Oregon's Measure 80: Hemp and Economic Recovery
By W. Forest
Editor’s Note: The US~Observer has investigated the benefits of industrial hemp for our local economies, and the evidence is clear; hemp, and it’s thousands of practical uses could literally reinvigorate our counties, states and country. It could keep us from being dependent on foreign oil, and help keep our forests healthy by offering a much superior alternative to chipboard and paper, and so much more…
While the US~Observer abhors the use of drugs, the benefits of a legalization of this historically cultivated and used crop are also clear.
For more on the benefits of industrial hemp, click here.
Oregon citizens working to roll back federal encroachment on states’ rights will find Measure 80 (OCTA 2012) could be a particularly useful tool.
The preamble (the “whereas” section) of Measure 80/ OCTA 2012 contains an excellent summary of cannabis facts which should be widely circulated. Measure 80 also includes these provisions:
474.005 (5) Seeds and starts of all varieties of cannabis shall be considered hemp.
474.035 (1) The commission’s jurisdiction shall extend to any person licensed under this chapter to cultivate or process cannabis, but shall not extend to any person who manufactures products from hemp. Hemp production for fiber, protein and oil shall be allowed without regulation, license nor fee. No federal license shall be required to cultivate hemp in Oregon.
474.065 (3) The cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal, noncommercial use by an adult shall not require a license nor registration.
By taking full advantage of these provisions, Oregonians can launch a broad-based recovery that shows the entire nation how to pull out of its economic nosedive.
If Measure 80 passes this November, all varieties of cannabis may be grown as hemp, including local high-strength cultivars. This allows us to avoid the extreme limitations imposed by the very low-THC strains permitted as “industrial hemp” in recent times. Those less vigorous varieties, originally patented in France, were developed and promoted to placate the petrochemical cartels who wanted to minimize competition from hemp product lines. Cartel-sponsored mass media stories are the source of the widely repeated statement that all hemp must be very low in THC.
Through Measure 80, voters can finally re-establish the balance that existed before prohibition, when the most vigorous hemp provided medicine as well as food, fuel, fiber and building materials, with several times the yield obtained from modern “dwarf” hemp.
The Canadian hemp farmers have done their best to create a profitable hemp industry using only their permitted low-THC varieties. However, their yields are far lower than hemp traditionally provided. Pre-prohibition films and photos show hemp growing up to 20 feet tall. Modern “industrial” strains reach less than half that height. Hempseed oil yields were once 300 gallons per acre, sometimes far more; modern strains produce 100 gallons per acre, or less. Compare the size and quality of local medicinal cannabis seeds with the seeds imported from Canada. Seeds from the high-THC varieties are twice as big and much tastier. And while pre-prohibition hemp was famously resistant to pests and diseases, the Canadian strains are not nearly as tough.
Oregon’s cannabis farmers have saved many of the more vigorous hemp varieties from extinction. They have also instinctively resisted proposals to plant “industrial” hemp anywhere near their grow sites. This wariness is justified if “industrial” refers only to the low-THC strains, a modern misconception heavily promoted by the prohibitionists. But cross-pollination among high-THC varieties will reinvigorate the species, not weaken it, and the occasional seeds in legal outdoor medical grows will be recognized as blessings instead of commercial inconveniences. Medicinal and industrial hemp coexisted harmoniously for thousands of years before prohibition.
One likely result of Measure 80 is that the threat of pollination from legal hemp will drive the criminal element behind massive illegal marijuana cultivation out of Oregon.
Tax and license revenues from the medical provisions of Measure 80 are projected to bring in around $60 million to the state budget in the first year. However, the economic boost from legalizing hemp will be a couple orders of magnitude greater.
Restoring the freedom to plant high-grade hemp without restrictions can completely reverse the current economic crunch, which was ultimately induced by the long-term artificial scarcity imposed by hemp prohibition in the first place. Hemp seed is a complete food that anyone can grow easily, so overall food costs come down. Between hempseed biodiesel and ethanol from crop waste (up to 1200 gallons per acre), locally produced fuel lowers the cost of energy and transportation.
Hemp has the longest, strongest natural fiber, and the yield is at least three times that from cotton, and it doesn’t need chemicals. The leftover stalk fragments can yield four or five times as much paper per acre per year as trees, with no toxic waste, and the paper lasts centuries. Or they can be mixed with cement to form hempcrete, much lighter and stronger than concrete. Or the stalks can be heat-pressed into boards, beams and panels that are twice as strong and light and fireproof as those made from trees. Hemp offers inexpensive building material and many new jobs producing it, supplementing the struggling timber industry.
Sixteen-foot hemp forests growing in four months can provide huge areas of cooling shade for people or tree seedlings, suppressing weeds without any herbicides, replenishing soil, preventing erosion, absorbing megatons of CO2 and restoring oxygen lost through deforestation, so public health improves and health care costs come down.
Thousands of small family farms went under because of chemical debts and an economy skewed by the ban on hemp. Legal hemp makes small-scale farming much more viable.
Since hemp can be used to make non-toxic equivalents of any product made from oil, the opportunities for establishing local manufacturing facilities and job creation are limited only by our imagination.
If we use hemp to the full extent Nature intended, localizing production of our basic necessities will decentralize power and promote true independence, which is why the powers-that-were conspired to outlaw it in the first place. Abundance is the best antidote for crime, including the massive high-level crime entrenched in the social order.
Oregon’s citizens are encouraged to read the full text of Measure 80, disregard the hemp prohibitionists’ disinformation and vote in favor of our state’s long-term best interests.