(NaturalNews) There is a prevailing misunderstanding in America today about the difference between marijuana and hemp, both of which are prohibited under federal law from being grown on U.S. soil. Somehow hemp, an industrial crop with virtually no hallucinogenic properties, got lumped in with marijuana in the federal government's overzealous prohibition mandates back in the 1950s, a grave error that Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is hoping to change with a new farm bill amendment he recently proposed.
Co-sponsored by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Amendment 2220 to the federal farm bill (S. 3240) would effectively fix the broken laws that prohibit the cultivation of hemp in the U.S., but that simultaneously allow it to be bought and sold here. This failed policy has not only needlessly restricted American farmers from taking advantage of the rapidly growing demand for hemp by being able to grow it themselves, but it has also driven the entire booming hemp industry into countries like Canada from which it has to be imported.
"This is, in my view, a textbook example of a regulation that flunks the commonsense test," said Sen. Wyden on the House floor concerning the mindless prohibition of growing industrial hemp in the U.S. "The only thing standing in the way of taking advantage of this very profitable crop is a lingering misunderstanding about its use, and the amendment that I have filed on this issue will end a ridiculous regulation once and for all."
Few people today are aware of America's rich hemp history, which dates back to the early 1700s when colonists were actually required to grow hemp. Since it requires no pesticides or herbicides and has thousands of industrial uses ranging from textiles and cellophane to vehicle bodies and paper, hemp has long been an important cash crop, not to mention an amazing food source, throughout America's history.
Almost every single one of the nation's Founding Fathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, also grew hemp, and the Declaration of Independence was even drafted on hemp paper. Hemp is actually a far more sustainable source of paper than trees are, yielding as much as four times more paper per acre (http://hemphistoryweek.com/timeline.php).
A 1938 Popular Mechanics article titled New Billion Dollar Crop dubbed hemp "the standard fiber of the world" because of its "great tensile strength and durability." At that time, hemp was estimated to have the potential to earn American farmers millions of dollars a year in revenue -- so just think what it could earn American farmers today (http://www.globalhemp.com/1938/02/new-billion-dollar-crop.html).
Another amazing wonder of hemp is that it works better than toxic plastics at containing, protecting, insulating, and storing. If hemp once again attained mainstream status, food manufacturers could begin using it rather than plastics to package and distribute food, for instance, which would virtually eliminate human exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA) and other plastic poisons.
The U.S. Congress has a real opportunity before it to kick start the economy, and open up new opportunities for American farmers to make a solid living by producing a valuable and multifaceted crop. But this can only happen with your help.
The good folks over at Hemp History Week have created a portal through which you can call or email your Senators and urge support for Sen. Wyden's Amendment 2220. By signing, you will also receive discount coupons from some leading hemp brands, including Dr. Bronner's, Manitoba Harvest, Food Should Taste Good, Nutiva, and Tempt: http://hemphistoryweek.com/