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The Great Book of Hemp

The Emperor Wears No Clothes: The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana The Emperor Wears No Clothes: The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana by Jack Herer

Jack Herer has updated his authoritative history of hemp's myriad uses and of the war on this plant, just as it has become high-profile news, with supporters such as Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson. Herer thoroughly documents the petrochemical industry's plot to outlaw this renewable source of paper, energy, food, textiles, and medicine. Photos, illustrations & charts. 10 tables.

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Hemp in Early American History
In the early 1600's, hemp was considered such a vital resource that laws were passed ordering farmers to grow it. Cannabis hemp was legal tender in most of the Americas for a period of two hundred years, beginning in the early 1600's. (You could even pay your taxes with hemp.)

The United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp plantations growing cannabis hemp for cloth, canvas, and other necessities. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew cannabis hemp on their plantations.

 

Hemp Paper Can Save the Forests!
One acre of cannabis hemp, in annual rotation over a twenty year period would produce as much pulp for paper as 4.1 acres of trees being cut down over the same 20 year period. And while hemp reaches full growth and can be harvested every year, the trees which are cut down take hundreds of years to return. The process of making paper from hemp uses only 1/5 to 1/7 as much polluting, sulfur-based chemicals and does not require the use of any chlorine bleach.

 

Hemp as an Ecological, Renewable Fuel Resource
Hemp can also produce 10 times more methanol than corn, the second best living fuel source. Hemp as fuel is renewable whereas oil is not.  Hemp as fuel is environmentally beneficial: it enriches and prevents erosion; it burns clean and sulfur-free, while oil's sulfur content causes acid rain. Hemp as fuel would yield a balanced Oxygen/CO2 cycle, while oil releases only CO2, thereby increasing global warming.

 

Hemp as Strong, Natural Medicine
Cannabis extracts served as the second and third most prescribed medicines in the US from 1842 until the 1890's. These medicines were produced by Eli Lilly, Parke-Davis, Tilden's, Brothers Smith, Squib, and other British and American companies. During this entire period of time, there was not one reported death from cannabis extract medicines.  Hemp extracts can be used to treat a variety of physical and mental ailments which include tuberculosis, glaucoma, depression, and the side effects of cancer therapy. Prior to this century, cannabis extracts were the most commonly used medicines throughout the world.

 

Hemp, Farming, and the Environment
We can stop cutting down trees, free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, and revitalize America's farming economy

Throughout history, cannabis hemp has been a staple of industry. Traditionally its most important use has been to make cloth & rope; the fibers it provides are stronger than any other natural fiber. It has also been a vital part of papermaking; 75-90% of all paper in the world was made with cannabis hemp fiber until 1883. The Gutenberg Bible, Thomas Paine's pamphlets, and the novels of Mark Twain were all printed on hemp paper.

Today, we've found a new industrial use that could be more important than paper, rope, or cloth. Using techniques similar to those used to make ethanol from corn, we could produce any grade of fuel from hemp. This could eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and lower the price of gasoline. 

 

Industrial Hemp in History
Hemp is the first crop people are known to have grown, as early as 8,000 B.C. in the Middle East. Hemp textiles began at about the same time in history as pottery. Hemp was used in sails, caulk and rigging for the ships that made worldwide commerce and Columbus' trip to America possible (other fibers would have decayed somewhere in mid-Atlantic). The majority of paper was made with hemp for 1000s of years. Hemp remained the world's single largest industry up until the middle of the last century.

In 1937, marijuana was prohibited. Despite the fact that industrial grade hemp is not intoxicating, it too was prohibited as "marijuana". But the many uses and advantages of hemp could not be ignored. During World War II, Japan cut off our supplies of vital hemp and coarse fibers. The hemp was needed for making, among other things, rope to be used on navy ships. The U. S. D. A. released an educational film called "Hemp for Victory", which showed farmers how to grow and harvest industrial hemp. Hemp harvesting machinery was made available at low or no cost. From 1942 to 1945, farmers who agreed to grow hemp were waived from serving in the military, along with their sons; that's how vitally important hemp was to America during World War II.

 

Hemp For Paper
Both the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were drafted on hemp, then copied onto parchment. Paper made of hemp lasts many times longer than if made of wood. Paper is big business, and 93% of the world's paper is made of wood. In 1988 alone, 226 million tons of wood were pulped for paper. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture studies show that hemp yields more than four times as much sustainable pulp per acre as timber.

Processing hemp uses much less chemical acid than does wood. Since it requires less bleach, hemp also reduces dioxin pollution. And each ton of paper made from hemp will save 12 mature trees. Prohibition of hemp has led to the destruction of some 70% of our forests since 1937.

