WHAT IS HEMP?
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a (non-psychoactive) variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. It can be refined into a variety of sustainable commercial products including paper, textiles, clothing, food, nutraceuticals, bio-degradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, and animal feed.
Hemp can be used to clean soil and water, and is an important rotation crop for farmers. This makes it an excellent choice to incorporate in models of regenerative agriculture.
Hemp & People
Hemp is incredibly good for you! Its seed is delicious and nutritious, high in Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and highly digestible protein. Containing super omegas Stearidonic Acid (SDA), Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), fiber, various minerals, and all nine Essential Amino Acids, hemp is packed with nutrients! Check out these hemp recipes to add more hemp to your diet!
Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain:
11g vegan protein
No known allergens
As distinct varieties of Cannabis sativa L., hemp contains no significant amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in recreational / medicinal varieties of Cannabis.
Hemp & Planet
Hemp can be grown without use of any petrochemicals, and is a sustainable alternative to potentially thousands of every-day products. Hemp buildings are impressively energy efficient, non-toxic, pest-, fire- and mold-resistant, and carbon-neutral. Hemp’s high cellulose content makes it an excellent alternative to wood pulp for paper. Its long fibers make hemp an incredibly durable textile, and given hemp seed’s excellent nutritional profile, it is a great sustainable source of plant-based protein and essential fatty acids.
Hemp can help heal the soil. It can thrive in dry or damaged soils, mitigate erosion and remove heavy metals and toxins.
Trees mature in 50 to 100 years, while hemp matures in as few as 100 days. Which one would you use to make paper?
Stop plastic pollu-tion! Hemp plastic is non-toxic and biodegradable. It is also a lot stronger than con-ventional plastic!
To produce a pound of cotton, 2401 gallons of water are re-quired. For hemp this is 48 gallons. Save water, so choose hemp!
Drive your car on hemp! Hemp bio-fuel is a sustai-nable alternative with lower emis-sions of toxic substances.
Hemp & Profit
The U.S. market for hemp is growing fast, and hit 820+ million in annual retail sales in 2017! With the full federal legalization of hemp farming in the U.S. comes tremendous potential. With the return of the plant, we can now rebuild our rural economies with lucrative hemp crops. With the return of hemp to American manufacturing, we usher in a new market of sustainably produced, American-made consumer goods.
Hemp & History
Hemp is a rich fiber woven throughout American history. From ship rigging and canvas covered wagons to nutrient-dense seed oil and protein, our history wouldn't be the same without hemp. It has been grown in the U.S. since the first European settlers arrived in the early 1600’s, and developed into a staple crop. Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper, and that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams all grew their own hemp?
During the 1930’s hemp was lumped under the umbrella of “marihuana” and made effectively illegal under the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, a law that required farmers to register their hemp crops with the Fed’s and purchase an exorbitantly expensive tax stamp.
During World War II, hemp became of such necessity to the war effort that the USDA produced an educational video and literature to encourage farmers to grow hemp once again for the war effort. More than 150,000 acres of hemp were cultivated as a part of the USDA’s “Hemp for Victory” program. Read our blog article discussing hemp and World War II, or click here to watch the full Hemp for Victory video.
In 1970 hemp was classified as marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act despite decades of government funded agricultural research that identified hemp varieties as unique in structure and function. As the rise of synthetic fabrics and fibers skyrocketed, Hemp farming in the U.S. became illegal once again.
Since then U.S. manufacturers had to import raw hemp from Canada, Europe, and China while domestic farmers were missing out on this profitable opportunity to grow hemp. As we have seen, hemp not only nets up to 2.5-times the value of U.S. corn and soy, it also has wide-reaching environmental benefits including soil remediation, prolific pollen production for our bees and beneficial insects, and no synthetic pesticides nor fertilizers necessary to grow.
However, thanks to the tireless efforts of many hemp advocates, progress was made. In 2014, Kentucky, Vermont and Colorado became the first states to grow hemp in decades and did so under Section 7606, Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, of the 2014 Federal Farm Bill. Amendments to Congressional Appropriations bills were also passed to prohibit DEA and DOJ from spending tax dollars to deter hemp farming for research in states where it is legal. Hemp farming became legal in an increasing number of states. In 2017, 24,841 acres of hemp were grown in 19 states.
At the end of 2018 a new and exciting era started. The passage of the Farm Bill with the Hemp Farming Amendment removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, and legalized hemp farming in the U.S.! To honor this important important moment in hemp history, this June, we will join together in victory across the country as we celebrate the Return of the Plant! and embark on a new era of hemp cultivation on American soil. Let’s reclaim the virtues of hemp after more than 80 years of prohibition, and write a new history of hemp for future generations of farmers, consumers and manufacturers—a righteous, modern narrative of regenerative agriculture, renewable resources, plant-based nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
Experts predict hemp market will triple in 5 years.
Opportunity for farmers: hemp 200 - $400 per acre vs. soy/corn $160 or less.
Hemp = new jobs for people in various sectors.