|Two years ago, a federal appellate court cleared the way for goods and foods containing hemp seed and oil to be sold and consumed in the United States.|
Today, hemp is used in a wide array of popular products, from soap to snack foods, from paper to shower curtains, from jeans to auto parts. Yet the cultivation of industrial hemp remains illegal in this nation.
Why? Two words: mythology and confusion.
Industrial hemp suffers discrimination by association with its cannabis cousin -- marijuana. The federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 effectively banned the production of all cannabis plants regardless of the level of the psychoactive ingredient THC.
The levels of THC in industrial hemp are so low that it would be almost impossible to smoke or digest enough to give someone even a mild buzz.
Even so, the irrationality that sometimes characterizes our "war on drugs" has allowed foreign hemp farmers to exploit the vacuum created by the prevailing ignorance about its clear distinctions from marijuana. Canada lifted its 50-year ban on industrial-hemp cultivation in 1998.
It took a few years for Canadian farmers to refine their techniques, but today their industrial hemp is considered "the best in the world," according to David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner's Magical Soaps, an Escondido-based company that uses hemp to make its soaps smoother and milder on the skin.
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