“Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country,” wrote Thomas Jefferson. That was more than two centuries ago. Back then, hemp was used to make paper, sails, rope and textiles. Indeed, the crop was so essential that early American colonists were virtually required to grow it.
The incentives for reviving hemp are considerable. Americans spend $580 million a year annually on hemp-based products. These include everything from fabrics, foodstuffs, medicinal oils, body lotions and much more. Indeed, because hemp is very versatile it can be used to manufacture environmentally friendly ethanol-type fuels, biodegradable plastic substitutes and non-polluting detergents.
Environmentally friendly hemp
Hemp crops require virtually no pesticides to grow and far less fertilizer than other forms of agriculture. Nevertheless, hemp can replace trees as a source of paper and cotton as a source of fiber. Nevertheless, hemp can replace trees as a source of paper and cotton as a source of fiber. Further, its high biomass means it can be converted into a clean-burning ethanol type fuels. Amazingly, hemp’s carbon footprint is extremely low, but most products derived from it are biodegradable, non-toxic and renewable.
An estimated 25,000 products can be made from this hardy, sustainable and environmentally friendly plant. Experts caution that no single crop can solve our economic or environmental challenges. However, it’s pretty close to a no-brainer that cultivating hemp can create jobs, help consumers and the planet.