"A civilized society is one that tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity."
"My Definition of a free society is where it is safe to be unpopular."
Adlai E Stevenson
"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it."
Cannabis Sativa aka HempBy the Legalise Cannabis Alliance
Traditionally cannabis sativa, also known as hemp, or Indian hemp, has been used in a variety of ways other than what is now commonly known as "recreational uses". Some of the more common uses include ships' sails and rigging, fishing nets, flags, maps and charts, Bibles and other important documents, money, stocks and bonds, newspapers, rag paper, clothes, canvas for tents, ropes and twine, paints and varnishes, lighting oil, medicine and food.
By the beginning of the Twentieth Century cotton had become more popular as hemp production was more labour- intensive. In 1916, the United States Department of Agriculture predicted that a new machine would be produced, and hemp would again be America's largest agricultural industry. Undoubtedly, hemp would also have become a major British agricultural crop once the decorticator had been produced. However, in 1924, the Second International Opium Conference wrongly included cannabis in the list of substances to be controlled by prohibitive laws and the expected resurgence in the hemp industry was effectively prevented.
Preserving Forests Soil and Farms
Forests protect and nurture the diversity of life on the planet; and guard the sources of most of our clean drinking water. Deforestation is the road to desertification. Hemp produces four times as much pulp as the same area of timber and helps prevent soil erosion. Because hemp can be grown in most parts of the world, in most soil types and has a huge potential market it could be used to revitalise agriculture both in the 'developed' and 'developing' worlds.
Water: Ending Desertification and Pollution
The planetary water crisis is closely related to deforestation and soil loss. The only solution found so far is forest preservation for watershed preservation. Certain strains of hemp grow well in the dryer conditions that follow the loss of the forest canopy, restoring the soil which helps with easy reforestation. Water pollution is caused by acids from paper mills, pesticides and fertilisers from farms, and from petrochemical spillages at sea, on garage forecourts, road accidents, etc. The use of hemp instead of timber and chemicals would prevent further pollution from these sources.
Diet & Destruction Or Healthy Food And Hope
There were originally 12 official basic food groups until the meat and dairy industry applied enormous political pressure to change the groupings. Ten food groups were lumped together as two and diets changed radically - consumption of grains and potatoes fell whilst meat and poultry consumption rocketed. Calories produced from livestock are much more expensive to produce than calories from plants. Whilst the 'developed' world consumes more and more meat, there is less land available for cultivation. According to UNICEF, a child dies every 2.3 seconds as a result of malnutrition. Some 38,000 children starve to death every day. If we reduced our consumption of livestock and grew more economical foods then much more could be done to prevent famines, malnutrition and starvation. Hemp is the best alternative - at home and abroad.
Solid Waste: A Planet In Need Of A Good Dump
Modern life comes packaged in throw-away wrappings. This is a new problem as, until recently, people recycled almost everything. The solution to the rubbish problem is well known: reduce the volume of waste, return to using biodegradable raw materials, and re-use any waste that is generated. In a few situations plastics may be necessary, but most uses could be replaced by hemp-based products - rope, shopping bags, cardboard, polystyrene, etc
Energy & Atmospheric Contamination
Many experts blame the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere primarily on the use of fossil fuels. Biofuels, over time, would actually help restore the level of CO2 to a safer level. Acid rain is caused by sulphur being released into the atmosphere by industry. Fossil fuels contain sulphur and are a major source of this problem. Biofuels do not release sulphur into the atmosphere. Chemicals are causing the ozone layer to disappear. Hemp cannot solve this but it can withstand the increased radiation better than pine trees, soya beans and other plants.
No Toxic & Nuclear Waste, Or Oil Spills
The most hazardous of our toxic wastes result from two industries - nuclear power and petrochemicals. Hemp and other biofuels can safely, cleanly and completely replace both - no more oil spills, oil fires, radiation leaks or nuclear meltdowns. The hidden costs of these industries - subsidies, military costs of protecting oil fields, clean-up costs and health costs borne by society - are not paid for at the pump, they are added onto tax, insurance and health care bills, and oil wars, such as the Gulf War in 1991. We, the people, still pay all the costs, they are merely hidden from us. When these hidden costs are taken into account, biofuels are much more economical.
Aesthetic Pollution Or A Beautiful New World
The aesthetics of our environment - how pleasant it is to live here - have sadly deteriorated. We deserve better. No plant, other than hemp, has ever been offered that can do so much for our environment whilst providing so amply for our people. There are many examples of using hemp to solve human environmental and social problems: to replace whale oil and blubber; to increase affordable housing without cutting trees; to give people back their jobs and their dignity; to restore holistic medicine instead of forcing people to rely on expensive and dangerous synthetic drugs; and so on - the many uses are limited only by our imagination. The restoration of hemp will allow future generations to breathe clean air, drink clean water and enjoy clean beaches and healthy lakes to play on, and rivers and forests to walk among.
Hempenomics: Super Profits
Economist Adam Smith once noted: "Capital employed in agriculture sets in motion more productive labour than that put in manufactures, and thus adds more real wealth to a country." This statement applies to hemp more than any other commodity. It is not only a possibility but, for the sake of the environment, a necessity to restore hemp as a sustainable natural resource.
The consumers win when industries compete on a level playing field and are held accountable to pay for the environmental clean-up and health care costs they cause. Farmers gain by ending their dependence on monoculture and financial subsidies. Taxpayers save by ending subsidies for tobacco, logging, sugar, nuclear and fossil fuel companies, etc., to allow prices to stabilise at a natural level. Politicians and police can turn their attention to the real problems facing society. Governments will be able to cut taxes, reduce deficits, balance budgets and increase revenues in just a few years by allowing farms, families and industry to again utilise the full range of hemp products.
The key to hemp's potential is that the same crop can be harvested in different ways to take advantage of market fluctuations, and one crop can produce up to four separate raw materials: fibre, pulp, seed and resin. Each crop can be grown and harvested to maximise the production of one of these raw materials and this leaves three by-products. No other crop has this potential.
Printed, published & promoted by the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, PO Box 198, Norwich NR2 2DH