(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Hemp dates back to the time of the Revolutionary War in America when the colonies were required to grow hemp for the British Crown.

Without hemp, the 44-gun US warship USS Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides,” would have never have made it away from the dock. It took 120,000 pounds of hemp fiber to rig the sails.

Hemp Production

Matt Rens of Waupun, Wisconsin along with the State Dept. of Agriculture, convinced International Harvester Company to pursue mechanizing hemp harvest processing machines.

A 2010 study revealed that industrial hemp for paper would have more environmental impacts than paper made from eucalyptus.

Hemp needs no herbicides and few pesticides but a high yield of hemp would require high levels of fertilizer and soil nutrients similar to a field of wheat.

Ninety-five percent of hemp seed sold in Europe as used as animal and bird feed.

The world-leading producer of hemp is China, with smaller production in Europe, Chile and North Korea.

Over thirty countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.

Hemp And The Law

When marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2013, several farmers brought in the first hemp crop in the US since the 1950s.

Four states, Colorado, Vermont, California and North Dakota, are waiting for permission to grow industrial hemp from the DEA.

North Dakota is making an effort to force a decision from the DEA. Oregon has issued licenses to grow industrial hemp in that state since August of 2009.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 permits colleges and some state agencies to grow and do research on hemp if legal in their states.

Some Final Thoughts

While no one disputes that hemp has a very wide variety of uses, almost all of those uses have been replaced with products created with modern technology. While hemp is very durable and long lasting as clothing, nylon and rayon are much cheaper to produce and sell.

And fashion is never long lasting.

While it was used for centuries to make paper other plants are more economical. Plus the process of producing paper with hemp would take some retooling to replace trees as a source of pulp.

The free market is the last word in what grows, sells and creates demand.

Over 30 countries produce hemp. If it had the worldwide demand its supporters wish it had it would have replaced many products in Europe and other countries where it can be grown legally. So far hemp has not even come close.

Perhaps as the interest in marijuana legalization spreads the growing of hemp will too. I guess seeing what the market is for Colorado hemp will tell some of the story and perhaps predict the future for American hemp.

I’m sure all you hemp supporters will want to leave comments below.

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