…..is it still against the law to grow industrial hemp in the United States? According the the NYTimes, a bipartisan team in California is working to change that. Liberal Democrat Mark Leno and Republican Charles DeVore are working together to fight the DEA’s ban on industrial hemp.
Hemp grows easily in a variety of conditions, and requires little to no pesticides, making it a much more environmentally-friendly crop than, say, cotton. But now there are so many products made with hemp, that American farmers are missing out on a moneymaker.
Their bipartisan communion underscores a deeper shift in hemp culture that has evolved in recent years, from ragtag hempsters whose love of plants with seven leaves ran mostly to marijuana, to today’s savvy coalition of organic farmers and health-food entrepreneurs working to distance themselves from the drug.
Hundreds of hemp products, including energy bars and cold-pressed hemp oil, are made in California, giving the banned plant a capitalist aura. But manufacturers must import the raw material, mostly from Canada, where hemp cultivation was legalized in 1998.
The new hemp entrepreneurs regard it as a sustainable crop, said John Roulac, 47, a former campaigner against clear-cutting and a backyard composter before founding Nutiva, a growing California hemp-foods company. “They want to lump together all things cannabis,” said David Bronner, 33, whose family’s squeeze-bottle Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps, based in Escondido, Calif., are made with hemp oil. “You don’t associate a poppy seed bagel with opium.”
I love my hemp seed oil and hemp granola, as well as my hemp conditioner. It would be great if the ingredients for some of my favorite products could actually be grown in my own country. For more on hemp’s health benefits, read this transcript from the Organic Consumer’s Association.