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How Hemp Could Save The World - With A Free Essay Review



Sean Patrick January 5, 2012

We use many renewable and non-renewable resources to develop our lifestyles on earth. Our lifestyle, to say the least, is unsustainable. We must change our habits to create a proper foundation for future generations on our only home, planet earth. We must find a natural, renewable, sustainable resource; one versatile in its uses, industry creating and able to be produced easily and affordably. Only one solution comes to mind when I consider these difficult standards to meet: industrial hemp. As one of the hardiest plants in the world, hemp could save our country from nation-wide recession, and so much more. The most shocking truth about this versatile male strain of Cannabis sativa is the relationship the world already has with the plant, dating back thousands of years. The Columbia History of the World states: “The oldest relic of human industry is a bit of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.” The paper, oil, and tree industries were terrified to lose their businesses, and lobbied for the prohibition of Cannabis. Convincing the public that hemp could not be grown without producing marijuana, the female of Cannabis sativa. After economic manipulation to suit their needs and mass propaganda, all THC carrying strains of Cannabis were successfully illegalized from the United States. Hemp has more to offer than almost any plant in the world; utilizing its uses could be the determining power of our countries future.

Our daily life as humans seems to be rather simple. We travel to our workplace or school, we use paper to write reports and memos, and we pump gas into our vehicles to get home, and do it all over again the next day. We all use resources, natural and unnatural, renewable and non-renewable. Our so called “simple” lives aren’t as simple as we assume. Oil and paper come from unsustainable sources; oil is being depleted with no end in sight, and trees are being harvested faster than they can grow. With this lifestyle, the natural world cannot keep up. What if I told you we could use one plant for all of these processes? What if I told you hemp could save the world? Many people know of this incredible plant and want it to be a part of our lives, but are suppressed by the corporate thieves of the industries that hemp would dissolve. How can we make it possible for hemp to be used in our day to day lives? The answer lies in legislation. We must ban together to enlighten our uneducated members of society in order to build a movement and finally overcome the prohibition of Cannabis, a long overdue solution to our countries economic downfall.

Why industrial hemp? What makes this plant so superb? Hemp is simple, as one of the hardiest plants in the world; its durability gives it an un-measurable advantage over its competitors. With a thick wood-like core, hemp doesn’t break in harsh weather conditions, and is an excellent base for extracting pulp for: paper, building products, ethanol, hemp plastics, textiles, food and canvas. Cotton, a competitor of hemp, depletes the soil of its nutrients and vitamins. On the other hand hemp, having thick roots, replenishes the soil and prohibits weeds from growing (hah, a natural prohibition that actually makes sense). Also, the thick tops of the hemp plant prevent sun from drying out the soil, keeping the ground fertile for another crop. Hemp is among the easiest plants to grow, and because it is so hardy, it can be grown virtually anywhere, in any conditions. This is why it could help to prevent and recover debt while boosting our economy. The business and industry it would create would make it more than worth the economic and agrarian reform necessary. Before the mid 1800’s, hemp could be exchanged with the government for tax compensation. With its potential to grow easily, anyone could grow hemp. Imagine if you could just grow a patch of hemp in your back yard, and pay your taxes. Money really could grow on trees.

“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you made” –Aldous Huxley. The shocking truth about industrial hemp is that the world already knows. The first discovery of hemp was in the Himalayas of China. It was then used by the Chinese for paper, cloth, and as a base for medicines. Hemp later traveled to England to be used for the same general purposes. England also used hemp to make textiles for clothing, rope for ships, and sails. The cotton sails England used were weak and only lasted a few days on stormy seas. Hemp sails lasted much longer, making the trip smoother and easier. The word canvas is derived from the word Cannabis. Without hemp, America may have never been found. The Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria all used hemp sails and rope. Its part in our history was vital and has now been forgotten due to our own ignorance. Tobacco was a large important part of our colonies’ agriculture, but hemp was just as pertinent. When our country was formed and developed, the government, for a brief period, required citizens to grow industrial hemp. “Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere” –George Washington. President Washington owned the largest hemp plantation in the country, at his home and place of retirement in Vernon, Virginia. Thomas Jefferson also grew hemp, often exchanging gifts of seeds and strains with Washington and other local farmers. Neither of the presidents grew hemp of quality to export to Great Britain. The first drafts of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. Thomas Jefferson stated: “Hemp is of the first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.”

