The United States of America is the ONLY industrialized nation that does not permit the growing or production of industrialized hemp. Please read the first sentence again if your jaw did not drop to the floor. The United States Government does not exactly practice what is preaches when it advertises herself as being the “land of the free”. Thankfully, Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky has added energy to the fight to turn back the clock and make industrialized hemp growth legal in America again.
Earlier this month Senator Paul, a Republican, teamed up with Senators Ron Wyden, Bernie Sanders, and Jeff Merkley to introduce Senate Bill 3501. The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. This would allow farmers to legally grow industrial hemp and clearly differentiate hemp from marijuana. Ron Paul always says that liberty brings people together, and the group of Senators that support this bill is a prime example of how the message of liberty unifies different ideologies. It’s not every day that a Republican, two Democrats, and a Socialist agree on anything!
Today, Senator Paul was at the Kentucky State Fair promoting his bill that would legalize the production of industrialized hemp and touting the economic benefits. Paul has found a local advocate for the cause in state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. Comer has vowed to restart the Kentucky Hemp Commission and to push the Kentucky General Assembly to file a similar bill in Kentucky, as was introduced in the senate.
Unsurprisingly, the initiative is garnering resistance from both sides of the political aisle. Most politicians are simply afraid to risk exposing themselves to unwanted criticism from those that do not understand the differences between marijuana and industrial hemp. Instead of educating themselves on the issue and, as a result, helping the country to tap into a lucrative market, most politicians would rather stand on the sidelines and only advocate for those industries that line their pockets.
For those that are anxious to learn more about the many benefits of industrialized hemp, please take a few minutes out of your day and visit, Hemp Industries Association. Here is a brief teaser stating some of the interesting facts they uncover:
1) Hemp is among the oldest industries on the planet, going back more than 10,000 years to the beginnings of pottery. The Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a bit of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.
2) Presidents Washington and Jefferson both grew hemp. Americans were legally bound to grow hemp during the Colonial Era and Early Republic. The federal government subsidized hemp during the Second World War and U.S. farmers grew about a million acres of hemp as part of that program.
3) Hemp seed is nutritious and contains more essential fatty acids than any other source, is second only to soybeans in complete protein (but is more digestible by humans), is high in B-vitamins, and is a good source of dietary fiber. Hemp seed is not psychoactive and cannot be used as a drug (learn more at TestPledge.com).
4) The bark of the hemp stalk contains bast fibers, which are among the Earth’s longest natural soft fibers and are also rich in cellulose. The cellulose and hemi-cellulose in its inner woody core are called hurds. Hemp stalk is not psychoactive. Hemp fiber is longer, stronger, more absorbent and more insulative than cotton fiber.
5) According to the Department of Energy, hemp as a biomass fuel producer requires the least specialized growing and processing procedures of all hemp products. The hydrocarbons in hemp can be processed into a wide range of biomass energy sources, from fuel pellets to liquid fuels and gas. Development of bio-fuels could significantly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
6) Hemp can be grown organically. Only eight, out of about one hundred known pests, cause problems, and hemp is most often grown without herbicides, fungicides or pesticides. Hemp is also a natural weed suppressor due to fast growth of the canopy.
7) Hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be used for every quality of paper. Hemp paper manufacturing can reduce wastewater contamination. Hemp’s low lignin content reduces the need for acids used in pulping, and its creamy color lends itself to environmentally-friendly bleaching instead of harsh chlorine compounds. Less bleaching results in less dioxin and fewer chemical by-products.
Obviously, from a libertarian perspective, the legalization of hemp is a no brainer. The state government should not be afforded the right to tell you what you can and cannot grow on YOUR property and should not be in the business of legislating morality by determining what free people are allowed to ingest into THEIR OWN bodies.
In the world we live in today, we are always losing far more liberties than we are able to claim back from the state. The legalization of industrialized hemp would create opportunity where there was previously none. This is a good thing and should be supported by libertarians, conservatives, and liberals throughout the country.