Can hemp save the world now that it’s legal?

Published Feb 27, 2019 12:30 p.m. ET

Hemp is a non-psychoactive form of marijuana that has been slow to catch up with the times. Hemp has remained entirely illegal to grow until relatively recently. Canada has only recently updated their draconian hemp and marijuana laws, and now it appears that the United States is following suit.

Until these laws were brought into effect hemp was labeled as a class one substance alongside its mind-altering cousin the marijuana plant which produces the psychoactive effects sought after by both recreational users and medicinal users alike. It was also labeled into the same category as LSD, heroin, and several other toxic and deadly opioids. Now hemp plants will be more fairly listed into a class all their own.

Is hemp illegal in Canada?

Since 1961 Canadians have had incredibly limited access to hemp. Those few hemp growing licenses that have been given out have been by a case by case basis, restricted to those deemed as having a legitimate reason, like scientific or research purposes. Until recently hemp remained illegal to farm for any other reason. Canada’s regulation on the growing and cultivation of industrial hemp changed for the better on December 6 of 2018. Canadian hemp laws are a bit more relaxed allowing for any cannabis plant that contains less than 10% THC to be considered a hemp plant. With a simple application, businesses can import, export, or sell hemp stalk, seeds, and flowers as long as their products stay within these guidelines.

Is hemp legal in the United States?

President Donald Trump has signed a new bill that will make hemp legal to grow across the entire United States. The farm bill was officially signed into law on December 19th, 2018 and will allow the growth of industrial hemp for a variety of purposes beginning in January 2019. The law is extremely specific labeling any marijuana plant will less than 3% THC content as hemp. There have also been ground rules set out for those who are in the midst of being criminally convicted for cultivating hemp plants within the new laws and assisting those who have been charged in the last ten years with clearing their records. As of January 2019, American Companies will have access to permits allowing the farming of marijuana for industrial purposes.

Can hemp save the world?

Hemp plants can be used to make everything from textiles, insulation, rope, clothing, food, medicine, fuel, and more, with only a fraction of the overall carbon footprint that is currently produced in the making of these products. That is because hemp and cannabis plants, in general, will consume mass amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses. One single field of hemp could dramatically improve the air quality of all surrounding areas by merely existing. Hemp plants are also hardy against pests and a relatively easy plant to cultivate and harvest, so there is no need for extra chemicals in the form of fertilizers to be spread across the fields. Hemp made products are completely biodegradable, unlike the materials that hemp can easily replace such as glass, rubber, plastics, etc. These three points alone could very well slow the growth of overflowing landfills and the number of greenhouse gasses we are emitting into the atmosphere which have been scientifically proven to contribute to global warming. With promises of a greener future and cleaner air, the future's looking brighter.  

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