The Growth of Hemp Will Benefit America Both Economically and Environmentally

The United States will soon begin profiting from the recent Farm Bill which contained the Hemp Farming Act of 2018.  A provision federally legalizing hemp, a species of cannabis has been signed into law.  This removes any gray areas when it comes to federal farming and banking rights.  Now that hemp has been removed from being listed as a “Scheduled 1” drug with no medical uses and high potential for abuse,  the same classification as cocaine and heroin under the Controlled Substances Act.  Hemp farmers are now able to access federal funds regarding water rights, agricultural grants and the national banking system which operated in a bit of a legal limbo for hemp farmers and others operating in the cannabis industry.  It also opens up the accessibility of crop insurance, marketing and agronomy research for the industrial hemp industry.

This new law will be a benefit to America in many ways.  Since the U.S market has been largely dependent on the importation of hemp.  The most obvious benefit is for farmers and those working or having a business relating to the industry of hemp farming.  In June of 2018, according to a congressional research service report by Renee Johnson an agricultural specialist.  America imported approximately 700 million dollars in hemp or hemp-based products annually.  Mostly from China and Canada.  Hemp derived products include: food, beverages, nutritional supplements, paper, insulation and other construction materials, fabric and textiles, cosmetics, personal care products and many other manufactured materials.

The domestic growth of hemp will aid the United States in the creation of more agricultural related jobs and manufacturing jobs.  While reducing dependence on foreign grown hemp and also allowing the possibility of the export of U.S. grown industrial hemp.  It will also provide industry and job opportunities in states that had grown tobacco in the past but have had a decline due to the market for tobacco users shrinking.  All of these factors combined will strengthen and diversify the American economy.

Another positive aspect of the federal legalization of growing industrial hemp is the environmental impact it will have.  An obvious place hemp can have substantial impact is in the production of paper.  Growing an acre of hemp over a two-year period will yield four times as much pulp for paper as one acre of trees grown over a twenty-year period by comparison.  Using hemp in the paper making process requires no toxic dioxin producing chlorine bleach and 75-85 percent less sulphur based acid.  Hemp paper can also be recycled for use seven to eight times compared to wood paper which can only be recycled three times.  Current paper mills would need very few conversions to change from wood pulp and could make hemp pulp paper for 3 percent of the cost of making wood pulp paper.  We could stop or at least effectively reduce deforestation within our country.  Impacting everything such as air quality, animal and insect ecosystems, water quality and will reduce the use of herbicides, fungicides or insecticides.

The renewed utilization of hemp has so many positive facets of use biofuel, soil revitalization, sequestering carbon emissions just to name a few more.  The federal legalization for the growth of industrial hemp in America will be a game changing event that will be a turning point both economically and environmentally for generations of Americans to come.

Article Sources:

Hemp Farming Act of 2018

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp_Farming_Act_of_2018

Hemp is now legal. That’s huge for the CBD industry.

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/12/13/18139678/cbd-industry-hemp-legalization-farm-bill

Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32725.pdf

Ecological Agriculture Projects, McGill University

https://eap.mcgill.ca/CPH_3.htm

Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance

http://www.hemptrade.ca/eguide/background/hemps-environmental-impact