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Tags: legalizing weed | industrial hemp | what is

Legalizing Weed: What Is Industrial Hemp?

By    |   Monday, 02 November 2015 09:50 PM EST

While industrial hemp comes from the same plant (cannabis sativa) as marijuana, it contains only trace amounts of THC — the chemical that creates the “high” when hemp is smoked or ingested. Instead, industrial hemp can be grown for a variety of uses, including textiles and clothing, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, and many, many other products.

In addition to the advocacy movement for legalizing weed, there is a movement to legalize industrial hemp — a crop that has the potential to have a serious positive impact on the U.S. economy.

Industrial hemp had a profound role in the early history of the nation, when it was used to make textiles, paper, rope, clothing, sails, and many other necessary objects. In 1938, however, passage of the Marihuana Tax Act made it illegal to grow this plant in the U.S. without a specific permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency.

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The prohibition of industrial hemp is a profound loss for the U.S. economy. This affordable, renewable resource can be used to manufacture an estimated 20,000 products; Henry Ford once considered using hemp for a car prototype. It can be grown in small spaces and in a variety of climates and types of soil, making it incredibly environmentally friendly.

Proponents of industrial hemp argue that it’s necessary to distinguish this crop from marijuana. While the former has an estimated less than .3 percent THC, the amount of THC in the latter is between 5 percent and 30 percent, according to Forbes.

Experts note that it would be relatively impossible to get high by smoking or otherwise ingesting industrial hemp, making legalization of industrial hemp a completely separate issue from legalization of weed.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which has been introduced into Congress every year since 2007, is a bipartisan bill that would remove federal laws against growing industrial hemp.

Eight states, including Colorado, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia, have so far overturned state laws for cultivation of industrial hemp, with several others currently considering similar provisions.

In 2014, President Barack Obama signed a farm bill with a federal provision allowing hemp to be grown for research purposes.

If legalized, industrial hemp production stands to revitalize the U.S. agricultural economy. In Canada, hemp farmers profit an average of $250 per acre, compared to just $71 per acre for soy, according to Doug Fine, author of "Hemp Bound: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.

As public opinion grows in favor of legalizing weed, the possibilities of industrial hemp growth for the nation’s future are in the early stages of exploration.

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There is a movement to legalize industrial hemp — a crop that has the potential to positively impact the U.S. economy. While industrial hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana, it can be grown for a variety of uses, including textiles, paper, paints, plastics, cosmetics, and other products.
legalizing weed, industrial hemp, what is
Monday, 02 November 2015 09:50 PM
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