A Case for Reverting the US to a Hemp-based Economy

Dear Americans, statespersons, and citizens of the world,

Hemp (Cannabis sativa) can be used for nearly everything currently utilized in our society: from food, to clothing, to paper, to textiles and housing materials, to plastics, to graphene and hence nanotechnology, as well as providing fuel for automobiles and power centers. It is without doubt the most versatile natural resource available on the planet and bears negligible, nearly untraceable amounts of THC (>.3%) and is purposefully bred industrially to keep that psychotropic chemical low.

This proposal calls for a complete legal reform pertaining to industrial hemp; (optimally) to include governmental subsidy to industrialists for the building of processing centers in agricultural areas (this would help to keep energy of production low); and to farmers (regulated by a governing body), growing purposefully diversified strains of hemp (as some strains of hemp are good for fuel, others are good for food, and still others for fiber – farmers would then be partially constrained based on what processing center or centers opened near them [It is preferential, of course, to have every sort of processing plant within a near proximity of the fields, as this would allow each region to become more self-sufficient]) to provide the individual communities that comprise the United States the security they so greatly need and deserve; and to help facilitate a cultural shift in consciousness about hemp and its consumer consumption.

Whatever Made Humanity also gave us a plant that will do everything that we need, but we have villainized it, for greed and Industry and misunderstanding. But we cannot bow any longer to the corruption of capitalism and corporate self-interest, or to ignorance. The status quo can no longer stand – there has been too much damage to the environment for the sake of fiscal gluttony and it will kill us all, fat cats and paupers alike, unless we act radically as immediately as possible.

Our only option is to grow as much hemp as we can sustain: to clean the air, and conserve water (hemp requires relatively low amounts of water, especially compared to corn), and to shore up the earth to prevent dust bowl effects, and to help restore the mineral content of US soil and prevent impending food scarcities already projected. In such a reform, hemp will provide us with independence from the problems of peak oil and fighting to maintain supply – diesel engines can easily be modified to run on hemp seed oil, which will be in abundance shortly after such an economic restructuring would be implemented. Government subsidies could help individuals upgrade to diesel, hybrid, and electric vehicles while also promoting and improving public and mass transit.

Our forefathers, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, grew hemp, believed in its potential, and used it to help spread the flames of the Revolution by printing rhetoric and even penning the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. Over one hundred years ago machines were developed that made hemp production much less labor intensive and available, but the maneuvers of 20th century oil barons and paper magnates allowed for hemp to fail in competition with fossil fuels, and hemp was even eventually made illegal. It has been a shortcoming of the United States Government that allowed the suppression of this natural resource up until this point, but it would be unforgivable if it did not at least undo the sanctions and laws currently preventing the free market from determining whether this plant can be beneficial, profitable, and environmentally and economically stimulating.

Canada’s industrial hemp trade, an eight-year old industry started through Canadian legal reform in 1998[1], nears a billion-dollars of trade every year [2], in a system that has not entirely reformed to incorporate hemp at this level. Given this recommended level of hemp integration via governmental investment, our economy would quickly soar into the billions of dollars annually. All this revenue, from energy magnates getting in on the action to the average citizen buying food and electronics would of course be taxable, creating a large boon to governmental coffers (much of which should be integrated back into public works, including high speed train along the West Coast, intercontinental solar roads, and further diversifying our energy stores via natural resources).

Even without governmental subsidies, I believe that the decriminalization of Cannabis sativa and a laissez faire approach would still see a radical shift in the prevalence of hemp-based products in our society. Hemp-based plastics degrade more environmentally friendly than petroleum-based products and could bear the pride of being entirely American made and containing American products while protecting American lands from the tyranny of non-biodegradable plastics. Hemp materials are sturdier than many common materials currently used in housing and roofing, and computing, and under this system it would be so abundant as to single-handedly reinvigorate our fluctuating economies and fiscal markets across the board.

Hemp and Government

The flag that Betsy Ross created for the founding fathers was made of hemp. Our early government relied on hemp and we should follow by their example. It is my personal opinion that the founding fathers never sought to protect this plant because they never imagined that it would ever become illegal. Hemp, a natural part of our ecosystem, has been actively eradicated due to 20th century politics, and must now be re-cultivated and protected by our modern government.

The basic responsibilities of the government, in granting the American people the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, requires a radical restructuring of laws and corporate assurances that would allow a boom in the industrial hemp industry in the United States, helping to convert our economy into one based on hemp. The United States government could facilitate this transition in many ways:

Firstly, by restructuring the laws and statutes surrounding the illegality of hemp. Doing just this, granting the American people their due rights and liberties, the United States would become a new contender in billions of dollars of international trade and open our free market economy to a new resource that it could not previously utilize. The revenue that will be generated by the government taxing this commodity will undoubtedly be more than a drop in the bucket, refreshing the government’s budget with an invigorating jolt. More involvement in this fledgling industry by the government would reap even more rewards.

By creating a system wherein the government subsidized the American people in becoming involved in this new industry, and converting their possessions to hemp-based resources (this could include “Dollars4Diesel” campaigns, with trade-in rebates for purchasing diesel engine automobiles; electronic plastics trade-in and recycling campaigns), the United States government can actively make its’ interest, stake, and investment clear from the beginning, showing that it stands behind the coming crops that will see our energy, food, and industrial and technological needs met and our industries competing strongly internationally. This level of involvement would see taxable interest return many-fold, creating billions if not trillions of dollars of revenue within the United States.

The largest step the United States government could take in hemp investment would be with a new money campaign wherein previous monies would gradually be recalled, to be replaced with monies printed with hemp. Doing so would create an economic system based on a tangible resource, which the Federal Reserve could hold in food, fuel, materials, and technologies. This level of integration would secure the US economy into a reliable, secure, and abundant standard created by its own people.

Initially the United States government could support this industry through subsidies. Firstly to the captains of industry, energy magnates, who would then be incentivized to diversify the ways in which they provide energy. The subsidies could also potentially draw technology companies and futurists, who are already dabbling in alternative energies. The subsidies would compel these companies and persons to create processing plants for hemp in agricultural centers across the United States, allowing for a decentralized system of growing and processing, which, like the Internet, would protect the US economy if there was a break in the line.

Subsidies could also be extended to farmers, who would then diversify their fields to grow several strains of hemp, allowing them to provide for their families, their communities, as well as the American people. Locally made products could serve the local community and beyond, in stable but degradable plastics that were also manufactured locally.

Hemp itself can meet every need that we as human beings have, and I implore you to recognize that changing our views on this plant may radically liberate and improve our world. With simple changes made today we can secure the future of humanity and our legacy as the generation that rolled up its’ sleeves and fixed America’s problems.

Amichai “Mick” Axelrod, concerned US citizen

P.S. Please include the hastag “#Hemp4US on social media to lend support for this change in government and industry. Thank you.

-Mick (Twitter: @Word_Splay)

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Filed under Nature, Science, Technology

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