The question is everywhere these days. Why grow industrial hemp?
The single biggest issue today is the understanding of what industrial hemp really is. By definition in the US, industrial hemp is cannabis with THC content below .03%. In contrast, marijuana contains ~10-20% THC. In short, industrial hemp cannot get someone “high”. Once people move past the relationship to the drug, they can begin to understand the benefits of industrial hemp farming.
In Virginia, there is a long history of hemp farming that has long been forgotten. The objective of Commonwealth Hemp is to bring hemp back in order to create jobs for rural Virginians and help the community.
So, what are some of the direct benefits you ask? Easy answer!
- Jobs for rural farmers – a new cash crop will create jobs from farming to textiles, food and the 25,000 other uses hemp has.
- Crop rotation – Industrial hemp is a “mop crop” meaning it can be used to clean soil impurities and loosen soil with its deep roots
- Sustainability – fun fact, one acre of hemp can produce more paper than one acre of trees. Hemp takes one season to grow, tress take up to 20 years! Industrial hemp is eco friendly!
Does industrial hemp sound too good to be true? Well for once its not. Industrial hemp was a victim of the war on drugs. The marijuana tax act followed by a war on the drug targeted all cannabis, not just the form that contained potent levels of THC. As a result no more industrial hemp farming in Virginia or anywhere else in the US. There was a period of production during WWII that was short lived.
The fact is, industrial hemp can be used in over 25,000 products from textiles, to food, to cosmetics, to auto parts, to energy. Considering there has been little to no research in the US for decades, the possibilities could be even greater.
Commonwealth Hemp is working with departments of agriculture and Virginia lawmakers, with support from both, to implement both public and private pilot programs in Virginia. However, we cant do this alone, we need the support of all Virginians interested in industrial hemp.
Commonwealth Hemp is a family organization with farming roots in Nelson County Virginia that predate the civil war.