Invest In Hemp!
Over the years, the most frequently asked questions that come my way always seem to be: “What is the Difference between Hemp and Marijuana?” closely followed by “How Can I Invest in Hemp and Marijuana?” Well, simply put, if it’s Cannabis Sativa and you can smoke it, it’s Marijuana, if not, it’s likely Hemp! Unfortunately, the US Government is not so discerning, and there are still laws on the books making “ditch weed” or “wild hemp” possession illegal. A relic from the “Hemp For Victory” glory days following the Japanese blockade of the Philippines and a scarcity of the naval necessity Manila Hemp, citizens were encouraged by Government propaganda to grow hemp for the war effort. Wild cannabis is still found in isolated areas of rural America, and is subject to the same criminal guidelines as “marketable weed”.
I remember travelling cross country after the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1970 in the back of an old Good Humor Ice Cream truck, chauffeured by a Native American who called himself “Robin Hood”. There were two of us and a Coati Mundi (basically a South American raccoon) in the steamy cargo area, and when we stopped at a junkyard somewhere in the Midwest because the water pump had burned out, we were astonished to find ourselves in a field of Marijuana! We picked a brown paper shopping bag full of the leafy weed and dried it the best we could with the dashboard blower. We rolled some up, lit it up and all we got was a headache! We laughed, our fortune couldn’t come that easy! That was my first experience with Hemp! Of course, it hasn’t been quite so humorous for the unlucky souls who bagged ditchweed to mix in with Marijuana to try to expand their profits, if not their minds, and subsequently got caught or ratted out, and ended up with a Federal sentence for their efforts. In a 1995 decision, a US Appellate Court in affirming a conviction stated: “appellant argues that the district court should have departed downward under U.S.S.G. 2D1.1, because he was only responsible for supplying his co-defendant with ditch weed, a lower quality of marijuana, as opposed to a higher grade marketable form of marijuana. We disagree with Appealante’s reading of this guideline provision.” Ouch! Call it ditch weed or call it hemp or call it marijuana, The Justice Department doesn’t distinguish.
But let’s get back to the “investing in marijuana” question. In the “good old days”, a marijuana entrepreneur could get a car, boat or airplane, bring it to a foreign country that cultivated marijuana load it up and return to the USA and make a tidy profit. Nowadays, in a few select states that have medical marijuana laws and actually allow its cultivation and use by approved patients, you can buy some grow equipment, set it up in your garage, maybe open a dispensary, and go to market. Only snag is, both scenarios were and are still federally illegal and can result, if you’re not lucky, with “three hots and a cot” for an extended period of time. Marijuana is still considered contraband by the US Government.
Because of the Federal Government’s position on marijuana, a great deal of the medical marijuana research, particularly on cannabinoids (or CBD’s) is done abroad, in places like Spain and Israel, where marijuana is used to treat soldiers for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
There are, however, contemporary, State compliant, medical marijuana enterprises, including not for profit medical marijuana dispensaries. These “collectives” concentrate on the medical aspects of Cannabis Sativa. They engage testing laboratories to check on the quality of the marijuana they dispence for THC levels and the presence of pesticides, insects and chemicals. There are also companies that supply education, information and entertainment revolving around Marijuana. A few of these contemporary marijuana companies, such as the company I was a founder of, Medical Marijuana, Inc. are publically traded, meaning an investor can go to his broker or go online and buy shares in a company involved in this growing sector. But in my opinion, it’s really a drop in the bucket compared to the possibilities of hemp.
Hemp Industry manufacturers produce goods in the foods, fiber, fuel, textile and plastics markets. Any entrepreneur can contact a hemp supplier, order some material, and get busy bringing a product to the worldwide market. Although one may experience a few obstacles, this really is a legal industry in America and you won’t go to jail for selling hemp tee shirts, unless the Drug Czar can actually prove that smoking your shirt can get you high! But there are dozens of sources on the internet that will espouse the benefits of hemp, the versatility of the crop, producing everything from HempCrete to panels for your BMW. Take it from The King of Pot – Go Hemp!