For 12 years I have been active in promoting a Canadian Hemp Industry. In 1990 I first called Health Canada asking about the possibility of making hemp legal to grow. In 1996 I started a hemp food company to promote what I felt was the solution to the worlds protein issues. I realized that without a domestic supply of hemp seed, a Canadian industry would never get off the ground. In 1998 Health Canada allowed the first Canadian crop of hemp to be grown in more then 60 years. With a sigh of relief and with high hopes, we felt we were in an excellent position to benefit from the legislative changes. It would be like being on the ground floor of an industry poised to revolutionize how we produce everything from building materials to food. Before long, North America would be banging our door down to buy hemp products. I thought it would be less then 3 years before we saw exponential growth.
Well I was wrong. We did not win when the Government allowed the plant to be grown, success and exponential growth will come when every house in North America has a hemp product in it. We have only won the right to produce and sell it, now we have to inform people of why they should buy it.
I can stand here and rhyme off the many benefits of hemp. I can show you video's touting with grand words the 40,000 possible products that can be made. I can tell you the seed is natures wonder food, the only perfect protein from a vegetable source. I can tell you the oil is a perfect blend of essential fatty acids, found in no other oil, making it a very strong immune system booster. I can tell you that the world would change so drastically if we switched to a carbohydrate based economy with the help of crops like hemp, rather then the fossil fuel reliant economy we have now. Maybe you would listen, maybe you would understand, maybe you would even go out and buy something hemp. I have come to realize that this is not enough. What we all need to do is pass the word on, the battle is to be won by everyone speaking out about hemp, promoting it everywhere you go. When you are buying some hemp oil at the supermarket, tell the person beside you why you are, recommend that they do as well. Without this grass roots movement of education, hemp will not reach the masses as it should. If you want more information about the nutritional value of the seed and oil, check out our web sites, hempfood.ca, hempoil.ca and chii.ca.
There have been many different setbacks for the hemp industry in Canada, even though we are still very young. One of the biggest was the disaster that an American company Consolidated Growers and Processors created when they contracted thousands of acres of hemp and before they made even their first payment on the product, or broke ground on the processing plant they planed on building, they were forced out of business because of shady investment issues. This essentially cut the legs out from under an industry poised for rapid growth. Suddenly we were faced with a glut of more then 8 million pounds of unsold seed and many farmers wanted top dollar for it, something that, as time went on, was more and more impossible. Some of that seed and most of the fiber is still available today.
When people who were involved were asked, how did that happen, why were these guys trusted to follow through with buying what they contracted to grow? The answer was "They threw the best parties". Now those same farmers are looking to build that processing plant on their own. Lets hope they do it!
Unfortunately this has not been the most damaging thing to happen to the Canadian hemp industry so far. The American DEA, with their ignorant misdirected policies have done more damage to the budding industry then we could ever counter with an ad campaign.
The hemp embargo of 1999 was, at the very least, irritating. I had a shipment of hemp seed held up at the border for more then a month. When it was finally released, I was stuck with the bill for storing it as a controlled substance, under lock and key and 24 hour guard. Not cheap. That particular embargo lasted all of about 45 days, a mere irritation. All it succeeded in doing was preparing the industry to fight the next move by the DEA. Recently, that fight was taken up again.
But let me go back a bit. Ex US Drug Czar Ret. General Barry Mcaffery, rumored to have personally tortured Vietnamese prisoners during the Vietnam war, publicly known as the worst person to work for; during his whole time in office, he never could permanently fill his assistants position. He was the brain child of the hemp embargo between Canada and the US. I waited patiently for his replacement, I honestly thought we could get someone into office that would be better, would see the wrongs the DEA perpetrates. I was wrong. The General was replaced by:
Asa Hutchinson. Voted May 2002 Asshole of the month By Hustler Magazine, already famous for heading up the Clinton Impeachment hearings, Asa's appointment as the US Drug Czar is contrasted by his tenure as U.S. Attorney for western Arkansas. Hutchinson took that position in 1982, the same year Adler Berriman "Barry" Seal set up shop in Mena, Arkansas. A major cocaine trafficker with CIA ties, Seal is widely believed to have been part of the Iran Contra scandal; during his Mena stint, a reported $10 million in drugs were smuggled through the area weekly.
Seal was under investigation by U.S. Customs, the DEA, the FBI and the IRS, with the ostensible support of Hutchinson. Come indictment time, Asa subpoenaed only three of 20 requested IRS witnesses, two of whom complained that he asked no substantive questions. In 1991, William Duncan, a Treasury agent involved in the Seal probe, testified, "There was a cover-up." Thanks to globalhemp.com for that information.
So it was out with Mcaffery and in with Hutchinson. First thing he does is make hemp food illegal saying it "sends the wrong signal" to American youth. Yes that's right, the DEA is trying to make it illegal to eat hemp food in the US. Eat a hemp chip, go to jail for possession of a controlled substance. Asa can be quoted as saying "many Americans do not know that hemp and marijuana are both parts of the same plant and that hemp cannot be produced without producing marijuana."
