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RE-THINKING PAPER PRODUCTION
WITH HEMP PRODUCTS

"HEMP IS INTERTWINED WITH AMERICAN HISTORY. We grew it to rig the great New England sailing ships, traveled west in Conestoga wagons covered in hemp, dressed in homespun hemp cloth when we got there and wound up wearing hemp jeans. We tied our cargo with hemp rope and fed the poultry with hemp seed. We used hemp to help develop this country."
- Willie Nelson

The greatest barrier to hemp-paper manufacturing in the United States today is the short-sighted government ban on the cultivation of industrial hemp.

HEMP IS AN HERBACEOUS ANNUAL PLANT NATIVE TO ASIA that grows well in many temperate climates. It typically reaches 6-12 feet in its four-month growth period, producing approximately 3-6 tons of dry fiber per acre annually - nearly twice as much as southern pine. Hemp also competes well with weeds and is resistant to most pests. As a result, few pesticides and herbicides are required for cultivation. Hemp's rapid growth rate, high fiber yield, and its many applications make it an attractive industrial crop for manufacturing a variety of products including cloth, rope, birdseed, paint, varnish, soap, oil and paper.

Hemp has been cultivated worldwide for 6-10,000 years. The use of hemp fibers for paper production dates back almost 1900 years to China, where paper was first manufactured. In fact, the oldest-known piece of paper (circa 140-87 BC) contains hemp fibers. Until the 19th century, paper was manufactured from cloth rags in Europe and the Americas. Because most cloth was made from hemp and flax, they became the primary paper feedstocks. The Gutenberg Bible (15th Century), the King James Bible (17th Century), the first and second drafts of the Declaration of Independence, and the original works of Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, Lewis Carroll, and Thomas Paine were all printed on paper made of hemp fibers.

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