Last Tuesday, the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources was given the go-ahead to grow industrial hemp thanks to the bill SB2175. The two year project involves researching the crop, in addition to growing the hemp to remove toxins from contaminated soil, as well as making it a bio-fuel crop. Industrial hemp does contain some THC, but at less than 1% it’s hardly enough to get anyone high. This means if you get caught with a stalk of hemp it’s highly unlikely to get arrested for drug possession.
The Hawaii Invasive Species Council will also be receiving up to $5 million dollars to help fund the invasive species prevention community and control outreach, which is part of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s plan named “A New Day in Hawaii”.
A new day indeed, since Hawaii has hopped on the industrial hemp train and decided to research the crops potential for cleaning up contaminated soil, but just as importantly, researching it for bio-fuel. Most would argue that a clean and natural source of energy that could be planted and harvested, instead of sucked out of the ground, would be leaps and bounds better than the stuff that wars are fought over. A never-ending supply of energy right in your back yard. Imagine that.
Not to dismiss the advantages that industrial hemp has on contaminated soil and plant life. Completely revitalize a dying or dead farm or field, industrial hemp sucks chemicals and other toxins from the ground, leaving healthy and fresh soil behind. This means that hemp can be used to not only clean up radiation disasters, but could help save plant life and even wildlife in the area.
With the powers at be still mulling over the idea of nation-wide legalization of industrial hemp growth, and with the DEA still cracking down on just about every hemp seed they can get their hands on, it looks like it will be a little while before we are growing our own hemp. This doesn’t at all mean, however, that we didn’t just get a little bit closer to a better future for our planet, and frankly, for the human race.
In an alternative fuels blog post, Giulio Sica explains the qualities that make hemp a good energy source:
“Hemp has been successfully used for many years to create bioethanol and biodiesel, is environmentally friendlier to produce than sugar beet, palm oil, corn or any of the crops mentioned in the report and can grow in practically any temperate to hot climate leaving the ground in better condition than when it was planted.” Could not have said it better myself. He goes on to add, “As far as research and implementation of hemp for biofuel, the US is way ahead of Europe and there are a range of websites dedicated to the use of hemp as a fuel for cars.