Dear President Obama,
In January I received an email from you after your State of the Union address, as did millions of Americans.
Reading this, I was struck by five of your statements which I believe bear repeating:
- “It is a future that is ours to decide, ours to define, and ours to win.
- “We see an economy growing again.”
- “Overcoming the challenges we face today requires a new vision for tomorrow.”
- “Moving forward, America’s economic growth at home is inextricably connected to our competitiveness in the global community. The more products American companies can export, the more jobs we can create at home.”
- “This vision for the future starts with innovation, tapping into the creativity
and imagination of our people to create the jobs and industries of the future.”
The last two statements especially resonated with me where you mention the importance of creating innovative new products and utilizing our citizens to create “jobs and industries of the future.”
Mr. President if we want to stay competitive, to offer something to the world, and to provide a better life for the men, women and children of our nation – it is imperative that the federal government remove existing barriers and allow US farmers to once again grow Industrial Hemp.
More hemp is imported to the United States then any other country in the world – yet the United States Federal Government continues to prohibit its cultivation even though 20 states have introduced legislation that would allow Farmers to grow industrial hemp.
There are over 30 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Romania and China (which is the world’s leading producer of hemp) that currently grow or have moved towards growing hemp as an agricultural/Industrial crop.
How are we supposed to compete with other countries if we cannot even grow the same commodities as they do? How do we step into the future with you when we are shackled with laws that prohibit new industries to grow?
In 2009 we imported roughly $340 Million worth of Hemp products into the United States. That is $340 Million that could have gone back into our economy, back into the pockets of the very people that you are asking to help build our nation.
$340 Million in terms of the economy is not that much, however the potential for growth is staggering.
According to Nathan Armstrong, President of Motive Industries Inc.,
“Out of the total Bio-Mass on Earth that is available, only 3.5% is actually used. And from that 3.5%, 70% is gone to make food and 2.5% is used to make plastics and chemicals. In terms of wealth about $400 Billion is generated out of the food side and about $400 Billion generated out of the plastics and chemicals side. So the potential for bio-materials in the market place is absolutely enormous.”
The modern hemp industry is extremely new. It has only been within the past 10-15 years that most countries have allowed their farmers to grow this plant. Innovation has been slow. Research has been slow.
Hemp is growing in the minds of researchers, scientists and businesses.
It is and will continue to be an ever growing and important part of the world economy and I promise that you will hear more and more that countries are turning to hemp to help them with environmental and technological needs.
Bio-Fuel, Paper, Injection Molded Plastics, Food, Construction Materials, Bio-Composites, Textiles – all can be made utilizing the hemp plant.
So why is it illegal to grow hemp? Because it is considered marijuana by the DEA.
First let me address this issue:
Hemp is not marijuana. It is in the same family, but it is not Marijuana.
The THC content (the active drug in Marijuana) of hemp is less than 1% while marijuana plants typically have 10-30% THC. The content in hemp makes it useless as a drug.
You cannot hide marijuana plants in a hemp field as the DEA and law enforcement officials would have you believe. The hemp will pollinate the marijuana and lower the THC content, rendering it useless as a drug.
The Federal Government must understand and concur that hemp is NOT a drug and cannot be used as a drug
We do not need to live blindly behind ignorance any longer.
Here are just a few facts about Hemp and its place in our economy.
- Hemp is a sustainable resource.
- It requires no pesticides or herbicides that lead to poisoning our waters and soil.
- It feeds nutrients back to the earth so farmers can grow other crops on their land and reap higher yields.
- The seeds of the industrial hemp plant contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids as well as a highly digestible protein that the body needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- The oil from hemp seeds can be converted into a Bio-Fuel that can be used to power engines.
- One acre of hemp is equal to three acres of cotton and is four times more water absorbent and has three times the tensile strength of cotton.
- Because of its high cellulose content hemp can be made into injection molded plastics as well as a material similar to Fiber-Glass.
- The Fiber material is one of the strongest naturally occurring materials known to man. It is currently being used in the automobile industry to create the body for cars.
- BMW and Mercedes are using hemp plastics in their high-end vehicles.
- A concrete made from a mixture of hemp and lime has been used recently to build the first hemp house in Asheville, NC. The “hempcrete” has amazing thermal properties and the homeowner, the former Mayor of Asheville, has spent less than $100 a month on energy bills over the 2010 summer for a 3400 sq ft house.
- The inside of the hemp plant, the hurd, can be used as a highly absorbent animal bedding for horses, poultry and livestock. It can decompose twice as fast as current products when thrown away.
Literally thousands of products can be made using the hemp plant!
And yet it is illegal for US farmers to grow this plant!
Mr. President it makes no sense – in fact, it is economically and environmentally illogical that Hemp is currently illegal to be grown here.
You are a smart man and I believe a rational one as well and we are a resourceful nation that has made amazing progress over the centuries.
But we have also made some mistakes. We allowed hemp to get lumped in with marijuana. We allowed our Government to lie to its citizens about the hazards of Hemp. In 2001 the DEA tried to make food containing the hemp seed Illegal – thankfully they failed. As a result of this manipulation US Citizens have collectively forgot how important hemp has been in the growth of America.
During World War II the Federal Government was so in need of hemp for the war effort that they created a film called Hemp For Victory and distributed it to farmers across the country.
After we won the war, hemp was made illegal again and the ignorance about its myriad of uses spread throughout the country.
We are a different nation than we were back then. We live in a different time.
We are faced with different enemies now and one of those enemies is ignorance.
The people of the United States will continue to suffer economically if this campaign of ignorance perpetrated by government organizations like the DEA, Law Enforcement and Politicians that have a vested interest in certain mainstream industry continues.
The United States will fall behind as other countries continue to make strides in hemp technology.
We will continue to import our hemp instead of growing, processing and creating new products to be exported.
We will give other countries more of our hard earned money.
And frankly, we will lose any chance to be an industry leader in this field.
In the words of Henry Ford – “Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?”
President Obama, I ask you to support and actively campaign for our country’s farmers to have the right to once again grow Industrial Hemp on our fertile soil.
I will leave you with two quotes: One from the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, who said, “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”
Those words still ring true today.
The second quote is from our forty-fourth President: ” It is a future that is ours to decide, ours to define, and ours to win….This vision for the future starts with innovation, tapping into the creativity and imagination of our people to create the jobs and industries of the future.”
Mr. President, those are your words and I believe in them.
Our only hope as a nation, is if you believe in them too.
US Citizen and Senior Editor at hemp.com
That is up until now.