Hemp & Cannabis: The understandable, yet surprising, state of opposition

A Hemp Seedling

While our current administration’s opposition is, well, laughable at best; this is not the opposition I’m referring to.

After a recent conversation with an active member of the National Hemp Association out in D.C, I’ve learned the hemp industry faces major push-back on multiple fronts; one of them surprisingly coming from the consumable Cannabis market.

One of the biggest potential issues right now, specifically in areas where large scale outdoor crops are being grown for consumption, is that of cross pollination. Pollen from hemp can travel miles if given the right wind conditions, not to mention the potential travel from birds and insects. If a crop of consumable Cannabis is close enough for this to happen, that crop could be rendered valueless. Because it’s highly improbable to create a physical barrier to prevent this, the best course of action according to many is to stagger the planting cycles.

But since hemp can be grown in many areas at a rate of two harvests per planting cycle; how could it feasibly be staggered in such a way to prevent cross-pollination?

This is a major question faced by the National Hemp Association as they push for legislation to allow the growth of hemp while combating the concerns from consumption growers and hemp farmers alike.

Another challenge the industry is faced with is demand. To date, there are an estimated 50,000 industrial applications for hemp; leading one to believe demand would be abundant. It’s easier to grow than many industrial crops. It’s EXTREMELY resistant. Hemp is naturally pest resistant and requires very minimal fertilizers, herbicides, and water. Hemp is so resistant in fact, that it can actually be used in phytoremediation to clean up toxins from the soil.

It’s so beneficial, the hemp market is at a stand-still. Farmers want to grow it but want to be sure the demand is in place for processing. Processors want to use it but want to be sure demand is there for pulp and seed use. The largest demand is currently for CBD, which, once extracted, renders any potential for pulp or fiber impossible. Demand is also difficult to ensure because of hemp’s potential to stifle the need for existing means of production for anything from clothing to paper— and oil based products like plastic.

Needless to say, one of, if not the most beneficial plants on the planet is at a point of stagnation. The insufferable greed embedded so deeply in our culture, which forced this plant underground in the first place, now presents the same threat as this industry attempts to move, with tact, out of infancy.

Patrick Riddle is the author of this blog as well as the co-founder of Third day co-op, which strives to get Cannabis medicine to those who need it most.

Also, be sure to check out the legislation that the National Hemp Association is working on to see how you might be able to help ​ www.nationalhempassociation.org

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