Industrial Uses of Cannabis

The U.S. Government distributed 400,000 pounds of cannabis seeds to American farmers in 1942 to aid the war effort.

The cannabis sativa plant produces more protein, oil and fiber than any other plant on earth. Hempseed, for example, was an essential part of our ancestors’ diet and is the source of “gruel,” the porridge that is referred to in countless stories and books written before this century. However, when new technology in the 1900’s made mass processing of hemp possible, certain petrochemical, wood-based paper, and cotton-fiber industries protected themselves from competition by recasting hemp as “marijuana.”

Carl Sagan, famed Cornell University astronomer and producer of the television series Cosmos, speculated in his book “The Dragons of Eden” that marijuana might be the very first crop grown . . . the root of the agricultural revolution and civilization as we know it today.

Hempseed oil

Dr. Udo Erasmus’ recently-revised doctoral thesis, Fats and Oils, (which has been used as a college text book at many univesities) states that “hempseed oil is the most perfectly balanced source of plant nutrition available”.

Rudolph Diesel invented the diesel engine to run on hempseed oil because any diesel engine can run without modification on unrefined hempseed oil, and hempseed could be among the most productive seed-oil crops by a ratio of perhaps three-to-one in comparison to the most productive alternatives, according to reports from Notre Dame University.

The cities of Spokane, Washington; Kansas City, Missouri; and St. Louis, Missouri, all run their     mass transit buses on a blend of one-part vegetable oil (biodiesel – sunflower, soybean, and safflower oils) with four parts petroleum diesel. They claim this lowers particulate emissions by 75 percent. Kansas City, Missouri airport also runs all its vehicles on pure biodiesel (vegetable oil). Vegetable oils are a major fuel of the next century, just like they were until this century.

Hemp fiber

While forty percent of all trees are cut down just to make paper, New Billion Dollar Crop, (Popular Mechanics, February 1938) stated that “Hemp is the standard fiber of the world. It has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products, ranging from rope to fine laces, and the woody “hurds” remaining after the fiber has been removed contain more than seventy-seven percent cellulose, and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane.”

Both the bast and the hurd fiber from the marijuana stalk can make fiberboard and other composite building materials. In fact, research in 1993 at Washington State University’s Wood Science Laboratory, which was spearheaded by Harrisburg, Oregon lumberyard owner and OCTA Chief Petitioner, William Conde, proved that producing fiberboard from hemp makes a building material that can be, using the primary bast fiber, stronger than steel.

Some studies indicate that an acre of hemp, in addition to its fiber production, will produce 300 gallons of oil that can be used for either food or fuel, plus more than three tons of residual presscake, (Notre Dame 1975) containing substantial nutritional value, including protein. The same acre of hemp will also produce bast fiber, for canvas, rope, lace and linen, and the hurd fiber for paper and building materials.

With new technologies, the cost of hemp had dropped a hundredfold, from $0.50 per ton down to $0.005 per ton, much the way cotton had after the invention of the cotton gin. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a study in 1916, Bulletin 404, called “Hemp Hurds as a Papermaking Material”, which said that hemp hurds made the best grade of paper and produced more than four times as much paper as trees. Hemp hurds are the waste material from producing hemp bast fiber for canvas, rope, lace and linen from the stalks of the marijuana plant. Those stalks produce roughly 15 percent to 30 percent bast fiber, with the remainder being hurd fiber.

Hemp prohibition

With these new developments, the petrochemical industry foresaw the competition took steps to prohibit hemp. The petrochemical and wood-based paper industries are capital intensive. It takes hundreds of millions of dollars to cut down forests and process them into paper. It takes billions of dollars to drill the earth for petroleum and to process crude oil into fuel, plastics and chemicals. These industries realize that the capital-intensive nature of their endeavors blocks entry and competition. They want this monopoly and they want all the money and power they can get from it.

The cotton-growing states also played a lead role in the prohibition of hemp, since cotton is far less durable than hemp fiber. Cotton is also the most pesticide-intensive crop amd grows less than 2 feet tall in a season, while hemp grows 15 to 25 feet. Since cotton cannot compete with other weeds and insects when cultivated as a monoculture crop, 28% of all pesticides we produce on our planet are applied to the cotton crop. Hemp, on the other hand, produces more than a dozen times as much textile fiber as cotton and is virtually pesticide-free since it kills weeds.

Hemp cloth was worn by most of mankind until the 19th century; however, today we rely on       cotton, the most pollution-intensive crop on earth. We are stripping the last remnants of our planet’s protective mantel of old-growth forests, causing environmental destruction, desertification and serious changes to the world’s climate. We are neglecting hempseed protein, the most productive and healthiest food crop on earth.

Prohibiting the cultivation of this ancient plant, the most productive source of fiber, oil and protein on our planet, is evil. Our civilization is consuming fossil fuels that represent hundreds of millions of years of carbon deposits, at a cost so expensive that only the world’s largest and most powerful industries can enter into competition. As we burn this petroleum, coal and natural gas for fuel, and release prehistoric carbon into the atmosphere, it causes changes in the world’s climate that we are only beginning to understand.

With the Cannabis Tax Act, profits from the sale of cannabis will help create and fund an agricultural committee to promote hemp fiber, protein and oil crops and associated industries. It will provide millions of dollars a year to implement this important change.

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