Our view: Let’s legalize hemp



Hemp is not marijuana.

It looks like marijuana.

It’s related to marijuana.

But it’s not marijuana.

You can’t get high off of it. But someday, maybe, you could get rich off of it. Well, OK, maybe not rich. But there might be some money to be made in a plant fiber so useful that it can be used in making things from auto parts to yarn. Not quite A to Z, but close enough.

A hemp car? Really? Apparently so. “Hemp fibers have higher strength to weight ratios than steel and can also be considerably cheaper to manufacture,” reports Alan Crosky of the School of Material Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Australia. He and other researchers are working on using hemp fiber to replace plastic in some car parts. The result could be a car that has more fuel efficiency because it weighs so much less, but is still just as strong.

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  • Oliver Steinberg

    Well, somebody is lying. In 1943, the U.S. Government issued licenses to American farmers to grow hemp during W.W.II after the Japanese seized the Philippines and cut off our Navy’s source of cordage (Manila hemp.) At that time, the Government issued a statement headlined: “Caution.” It said this: THE HEMP PLANT contains the drug marihuana.” You editors have been swallowing the government propaganda about “marihuana”–however it’s spelled–for 75 years, and now you are foolish enough to fall for the hemp hucksters’ hype: “We have nothing to do with ‘marijuana.'” Figure it out: there ARE different strains of cannabis, but the government has been lying all along, about all of it! The reason they coined the neologism of “marijuana,” stuck it on hemp, and launched the never-ending nonsense of reefer madness mythology, was precisely to suppress the industrial potential of hemp. The quickest way to restore hemp cultivation–which Thomas Jefferson recommended instead of tobacco–is to END “marijuana” prohibition. DEA will resist industrial hemp, just like they resist medicinal use of cannabis, in order to prop up their legal fiction that cannabis is an addictive, dangerous drug. Their jobs depend on that lie . . . and on journalists continuing to parrot it. So if you really want the benefits of hemp for rope, paper, food, fuel, textiles, etc., then you should demand the repeal of the prohibition against smoking hemp. All that “marijuana?” Yes, it IS hemp! Hemp is the English cognate word for Cannabis–ask any linguist or check the Oxford English Dictionary (which, incidentally, didn’t even LIST “marijuana” when it was published, 80 years ago. Ganja, yes. Indian Hemp, sure. But the US government hadn’t invented “marijuana” yet–it was still chasing Demon Rum and only when that fiasco ended did it concoct the menace of Demon Marijuana.

    • John Sergovich

      You’re absolutely right on. In places such as Canada and Europe, where some farmers are given licences to grow hemp, the restrictions placed on the farmer and the seed suppliers have the effect of making the crop uneconomical for most purposes.The cost of the seed itself can be more than half the expected value of the harvested crop. The low THC requirement rules out the most robust varieties of cannabis and has no industrial justification.
      Now that cannabis can be grown legally in Colorado and Washington, I hope and expect that there will be some promising agricultural and industrial research done with the crop.