Legal Hemp Production Making a Comeback after 80 Year Ban
Categories: On The Farm
It has been eight decades since U.S. drug laws made growing hemp in American soil illegal.
Today barely one percent of Americans are farming hemp. Before it was prohibited in 1937, that number was 30 percent and our hemp was considered among the best in the world.
Hemp is finally beginning to make a comeback after President Obama signed a provision in the 2014 farm bill that removed hemp grown for research purposes from the Controlled Substances Act.
Many are finally recognizing that hemp can help restore our agricultural economy, have a positive impact on climate change and help our struggling farmers. According to a report in the LA Times,Canada already knew that and is raking in a billion a year on its hemp production.
Hemp is one of the most desirable, industrial plants on the planet. From its tensile strength, to its hardiness, the plant can grow almost anywhere and requires half the water that wheat would require. Its seeds are an incredibly healthy food and the herb, itself, is used as one of the greatest medicines on the planet.
It was a hugely popular export and the backbone of much of the agricultural economy of the time. 80 years of ignorance has left the plant on the Schedule 1 narcotic drug list, pretending as if it is more dangerous than crystal meth and cocaine (both schedule 2 drugs). Regardless, since entering the age of information, knowledge of the plant and the willingness of farmers to grow it has skyrocketed.
Canada, a front-runner in the legalization effort, is already raking in $1 billion a year on the production and sale of hemp. Many are seeing that it is the key to the revitalization of the agricultural economy and have followed suit. In 2014, Barack Obama signed the farm billthat legalized the use of industrial hemp for research purposes.
Rick Trojan, founder of Colorado-based Hemp Road Trip, has been hard at work petitioning the US government to pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, which would make it legal to grow hemp for use in manufacturing a variety of products. “Hemp, as a rotational crop, leaves the ground better than it found it,” Trojan told KSNT.com in Kansas. “It is also a great alternative for farmers.”
Recent moves to reinvigorate the hemp industry has given farmers hope for a new cash crop and inspired others to begin farming. It's an easy plant to handle and the demand is soaring.
To begin production once again, American farmers will need to import dozens of hemp varieties from around the world because the US’s seed stock was lost after so many years of prohibition.
But growers are keen to get started. One Colorado farmer, Ryan Loflin, told the LA Times that hemp is going to revive farmers.
“It takes half the water that wheat does and provides four times the income. Hemp is going to revive farming families in the climate-change era.”