The Resurgence of Industrial Hemp

Meet some of the men and women testing, researching and pioneering the resurgence of industrial hemp.

  • Hemp's fibers are among the planet's strongest, its seed oil the most nutritious and its potential as an energy source vast and untapped.
    Photo by Fotolia/Davido
  • In "Hemp Bound," Doug Fine learns how eminently possible it is for the long-misunderstood plant to help us end dependence on fossil fuels, heal farm soils damaged after decades of monoculture and bring even more taxable revenue into the economy than its smokable relative.
    Cover courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing

Get ready for America’s newest billion-dollar industry: Industrial hemp. Well, it’s not really new. As prohibition on hemp’s psychoactive cousin unravels, bestselling author Doug Fine explains why one of humanity’s longest-utilized plants is poised to rejuvenate the US economy. In Hemp Bound, Fine embarks upon a humorous yet rigorous journey to meet the men and women pioneering hemp’s reemergence in the twenty-first century. The following excerpt highlights a few of those hemp pioneers.

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Industrial Hemp Pioneers

Dr. David West, Geneticist,

Actual Twenty-First-Century American Hemp Researcher

From his home alone in Prescott, Wisconsin, along the St. Croix River, the sixty-five-year-old West said that what is, on the surface, his unusual journey from legendary Big Ag researcher to legendary hemp researcher actually follows what for him was an obvious course. After pioneering the use of molecular markers in plant breeding (now part of the standard commercial plant identification tool kit), he “watched the seed industry get taken over by the chemical industry” in the 1990s. At the same time, he told me, “One day I saw a helicopter land in a neighboring field [in Wisconsin] to eradicate feral hemp. Now, as a plant breeder, I’m quite aware of what hemp is. I thought, What the hell is going on here?”

In a 1994 paper titled Fiber War, West declared modern hemp’s agricultural value, a radical view for someone with unimpeachable creds in what was fast becoming the GMO monoculture world (which industry he had by this time left, saying, “I don’t want to grow terminator corn for Monsanto”).

His notoriety from that piece and subsequent writing on hemp (as well as the co-founding of the North American Industrial Hemp Council) led, in 1999, to him being contacted by Hawaiian representative Cynthia Thielen (R-Oahu), who is still in office and to this day battling for hemp production in the Aloha State. She’s trying to find a replacement for the declining sugarcane industry, help remediate soil, and find an animal feed that can be grown on the islands.

9/3/2014 3:58:37 PM

The USA has a $500 million + / year HEMP industry. Here is a $500 million dollar a year question: Why does Forty-fourth President Barack Obama prohibit US farmers from growing HEMP when First President George Washington, who also GREW HEMP, declared ‘Make the most of the Indian HEMP seed and sow it everywhere!’ ? The President takes an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. As important, if not more important, that oath also specifies that they uphold the Constitution. They can refuse to enforce a law if they believe it is unconstitutional since the Constitution, as the supreme law of the land, takes precedence over acts of Congress. Hence, Congress is under a duty not to pass unconstitutional laws, the President is under a duty not to enforce unconstitutional laws, and the courts are under a duty to strike down unconstitutional laws.’ – excerpt from July 11/12 article – Moreover, Prohibition of HEMP is a crime against humanity. HEMP seed is the most complete food source in the world. – Public Knowledge – See Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ‘The 9th Amendment to the US Constitution seems to provide firm legal ground for us to eat by our best understandings, asserting “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Thomas Jefferson certainly advised us to claim and exercise the right of food choice when he wrote, “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”’ – excerpt from | The US Constitution takes a different position – The U.S. government also OWNS the patent on cannabis cures which contradicts a Schedule 1 controlled substance. U.S. patent # 6630507. got hemp?™ FOLLOW US @DrinkMaryJanes

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