Industrial Marijuana Gains Traction
Industrial Hemp used to be the largest crop in America.
Hemp and humanity have been linked for over 10,000 years. Hemp was our first agricultural crop, and remained the planet’s largest crop and most important industry until late last century.
Thanks to nearly 80 years of federal cannabis prohibition, public knowledge on the topic is limited to rumors and misinterpretations perpetuated online—everything from “hemp plants are male and marijuana plants are female” to “one is a drug and the other is not.”
The legal definitions also have muddied the water as legislators have passed laws at both the federal and state levels defining hemp in the pursuit of both fiber and medicine.
So what exactly is the difference between marijuana and hemp? Let’s start with semantics.
Hemp refers to strains of Cannabis sativa that have been bred specifically for fiber used for clothing and construction, oils and topical ointments, nutritional benefits and a wide and growing variety of other purposes that don’t involve intoxication.
Marijuana is a slang term used to describe strains of Cannabis sativa specifically bred for the potent resinous glands (trichomes) that grow on the flowers and some leaves (buds).
Some Uses For Industrial Hemp
Virginia Gave Okay For Industrial Marijuana (Hemp) Without Fed Approval
A bill has been passed by the Virginia state House of Delegates to make industrial hemp legal throughout the state, overriding federal government interference. While this is a positive step in the right direction, it comes with quite a few obstacles for industrial-hemp advocates that Congress has been slow to address.
According to the Alternative World News Network:
“Introduced by Del. Brenda Pogge (R-Norge), House Bill 699 (HB699) would change state law and remove a provision forcing hemp farmers to get federal approval before licensing their farm.”
On the federal level, legislation is at work through Congress to have hemp removed from the list of Schedule I drugs with marijuana, a level of illegality that is the same as that of heroin, LSD, ecstasy and peyote, however there are complaints that it is not moving as fast as it should. Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has hindered the process, claiming there hasn’t been enough research on industrial hemp production.
In the meantime, until hemp is removed from this list, it makes it much more difficult for Virginia farmers, as well as university researchers, to procure seeds to plant since the seeds would need to be licensed first, and the licensure would have to come from the federal government. Obtaining seeds from other countries can prove difficult as well as they can be “sluggish” in sending their seeds to American farmers, however this has been attributed to the fact that they recognize the financial potential should the U.S. embrace the hemp industry.
Regardless of the current obstacles, however, many are staying positive, such as small business owner, Marty Phipps, who sells hemp bedding designed for various farm animals. In his statement:
“The U.S. is going to pass this law and hemp is going to move its way into the market. It’s going to make a dent. Other countries realize this so they’re hesitant in presenting us a seed so we don’t destroy their hemp export market.”
In fact, if passed through the senate, Virginia would join Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Connecticut, Maine, North Dakota, and Vermont in ignoring federal prohibition and legalizing the production of hemp.