Hemp: Hope for the Next Generation

by Hemp History Week

Over half of all U.S. states have lifted the ban on industrial hemp farming at the state level. Federal law still prohibits commercial industrial hemp cultivation due to an outdated and inaccurate drug policy. But across the country, consumer awareness about the health benefits, economic opportunities, technological innovation, and sustainability advantages of industrial hemp is increasing.

During 2016, a record volume of hemp was planted and harvested in the United States. The passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (also known as The Farm Bill), defines industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana. This allows research institutions or agricultural departments of hemp-legal states to regulate and conduct research and pilot programs for industrial hemp farming. Advocates and organizers are eager to see 2017 be the year industrial hemp farming expands across the American agriculture landscape once again!

Health Benefits of Hemp
Hemp seeds are a rich source of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), providing both SDA and GLA. It contains naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and iron. An excellent source of dietary fiber, hemp seed is also a complete protein – meaning it contains all ten essential amino acids with no enzyme inhibitors, making it more digestible by the human body. As consumers become aware of the health benefits of hemp foods, they are becoming increasingly popular and readily available. Look for hemp seeds, milk, ice cream, oil, cereals, and snacks, as well as hemp protein powder and dietary supplements.

Innovative Hemp Technology
Advancements in hemp research and manufacturing demonstrate the remarkable versatility and product-potential for hemp. Hemp bast fiber has shown promising potential to replace graphene in super-capacitor batteries, which could then be used to power electric cars, handheld electric devices, and tools. Hemp fiber can also be used to create environmentally friendly packaging materials and hard bio-plastics for use in everything from airplanes to car parts. Hemp houses are also on the rise, as hempcrete has many advantages to synthetic building materials, lumber, and concrete. Hempcrete is energy-efficient, non-toxic, and resistant to mold, insects, and fire.

Hemp for Sustainable Agriculture
Hemp is a renewable resource that can help reduce market dependency on wood, oil, and other non-sustainable industrial agriculture practices, thereby contributing to environmentally responsible food and fiber production, forest conservation, reduction in agriculture pesticide use, and soil remediation. Hemp pulls carbon from the atmosphere, reducing the rising rate of CO2 levels responsible for climate change. In addition, pollinators thrive on the abundant pollen created by hemp plants.

United in the Effort to Legalize Hemp Farming
Now in its eighth year, Hemp History Week is an industry-wide effort made possible by the support of the leading natural product brands known for manufacturing the highest quality hemp products. It is backed by familiar brands including: Dr. Bronner’s, Farmer Direct Co-op, Living Harvest, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path Foods, Nutiva, and Pacific.

Even within the 31 states that have legalized industrial hemp farming, the hemp industry faces a number of challenges and barriers to bring industrial hemp farming full scale. Some of these issues include: the inability of hemp farmers to obtain crop insurance and financing, difficulties involved with sourcing certified hemp seed, the lack of adequate processing infrastructure in the United State for raw hemp materials, barriers to interstate commerce for hemp products, and the regulation of CBD products.

Join the growing movement of farmers, producers, organizers, and advocates from all walks of life as we work together to bring hemp back to American soil. The 8th annual Hemp History Week is June 5 – 11, 2017. It is a chance to share information and celebrate the benefits of one of the most important crops; industrial hemp. For further information, please visit hemphistoryweek.com