In tough economic times, why would anyone ban industrial farming of a highly profitable and useful plant that requires almost no pesticides and can be used to make textiles, food, animal fodder, and alternatives to petroleum, cotton, and pulp wood?
When the plant is called “hemp” (Cannabis genus) the reason it is illegal in the United States has all to do with politics. Some strains of the plant can be used to produce marijuana, a mild but mostly illegal drug that most politicians are eager to distance themselves from.
Hemp History Week from May 17-23, 2010, is an event by the Hemp Industries Association and Vote Hemp to highlight the many benefits of legalizing hemp production in the United States. Growing hemp is legal in many countries, and was also previously legal in the United States.
The whole initiative is taking full advantage of online tools and social media to push to remove barriers to industrial hemp farming in the U.S. through education, legislation and advocacy. Only 16 States have passed pro-hemp farming legislation so far. Hemp History Week is asking supporters to sign and send postcards urging President Obama and Attorney General Holder to change federal policy, and supporters are so far planing to host nearly 200 local events nationwide.
This video from their YouTube channel includes interviews with renowned figures (such as Dr. Andrew Weil) who make the case for a growing market for industrial hemp products:
Here is just one image from the many pictures submitted for the “You + Historical Site” award:
On Facebook, the Hemp History Week page now has over 1,000 fans, while about 6,500 people “like” the related VoteHemp page. Along with a variety of comments and suggestions, people are sharing useful tips, like:
Looking for lunch? Stop by and sample hemp foods at New Seasons Market's at Orenco station in honor of Hemp History Week from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
In the state of Pennsylvania, particularly the farming communities of York and Lancaster counties hemp was very big business. Due to their proximity to the Susquehanna river these two counties became the epicenter for hemp growing in Pennsylvania. Every township in Lancaster grew hemp, particularly Hempfield Township. Between 1720 and 1870 there were more than 100 mills in Lancaster county that processed hemp fiber. That fiber was used to help cover many Conestoga wagons, which were built in the small town of Conestoga, Pennsylvania.
In case you didn't know, according to Hemp History Week, “George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Henry Ford and many other notable Americans were actively engaged in, and openly advocated for, the commercial hemp industry”, while Thomas Jefferson grew hemp in his Monticello resort”. If all the buzz is not enough to convince you of the thousands of planet-friendly uses of hemp, there are even plenty of resources and suggestions for taking action online to support hemp-growing worldwide.