms.
To stifle the commercial threat that hemp posed to timber industries,
in 1933 newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst dropped the words cannabis and hemp from his newspapers and began a propaganda campaign against the more exotic sounding “marijuana” (Spanish word) in his over 22 newspapers. This did two things:
1. It associated the plant with Mexicans, so it played on racist fears,
2. It mislead the public into thinking that marijuana and hemp were different plants.
Nobody was afraid of hemp at the time, it had been cultivated and processed into usable goods, consumed as medicine, and burned in oil lamps for hundreds of years. But after a campaign in the Hearst newspapers to discredit hemp, people became afraid of something called “marijuana.”
PAINT AND VARNISH:
Back in 1935 more than 58,000 tons of marijuana seed were used just to make paint and varnish, all non-toxic.
When marijuana was banned, these safe paints and varnishes were replaced by paints made with toxic petrochemicals (poisoning rivers, landfills, and children).
HEMP PRODUCTS, HISTORICALLY:
Oil lamps used to burn hemp seed oil until whale oil edged it out of first place in the mid 19th century. Then when the whales were dead, lamplights were fueled by petroleum, coal, and, more recently, radioactive energy (modern electricity.)
Into the 1930’s Cannabis and hemp products were common and familiar.
* ship lines * sail canvas *ropes * lines,
* flagging * nets *rigging
* charts * logs * Bibles.
Today, many of these items are instead made with synthetic petrochemicals and wood.
The word “canvas” is the Dutch pronunciation of the Greek word for hemp, “cannabis.”
400,000 acres of hemp were cultivated between 1942 and 1945.
MARIJUANA TAX ACT of 1937:
The Marijuana Tax Act raised an insignificant amount of revenue, yet marked the beginning of the end for the cannabis industry.
POPULAR MECHANICS HEMP ARTICLE:
In 1938 Popular Mechanics ran an article “New Billion-Dollar Crop.” It was the first time the words “billion dollars” were used to describe a US agricultural product.
Popular Mechanics said
“a machine has been invented that solves a problem more than 6,000 years old. The machine is designed to remove the fiber bearing cortex from the rest of the stalk, making hemp fiber available for use without a prohibitive amount of human labor. Hemp is the standard fiber of the world, it has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products ranging from rope to fine laces. The woody parts remaining after the fiber has been removed, contain more than 77% cellulose and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products ranging from dynamite to cellophane.”
Since the Popular Mechanics article appeared 77 years ago, many more applications have come to light.
In 1941 Henry Ford manufactured a plastic car made from fibers derived from hemp, sisal and wheat straw. The plastic was lighter than steel, yet could withstand 10 times the impact without denting. Hemp also fueled it.
HEMP and WWII:
* Domestic hemp production was crucial after Japan cut off Asian supplies to the US.
* American farmers and even their sons were exempt from military duty during WWII.
* “Hemp for Victory,” a 1942 US Dept. of Agriculture film, extolled the agricultural might of marijuana, calling for hundreds of thousands of acres to be planted.
* 4-H clubs were asked by the government to grow marijuana for seed supply.
* War plunged the government into a sobering reality: Cannabis is very valuable.
* Over 30 million Americans smoke cannabis regularly.
* The underground cannabis industry clears well more than $1.4 billion dollars a year, and that is just the drug (not hemp and all its industrial products and capabilities);
* obviously, as an illegal business, none of that money goes to taxes.
PROHIBITION CAN NOT BE SUSTAINED:
Cannabis prohibition has proven incredibly lucrative for a few corporate giants, but scientific research supporting the incredible medicinal properties of cannabis can no longer be denied.
Maintaining cannabis as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance (meaning it has zero recognized medical application) can no longer be defended. Decriminalization and legalization is coming; that is why corporate giants are jockeying for position to profit from the inevitable relaxing of cannabis prohibition. Their mantra is “tax and regulate,” keeping the bulk of massive profits from this incredible plant in the hands of a corporate few.
Yet, millions of people continue to be arrested, fined and incarcerated for possessing this therapeutic substance revered by our ancestors, a tragic human toll.
America’s senseless war against this plant was born of commerce and greed. It will remain an endless war, unless WE put an end to cannabis prohibition.
Support Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act: Petition 2016-013.