While hemp’s uses exceed the uses of any other plant, we didn’t always know just how useful it was. It wasn’t until automotive innovator Henry Ford showed the world just how amazing hemp is. Ford was a conservationist, someone with great concern for the environment and how we affect it. He wanted to build affordable simple cars that were also eco-friendly. “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?” Ford designed his vehicle to be built from hemp plastic, run on hemp ethanol and use hemp oil. The process to obtain oil from hemp was difficult, but possible with the technology available. Henry Ford’s idea was cut short by the legislation illegalizing hemp in 1937. Ford didn’t have enough time to develop technology to simplify the extraction process of oil from the plant, but we now have the ability to extract these oils and bio fuels easily. With this advance in technology we must legislate for the ability to grow industrial hemp. While we may have other sources of ethanol and plastic, hemp is far superior. The process to obtain ethanol is a simple fermentation of cellulose from a plant. Literately any plant with cellulose can be used for ethanol. America now uses corn, as the largest grower of the crop in the world. Using this plant for our ethanol is logical in the sense that we have so much, but the final product doesn’t add up. Corn cellulose is low in potency compared to other plants. The more cellulose, the better the fuel and the less of the raw product needed for the fermentation process. I’m not saying corn is a terrible idea for ethanol; actually, it has helped to pave the road for the evolution of ethanol as a fuel source, but there are better options. There are plants in the world that are more sustainable, safer to grow, and higher in cellulose.

The two main rivals in economics are agrarian and industrial methods. When the hemp industry was booming in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s; the oil, paper and timber industries were predicting the collapse of their industry. Hemp was so versatile its competitors didn’t know where to turn. Industry would soon level the playing field with the law on their side, illegalizing one of the most profitable crops in the world. Here’s how it all started. When Rudolph Diesel invented his motor in 1896, he’d assumed it would run off vegetable and seed oils; ultimately, hemp. In the beginning of the 20th century, The Du Pont petrochemical company along with their financial and political ally Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon, were an elite special interest group. Mellon had just taken over Gulf Oil Corporation, and when nominated as the treasury secretary he was considered the richest man in the country. Henry Ford had just opened the auto assembly line, and Gulf Oil had just opened the first drive-in gas station. Ethanol and gasoline would be competing against each other. The Ford motor company successfully extracted methanol, charcoal fuel, tar, pitch ethyl-acetate and creosote from hemp. These are the same products commonly extracted from fossil fuels. Du Pont created gasoline additives and the sulfate and sulfite process that is used in tree pulp paper manufacturing (a toxic process). Du Pont also developed many synthetic materials and insecticides. This is when Mellon made his move to gain control of General Motors. By loaning Du Pont the money from his bank, they were able to buy out General Motors.

William Randolph Hurst was a major consumer of tree-pulp paper that replaced strong hemp paper in the late 19th century. The Hearst Corporation was also involved in the logging industry and produced tree pulp paper for Du Pont. Hearst was also extremely bigoted, mostly towards Mexicans; especially after the troops of Pancho Villa took back 800,000 acres of timberland from Hearst in the name of the Mexican peasants. This is when facts no longer became important and the word “Marihuana” first presented itself on the front page of every newspaper Hearst could control. Some of Hearst’s prohibition tactics directly assaulted the modern jazz of the era. Claiming blacks and Mexicans were pursuing homicidal rampages due to altered perceptions of reality created by the “deadly narcotic” marihuana. For a period of time police officers arrested African American men for stepping on a white woman’s shadow, because this was an indication that they were under the influence of marijuana (formerly marihuana). -But who’s really high here- This was a piece of the 1920’s that doesn’t get taught in our standard United States history class.

