Is Hemp the Crop of the Future?
Hemp has been used for tens of thousands of years. It wasn’t until the 1920s and 1930s that hemp became banned in the United States. California has now legalized industrial hemp and hemp production may become legal on a federal level.
Richard Dash, the owner of Dash Hemp in Santa Cruz, is a longtime hemp advocate and points out the irony with the DEA. Hemp is associated with marijuana regardless of non-psychoactive properties, though bagels with poppy seeds are legal, despite poppy being the source of opium. Dash goes on to say that a person is more likely to fail a drug test eating poppy seeds than hemp seeds.
The federal government holds hemp cultivation to criminal standards, though there are 10 states who have passed legislation to make it legal.
The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act was signed into Senate law on September 27, 2013. Seed, oil, and fiber of hemp can be sold to manufacturers and businesses. This reduces the reliance on international imports of such products.
Hemp can be made into such products as rope, cloth, construction material, biofuel, paper, wax, and resin. The current U.S. retail market for hemp goods sits at approximately $500 million a year. If the federal government removes hemp as a Class 1 drug, this could increase the market considerably.
Cannabis cultivated for commercial help contains less than 1% THC – marijuana contains about 10% THC. There’s not enough in hemp to give anyone anything more than a headache if it were to be smoked.
As soon as it’s legal to be grown, there will be more farmers and more producers taking advantage of hemp – and the market is set to boom.