Many of us know what “weed” is. It’s been around for ages, and has been illegal in the USA for as long as the majority of us can remember. In recent years there has been a movement to legalize and study marijuana for it’s medicinal and recreational uses.
When you think of weed, you probably get an image of a hippy looking fellow wearing Rasta colors and smoking a bong. The combination of weed being illegal, and its use as a recreational drug has caused it to be frowned upon by many Americans. It somehow even got placed as a schedule 1 drug by the FDA!
The problem is, prohibition doesn’t work, and large numbers of people still used weed anyway. In fact, more people have been jailed for weed related crimes than any other crimes over the last 25 years!
So what’s the solution you ask? The conclusion that most states came to is legalize it, regulate it, and study it. Since then, we have learned a lot about the health benefits of using weed medicinally, and have a better understanding of the impacts of long term use.
This is great and all, but where does hemp fit into all this? Well, the truth of the matter is that weed comes from a specific strain of hemp that naturally produces more of the stuff that gets you high. That being said, not all hemp gets you high. Actually, most strains of hemp can’t get you high at all, but were still made illegal anyway.
So why grow it at all? I’ve heard this asked many times by people who enjoy smoking weed in their free time. Simply put; industrial hemp has more uses than any other plant out there, and is known for its natural strength and superior growth rate.
A little look into our own history shows just how valuable industrial hemp can be. Hemp paper lasts longer, and doesn’t fade as quickly as other paper. It lasts so long, that the United States Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper! The colonists didn’t just grow hemp for paper though. Most clothes, lantern oil, rope, and ship sails were made from hemp!
In World War 2 the United States air force used hemp to make its uniforms, parachutes, engine oil, and more. Hemp literally saved the lives of pilots who were forced to eject.
With the technology that we have today, we can use industrial hemp for even more. It can be used to produce the cleanest form of bio fuel, can create strong biodegradable plastics, milk, lotion, and can even be used to create CBD oils that treats many illnesses.
The demand for hemp based products is steadily rising, but the supply is low because it has been illegal for so long. Some states are starting to see how valuable hemp is, but there are many who still believe it should be illegal because of its resemblance to weed. Other states are so focused on weed that they overlook hemp altogether. Because of the popularity of CBD oils, some more focus has been drawn to the other usage of the cannabis plant in general. Hopefully this will help hemp growers and manufactures, as more people may buy their products.
North Carolina has come up with a system to allow hemp to be grown without compromising on weed laws. Each person who grows hemp has to register with the state before they can begin growing. Additionally, a state officer will come to inspect the crop every so often to make sure that there are no marijuana plants hidden in the hemp. Based off the requirement that each farmer must record various information on the crop they are growing, North Carolina seems to be interested in hemp based products and what it could do for their economy.
Although both hemp and marijuana are still illegal on the federal level, the Trump administration has supported the Obama administration’s decision to let states decide their own laws on the plant. This is good news to both hemp and marijuana growers in states where they are legal. With any luck, more states will realize how much this crop can grow their economy.
Hemp can be used to make high quality products, weed can be used to get high. Most people focus on weed because it’s flashy, but there are thousands of used for hemp! Some states are starting to learn more about hemp, and how they can use it to make great products.