Hemp: Could the US Make It Legal Once Again?

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hempYou wouldn’t know it today but Hemp was once a major crop in the United States.  The first US flag was made from it, and it was used for the paper on which the Declaration of Independence was printed. This is just naming a few of course, as hemp was used for countless everyday items. The crop was banned because it was a sizable threat to many industries at the time and those who had voting power did not want to see their business get hurt. Tactics to make hemp out to be a very dangerous drug began in order to shape public opinion. What many did not know was that hemp and marijuana (containing much more THC) were two different plant strains and hemp could not get someone high. More on Hemp becoming illegal here.

Although hemp has been illegal for many years, is it possible that change is in the air? Will the US make it legal once again like many other countries?

Those who recognize the power of this plant are very large advocates of hemp becoming legal once again and it is also very popular amongst the public. A recent 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service estimated that the annual US retail hemp market could exceed $300M in value. While money is not what’s important here when it comes to using this plant, the stat demonstrates the versatility of it.

Before we get into it, I always like to remind everyone that the push to make this legal is not for psychoactive purposes. While anyone should be able to smoke what they choose, hemp does not boast enough THC to get someone high very easily. One would have to smoke incredibly large amounts in a short period of time to get high.

As of right now states such as Oregon, North Dakota, Vermont, Montana and West Virginia have backed the idea of hemp becoming legal once again. In Congress, a coalition of lawmakers has formed containing right-wing Republicans and liberal Democrats who are all pushing for hemps legalization. It further goes to show the support behind hemp isn’t based on what political party you come from but instead realizing the importance this plant has for humanity. Could this be the start of the motion to legalize hemp?

Some notable mentions:

  • In August of 2012, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul co-sponsored a bill with Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden which would exempt Hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.
  • Industrial hemp is grown in Europe, but China is the biggest producer
  • Some 17 states have passed hemp-related legislation and 10 (Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia) have approved bills to remove barriers to its production.

As you might imagine, the key obstacle remains the federal authorities. Hemp cannot be grown without a DEA permit. While awareness is growing at lower levels of government, it seems to be squashed the closer it gets to the top. It is also necessary to mention that before any government or state could make hemp legal once again, agreements would have to be made with the multinational corporations who own and run the United States beyond the government. This is where one challenge lies. Another key challenge exists within public opinion about hemp.

“‘Hemp’ is simply a term used by some to create the false impression that so-called ‘hemp’ is not the same as marijuana,” a DEA spokesman says. “In fact, under federal law, all cannabis plants (that is, all plants of the genus cannabis) are marijuana.”

This quote is a perfect example of how easy it is to reshape public opinion on the matter. While the DEA spokesperson is right in that it it still cannabis, hemp does NOT contain anywhere near enough THC to get someone high.

Many opponents of the legalization of hemp say that it would be very difficult to differentiate between the two strains of Cannabis-Sativa. Meaning, it would be difficult to tell whether or not the plant was marijuana or hemp, based on it’s appearance. It seems to be a weak argument considering the benefits of hemp which are widely discussed here and here.

While it is still difficult to say where things are headed, there is a positive movement and awareness growing. It is really only a matter of time before things change for hemp.

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More From 'Alternative News'

CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. Learnt all the above and much more in the Amsterdam “Hash Museum” about 25 years ago.
    Canvas Sails and Ropes of the old sailing ships all made from hemp. First Levi Jeans made from hemp canvas. Saw photo of US hemp plantation as far as the eye could see for WWII era navy ropes and parachute cords. Now replaced by petrochemical products. Would love to intorduce Hemp as a sustainable crop to parts of Africa and reclaim the world market in the many products.

  2. Research ‘hempcrete’ – by using ground hemp, instead of sand, in concrete, you are sequestering carbon! (good for the environment) and hempcrete continues to extract carbon from the atmosphere as it containues to ‘set up’ for years and years – essentially fossilizing. Amazing. There is a Roman aquaduct in france made of hempcrete.

