Hemp for Victory Many hemp activists claim that if hemp was allowed to grow and enter the market freely in the U.S. and elsewhere, it could cure just about everything that is ailing our planet. Despite hemp fiber’s superior strength and versatility, the potential of hemp fabric, derived from the stem fibers, has yet to be fully discovered.
The hemp plant has been demonized for its potential for producing tetrahydracanabanoid (THC), the hallucinogenic compound found in marijuana. The public’s fear of the development of industrial hemp is based on the mistaken assumption that industrial hemp has the capability to induce a high. Hemp grown for industrial, rather than for medicinal or recreational purposes, contains only a trace amount of THC (you’d have better luck smoking a banana peel). When grown for industrial purposes, the seed strain, method of propagation and fertilization are specifically designed for rapid growth of the plant rather than for the concentration of THC in the flowers. Industrial hemp, however, has largely been lost to the public behind this smoke screen. There are still those who look at the hemp-clad individual as a stoner.
In reality, there are many beautiful, comfortable and durable hemp fabrics and blends, while cotton, America’s darling cash crop, rapidly depletes soil of nutrients. Cotton is the heaviest user of chemical fertilizer and pesticides in the U.S. Hemp, on the other hand, is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. And hemp doesn’t need any chemical fertilizer. It self-fertilizes through its own leaf mulch, tolerates a wide range of soils and climates, resists pest, and acts as an erosion retardant capable of rejuvenating ailing soils when rotated with legumes. Yielding two to three times as much fiber per acre, hemp could replace cotton textiles on a large scale. And after separating out the fiber, hemp pulp need not be wasted. Hemp pulp could be an earth-friendlier alternative in the paper, plastics and fuel industries.
Unfortunately, hemp clothing and products, like much “green” merchandise, can be costly. Buyers and sellers take measures to make sure that clothing is made without sweatshop labor. Unjust legislation and propaganda against hemp have helped to foster its relative obscurity and have left hemp stunted economically. But the hemp revolution is coming…