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Building With Hemp: America’s Next Industrial Revolution?

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Whether or not a rough draft of The Declaration of Independence was first outlined on hemp paper remains a point of contention for some historians. Regardless, Henry Ford DID build some seriously high functioning car parts with it; George Washington definitely cultivated it, utilizing the valuable hemp fiber for making sails and rope, and now that some states allow farmers to cultivate and use this historically maligned plant, hemp activists are helping to plant the seeds of a new heyday for this defamed herb – building eco-friendly homes.

Thankfully, the U.S. has begun rolling out the ‘Welcome’ (back) doormat for the long slandered and ancient foliage, repairing the reputation of the once commonly used fibrous plant and reviving its reputation damaged by the anti-drug hysteria of 1937.

After the passage of the 2014 farm bill, some states now allow for the limited cultivation of the helpful plant and activists point to the potential prosperous times ahead. Lifted by powerful bi-partisan enthusiasts, including the high-ranking Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, agriculturalists are reviving the roots of a thriving industry. Providing encouragement for our country’s DIY craftsman, many of who are hoping this now legal crop will reduce the cost of hemp fiber and allow for the manufacturing of a non-toxic and energy-efficient construction material.

Despite all of its benefits, America’s hemp production still faces some rather absurd obstacles. For the most part, building inspectors truly don’t understand the plants value, particularly when compared to more conventional building materials. Hemp farmers find themselves struggling to import the valuable seeds, while at the same time receiving grief from nearby medical marijuana cultivators, fearful of any THC reducing cross-pollination from a hemp farm down the road.

Will Hemp Pass?

Piling on the commonsense agenda, another U.S. bill, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, is currently pending before Congress. If passed it would lift all federal restrictions on growing hemp and remove its ridiculous classification as a controlled substance. While this bill currently enjoys broad-based political support, like any stand-alone piece of legislation, would face a multitude of obstacles in winning passage in our divisively controlled GOP Congress.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a commonsense outcome.

(Photo Courtesy of The American Genius)

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