Hemp Farmer Makes History with First US Crop in 56 Years

October 9th, 2013

For decades, hemp production has remained illegal in the United States, essentially as a hysterical byproduct of marijuana prohibition. Despite the fact that one would have to smoke a freight car full of hemp in order to get a THC buzz, farmers have been banned from producing the crop, forcing US consumers to import it from Canada at elevated prices. Hemp has a wide range of commercial uses and could even be a viable alternative energy source.

However, many states have begun to remove barriers on hemp production. Vote Hemp notes that 31 states have introduced pro-hemp legislation, with 20 having passed bills so far. As of four days ago, history was made. The Denver Post is reporting that Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin harvested America’s first hemp crop in 56 years.

Hemp Prohibition: The Product of Ignorance

Hemp comes from the same species of plant as marijuana, but features exponentially less of the intoxicating substance THC. THC itself is significantly safer than any other intoxicating substance, but that is another subject entirely. Hemp features a wide range of industrial uses, and its prohibition was lobbied for by industrial interests representing other raw materials that compete with it.

Hemp is legal to buy in the United States, however, a loophole that forces US consumers to purchase imported hemp, largely from Canada. America’s hemp production ban limits the supply of the product, keeping prices unnaturally high. Also, farmers with ideal land for producing hemp have been missing out on revenues, essentially for no clear reason.

The Legal Hemp Boom

Legalized hemp may lead to an economic boom in the United States. Many energy experts have theorized that hemp could be a leading fuel source. It can be used to make paper, food, oils, rope, cloth, and more. At this point, production is too sparse to cause massive, sweeping economic prosperity, but the political inertia seems to favor an eventual progression towards nationwide legalization.

In time, a robust hemp production market will likely flourish in the United States. This will increase supplies and allow prices to fall. Though it’s difficult to guess which uses will prevail at this inevitable price point, widespread legalized hemp production will finally test the theories out there that it could be a viable alternative energy source.

Ryan Loflin’s 55 acre crop isn’t going to push hemp prices down all on its own, but it’s a start. Considering the fact that no one has legally produced hemp in the US in over 56 years, it’s historic.

After years and years of hard work by activists, a farmer in the United States has finally harvested a crop of hemp, which may be adjudicated as legal. Though federal law still bans the production of hemp, the Department of Justice recently signaled that it would respect state laws on this issue. Ryan Loflin’s groundbreaking horticultural achievement has enhanced freedom and prosperity in America and may someday lead to an extraordinary economic boom.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.