Hemp History Week Is May 17-23

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May 17-23 is the first annual “Hemp History Week.” Stop right there and don’t hit the remove us from your e-newsletter mailing list option. Let me explain that the history week is an effort by some farmers to allow hemp to be grown for industrial uses, not drug use.

Industrial hemp has had many uses throughout history, not just for rope. It was grown extensively during World War II as part of the war effort, but that is only one aspect of hemp production through history.

“Hemp was an important crop for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and thousands of American farmers until it was outlawed completely in 1970 by the Controlled Substance Act. I know many farmers in my district could benefit greatly from the renewed freedom to rotate industrial hemp into their growing season. Hemp History Week will help other elected officials learn about America’s rich hemp heritage along with the tremendous benefits of growing hemp in America once again,” explained Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Two organizations are behind the Hemp History Week—Hemp Industries Association and Vote Hemp. The groups want to have at least 50,000 hand-signed postcards sent to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder asking them to end the ban on hemp farming and let farmers grow the potentially profitable crop.

Imported hemp seed, fiber and oil are used by U.S. businesses to produce a wide array of products sold in the U.S., everything from textiles, body care products, food and even auto parts, notes those pushing for farmer approval to grow hemp. Because of purported health and nutritional benefits, hemp is one of the fastest growing industries in natural foods.

Quite a bit of the hemp ingredients have been coming from Canada. Industrial hemp could be grown in many states of the nation from north to south as noted by the Texas congressman’s statement and by actions of the North Dakota legislature to give farmers the chance to profit from growing hemp.

For the past four growing season, farmers in North Dakota have received licenses from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp, but these farmers have not grown the crop because of federal warnings that they would be charged with breaking the law by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which classifies industrial hemp under the same rules as drug-type Cannabis.

I think the federal law has even limited investigation of industrial hemp as a biofuels/biomass energy crop. Additionally, the information I’ve been provided doesn’t rule out hemp ingredients as potential livestock feed. It seems that some accommodation could be worked out for licensing industrial hemp production if there really is large profit potential and crop rotation advantages to growing hemp.

Source: Richard Keller, AgProfessional Editor




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