The U.S. currently stands as the worlds largest consumer of hemp-based products, but with federal laws prohibiting the growth of hemp internally, we currently import as much as $100 million in hemp products per year. This number could be changing very soon as a new bill has entered the government that could potentially change the way we use hemp in this country.
The introduction of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 by the Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, states that hemp would be legalized as an agricultural commodity and would also be removed from the list of controlled substances. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but the potential that can come from this bill is astonishing.
This is not the first time that a bill like this has entered the realm of the Senate, but the majority of the time it has only led to stalling due to the fact that many in government do not see a difference between hemp and cannabis. Because of the new information showing that hemp has a massive amount of potential to create jobs and economic prosperity, the bill could finally see itself passing this time around.
The main issue that goes with hemp is the fact that it is very closely related to its illegal brother, marijuana. Hemp has however been around since the beginning of the country, being grown by many of the founding fathers. Fun fact, hemp was also considered legal tender back in 1631 until the 1800s, for paying taxes.
Back in the late 30s, cannabis was made outlawed as we know it now by the Marijuana Tax Act. Much of this was due to a large amount of propaganda being circled around, but this has been defeated by modern day science to some extent. The hemp plant is extremely different from that of the cannabis plant. For starters, hemp only has trace amounts of the chemical THC, which is what gets you high, and because of that any person using it to get high would have to consume an inhuman amount of the substance. Much of the drug war has been fueled by attempting to fight cannabis and not hemp although hemp has often gotten pushed into the mix.
The issue is that hemp is a multi-billion dollar crop around the world, and could potentially be worth as much as $17 billion in the U.S. according to one survey. There are many different uses for the hemp plant including consumption for health reasons, clothing production, hemp oil for cosmetics and many more. Hemp has a large amount of potential to change the clothing industry among others in this country as it is often cheaper and more durable than most other fabrics. Hemp fibers can also be used to make paper that is stronger and more environmentally friendly than most paper we have today.
Another interesting thing about hemp is that the inner fibers can be used to make low density, high absorbency plaster. The combination of hemp and plaster is known as hempcrete, which is as much as 90% less in weight than traditional concrete. Hempcrete also is virtually fireproof and allows moisture to pass through it reducing problems with mold and mildew.
The industry on hemp and cannabis is something that is just now seeing the light as new governmental policies are coming into place. The hopes are high that the near and not too distant future will be filled with products that are better for the home and the world. Only time will tell how well hemp can be integrated into our daily lives.