In 1932 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was created directly under the Secretary of Treasury, Mr. Mellon himself. Appointed to head of this bureau was Mellon’s nephew, Harry Anslinger. With Congress revising all departments of the government in an attempt to minimize costs, Anslinger feared for his position. This is when the Treasury Department began to create the Marihuana Tax Act (1935). Disguised as a standard tax bill and filled with propaganda and horror stories taken directly and intentionally from Hearst’s newspaper; most of the stories were completely false. Proceeding in 1937, Anslinger went before the House Ways and Means committee, headed by a Du Pont ally, and presented the case of “marihuana.” He stated under oath that "This drug is entirely the monster Hyde, the harmful effects of which cannot be measured." With the propaganda that backed the lies of Anslinger’s “tax act” the total ban of “marihuana” was inevitable. Anslinger made sure that marijuana, formally Cannabis, was never grown in America’s borders again. This had nothing to do with the psychoactive effects of marijuana, being harmful or not; this had everything to do with specific business interests of the people with enough power to illegalize breathing if they saw it to be lucrative.

The ignorance surrounding Cannabis has been caused by a lack of education in our school systems and continuous false statements by our news media. Agricultural museums refuse to create exhibits referring to hemp, claiming it confuses children. Nothing is more confusing than expelling a vital part of our history from our educational process. Cannabis has three species in its genus; C. sativa, C. indica, and C. ruderalis. Cannabis sativa was the first strain to be discovered in China, Cannabis indica was found in North America by Native Americans, and Cannabis ruderalis was found in the mid-east (what Jesus was smokin’). The only strain that concerns us is Cannabis Sativa, the only plant of the three that produces hemp and marijuana. The DEA claims that hemp cannot be produced without producing marijuana, but this is not true. When growing cannabis there are two ways the plant can be grown, as a male or as a female. Male Cannabis is hemp, and produces no flowers or buds. It is high in CBD (the anti-psychoactive cannabinoid in Cannabis) and low in THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid). CBD actually prevents THC from reaching the cannabinoid receptors; theoretically, hemp is anti-marijuana. Female Cannabis produces buds or flowers which are what we consider “marijuana” do to its high potency of Delta Nine-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and low potency of CBD. These plants look extremely different; the male is thick, tall and extremely stalky. The female plant has pistons that eventually turn to flowers and become buds; the plant can have many characteristics all depending on its environment. The environment is truly what determines the sex of the plant, if presented with harsh conditions and improper use of light in the vegetative cycle, male cannabis can be produce. With proper development of the plant through the vegetative cycle and a switch to the flowering cycle at the right time female Cannabis will be produce. THC runs throughout the plant but is concentrated in the bud of the female plant. Smoking hemp is definitely possible, any plant matter will burn, but it is rather pointless and will probably give you a nasty head ache. This is because of its low THC levels, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that reacts with the cannabinoid receptors in our brains. These receptors are specifically intended and designed for THC. These receptors can be found in any mammal (clearly indicating we have a huge connection with Cannabis and its purpose is to be consumed in order to experience its conscious expanding effects, but that’s beside the point). Marijuana has THC levels of anywhere from ten to twenty percent, while hemp has an astonishing low level of .03 percent THC.

Hemp and marijuana are incomparable and the fear of marijuana being grown inevitably when growing hemp is nothing more than a representation of our government’s true ignorance. The word “marijuana” being used to define all Cannabis under American law is a direct assault of the blatant, botanical distinctions found in the genus: Cannabis. These allegations were created to intentionally convolute the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana, create mass confusion on the plants, and destroy the public opinion of an extremely useful crop. If the DEA did legitimate research they would find a solution to the problem they want to solve; stopping the harvesting of marijuana. Cannabis is a sexually reproducing plant which requires two parts in order to reproduce while many plants are asexual species which pollinate themselves. The Cannabis genus can only be fertilized with the male hemp plant and the female marijuana plant. The male creates pollen which fertilizes the female’s pistons, inhibiting the growth of marijuana buds or flowers, producing male industrial hemp. Pollen travels through the air easily and will without a doubt fertilize marijuana. In theory, if we were to grow industrial hemp across America in mass amounts, female marijuana would not have the ability to develop; sabotaging the outdoor marijuana industry.

