A Hemp … May we have your attention, please?
by Michael Abedin
It can make biofuel, rope, paper, cloth, biodegradable plastic, concrete, cars, ice cream, cosmetics, and flour. It can feed livestock and humans, clean toxins out of wastewater, soil, and nuclear disaster sites, kill other weeds, and polish wood.
It can also make a lot of money.
Not bad for a weed, huh? There’s just one problem.
There’s a bad seed in in the family.
Hemp has a next of kin with a criminal record, illegal in the U.S. until recently, but legal in a couple of states, except federal law still considers it illegal, except if you have glaucoma, or something. Products made from industrial hemp, on the other hand, are perfectly legal to sell in all fifty states – but only legal to grow in a handful of them.
Confused? Welcome to the club. So are growers, manufacturers, and distributors waiting to cash in on a crop that could change the economic structure of American agriculture, one that’s being held up by hemp’s resemblance to it’s reprobate relative.
We’re talking pot, boo, gage, ganja, reefer, Mary Jane (hssssssssst) – marijuana. (Whooooossshhh…)
Both hemp and marijuana are members of the Cannabis sativa family, but marijuana has that extra something special. Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC to its friends, is the psychotropic ingredient in marijuana, the part that gets you stoned. Industrial hemp has little or no THC, usually 0.3% or less, and those who grow both crops like it that way.
Big biz, on both sides of the fence.
One of the biggest arguments against legalizing and encouraging industrial hemp growing on national and state levels is that hemp fields could be used as a way to camouflage pot fields, since hemp plants grow much higher than marijuana plants. That might be a legitimate concern if you were sending Barney Fife out on surveillance missions with a Kodak Brownie, but like other failed wars, the War on Drugs has generated some sophisticated hardware – and a lot of bucks.
Drug property seizures are a major source of income for local law enforcement, and seminars are taught about how to do it right. Kind of a moot point, though, because hemp growers don’t want their plants cross-breeding with marijuana plants and putting all their growing power into THC-laden buds instead of fibrous stalks and leaves, and pot growers don’t want their babies to grow up to be part hemp, with lower THC levels.
Economics always trumps legality.
South Carolina’s Republican governor recently signed a bill legalizing the growing of industrial hemp, so it’s probably just a matter of time before the U.S. starts giving the current top two producers, China and Canada, a run for the green. (Tobacco, a staple of South Carolina since plantation days, is losing its luster, and its lobbyists probably had something to do with that vote.)
If they can look up from their phones long enough to reproduce, the offspring of millennials may well be buying packs o’ pot from convenience stores, patented by Monsanto. In the meantime, the good ol’ American entrepreneurial spirit that drove stoners to break down a pound into a few lids for resale to keep a stash on hand will make the first wave of the hemp business grow.
Like a weed.
Kannaway is a hemp lifestyle company with a focus on nutritional wellness whose products contain CBD Rich Hemp Oil.
For information about hemp products and home-based cannabis business events: Stefanie Raya, (512) 221-9043, or visit www.cbdbiz.us