From the Julian News, Julian CA:
By Laurel Granquist
Weaving of hemp fiber began in the 16th century. Henry VIII encouraged farmers to plant hemp widely to provide supplies for the British Navy. It was used for the construction of battleships and riggings, pendants, sails as well as a sealant on the timber of the ships. Hemp paper was used for maps, logs and Bibles that were on board.
In America in the 17th century, farmers in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut were all ordered by law to grow Indian hemp and if found not growing it a farmer would be jailed. In 1896 Rudolph Diesel produced his famous diesel engine. He showed that vegetable fuels were superior to petroleum. Hemp is the most efficient and clean burning fuel ever created.
Hemp is nature's longest, strongest, most durable fiber. Grown by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, hemp produces as much paper as 4.1 acres of trees. The first paper was made from hemp as well as the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, the first draft of the U.S. Constitution and even the first Gutenberg Bibles. In 1941 Henry Ford built a hemp fueled and fabricated automobile that weighed only two/thirds the amount of a steel car and could resist blows 10 times as great without denting.
Farming only 6% of the continental U.S. with hemp could produce enough energy to provide America's energy needs and end dependence on fossil fuels. Hemp is the number one biomass producer on earth (10 tons in approximately 90-120 days.) There are 25,000 known uses of hemp.
Biodiesel made from hemp oil is an alternate fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine. It can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored. It is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar. When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of popcorn or French fries. Under the Clean Air Act section (211)b, it is the only alternative fuel in the U.S. to successfully complete EPA Tier 1 Health Effects Testing. The Congressional Budget Office, Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture have determined that biodiesel is the low cost alternative fuel option for fleets to meet requirements of the Energy Policy Act.
And a health note: Hemp seed is the most complete nutrient available to the body of any in the plant kingdom.
I caution the reader not to confuse hemp with marijuana which has high THC that gives users a high as well as other effects. Therefore, one WEARS CLOTHING MADE FROM HEMP but DOES NOT SMOKE IT.
In light of the fuel alternative and everyday uses of hemp, let's write to our Congresspeople to support renewed agriculture production of hemp in this country. It would, in addition to the other reasons mentioned, be of great economic value to states like Kentucky who lost the benefits of growing hemp crops when the Controlled Substance Act no longer recognized hemp as being distinct from marijuana.