Hemp Hemp Hooray

Hemp Hemp Hooray

Story by Ed Sukkooja

     It’s happening. Washington State legislature, after several failed attempts, has passed a bill allowing Washington farmers to grow Industrial hemp in cooperation with Washington State University for research and development.

     Washington State Department of Agricultural has been tasked with comprising rules and regulations, with planting to begin in the Spring of 2017. This is the beginning for Washington farmers to compete for their share of markets world wide along with several States including Kentucky, North Dakota, Oregon, and a few others.

     Farmers will have a broad range of options, from growing seed for a multitude of uses, to growing fiber for a myriad of products like composite building materials, bio-fuels, paper,  (over four times more paper than from forest products over twenty years,) textiles (woven and non-woven,) cordage, non petroleum based plastics, and 25,000 other products derived from this valuable Agricultural crop.

     Hemp was the crop that was most important for the building of early America. Canvas for sail cloth, (60 tons of hemp on Old Ironsides) covered wagons, to lighting of lamps on the prairies with hemp seed oil, hemp was a most valuable Agricultural crop. Hemp could even be used to pay taxes. Hemp was a very labor intensive crop with most of the work being done with slave labor before emancipation, but today with modern machinery that labor force is reduced considerably.

     What is the difference between hemp and Cannabis used as medicine or recreational use?

     Industrial hemp of today has less than 0.3% THC, the chemical compound when consumed has a euphoric effect. No high in hemp, just Industrial uses.

     I am glad to be writing about hemp in CannaBiz Journal, understanding the magazine is primarily targeting the expanding medical and recreational businesses, it is my place to inject the other side for the possibilities of industrial hemp.

     From my first understanding of it's potential in the late 80’s, and learning from such notables as Jack Herer’s The Emperor Wears No Clothes and Chris Conrad’s Hemp - Lifeline to the Future, and was fortunate to be a charter member of the formation of the Hemp Industries Association in the early 1990’s, I’ve witnessed commercial sales of hemp products grow from minimal in the U.S., which now has expanded to over a $500,000,000 industry, from importing raw and finished products from Canada, China, India, and European Countries. Finally, American farmers will be able to reap the benefits from growing Eco-friendly crop.

     Now is the time for farmers to explore the possibilities of hemp for their farms. If only to be used for your own purposes as bedding materials, feed stock, your own building materials (hempcreate), or more commercial endeavors, hemp is the answer. Forming co-operatives to be able to share harvesting equipment, and establishing markets for their crops should hasten your endeavors.