March 27th, 2009 [ ]

The plant cannabis sativa L. has the capacity to become one of America’s largest cash crops. To be fair, in some states it already is, particularly in those states that recognize legally the amazing abilities of medicinal cannabis to alleviate symptoms of a variety of illnesses ranging from nausea, anxiety and chronic pain to glaucoma, Tourette’s Syndrome, and wasting due to AIDS, anorexia and cancer.

But contrary to popular belief, drug strain cannabis, more crudely known as “marijuana,” is not the only valuable crop to spring from this miracle seed. Non-psychoactive cannabis, more commonly known today as “hemp,” has a wide span of uses, ranging from textiles (hemp fibers are superior for paper, rope and fabrics), nutrition (hemp seeds contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, as well as other nutritious proteins), and even biofuel (the first cars were designed to run on hempseed oil, and hemp fuels could be a viable replacement for ethanol).

Hemp wasn’t always such a target of intense scrutiny. Did you know that America’s forefathers grew hemp? Ben Franklin’s paper mill produced hemp paper. Our soldiers’ Revolutionary War uniforms were made from hemp cloth. Drafts of the Declaration of Independents were written on hemp paper. Ford Motors made a car with hemp siding that was more crash-resistant than regular cars. The word “canvas” comes from “cannabis,” i.e. hemp. Some botanists speculate that George Washington even grew psychoactive strains of hemp.

Hemp cultivation is illegal today largely because of uncooperative drug enforcement agencies who claim that hemp looks too much like marijuana, that they can’t tell them apart, or that drug growers would be encouraged to hide crops in hemp fields (never mind that cross-pollination would render the drug plants worthless).

But here’s what most people don’t know: the drug known as “marijuana” was originally outlawed in order to get rid of hemp as an industrial competitor for the wood, cotton, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries! This is what I call “the hemp factor,” which goes largely ignored in today’s debate about drug-strain cannabis. (Check out the “Cannabis History” section of the site for more on this fascinating story of lies, corruption, xenophobia, mass hysteria, racism, and more lies! It’s pretty incredible stuff.)

I fully recognize the difference in the present-day debate surrounding industrial and psychoactive strains of cannabis, but I believe they are two sides of the same coin, which is why this site, unlike some hemp advocacy sites, fully and openly advocates for the legalization of all strains of this misunderstood plant. A discussion of one cannot occur without the other, and without a knowledge of the plant’s recent history in the United States, an honest debate cannot occur.

Enjoy the links!

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