Hidden Benefit of Legal Marijuana: Hemp
Friday, October 22, 2010
Legalizing marijuana in California, which is the intention of Proposition 19, would not only save the state millions of dollars in prison costs and boost revenues through new taxes, but also bring back a forgotten commodity: hemp.
During the colonial period of American history, hemp was widely grown by farmers (including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson), making it one of the top-selling crops. In fact, the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.
Easy to grow and harvest, hemp could prove to be a valuable crop for struggling farmers. It produces five times as much paper per acre as do trees, and hemp stalks and leaves could be used to produce ethanol. During World War II, the U.S. government produced a film, Hemp for Victory, that encouraged farmers to grow hemp, and in 1941 Henry Ford constructed a plastic car made from hemp.
Hemp is currently legal in several countries, including Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Japan and China. Certain hemp food products are available in the United States, particularly at natural foods stores.
Hemp Is the Far Bigger Economic Issue Hiding Behind Legal Marijuana (by Harvey Wasserman, AlterNet)
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