    • as well as many houses built with Hempcrete , notably Asheville NC

  3. DBrook

    Thanks for the info, educating the public will certainly head us in the right direction!

  4. Nathalie Johansson

    Sorry to say – but cannabis kills a lot of people too! After people have been smoking or consumed it any other way – often they over time get mental problems, often to the extend that they sooner or later need to get medical help because in some cases people hear or see things that is not real and unfortunately often over time cannabis gives suicidal thoughts and in some cases it succeeds them! And not to forget, often people do try other heavy drugs because the rush/hit from the cannabis is no longer big enough for them and that is where the killing really starts!!!

    • Jan

      There are many benefits to be obtained from the legalization of cannabis. Get the facts straight, as has been suggested, do some REAL research, TRY it!! Then get back to the rest of us that know better, and we will listen to you then…

    • Mig Thefig

      Open your mind, and reseach information before saying stuff you have NO clue about. THERE IS NO RECORD ON THIS PLANET THAT INDICATES THAT CANNABIS HAS LEAD TO DEATH, NONE. 0 . NADA, Y NAS PAS.! And if it did give suicidal thoughts to someone, they had really big problems to beggin with and they already had those thoughts. Smoking probebly even lowered those thoughts and calmed them out in very stressfull times. And for saying this is a gateway drug?? HAha so ok, We could say that it all started with Coffee? Or Pop ? Or any sugar that probebly YOU and most people you know eat everyday and thats why we all get cancer and disease. This is just plain ignorant from you saying such lies and misleading information.

    • Sorry to say Nathalie but you need to get your facts straight!!! Look at how many people every year kill them selves while on prescription mood altering drugs that come right from there Dr. You have people every year that die because of alcohol use and not to mention the countless families that are abused at the hand of people who drink? I know from first hand use and others who use and none of us ever get depressed or hear things or any of that media propaganda garbage you are trying to spread!! And if people use this as a gateway drug why has none of the hundreds of people I know that smoke pot are not on any hard drugs? You always have people who have addictive personalities that can even get addicted to food alcohol phones computers and any other stupid thing they have addiction problems with!! Please study things from both sides of the fence before you make such stupid comments like this again and hey burn one for me you’ll be a lot happier of a person for it!!!

    • evelyn

      It’s obvious to me, Nathalie, that you’ve probably never used cannabis or known anyone who used it because what you’ve written here sounds like it came straight from someone who has no first hand experience with it but is parroting some anti-drug propaganda. As someone who knows from personal as well as professional experience: 1) No, smoking cannabis does not lead to mental problems, hallucinations, or suicidal thoughts. Honestly, it’s the people I know who’ve NEVER smoked it who have mental problems. Some of the most successful, grounded, stable people are regular users. 2) Cannabis is NOT a gateway drug to anything stronger. People who wind up abusing heavy duty drugs have an addictive personality and lots of times start out with alcohol. These people could get hooked on anything (food, sex, video games). No one has EVER died as a result of using only marijuana. Unfortunately, we can’t say that about alcohol or prescription drugs which, as we all know, are perfectly legal.

    • Nathalie Johansson . . . . you are wrong. Anything can be claimed. Really, look into this issue. Read. Research. Become responsible for the words that come out of your mouth and onto the page! America’s true health and economy are at your doorstep. Tread lightly.

    • Adam

      Nathalie cannabis has never been proven to kill anyone. at the very highest levels of 20-30% it has been known to cause short term paranoia. however your levels of ignorance and idiocy (which im guessing is anywhere from 85-90%) kill literally thousands daily. i hope you feel as stupid as you make yourself look!

    • Tiffiney McClellan

      get your facts please before you post, weed has never killed anyone unlike alcohol and other drugs. It is a God given plant that you do not had too or take away from. people like you never want change. legalize it.