The modern applications of Cannabis are profound. The mind boggling amount of uses seems to exceed the parameters of the human imagination. From medicine to industry this plant’s possibilities are endless. The seeds of hemp can be eaten with anything or just plain and provide all the fatty acids and amino acids necessary to sustain human life. Its seeds yield 25% protein completely eliminating the need for animal products. Essentially; hemp could provide its consumer with an entire meal. If eaten for roughage and proteins hemp could alleviate world hunger feeding starving people, and our environment. The foods you can create from hemp seed oil range from healthy margarine, essential fatty acids, sauté oils, salad oils, protein-rich flour, animal feed (most bird seed sold in America is a certain percentage hemp seed), breads, milk, granola, ice cream, cereals, protein powders and more. Your entire bathroom could be filled with hemp products made from your own garden ranging from soaps, shampoos, hand creams, cosmetics and lip balms.

Hemp oil can create the base for medicines, paints and oils, diesel fuel, varnishes, inks, coatings, solvents and lubricants, but the applications don’t end there. The hardy stalk of the hemp plant can be used for many industrial products and is more effective than most of what we use now. The stalk of male or female Cannabis can be made into hempcrete for building foundations, wood, fiberboard, and insulation. A red wood timber company of Oregon, US ran out of red woods to harvest. This is when the owner discovered the strength and durability of hemp and has been producing hemp wood for building ever since. Hemp can be developed to be used as animal bedding, boiler fuel, a chemical absorber, and as mulch for gardens. A movement in the late 1980’s attempted to use hemp plastics for packaging in fast food industries, this recyclable biodegradable plastic could be flavored and consumed as dessert after a meal. Packaging, newsprint, cardboard, printing, and filters are only a few more of hemps uses. The paper created from hemp is incredibly strong and never yellows. The process is completely natural as to the process of making tree pulp paper, which is extremely dangerous, toxic, and pollution creating. If used as an erosion blanket our roads and homes could be safer from rock and mud slides well using a completely safe, natural product that is strong and easy to acquire.

As a very large country of 310 million people, we consume a vast amount of clothing. With China growing rapidly they are also using textiles in very high numbers; driving the price of cotton up ten percent just in 2010. China, one of the largest world competitors of the US, has been the largest producer and exporter of industrial hemp since 1998. The largest importer of industrial hemp is The United States of America; but we refuse to grow it. Hemp could be used for textiles for anything from blue jeans to a thick Protective work jacket and not only apparel; fabrics for bags, shoes, and socks are possible too. These textiles can also be used for canvas and rope, -which has been done for hundreds of years- cordage, netting, and carpeting.

For America this last use for industrial hemp is what I believe to be the most important; biofuels and ethanol. With the mass of vehicles we have in the US and the pollution created because of it. Oil is clearly not an option any longer. As Americans we use more oil than any other country in the world; which is not a low number. The emissions of Carbon monoxide (CO) created are not safe for the health of our citizens. My sister who lives in New York City, NY normally has no snow days in her day to day life, but does have pollution days where she can’t go outside due to high CO. We need a clean fuel source and hemp is the answer. With high cellulose the ethanol created is much better than the corn we use now. We would need to increase our fuel intakes by twenty percent, which would be more fuel, but hemp burns completely clean; emitting Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This what plants on earth consume to produce oxygen; what humans need to breathe. This would create twenty percent more emissions in our environment due to the increase in fuel necessary to make this transformation. With the amount of hemp you would need to create this amount of ethanol; it would be exactly enough to consume all of the CO2; a completely clean, closed cycle.

