Politicians Seek to Legalize Production of Hemp

Hemp has long been praised for its high fiber content. It is commonly found in food, supplements and even used as a natural agent for killing weeds. Its uses are many, and an amendment has now been included to the 2012 Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act that will legalize the manufacture of hemp. This could potentially be a huge revenue wagon for American farmers.

Ron Wyden, an Oregon democrat senator, proposed the amendment to the bill, stating that it would allow farmers to grow hemp on their own land rather than having to import it from other countries.

A study done in the state of Kentucky found that farmers could earn as much as $605 for every acre of hemp produced. Currently, farmers only rake in about $200 in profit for an acre of corn after the cost of production has been factored in.

The legalization of hemp farming would also mean jobs for thousands of out-of-work Americans, according to Eric Steenstra, who runs the advocacy organization Vote Hemp.

The bill has yet to pass and is already seeing some stern opposition from conservative politicians who believe that it contains too many conditions and attachments that have no relation to farming and agriculture. If democrats and republicans cannot come to an agreement over the final draft of the bill, then it will most likely sit and die in the house.

Hemp is currently classified in the same category as marijuana, which makes its production on U.S. farmlands illegal. Gil Kerlikowski, the drug czar appointed by President Obama, described hemp as a “control substance.” The comments sent pro-hemp advocates in an uproar.

While hemp does contain small traces of Tetrahydrocannabinal, a substance that is also found in marijuana, the amount is almost negligible. So far, 17 other states are also in the process of getting industrial hemp legalized.

Reefer Madness

According to a recent Gallup poll, 50% of Americans are in favor legalizing marijuana.

This is an all-time high.

Actually these numbers are up from just 36% in 2006.

There could be implications for national marijuana policy.

In 1970 just 12% of respondents thought that marijuana should be legal.

That number climbed to 28% by the late 1970s, then dipped in the 1980s, and then climbed again to 36 percent in 2006.

40% of respondents favored legalization in 2009 right before numbers spiked yet another 10%.

According to Gallup:

“Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 6-9, 2011, with a random sample of 1,005 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.”

The Many Uses and History of Hemp in America

Here’s something that maybe not everyone knows. Hemp has been grown for at least the last 12,000 years for the use of its fibers, which are important for the manufacture of textiles and food. Since 1950, it has been prohibited in the United States of America, for the reason that it is derived from the cannabis plant, which is also the source of the psycho-active narcotic, marijuana.

benjamin franklinThe fiber was well known and used by our Founding Fathers. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp on their plantations, in fact Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.

In the “Child’s Book of Nature”, Worthington Hooker, M.D. wrote in New York in 1888, explains how Benjamin Franklin, who owned a mill that made hemp paper, discovered electricity with the help of the plant”

“Franklin sent his silk kite up in a thunderstorm with a pointed iron wire attached to the kite and the string. The silk was a non-conductor, while the string conducted the electricity to the ground. “But he managed to prevent the electricity from coming to his hand. He stopped it on the way. He did this by tying a silk ribbon to the hemp string, and holding the kite by this ribbon, as you see in the picture. The electricity could not go through this silk, and so it stayed in the hemp string…..

…..Dr. Franklin now fastened a key to the end of the hemp string. A great deal of the electricity now passed to the key, because the metal of which the key was made was so good, when Franklin put his knuckle near the key, he received a shock from it.”

Hemp was a required crop in the American colonies because of its importance for sails. In fact the word “canvas” comes from “cannabis.”

Hemp and marijuana look the same to the untrained eye, but are actually two very different plants. Many of the varieties of hemp that were grown in North America have been lost over the years, due to the eradication of the plant by federal agents, who think that they are fighting the war on drugs.

Henry Ford experimented with hemp in the construction of building car bodies, when he dreamt of fueling and building his cars from farm products. Currently BMW is experimenting with hemp materials in automobiles, in order to make cars more recyclable. Rudolph Diesel designed his car to run on hemp oil and a Kimberly Clark (on the Fortune 500) has a mill in France where she makes hemp paper, preferred for bibles, because it lasts longer and does not yellow.

Hemp oil is used to grease machines, and it is used in most paints, resins, shellacs and varnishes. The list of products made from it is about 25,000. This includes construction products such as medium density fiber boards, oriented strand boards, beams, studs and posts.

Hemp has extremely long fibers, so products made by it will be much stronger and lighter than those made by wood.

