Dictionary 31. Little Hope for Hemp

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Hemp is a strong, cane-like plant known throughout the world for its durability and versatility. In the US, however, the hemp industry and supporters struggle. The US government worries that citizens might figure out a way to turn durable hemp into illegal marijuana.

As a result, the US government discourages the production and use of hemp and its products in America. Instead, it approves the destruction of millions of trees annually to produce newspapers and hundreds of other paper products which get thrown away every day. All those paper products can be made from hemp.

Hemp was discovered in Asia thousands of years ago. It is cultivated worldwide. Hemp can grow quickly to heights of 15 feet or more in many different climates and soils. It needs little care or protection to achieve its full growth.

Hemp matures in one growing season. It's used in many products, from paper to beauty products to clothing. Like bamboo, it is used in the construction industry. Hemp is even good for you. Its seeds produce a nutritious flour or oil.

Supporters of hemp production and products struggle to overcome the US government belief that the use of hemp might lead to the use of marijuana. Marijuana, says the US government, is the gateway drug to more dangerous drugs like cocaine.

Meanwhile, the US government does little to prevent the thousands of deaths, injuries, and illnesses caused annually by tobacco and alcohol—two of the most addictive, dangerous, popular (and profitable)—drugs in the world.


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