 

Hemp for Fuel
The Dept. of the Interior in May, 1991, projected crude oil costs of $40/barrel within 10 years.   Plant "biomass" fuel is cleaner than fossil fuels and can provide gasoline, methane, charcoal, etc. to meet all our home and industrial energy needs. Burning anything produces carbon dioxide, (the greenhouse gas), but year after year, the hemp crop photosynthesis would convert that carbon dioxide back into oxygen. And, unlike fossil fuels, hemp does not contain sulfur, a major cause of acid rain. We could save our oil reserves and reduce our trade deficit without offshore drilling, strip mining, oil spills or nuclear radiation. By developing hemp, the most productive energy crop for America's climate, we can end our dependence both on foreign oil and on nuclear power.

Just six percent of the contiguous United States devoted to energy farming will meet all of our energy needs currently met by petroleum.

 

Hemp for Clothing
Fabrics made from hemp are stronger, more insulative, more absorbent and last longer than cotton. Natural, organic hemp fiber holds its shape like polyester, but it "breathes" and is biodegradable. With only minor retooling, existing textile mills can spin and weave hemp fiber as smooth as silk, as coarse as burlap, or as intricate as lace. More than half the textiles we use today are imported, due to environmental concerns and labor costs.  Since hemp needs so much less fertilizer and pesticides than cotton, we can get those jobs back-- without sacrificing our environment.

 

Hemp for Food
Hemp seed, 30% oil by volume, can be used for fuel or cooking oil. Its quality is as good as whale oil and jojoba. The seed is about as nutritious as Soya, but is more digestible, gives higher yields and is easier to harvest. It is also a complete source of vegetable protein. In fact, the composition of protein in the hemp seed is particularly good for humans. Sixty-five percent is in the form of edestin. This along with albumin, another protein found in all seeds, makes the hemp seed a good and ready source of protein in the form found in human blood plasma.

Wild animals and birds thrive on hemp seed. Until this century, hemp seed cake was one of the major forms of animal feeds. If hemp were legalized as a food source, we could rely on it as an excellent food source for our domesticated pets, farm animals, and poultry.

 

Hemp Instead of Plastic
Hemp pulp and fiber offer a completely biodegradable alternative to plastic for many uses. Hemp paper bags, for example, are more durable than wood pulp paper and can be reinforced with hemp fiber for all the folding and tensile strength of plastic bags. Or, hemp cellulose can be polymerized to make any type of plastic product-- without using petroleum.

 

Hemp for Construction
In ancient times, people added handfuls of hemp fiber to their clay to strengthen bricks for building. Today the search for quality building materials continues worldwide. Even if we were to stop using trees for paper altogether, we would still be deforesting our world to provide boards & lumber used in construction.   Hemp can be fabricated into boards. The simplest approach is to make a particle board material from hemp stalk chips and natural glues. Heating this product gives it tensile strength. Technology to make this compressed agricultural fiber (CAF) has been available since 1935.  Today additional refinements are being introduced. Envirocor® paneling is produced by heating vegetable matter to 400 F. These boards are then strong enough to be used for primary load-bearing, at only 40% the weight of wood. They are also immune to termites, and will not produce toxic fumes. In France, a hemp product called "isochanvre" has been made to replace concrete in some construction applications. It is only a seventh the weight of concrete, has greater shock resistance, and insulates well. Hundreds of houses have been produced using this material, at costs similar to those with conventional building materials. Further advancements are only being held up by prohibition.

 

Hemp for Jobs
As new hemp businesses open, so will thousands of new job opportunities. Using this sustainable resource means real job security. For example, most timber-related jobs are not in tree cutting, but in milling, shipping, distributing, and using end products in construction and clerical work. These jobs would all work with hemp. Hemp offers a basis for economic health in our rural and "rust belt" communities.

 

Hemp for Farms
Hemp was a major American cash crop until just before the Great Depression. Today we have a crisis of farm foreclosures, but hemp, a viable cash crop even on non-productive land, in between seasons or grown to enrich the soil of fallow land, is banned here.

The strong roots of the hemp plant anchor and invigorate the soil to control erosion and mudslides. Hemp requires only mild natural fertilizers, not the chemical fertilizers and pesticides that corn, cotton, tobacco and other crops need; and that now pollute 50% of our drinking water.

Hemp plants shed their leaves all through the growing season, adding rich organic matter to the topsoil and helping it to retain moisture.

Hemp would be a boon to today's farmers. There is already a booming market for legal hemp products--- products currently made from imported hemp. Farmers in Ontario, Canada have recently begun to grow industrial hemp, and they may reap the benefits of the hemp- consuming American public while our farmers are denied this market. Call your legislator today and demand this new billion-dollar crop for our farmers!

 

For Further Information: 
Details on the industrial uses of hemp are found in The Emperor Wears No Clothes, by Jack Herer, Copyright 1985 HEMP Publishing, Van Nuys CA, and in Hemp : Lifeline to the Future by Chris Conrad, Copyright 1993 Chris Conrad, Los Angeles.

Both books, plus a fine array of quality hemp merchandise, can be purchased from the Third Stone, 703 W Lake St in Minneapolis, 825-6120. They can also be ordered by mail from the Ohio Hempery, 7002 State Route 329, Guysville, Ohio, 45735, 1-614-662-HEMP..

 

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