US Farmers are missing out on millions of dollars

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Forum topic by DrTebi posted 12-08-2011 10:12 AM 1268 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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242 posts in 2687 days

12-08-2011 10:12 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hemp

Hello dear lumberjocks,

I am currently taking an “English composition, creative persuasion” course at my university, and thought it might be interesting to hear your opinions on an essay that I just finished. Here it goes:

US Farmers are missing out on millions of dollars

Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Addidas and countless other clothing companies have rediscovered hemp as a “bullet-proof” alternative to cotton (Hemp Industries). Hemp is stronger than any other fiber, is naturally resistant to mold and mildew, and dyes better than virtually any other natural textile (Musselman). More than 30 countries are now cultivating hemp for industrial use, including China, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Canada. The North American retail market in hemp textiles and fabrics was estimated at over $100 million in 2007, and the overall hemp market exceeded $419 in annual retail sales in 2010; the growth rate is about 10% per year (Vote Hemp). However, while these numbers may look great, another does not: about 99.9 percent of the industrial hemp used in the United States is imported.

Why is the US missing out on this multi-million dollar market? The answer is simple: the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) refuses to issue licenses to farmers that want to grow hemp. Since the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the DEA has wrongfully considered that hemp falls into the category of controlled substances, despite the fact that, although from the same family as marijuana, industrial hemp has such a low content of the psychoactive chemical called THC, that it is considered useless as a recreational drug (Hemp Industries). In fact, hemp seed varieties have been developed for industrial use that contain such low levels of THC, that no matter how much a person would smoke, it would not produce a “high” effect (Wilke).

More than 30 states have already introduced legislation to permit the cultivation of hemp, and several have already passed bills. Yet, farmers have not planted a single seed, because federal law still supersedes state law (Kane). What needs to change is the federal law. Industrial hemp farming must be legalized, nation-wide.

The benefits are undeniable: thousands of new jobs will be created, most of them in the depressed rural economies; clothing manufacturers and other companies that rely on importation of hemp could save up to 75% in costs by using locally grown hemp. Hemp can also be grown in virtually every state of the US. Further, due to its dense growth, it requires no or only very small amounts of fertilizers and pesticides; hemp also needs significantly less water to grow than other fiber crops like cotton. All of these advantages result not only in substantial savings and higher net incomes for farmers, but also help to protect our environment (Vote Hemp).

With all these benefits at hand, what is stopping the government to change the law then, you may wonder? It is the confusion between hemp and marijuana. Opponents fear that farmers could hide marijuana plants within their hemp fields, and indulge into illegal drug sales; law officers would not be able to distinguish the different plants (Kane). But these claims are foolish, to say the least. On the one hand, hemp is physically quite different from marijuana: it grows up to 16 feet tall and produces flowers at the canopy, while marijuana branches out widely with resinous buds on all sides (Kane). On the other hand, it would be completely impractical to grow both varieties in the same field, because the pollen shed by hemp causes any nearby marijuana plant to loose quality, and could in fact eradicate marijuana (Kane).

Thankfully, not everyone in Washington ignores potential benefits of hemp cultivation. In May 2011, Representative Ron Paul introduced H.R. 1831, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which, if passed, “will remove restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis (DeMolay).”

In these difficult economic times, we cannot continue to ignore opportunities that other countries have been prospering from for many years. Talk to your local representatives and urge them to support this bill. The next time the US spends $90 million dollars for hemp, the money should stay within the borders of the US.


Works Cited
“Hemp Industries Association; Hemp Fabric Goes High Fashion.” Food Weekly Focus (2008)

Musselman, Faye. “Coming to America: It’s High Time for Hemp’s Return.” Apparel Industry Magazine 58.8 (1997)

“Vote Hemp; Leading Hemp Advocacy Groups Outraged by Governor Brown’s Veto of California Industrial Hemp Farming Act.” Asia Business Newsweekly (2011)

Wilke, Anne. “Rethinking Hemp: With a Wide Variety of Uses, Ranging from Clothing to Paper, the Hemp Industry is Growing in the U.S. —Despite a Ban on Growing it here.” E : the Environmental Magazine (1996)

Kane, Mari. “GROWING PAINS: The Movement to Legalize Industrial Hemp is Advancing, but the Pot Connection Still Lingers.” E : the Environmental Magazine 1999

DeMolay. “Rep. Ron Paul Introduces H.R. 1831, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act.” Daily Paul. 28 Nov 2011 <>

5 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3639 days

#1 posted 12-08-2011 07:30 PM

Well-written essay. Interesting, too.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View ryansworkshop's profile


35 posts in 1788 days

#2 posted 12-08-2011 08:16 PM

One of the most useful plants on the planet. Stupid laws, good essay.

-- A small shop has it's pro's and con's. Never big enough, but easy to clean.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3378 days

#3 posted 12-08-2011 08:33 PM

Excellent piece well written. I think the crux of the argument is in the statement Marijuana Tax act of 1937…that is where this country’s thinking is on the whole hemp/marijuana legalization debate. We need to take a more educated, modern look at both and make educated rational decisions..


View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 2102 days

#4 posted 12-09-2011 03:05 AM

1.You fail to show the substantiation that thousands of jobs would be created . The prodution of hybrid corn , for example : thousands of acres , previously used for edible corn(and other food crops) were then used to produce inedible corn crops for use in the Bio-Fuels industry . It takes approx. $2.00 to refine $1.00 ’s worth of bio-fuel . compared to the $1.00 per gallon to refine oil . Government subsidies to farmers ,i.e. large Agri- conglomerates , led to little increase in jobs , loss in food production , economically unsustainable . Sugar cane to produce ethanol in Brazil is a good example of successful bio-fuel alternatives . Corn , Hybrid Corn ; similar plants, different properties and uses.
Hemp and Cannabis Sativa ; similar plants, different properties and uses .

2. There is a good reason to import hemp rather than cultivate it . Cheaper . That’s why 80% of everything Walmart sells is imported from China . Cheaper . The Government will not subsidize such a small ( 100 million$ ) concern . The U.S. market is not missing out on a “huge” market ,compared to production costs of other countries (China , predominately ) vs. imports. Farmer’s return on their investment for this crop , using American farming that is heavily invested in machinery , would be a no profit situation on a large scale .

3. I agree that hemp is one of the strongest natural fibers . It’s use is well documented throughout recorded history . Comparable modern synthetic fibers , though ,are used almost exclusively in industrial applications. Once again , synthetic fibers can be produced from oil at lower costs , foremost , and is not subject to labor intensive considerations , and can be produced year-round .

4. The D.E.A. was actually not in existence when the Anti-cannabis laws were enacted . These laws if I remember , were mainly directed towards political punitive actions against Mexican Americans in Texas in the 30’s . I remember something funny about how you could apply for a cannabis ‘stamp’ to grow it , but you could not get one and none were printed , some kind of government ‘catch 22 ’ . I can’t recall the particulars , but it was funny.

5. Your suppositions about the government not being able to distinguish hemp from cannabis may actually be true . : ) Either way, it is more cost and time effective to bundle them together on the restrictive list than to deal with them separately .

Well that is my opinion on your topic. I have not used any references, extemporaneously spoken . I of course know what the Billion(s) dollar crop is, related to this topic , as do we all . Thanks for allowing me to provide counterpoint to your ’ creative persuasion ’ . Peace…....Moment

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17577 posts in 3097 days

#5 posted 12-11-2011 07:55 AM

According to Thom Hartman who speaks about hemp on a regular basis on his radio show, the problem is big oil. Hemp diesel is an infinitely renewable resource. Big oil does not want it grown.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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