By Tony Jones
The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.”
It’s ironic that the country founded on the principals of and liberty and freedom still prohibits its citizens from growing a plant.
I’m talking, of course, about industrial hemp. A plant that has more than 30,000 uses and is considered to be a “superfood.” This absurdity continues by the fact that hemp can be legally imported from other countries but cannot be grown in America.
Did you know that the US Constitution was written on hemp paper? The first American flag was made out of hemp. Even some past military uniforms were made of hemp. In 1937, Popular Science Magazine referred to hemp as “The New Billion Dollar Crop.”
And then it was banned…
Federal laws against hemp are a prime example of how our government stifles our freedom. Under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, hemp and marijuana are classified exactly the same. To the untrained eye, I can see how the plants might seem similar. However, industrial hemp contains less than one percent of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Therefore, it would take a “joint” the size of a telephone pole to get any type of "buzz" from hemp.
Farmers across our state and the country should be outraged. The farming of hemp requires virtually no pesticides. Hemp also requires less water than other crops, and has deep roots that leave the soil in an improved condition after harvesting. This makes hemp one of the best possible crops for a farm to put in rotation.
Consumers should also be outraged. The retail sales of hemp in the United States are estimated to be over $420 million annually, that’s $420 million from a product we are forced to import. America is in need of jobs, yet we continue to dismiss this possible market. With the decriminalization of industrial hemp, thousands of employment opportunities could be created in agriculture, marketing, distribution, sales, manufacturing, and beyond.
The fact that we have to be granted permission to grow a plant is an insult to our freedom.
The criminalization of industrial hemp must come to an end.
For more from Tony, check out www.TonyJones.org