    • Smart enough to read

      Natalie are you Retarded? Did you even bother to read the article or the links therein? Actually asking if you are retarded is wrong and a dis service to mentally handicapped people everywhere. I mean to insult them like that by including you in their ranks is wrong. they (mentally handicapped people) would have read the article before posting….

    • Al

      Sounds to me like some one needs some education, You have NO idea what you are talking about. THC, the active ingredient, CURES cancer, along with many other problems that people have. It is NOT poison, Its LIFE!!!

    • The uneducated such as yourself are a major reason this issue is an issue in the first place. Seriously try doing some research before commenting on a subject; the politicians in 1930’s did no research before voting on Harry J. Alsingers bills and treaty; this is why we are currently in the position with a true natural resource that we are in. You can even go back into the congressional archives and read where politicians found about the lies and were pissed but too late to do anything about it; try doing some research.
      Marijuana is the flower of the cannabis plant; there are three species of cannabis plant; they are Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. Cannabis sativa is use to produce HEMP which is nothing more than the long fibers of the stalk of the cannabis sativa plant; Sativa is used because it grows tall and strong. The other species do not grown in such a manner.
      Hemp contains traceable but NON-useable amounts of THC; in other words you will not get a high from smoking hemp.
      Try doing some frigging research before speaking on a subject.

    • You are completely…. misinformed. There is not on smidge of evidence to support your statements. This article is also talking about Hemp not cannabis.

      • hemp sativa

        hemp is cannabis sativa. just the sister plant of marijuana with little to no thc.

        • you are wrong in your information; Marijuana is the flower of the cannabis plant; there are three species of cannabis plant; they are Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. Cannabis sativa is use to produce HEMP which is nothing more than the long fibers of the stalk of the cannabis sativa plant; Sativa is used because it grows tall and strong. The other species do not grown in such a manner; Cannabis Indica grows in a short stout bush and can contain high levels of THC in the marijuana flower; cannabis Ruderalis does grow in the same fashion as Indica; but it contains very little THC which is why people do not grow and produce the flower from it to sell.
          Hemp contains traceable but NON-useable amounts of THC; in other words you will not get a high from smoking hemp.
          Try doing some frigging research before speaking on a subject; otherwise it is just more bad information going out to the people.

          • Joel

            Very well put.

    • Drew Donovan

      Nathalie please do some legitimate research before you go spreading lies about a harmless plant. Unless you’re joking, which I sincerely hope for your sake you are.

  5. Cynthia Fox

    Natalie – You sound like a concerned person, but your comments show your naivity. I don’t know who you have been listening to, but your comments are in no way grounded in reality. Please do some legitimate research. You have apparently been completely brainwashed with pure propaganda!

  6. Michael Larkin

    Nathalie- In future, please research a little before voicing your opinions. They simply make you look stupid.

  7. You can make every person in the world aware of the benefits of cannabis; whether it is from the seed, hemp or marijuana, it would not matter.
    This is simply because those in power in the United States are addicted to that power and will not release. The addicts are the politicians who enable the fossil fuel; pharmaceutical and other big business’s that helps the politicians stay in office; especially at the Federal level.
    If you want change then the change has to be the political structure of the U.S.A.; when the politicians vote to give themselves a raise no matter if they did a good job or not; when politicians vote to give themselves lifetime benefits, above what the common man makes; then to me there is an issue.
    This issue can only be resolved in one way that I can see and that is a collapse of the United States of America(kind a like Russia); to replace the stupid laws and hypocritical lying ass politicians that are currently in office and have stayed in office.

  8. glen

    “The first US flag was made form it”


    not trying to be a jerk, but spelling errors make you look less intelligent, and causes people to give less value to your argument. and it’s an argument that should be heard :)

    • Mig Thefig

      Stopping yourself on typo from other people on the internet that could be from anywhere in the world, is not too smart either. A lot of us, our native tongue, is not english, and we learn it the best we can, but of course will make lots of mistake. As long as you understand each other, isnt it what matters? Pretty ignorant on your part to think that everyone is an ace in english and that will not have mistakes in there typo.

