By Gary Hall
Hemp, a cousin to the marijuana plant, used to be prevalent throughout the United States. The founding fathers grew and used hemp. The first American flag was made out of hemp, and the word "canvas" derives from cannapaceus, or "made from hemp." It's a wonder that it is not mentioned in our children's history books.
Unfortunately, the modern United States has limited the growth of hemp because of its relation to marijuana. But "hemp" refers only to the variety of cannabis sativa with very little THC. It has no psychotic or drug-like effects.
That said, hemp is surprisingly useful. No, it's astounding how useful hemp is. Yet hemp is so taboo that it's difficult to gain a license to grow it. To speak of anything possibly related to marijuana is so "hush-hush" that many people have not even heard of hemp. But despite these restrictive social standards, hemp is slowly finding its way back into common use.
Hemp makes many different materials, but most notably hemp is used to make fabric. Hemp is several times more useful and resourceful than cotton. One acre of hemp is equivalent to two to three acres of cotton. Not only this, but hemp can be grown about anywhere in the country, unlike cotton.
Hemp can also replace wood-made paper. One acre of hemp is equivalent to two to four acres of trees. Trees take years to grow, while hemp is harvested after only 120 days. Hemp paper has a superior quality over wood-based paper. It can last hundreds of years without decomposing. Oh, and remember plastic? Hemp can produce plastic products just as well as petroleum. Car companies are now taking advantage of hemp-produced plastic products. Most epically, like corn, hemp can make ethanol.
So far, it seems that hemp is the ideal plant to become the next renewable resource for many of our less-than-planet-friendly products. If hemp were utilized over petroleum, cotton, and wood, we would not only be saving the planet, but hemp would add another lucrative aspect to our economy. Plus we will be able to keep the same type of products we love and enjoy. (We're all for saving the trees, but we want our toys too.)
But hemp isn't just for paper, plastic, fuel, ect. Hemp is considered to be one of the most nutritious foods because it contains all the essential fatty acids and complete amino acids. Hemp is literally good for us. And the best part is that hemp can be converted into anything that soybeans can - like milk and cheese.
The number of possibilities for hemp is flabbergasting. In fact, hemp has been used to make over 30,000 products. I never heard of cotton extending its faculties to that degree. The benefits of hemp products far out-weigh any taboo or established social norm. Hemp benefits the environment, the economy, and even our stomachs. So perhaps as hemp's fabulous features become well-known, we may soon see the potential benefits become reality in the U.S.A.
Speaking of taboos, if you find yourself facing an unfavorable position against the law due to the "other green", you may need to seek out a solid controlled substance lawyer in Massachusetts. In which case, be sure you look until you find a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney that knows his or her way around the legal system and can do you some good. One that can...let's say "go green" for you.