February 11, 2015

Year of Hope for Hemp

Honolulu Civil Beat
Last week, a constituent shared with me a very special February 1938 issue of Popular Mechanics. Inside the tan pages and tattered edges, along with other articles on the cutting edge technologies of its time, is an article on hemp, the “New Billion Dollar Crop.”

With new technologies, it was highly profitable to move ahead in 1938 with the industrial use of hemp. The article states, “[hemp] will displace imports of raw material and manufactured products produced by underpaid [laborers] and it will provide thousands of jobs for American workers throughout the land.”

Seventy-seven years have passed and the full potential for hemp production in the United States has remained dormant. Popular Magazine’s billion dollar estimate in 1938 calculates to $16.3 trillion today. The United States is the largest buyer of hemp worldwide for clothing, food, building materials, and more and imported $36.9 million of hemp products in 2013.  Our demand for hemp only increases over the years and we already have manufacturers that work with unprocessed hemp.

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