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HEMP CAN HELP
SAVE THE WORLD

Can a plant really help save the world? Sounds a lot like some hippie pipe dream. But, then again, use of the hemp plant has been recorded since the days of pharaohs and of course we all know that our first president himself was fond of using hemp (for rope only!).

Separating hemp from marijuana has been the struggle of hemp activists for quite some time now. Still, government officials are slow to act on the immense benefits that stem from this plant. By using a strategy of misinformation, hard-line drug opponents have pushed this debate out of the sphere of energy conservation and into the dark realm of drug enforcement, at all costs.

In 1985 social scholar Jack Herer wrote an extensive handbook on the conspiracy against marijuana and particularly non-THC hemp, entitled The Emperor Wears No Clothes. He explains how hemp can feed, clothe and energize the world and much, much more.

Nearly every culture on earth used hempseed in soups, gruel and porridge up until this century. In fact, many monks were required to eat hempseed three times a day, weave their clothes with its fiber and print the holy word on hemp paper.

Hempseed can be compressed so much that a rich nutritious vegetable oil can be extracted which contains some of the highest amounts of the essential fatty acids your body needs. These essential acids actually are protein rich and have been proven to lower the cholesterol levels in our arteries. Only soybeans beat out hempseed in terms of percentage of protein. And since hemp is able to grow almost everywhere, its use throughout the world would boost food production immensely. Who is the United States to push its drug enforcement policies on countries where people are so poor that hemp could feed whole families?

Certain people don't want you to know that hemp fiber used in fabrics is softer than cotton, more water absorbent than cotton, warmer than cotton (the Continental Army would have frozen to death without its warm touch in Valley Forge), has three times the tensile strength of cotton and is many times more durable than cotton. During the 1820s, hemp was placed on the back burner to make room for cotton.

One hundred years later Congress got reports from the DEA about Polish-Americans who grew hemp to make clothing for next year and would pull shotguns on encroaching agents. Now, of course, a hundred years later, due to the almost worldwide ban of hemp, you can buy overpriced hemp gear over the Internet.

Capitalism at its finest!

But the real tragedy comes from the fact that the majority of people still are unaware that hemp can save us the trouble of trying to extract the last bit of oil from our planet. Using hemp as a biomass energy source not only is a clean solution to coal and fossil fuels but also can make us totally independent from oil. Oops, can't say that in this state.

The burning of hemp contributes to the natural carbon dioxide cycle, which is in stark contrast to the sulfur emitted from our nation's smokestacks. This conservation process can be made to produce methanol, charcoal, and other fuel oils. One acre of hemp yields 1,000 gallons of methanol. The U.S. pays farmers not to farm on 90 million acres of farmland; you do the math.

Luckily, there is information out there, and there are eager (and, yes, sometimes stoned) minds ready to absorb it. Inquiring minds may find more information with public education groups like Hemp Advocates of Texas on campus, or with the national and statewide NORML offices.

May the herb be with you.

Written by: Ulio A. Noboa, Daily Texan, U. Texas-Austin


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