Is Industrial Hemp good for Agriculture in Missouri?

With June 4-10 being Hemp History Week, it’s interesting to know that numerous farmers throughout Missouri once had very successful, and profitable relationships with industrial hemp as their staple crop. But as Government grew in size and scope, Federal regulations clamped down not only on hemp, but many other agricultural practices as well. Today, despite it’s continued profitability throughout the world, industrial hemp is currently illegal to grow not only in Missouri, but throughout the U.S.

In Tenther Radio Episode 50, Lesley Swann of the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center stated that, “Right now, all the hemp products that we can legally import into this country for food, clothing, textiles, ropes, plastics, have to be grown outside of the U.S. – typically in Canada or China.” And because hemp is considered to be one of the most useful plants on the planet, China and Canada are smiling all the way to the bank – while farmers in Missouri struggle to make ends meet. According to, “Farmers who grow hemp claim it is a great rotation crop and can be substituted for almost any harvest. It grows without requiring pesticides and is good at aerating the soil. On a per-acre basis, one estimate claims that hemp nets farmers more income ($250-$300) than either corn or soybeans ($100-$200). A full crop of hemp only takes 90 days to grow, yielding four times more paper per acre, when compared over a similar 20 year period with redwood trees in the northwest United States.”

Additionally, industrial hemp can also be used to create large quantities of methanol.  “This is similar to natural gas, which is a great alternative to fossil fuels,” Lesley explains. “It can be used to power cars, produce electricity, and drastically reduce our dependence on foreign and domestic oil.”

So why isn’t industrial hemp allowed? For one, there’s the fear that the plant represents nothing more than a gateway drug. And while this misunderstanding is simply not true – one wonders if this fallacy continues because Government is so eager to puff-away our tax dollars for their costly drug-war. However, the facts are this: as Industrial hemp doesn’t have the THC level of marijuana (marijuana can contain as much as 20%, with industrial hemp only containing less than 1%), if one were to attempt to smoke it – the result wouldn’t be the “high” that marijuana produces, but a bad headache.

Secondly, the army of lobbyists in Washington who represent big-oil, Chinese and Canadian business interests, and other corporate interests – doubtless would rather not see Industrial Hemp competing with their products. If this is truly the case, can we afford to allow Government and business interest to trade our community prosperity for that of increasingly less freedom in the free-market system?

To read more about Industrial Hemp, and Hemp History Week, please see Lesley Swann’s Celebrating the Most Useful Plant on Earth!

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