If you mention “hemp,” most people are going to immediately assume you're talking about marijuana. However, the two are actually quite distinct. While hemp is a strain of the cannabis sativa plant, it is a variety which is extremely low in THC, and thus would not be terribly satisfying to smoke. It is a very useful plant, however. It's environmentally friendly and it can be harvested for its use in textiles, paper, and biodegradable plastics, among other things.
However, it is not currently legal to grow hemp in the United States due to its relation to the more smokeable form. It is legal to import, but any products brought into the country must meet “zero tolerance” standards. There is really no rational reason to prohibit growth of hemp; it may be related to a drug, but it is useless as such.
There is currently a growing movement to legalize hemp production in the United States, and in the news on that front today is Kentuckian and former Lieutenant Governor candidate Dea Riley. This evening is the Hemp Heals Music Festival in Philadelphia, which serves as the production launch of the documentary Hemp America – The Revolution, for which Riley is the executive producer. He will be working alongside producer and director Diana Oliver.
In their own words:
In a time when the United States desperately seeks solutions for a renewed economy, a return to environmental consciousness and desperately seek health solutions – Hemp restoration, the greatest of all opportunities, is lost in the wake of inept leadership, poor economic policies, misinformation and corrupt corporate politics. 'Hemp America' will feature the next great American Revolution and those new ‘founding fathers and mothers’ that will restore Hemp to America.
The documentary, along with its proposed sequel, Canada – Seeds of Growth, are scheduled for release next year. Further information about the project can be found at the Hemp America website.
Image:Hemp America website