|Forum topic by DrTebi||posted 12-08-2011 10:12 AM||1268 views||0 times favorited||5 replies|
12-08-2011 10:12 AM
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.
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 <http://www.dailypaul.com/164445/rep-ron-paul-introduces-hr-1831-the-industrial-hemp-farming-act>