One Toke Over The Line Sweet Jesus

Yesterday morning, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a three page memo to the federal government, advising them on new guidelines for states which have medical cannabis patients, who are protected by law. The administration, which is in favor of physician-prescribed medical marijuana, has finally decided to take action.

medical potCompassionate care use” of this particular narcotic is permitted in 14 states. In the state of Oregon, 23,873 people hold card permits which allow them to use marijuana legally. Of these cases, 21,087 are approved because of “severe pain”. 7,550 use ‘pot’ to relieve the pain associated with muscle spasms, a common condition related to Multiple Sclerosis. An additional 3,997 Oregonians are prescribed marijuana to prevent nausea.

The issue is this: the marijuana plant, made from the cannabis plant is classified by the U.S. Federal Government as a ‘Schedule I Drug’. This means that according to the law, the drug has absolutely no valid medical use. However, many disagree. According to an article in Bloomberg.com:

“The Philadelphia-based College of Physicians, with 124,000 members, said in February 2008 that criminal penalties should be waived for doctors who prescribe marijuana and their patients.”

Obama’s memo which advised federal prosecutors not to go after patients with prescriptions for medical marijuana, reverses the controversial approach and stance of the Bush Administration.

Smoking Pot is Good for Old Peoples’ Bones

marijuana museumA fun new development – marijuana is apparently a potent drug in preventing osteoporosis in the elderly. This is exactly what we need. An army of thick-boned pot-smoking senior citizens roaming the alleys, sticking flowers in people’s guns like they did in the 60’s or something. I think it would be a great publicity stunt for whatever company can use that kind of scene in selling its wares, perhaps a denture adhesive company.

The research was conducted at University of Edinburgh, where they also found, to the horror of young people who are, incidentally, much more likely to actually smoke pot, that smoking actually weakens the bones of the young.

The question likely percolating in your mind now is, How did they test this out? Did they pay a control group of 10 old people to smoke pot and then whack their legs with mini-sledgehammers and see what happens? Well, close, but pretty far. They actually just gave mice a compound similar to marijuana, though it would have been much cooler if they gave them tiny little doobies. The technical difficulties involved in teaching mice how to smoke up probably prevented this course of action from being taken.

Here’s the science. Researchers have known that bone development is affected when cannabinoid receptor type 1 (a good name for a robot, incidentally) comes in contact with cannabis. The Edinburgh team has discovered that the effect of this blessed union depends on the age of the user.

In the young mice with the receptor, the compounds increased the rate of bone destruction. With older mice, their bone loss decreased and accumulation of bone fat was prevented.

Stuart Ralston, Professor of Rheumatology at the university, cautioned that while the results were positive, there was still a lot to learn before anything gets prescribed by your local doctor, saying that the ideal way forward would be to develop a cannabis-like drug that did not have the same psychotropic effects, or in other words, get you high.
FA! British rheumatologists. They always take the fun out of medical innovation.

Satire: Cola to save the world

How could Coca Cola help our environment?

The answer is simple:

  1. Cola is black. Oil is black. Can you imagine the possibilities? Environmental terrorists could silently pollute oil reserves with coca cola, therefore making people suspicious of oil, and more likely to switch to alternative sources of energy.
  2. Cola is a very acidic liquid. We all know that if we leave a coin inside a bottle of cola, it won’t be there in the morning. I’m sure we can find tons of cool uses that take advantage of this acidic property. The best one I came up with is spraying cola above the atmosphere so it could burn away the hole in the ozone layer…
  3. Deforestation is a big problem. One of the main reasons we cut down trees is to make paper. And why do we use paper? To write down information that we can’t easily remember and store in our heads. But hey, Cola contains caffeine, and caffeine improves memory performance. If we start supplying free cola to school children, they won’t have to use notebooks anymore!
  4. And last but not least: Cola is addictive. Again, mostly because of its caffeine. If we hook up endangered animals on Cola, we could make sure they return each day to our special drinking pools, and it’d be much easier for scientists to monitor their status.

Image via http://www.raystownprimitives.com/HOME.htm

What do you think: Are there any other ways in which we could use coca cola to save the world? Or am I simply too high on cola??

Love is in the air

Indulge yourself with the Hemp Love Seat.

The Love Seat is tightly upholstered with sturdy 17oz. Hemp fabric and accent welting giving the Love Seat an incredible surface of interesting variations of natural hemp color and textures.