Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Why hemp could save the world
August 10, 4:37 PM
Industrial hemp in France
That title probably should say, "Why hemp could have saved the world all along," because the plant should never have been banned in the first place, and its prohibition has led to untold suffering around the globe. If we—the global human population—had been able to grow the miracle plant hemp (Cannabis genus) locally and to use it for local industries and businesses, including and especially for fuel, we would never have needed to be addicted to oil, for one, an addiction that is at the root of much misery. We would never have allowed ourselves to be lorded over by international oil-mongers whose crimes against humanity have become legion, including wholesale invasion of other lands and slaughter of countless people.
None of this oil-related horror—along with the deplorable degradation of the environment globally—would have occurred if hemp had not been prohibited but had been used wisely and intelligently as a major foundation of human society. Indeed, hemp-based economies could still save the human world, while hemp planting could go a massively long way in rescuing the natural world as well.
Thousands of uses for amazing hemp
It is said that hemp has up to 50,000 uses, from fiber to fuel to food, but I'll just provide a taste here:
In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, fuel, and medical purposes with modest commercial success. In the past three years, commercial success of hemp food products has grown considerably.
Hemp is one of the faster growing biomasses known, producing up to 25 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year, and one of the earliest domesticated plants known. For a crop, hemp is very environmentally friendly, as it requires few pesticides and no herbicides. ("Hemp," Wikipedia)
A partial list of hemp uses includes (there are many within each category):
food—seeds, oil, flour
toiletries—soap, shampoo, lotion
textiles—clothing, towels, bedding, canvas
household products—carpet, detergent, paint, toys
industrial products—paper, concrete, insulation, fuel, car parts
(It should be noted that medical marijuana is a different strain of cannabis that contains significant amounts of the active chemical THC, whereas industrial hemp contains negligible amounts and is not capable of getting anyone "high.")
One highly important use of hemp has been in detoxifying nuclear waste, as demonstrated by experiments in the Ukraine, for example, on the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Moreover, hemp fuel could actually replace the dangerous and costly nuclear power industry.
Much of this information about the history and uses of hemp comes from the writings of, among many others, the late great Jack Herer, whose book The Emperor Wears No Clothes has become a classic, with hundreds of thousands of copies bought or given away over the past 25 years. Inspired by these writings, I myself have been a hemp activist for 20 years or so, after I learned about it while in Los Angeles—where I actually met Herer and several other major players in this important field. I once got a complaint for faxing a hemp factsheet to (other) law offices, while another time I stood up at presidential candidate Jerry Brown's press conference and asked the former California governor first about U.S. foreign policy and its repercussions, and then whether or not it was time to seriously consider hemp as a viable solution to many of the world's problems. That was in 1994, and there's a film of the exchange somewhere on Youtube, I'm told.
Why hemp was banned
When studied, the history of hemp prohibition can only be deemed a disgrace, exposing, as it appears to turn out, some of the greatest villains ever to set foot upon the earth. Despite the anti-hemp propaganda of these individuals, the fact is that this versatile plant has been used in numerous cultures around the world since the dawn of civilization:
Hemp (cannabis) was also used for making cloth in temperate Europe... Since it was resistant to seawater, it was particularly useful for making sails. Hemp seeds occur in a few European sites from LBK [c. 5500 BCE] onward, and possible hemp cloth was found in a Late Neolithic French site; hemp textiles were certainly in production by the Iron Age in Thrace and Greece.... (Jane McIntosh, Handbook of Life in Prehistoric Europe, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 107)
It is also claimed that "Ötzi the Iceman," a 5,300-year-old mummy found frozen in the Swiss Alps, was discovered to be wearing clothing made of hemp, as well as carrying marijuana in his pouch.
"Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!" —George Washington
As an example of how vital hemp used to be to humanity, it is said that the United States may never have succeeded if a number of its founders had not been hemp farmers—an industry that made them rich. Indeed, first American President George Washington himself is quoted as saying, "Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!"
In fact, hemp farming was required by law or otherwise encouraged in several early American villages and towns:
In 1619, because hemp was such an important resource, it was illegal not to grow hemp in Jamestown, Virginia. Massachusetts and Connecticut had similar laws. During the 1700's, subsidies and bounties were granted in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, North & South Carolina, and the New England states to encourage hemp cultivation and the manufacturing of cordage and canvas. (John Dvorak, "America's Harried Hemp History")
One of the most important facts concerning American use of hemp is that the Declaration of Independence itself was drafted on hemp paper.
According to hemp activists, industrial "robber barons" and "medico-fascists" colluded in an unholy war against the common people to create monopolies that have since destroyed the planet and led us to the brink of complete and utter collapse. For example, in order to corner the paper market, media mogul William Randolph Hearst teamed with DuPont, enlisting the help of Harry Anslinger, the first Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who actively worked to associate hemp with "marijuana" and to demonize it, so that his cronies could make a killing off cutting down the American Northwest's forests.
Oil-mongers jumped on the bandwagon, so they could force us all not to have local fuels but to buy from them—getting us addicted to the product of foreign sources that have since become huge national security problems with the trillion$ in oil money they have sucked out of our economies.
Hemp for humanity
Since that ominous time when hemp was first prohibited for capitalistic purposes, the world has degenerated to a truly frightening point where we are overwhelmed by problems—and we really don't even want to contemplate the dire consequences of our actions and state of existence. Human civilization is not well; nor is the environment, largely because of our industrial lifestyle, which reveals itself in horrendous pollution in numerous parts of the world and, probably, in climate change.
There is hope, but we must transcend our prejudices and biases, which are largely based on false morality in this case, as well as just plain greed by those who are either amoral, immoral or both. We must immediately adapt our ways and begin hemp farming worldwide on a massive scale and effort never before seen by humanity. Anti-hemp objections based on flawed interpretations of "God" or "Allah" must be thrown out the window in a haste. These nonsensical protestations and obstructions are preventing us from utilizing a "God-given plant" that has so many uses it's hard to think what it isn't good for. It's high time to end the injunction against hemp, which is also a major repression of our own freedom and independence. If local communities had their own locally produced resource base, there would be no need to take that of others, no incursions or invasions, no endless warfare. Not only can we hope but we can also demand the change, for our humanity, survival and posterity.
D.M. Murdock is the author of controversial books and articles on comparative religion and mythology that can be found at TruthBeKnown.com, Stellar House Publishing and Freethought Nation. For more articles from the Freethought Examiner, be sure to subscribe!
Sources & Further Reading
101 Uses for Hemp
Legal history of cannabis in the United States
America's Harried Hemp History
Marijuana - The GateWay Drug
Understanding the Hemp Plant and its 50,000 Uses and Benefits!
Hemp "Eats" Chernobyl Waste, Offers Hope For Hanford
World in collision with mass extinction