WOW! So my contraband Zima Crisp bar can now get someone arrested. I never thought I would see the day. Fortunately, the ninth circuit court of appeals granted a stay against the hemp ban, allowing businesses to continue selling hemp but folks, the damage has already been done. Now, not only do I have to convince people that you can eat hemp seeds, that there is no drug content, that they are really good for you, but that no, the DEA will not enter your store, armed to the teeth and confiscate your hemp waffles.
Asa has already proven that he falls into the category of the conforming politician, ready to do battle for big business and squash the little guy trying to make a difference. Why is the DEA so concerned with an industry that they call a 1.2 million dollar infant in the 202 Billion dollar agriculture industry. Why are they spending hundreds of millions of dollars (500 million at last count for a anti-hemp budget) to regulate an industry worth 1.2 million? Is it really that they are worried about hemp being a gateway to marijuana, or is it that hemp itself poses a threat, and not because of it's drug content.
In the early 1900's, hemp was North America's #1 crop. In the 1800's laws were passed in the Virginia Territories that every farmer MUST grow hemp, it was such a valuable commodity. So what happened? Originally, it wasn't the fear of people smoking it, though that idea was brought north into the US by Mexican Soldiers and into Canada by persecuted polygamists in the late 1800's. It was actually one of the biggest and most under-publicized industrial conspiracies in history.
There is no documented proof as to why hemp was made illegal in 1937 but there are clues to why it happened.
It started in 1918 when a man called Shlocton began to work on a machine called a decordicator that would do for hemp what the cotton jinn did for cotton. Before the Cotton Jinn was invented, cotton was the most expensive fiber warn only by the most wealthy.. After the jinn, it was the cheapest, warn by everyone.
In the mid 1930's, after years of decline, the cannabis industry was poised for a revival with the help of the now ready decordicator. In fact the February 1937 Popular Mechanics issue touted hemp as the New Billion dollar crop. By the time that issue hit news stands, hemp was illegal.
If a machine was invented that would make hemp a viable crop for everything from clothing, to dynamite to paper to plastic and even fuel. Why was it that 2 months later, it was made illegal? Is there a connection or was it simply chance? I believe there was an unmistakable connection.
The petrochemical giant Dupont was doing huge business selling chemicals to make paper from trees. Up until this point, it was unheard of to make paper from anything other then renewable crops like hemp, jute, flax, even banana, but never trees. William Randolph Hurst also had a hand at this point. Hurst owned huge tracts of forest in the Pacific Northwest and saw the potential to further his publishing empire by having access to extremely inexpensive newsprint made from trees using the Dupont chemicals. The term yellow journalism came from the fact that, since tree paper is an acid process, the paper yellows over time, causing yellow newspapers. Hurst, with his vast publishing empire, was the number one printer of anti-hemp propaganda, to aid in the prohibition of the plant. Stories that included tales of people high on hemp, doing deeds that were unthinkable at the time.
The revived hemp industry was also poised to encroach on the new Dupont fiber, Nylon. Anyone could produce hemp fiber, to get nylon, you had to go to Dupont and they wanted to preserve that monopoly.
Duponts commercial interests would not have gone unnoticed by Andrew Mellon, Head of the Mellon bank, the 5th largest in the US at the time, he was also head of the US treasury. Mellon had lent Dupont millions of dollars.
Mellon had appointed Henry Anslinger, an ex alcohol prohibition officer, to the head of the newly created Bureau of Narcotics. As it happened, Mellon was not only Anslingers new boss, he was family as well as Anslinger had married Mellon's niece. Anslinger was the man who campaigned hardest for national laws against hemp, and in the 1950's convinced the UN to adopt laws governing hemp in third world countries that seeked financial aid from the US or was under US foreign policy pressure. It was also Anslinger that fed the stories of "reffer madness" for Hurst to print in his papers and began the true demonization of the plant called Marijuana.
If you have any doubt that the prohibition of hemp was commercially based, you only have to look to 5 years after the initial prohibition when the US government started the Grow Hemp for the War campaign. With Nylon production still in its infancy and access to fibers from Asia blocked by the Japanese, the US pushed farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. As soon as the war ended, the demonization of hemp returned and the US government tried to destroy all records of the brief hemp revival.
As time went by, a generation passed. We lost the people who actually remembered when hemp was normal, something you made your clothes from, something that was perfectly natural to have growing on your farm. Now the misinformation of the 1930's is believed as truth and the US is still working hard to keep the interests of big US business protected by continuing the battle against hemp. Here is a quote from the Office of National Drug Policy web site:
"Hemp is a novelty product with limited sustainable development value even in a novelty market. U.S. total imports of hemp last year were only about $1.2 million of a total domestic agricultural market of $202 billion. For every proposed use of industrial hemp, there already exists an available product, or raw material, which is cheaper to manufacture and provides better market results "
Now look at what we have done in the last 70 years:
If there is any question that hemp is the answer to quite a few of the worlds problems and is the very thing that big US business is afraid of. Do you want to support these companies and these products by not supporting hemp? Do you want to let this continue by not educating yourself about hemp and telling as many people as you possibly can?
Look at our web sites, hempoil.ca hempfood.ca and chii.ca for more information you can print out, or share with others. Fill out one of our contact pages or drop us an email and we will keep you up to date on new events but please, do your part to end this industrial conspiracy that is destroying the planet.