Opening Hearts and Minds:

Can hemp save our planet?

By Suzen Fiskin
Reader Columnist

What do the Declaration of Independence, Columbus’ sails, and Henry Ford’s first Model T have in common? Give up? They were all made of hemp, and the Model T was not only made of hemp plastic, but ran on hemp fuel as well!

Yes, the vilified hemp plant is the kissing cousin of the psychotropic marijuana plant; both are varieties of cannabis sativa L. Hemp will never get you stoned—not that there’s anything inherently wrong with an intoxicating substance.However, there has been a public smear campaign maligning industrial hemp for the last 80 years because it is truly a disruptive technology and threatens many ecologically nasty industries. Fiskin-WEB-feature

Cannabis is Mother Nature’s miracle gift to humanity. It will feed you, clothe you, house you, transport you, heal you and much more. It has been used for thousands and thousands of years yet it has been illegal to grow in this country since 1937 when it was declared to be a narcotic—a huge lie brought to you by a public relations campaign led by William Randolph Hearst, of newspaper fame.

One acre of hemp will produce the same amount of paper pulp as four acres of trees. It grows almost anywhere in any soil, and only takes three to four months to grow to 15 feet verses a decade or more for trees. Plus, hemp doesn’t require pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, and hemp pulp doesn’t need the bleach that nukes our water systems that wood pulp does in papermaking. Hearst blurred the line between the intoxicating weed and benign hemp to protect his investment in forests.

This is true for scads of other industries that hemp will revolutionize after it’s fully legal again. It will replace anything made from petroleum in a bio-friendly and biodegradable way like plastics, pharmaceuticals, fuel and more. Taking on Big Pharma and the oil industry alone would be daunting enough, but let’s not forget about the military industrial complex. No petroleum means no wars!

Besides taking the petroleum out of pharmaceuticals, hemp will pull the rug out from Big Pharma because it’s been shown to be so effective in treating or curing a wealth of maladies from MS, depression, epilepsy, chronic pain, Tourettes and PSTD. Marijuana is proving to be quite effective in treating and even curing cancer.

The touted healing properties of hemp are created by a substance called cannabinoids. There are two flavors of these: CBD (cannabidiol) which is not psychoactive and THC (tetrahydrocannibinol) which is the stuff that gets you high. We have cannabinoid receptors all over our bodies, which leads scientists to believe that we evolved ingesting cannabis. We wouldn’t have these receptors if we hadn’t.

The building and lumber industries will take a huge hit. Hemp concrete made from hemp fiber and lime is fireproof, waterproof and rot-proof; it’s easy and cheap to make; and it’s breathable. It is one-eighth the weight of concrete, is a great insulator, floats on water and does not allow for the growth of mold.

Hemp seeds are a near perfect superfood. They contain all of the amino acids our bodies require, have the ideal balance of essential fatty acids, contain 11 grams of protein per ounce, provide an excellent source of fiber, and are a great source of magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron. Plus they have a pleasant, nutty taste.

For cloth, hemp is beyond compare. It is soft, toxin-free and incredibly strong. The oldest relics of human industry are bits of hemp cloth. The first pair of Levi’s and Betsy Ross’ flag were both hemp. In WWII, farmers were encouraged to grow hemp for supplies for our war effort. Over 150,000 acres of hemp were cultivated for our “Hemp for Victory” campaign.

Historically, hemp and cannabis have been revered all over the globe. George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. It was illegal not to grow hemp in some states in colonial times because it was needed for cloth, ship sails and rope.

It’s legal to import hemp but not to grow it. We import 50 percent of Canada’s annual yield of the plant, and a whole lot more from China. To date, 29 states have removed many barriers to hemp cultivation. Idaho is one of a handful of states that has tossed out all bills to allow the hemp industry in our state.

In 2014, President Obama signed a Farm Bill that permitted industrial hemp research. Finally a crack in the crackdown of this miracle plant has appeared.

I propose that hemp can truly help save the world!

The United States is in dire need of a new, green and viable industry to provide jobs, reduce our environmental impact and to be the leaders of the world in eco-friendly industry.

If you’d like to see us hoist ourselves up by our own bootstraps, please consider writing your state representatives about making industrial hemp legal to grow in our beautiful state!

Suzen Fiskin is a marketing maven, Happiness Coach, and inspirational speaker. She’s also the author of the book, Playboy Mansion Memoirs. If you have any questions or comments, here’s how to find her – (208)572-0009 or suzenfiskin@yahoo.com

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