An Argument in Favor of the Legalization of Hemp in the United States

Categories: War Industry

Hemp came to America on the Mayflower-woven into the ship’s sails and rigging. It covered Conestoga wagons trudging west. According to legend, Betsy Ross stitched it into that famous flag, and Levi Strauss sewed it into the first pair of gold miner’s jeans. Hemp was a cash crop for rope, twine, canvas and cellulose in the United States until 1937, when it was outlawed by the federal government, largely because major chemical companies—competing for the war industry with synthetic fibers-lobbied for the Marijuana Tax Act.

Now is the time for the comeback of the world most versatile and oldest cultivated fiber plant in the world. Hemp can be used for body care (such as cosmetics, shampoo, etc.), foods and beverages, building materials, fuel (Biodiesel and a new ethanol), paper, and textiles (from clothing to linens). Hemp is stronger than cotton and Hemp grows well without herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides. Almost half of the agricultural chemicals used on US crops are applied to cotton.

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Hemp is also more resilient to UV rays. Hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be used for every type of paper. Hemp paper manufacturing can reduce wastewater contamination. Hemp’s low need for acids used in pulping, and its creamy color lends itself to environmentally friendly bleaching instead of harsh chlorine compounds and less bleaching results in fewer chemical byproducts. As for food, Hemp Seed is far more nutritious than even soybean, 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 35% dietary fiber.

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Yes, hemp does contains trace amounts of THC, the active substance in marijuana, but hemp’s THC quantities are so tiny that it’s literally impossible to get high by eating food containing hemp. These THC levels are also too small to interfere with drug tests. Hemp food products are a small but fast-growing sector of the natural foods industry, with annual sales of about $5 million. Products include pretzels, chips, energy bars, bread, salad dressing, cereal, cooking oil and ice cream.

Look at a much more common ingredient in baking — poppy seeds. They contain trace amounts of opiates. But the DEA has not tried to ban poppy seeds, and instead has negotiated with growers a set of standards for opiate content in their seeds. The DEA should sit down to negotiate a reasonable set of standards for hemp’s THC content. Then it should go to the root of the problem by lifting the U.S. ban on hemp cultivation. Canada allows both the farming of hemp and its use in foods, under a set of sound, science-based regulations overseen by that country’s agriculture and health authorities. There’s no reason why the United States shouldn’t do the same.

Instead of negotiating a further ban on hemp plants, the U.S. government should contemplate legalizing the producing of hemp. In today’s slowing economy, farmers, all across America, are having trouble. Jeffrey Gain, the chairman of the Department of Agriculture, argues that hemp could be a useful alternative for the suffering wheat and tobacco farmers. In 1998 Canada lifted it’s 60-year ban on the cultivation of hemp and Canada struggling farmers have begun to profit again. Why can’t our Government realize that hemp is not a drug, in fact hemp cultivation endangers the purity of marijuana crops. Hemp could drastically increase the income of American farmers, American jobs, and reap federal income through taxes. The answer is simple, if only those on Capitol Hill could see that Hemp must be legalized.

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An Argument in Favor of the Legalization of Hemp in the United States. (2022, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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