Some of you may have recently heard that a Senator, from the South, who is a Republican, is leading the charge to legalize Marijuana. True? Well, yes, and no. The Hemp he is pushing isn’t what the 60’s made famous. It’s not the stuff that makes you high but the kind that Senator Frank Nicely feels his constituents could benefit from actually.
The hemp he would like to see made legal is a cousin to Marijuana and is referred to as Industrial Hemp. Both hemps are from the same species cannabis, but each are used in very different ways. The hemp seed of the industrial version contains almost none of the THC chemical that leads to a high. Basically? You can’t smoke it.
This hemp even has it’s own Facebook page (Industrial Hemp for Tennessee). And there’s actually a rather comprehensive website (votehemp.com) with some interesting information. The bill will come to the state’s capital in January making Industrial Hemp in hopes of making Industrial Hemp Tennessee’s newest cash crop. In case you were not aware, a similar bill has passed in Kentucky and six other states.
So what is the concern? For one, the hemp plant looks like the marijuana plant and would not be noticed if mixed into a crop.
The upside? This hemp requires few pesticides to grow and is low-impact on the soil. Great for farmers.
Here’s some Hemp trivia you may not have known: Betsy Ross’s first American flag was made of hemp. Cowboys used to have jeans made of hemp and the cover on covered wagons was made of hemp as well.
Currently, it’s an ingredient in oils and fuels, and can be woven into clothing, rope and paper. It is literally used in hundreds of products and the United States annually imports about $500 million of it.
So, hemp is legal. Ironically, it’s not against the law to own it or to import it from Canada or China. It’s just against the law for a Tennessee farmer to raise it. Tennessee residents who were polled felt that if it means more money in farmer’s pocket, why not? I’d be interested to know your thoughts.
Paul Pike is the president and owner of USAMobile Drug Testing of Nashville. (www.mobiledrugtestingnashville). LIKE him on Facebook, connect on Linked In, or follow him on Twitter.