Industrial hemp is an incredible product that could change our lives forever. Our government has been living in the past for too long; allowing themselves to be fooled by 1930’s persuasion tactics a child would believe. The ignominy surrounding Cannabis of all strains is nothing more than a problem of fundamental education that must be solved. The industries involved in the decline of our atmosphere’s health have been overcome with greed and have suffered a loss of morals and societal values. In their search for money and power they have forgotten about where they earn their pay; on earth. This should not be our industries priority, our capitalistic economy is designed to bring goods and services to the consumer, to meet their satisfaction in exchange for equal compensation. Sadly this is no longer the case. Hemp was a huge part of our history, and could have been a major part of developing our economic position today. Hemps potential for the national community at large is limitless. Hemp could basically power an entire economy with no other products. We must expand our beliefs to allow this close minded prohibition to end. Without hemp our country may continue to decline into recession as we allow our economy to dismantle before our eyes. Hemp could save the world.

Works Cited

“Better Paper, Cheaper and Cleaner.” The Alternative Fiber Pulp Mill . N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

“Corn Vs. Cellulose: And The Winner Is?” Clean Fuels Development Coalition. N.p., 28 Jan. 2008. Web. 27 Jan. 2011. .

“Cotton and the Environment.” Organic Trade Association. ©2011, Organic Trade Association, 26 Sept. 2011. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

Fairy, Bud. “How Marijuana Became Illegal.” Ozarkia. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

“Hemp and the Environment.” Hemphasis. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

“Hemp Facts.” NAIHC. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

Hempsters: plant the seed. Dir. Michael Henning. 2003. Film.

“Henry Ford: 1863 - 1947.” Hemp car. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

“Industrial Hemp for Renewable Energy.” Hemp USA. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

MD, Cannabis. “History of Medical Cannabis.” Cannabis Medical Dictionary. N.p., 4 Aug. 2008. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

Seelye, Katharine Q. “Barack Obama, asked about drug history, admits he inhaled - Americas - International Herald Tribune.” New York Times. N.p., 24 Oct. 2006. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

“USDA.” Department of Agriculture. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

Van Der Werf, Hayo M.G. “Hemp facts and hemp fiction .” International Hemp Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

West, Ph.D., Dave P. “Hemp and Marijuana:.” North American Industrial Hemp Council. N.p., 27 Feb. 1998. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

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ESSAY REVIEW

You say that hemp "could save the world." Remember the classical truism: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That means that the stronger the claim, the greater the effort you will need to put into supporting it. You make a lot of extraordinary claims, but offer relatively little in the form of evidence.

There are two possible solutions to this problem. On the one hand, these claims are not necessary to your overall argument, so you could just eliminate them. You do not need to claim that growing Hemp in the U.S. will save the country from economic doom, for instance, in order to make a compelling argument that it should not be illegal to grow hemp. All you need to claim is that the benefits of legalisation would outweigh any possible negative impact. That would be enough to convince most reasonable people, and that is all you can hope to do in an essay. Likewise, you don't need to claim that the reason the U.S. does not allow the growing of hemp is that the government is ignorant of the claimed fact that it is possible to grow hemp without producing an illegal narcotic. That too is an extraordinary claim. There's no denying the stupidity of certain congressional representatives, but the idea that the government as a whole just doesn't know what seems to you an obvious fact seems implausible, or at least unconvincing in the absence of evidence. But, again, you don't need to make such an extraordinary claim in order to win the argument. If you can demonstrate that hemp can be grown without producing the good stuff, then you can forgo claims about the ignorance of the government. (Of course, your reader may still want to know why exactly this marvellous plant is banned in the USA, but if you don't know the real reason, there's no point in making up one that no one will find credible).

On the other hand, if you are committed to your extraordinary claims, then provide the evidence necessary to support them. If you are sure that the government really is ignorant, then quote some official statements about the impossibility of producing narcotic-free hemp. If you think hemp really will save the economic day, then cite the economists who have made estimates of the kind of economic contribution growing hemp could make. You also make claims about using hemp as a source of fuel. How reasonable is that claim? How much hemp would the US have to grow in order to cause a significant reduction in the amount of oil-based fuel the country consumes?

In case it is not obvious, I think you should go with the first option. If you make slightly weaker claims your essay will likely be a lot more compelling. But you should still include stronger evidence. To judge by your works cited page, you have consulted many sources in researching your topic. The essay, however, needs to reference these sources directly so that it is clear that your claims are based in the research that you have done.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: s.patrick7894
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