For centuries Hemp has been used to create textiles like twine, rope, and clothing. It was also used on occasion to make paper that’s much more durable than standard paper. With Hemp being able to finally make a comeback in the US, the demand to bring back these hemp byproducts is high.
We live in a world that is dominated by fossil fuels and one use plastics. Many people would like to see the reduction of these in our world. Hemp products offer that solution-- they’re natural and biodegradable, not to mention hemp takes about 4 months to grow and trees up to 80 years to reach a useful size.
If hemp is such a better alternative, why aren’t we utilizing it more? There isn’t one simple answer to this question. Instead, there’s several answers and even more ‘what-if’s. The most important reason is because hemp growth is still not legal in all 50 states, and it will likely be awhile before we will ever see the ban on hemp lifted.
Another big reason is money
A third problem: supply and demand.
There are many concerns that there is no way to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. This is not true. They are both from the botanical family of cannabis, but vary in appearance and chemical makeup. Marijuana is darker, has thicker leaves, and grows as a shorter stockier plant. Hemp is lighter color, has thinner leaves, and can grow 2-4 meters (6-13 feet) in height.
There’s also the concern that marijuana plants will be able to be hidden in hemp crops. Marijuana needs a regulated growing climate unlike hemp which is pretty resilient to the elements. Also, if marijuana were to be planted in a hemp field, the cross pollination from the hemp plant to the marijuana plant would affect the compounds in the plant resulting in a decreased amount of THC. (Michigan State University has a great explanation on cross-pollination between Hemp and CBD plants.
There’s also the concern of thieves helping themselves to farmer’s crops; and the cost of harvesting the crop; and the seasonal growing period of hemp; and getting the rest of the world to join in on the movement; and the list can go on and on.
Ultimately, there is no fast fix to the fossil fuel and plastic problems of today. We’re a long way from making the transition to relying on hemp as one of our main resources. However, we’re certainly making progress towards being able to use hemp products for our daily uses.
1The 2018 Farm Bill made the use of hemp legal in all 50 states. It did not change state laws and regulations in place regarding hemp. States like Idaho do not recognize that there is a difference between Hemp and Marijuana making growth of hemp impossible, and use of hemp based products difficult.
For educational purposes only