    • Smart enough to read

      Don’t get hung up on a typo….

  9. If not now… when?
    Setting aside the DEA’s uneducated stance, the mind boggles at the estimation that the annual US retail hemp market could exceed $300m in value! Think jobs, Jobs JOBS! What a way to stimulate the economy & the best thing is…. no bailouts or govt spending required. Just allow farmers to get on with what they do best.

  10. Frank Leatherbury

    Natalie is a moron, hemp can replace cotton, paper (from trees), fuel, and medicine (as it actually kills cancer at the source.) There is over a hundred trillion dollars at stake every year, which is why it is illegal and believe me the greedy rich and powerful want to remain rich and powerful. When George Washington was born, it was illegal if you were not growing and cultivating hemp, as it supplied all those items mentioned above. Participation is needed to support hemp products and eventually obtain power through lobbying (legal form of bribery), to give billions to congress so they will do what they were elected and paid to do!

  11. The Sixty’s and Seventy’s Youth tried to change the World and did so tremendously but couldn’t pull it all the way through…..The World was just too big and Corporations were too powerful….BUT with the internet and Facebook and Twitter and the fact that Corporations have come to Fiscal Exposure and people are learning more and more and have access to More and More information, There is a good chance that eventually we’ll see a Change in the World We know. We need to keep educating everybody on the Value of Cannabis. Only through Education can we resolve ignorance and dissolve sinister Corporate Power.

  12. Walt

    Indeed, throughout the 60z, 70z, 80z, etc etc, the Powers That Be continued to arrest potheads, ruining their lives with huge fines, therapy, shameful stigma & the ‘CRIMINAL’ Records that followed the poor SOBs prohibitting potential job opportunities & housing etc.
    Constitutionally, I see the “Fuzz” as hired, brainwashed, bullies/goons that took pride in their “work” arresting/kidnapping & setting up bail/ranso m & the only opinions they ignored was that of the experianced. Instead, their educational information came from the likes of Ann Landers & Nancy Reagan. Now, I ask you, America, “How many joints do you believe these two ignorant bitches have ever smoked?” Their “statistical” catagorizes them to be grouped among the 75% of gullible Americans that believe the old adage; “If it’s on TV, the Radio or newspaper, it’s gotta be true.” Considering THESE statistical figures, “Pot makes you smarter!!” Of course that’s not the reality but I know how to fix the problem. Arrest EVERY STINKIN’ member of the Republican & Democrat Parties for conspiracy & crimes against humanity as well as NATURE!!!

  13. In a documentary about this topic, Canadian officials testified that they can differentiate between a hemp field and a marijuana field from satellite images and monitoring from aircraft, and yet US officials say that they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between an industrial hemp field and a marijuana field to be sold for smoking? Get real, it’s a cop out.

  14. Psychonaut25

    I think the drafts for the Declaration of Independence were made from hemp paper, but not the final copy of the Declaration itself… I could be wrong, but when I share that Terence McKenna quote “If the words ‘life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness’ don’t include the right to experiment with one’s own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.” I often get responses saying that the drafts were made with hemp paper, but not the final copy.

    In any case, I guess it isn’t all that important/doesn’t make much of a difference, but I thought it worth noting.

  15. Sha

    Joe- I really enjoyed this article! Thank you for leading people with the truth about hemp. We need hemp for global sustainability! It will save our planet. Thank you again for sharing. Peace :)

  16. YES! As the best alternative to fossil fuels in current vehicles HEMP must me made legal and promoted to be grown on every farm just as President Washington did. HEMP OIL could easily replace fossils in current vehicles for the cost of flushing the system and replacing filters. That simple! HEMP seed is the best source of protein known to man. With more than 2,500 known uses for the HEMP plant the economic opportunities are endless. HEMP for a Sustainable Earth!

  17. Ramy

    Legalize NOW!!! Dumbest law! Explain this? We can buy hemp products, but can’t grow!!
    And such a versatile plant!!!


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