Growing industrial hemp on just 6% of American lands would produce 100% of our energy needs. We don't need one drop of stinking fossil fuels. Heep seed oil is an excellent biodiesel which produces far less harmful pollution into our atmosphere, 80% less carbon dioxide and almost no sulfur emissions. Hemp produces 40% more ethanol than corn per acre and it grows in marginal soils actually improving soil quality when used as a rotation crop. Hemp requires almost no fertilizer and absolutely no pesticides compared to corn which is the top consumer of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in American agriculture. Industrial hemp grows quickly, maturing in as little as 100 days and produces 4 times a year, enough biomass to produce all our electrical generation needs with far less pollution and with industry creating additional beneficial byproducts.
The University of Missouri estimates that an average-size metropolitan area production of 100 million gallons of biodiesel fuel could generate $8.34million in personal income and 6000 temporary and permanent jobs. (Ref: National Biodiesel Board)
Until 1883, 75-90% of all paper in the U.S. was made with hemp.
Hemp seed was the # 1-selling bird feed; 4 million pounds were sold in the U.S. in 1937.
In the mid-to-late 1800′s the 2nd & 3rd most commonly used medications were concentrated cannabis extracts and resins (a.k.a. hashish).
A bridge in the south of France dated at 500-700 A.D. was built with a mixture of hemp.
In 1941 Henry Ford built a car with a plastic made from hemp and wheat straw.
Until 1937 70-90% of all rope and twine was made with hemp.
Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their plantations.
In 1850 the U.S. Census reported 8,327 hemp plantation of at least 2000 acres in size. Not counted were thousands of smaller crops.
The original Levi Strauss jeans were made from hemp.
In 1942 the U.S. government strongly encouraged hemp cultivation to help with the war effort, going so far as to produce a film entitled “Hemp For Victory“.
The version of the Declaration of Independence released on July 4, 1776 was written on hemp. (Ref: Hemp.com)
The entire hemp plant is useful and could replace the need to deforest our nation for wood pulp to create paper and building materials. Hemp produces better quality paper than wood pulp and can be combined into recycled wood pulp to increase the strength and durability of new paper products. The long strong hemp fiber can be pressed into fiberboard and studs for construction materials that are heat, mildew, pest, light, and rot resistant. Termites will not eat durable hemp fibers. One acre of hemp produces 4 times the usable paper pulp than an acre of old growth forest which takes 50 to 100 times long to replenish. Hemp produces twice the usable fiber than cotton per acre and textiles made with hemp last longer are liter in weight and warmer than cotton.
Hemp seeds contain natures perfect balance of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and complex proteins needed by our bodies, making hemp seeds the closest to a perfect sustenance food source. Hemp seed oil has a lite nutty flavor that is an even healthier cooking choice than extra virgin olive oil. Hemp seed oil also produces excellent and healthy soaps, cosmetics, shampoos and lotions. There are many of these products already available in Americans stores but they are now mostly imported from Europe and Canada which do not have ridiculous laws prohibiting growing this most valuable commodity.
Textiles produced with hemp fiber are even softer, stronger, last longer and more absorbent than cotton. Cotton production uses only slightly less chemical fertilizers and pesticides than the top consumers corn and soy. Hemp produces twice the usable fiber per acre than cotton without the chemicals. A fine linen like cloth can easily be made with hemp fiber that wears 3 times as long as cotton with the feel of cotton fleece.
Hemp, like flax (linen) is one of the best fibers. When weaving with hemp yarns, you can treat it like a linen yarn, using similar setts. It improves and softens with age. Hemp is also mildew resistant, making it an excellent yarn for towels, bath linens and carpet warp as well as in fine table linens and clothing. I hope that you will give it a try. (source: Hemp.com)
If our congress critters were actually serious about job creation in the private sector they would remove all the arcane barriers to production of the most valuable commodity which would very easily end our dependence to foreign oil.
For those wanting links and more information on the 6% claim.
United States Fact Sheet: US agriculture
Total Land Area in the Continental United States is 2,263,994,361 acres [3,536,294 square miles] 6% of this total land area is 135,659,662 acres. Hemp yields about 10 tons per acre every 100 days to 4 months or 1,356,596,620 tons of total hemp biomass at least twice a year, 3 times a year in southern climates.
Hemp biomass conversions
There are several ways to convert biomass into usable energy including direct combustion to create steam. Assuming that most of the biomass is converted to cleaner fuels first and we subtract the weight from the total biomass for all the other uses before converting we are still talking close to a trillion and a half tons of hemp for fuel conversion. Ethanol conversion rates vary from low of 25 gallons a ton to as much as 100 gallons a ton with modern conversion techniques. Lets use 50 gallon a ton as an educated estimate, that's around 750 trillion gallons of ethanol a year which is more than all the gasoline used in 2010 which was just over 125 trillion gallons. Ethanol is not as energy concentrated as gasoline so the ethanol would require reforming and concentrating to yield fuel mileage rates like gasoline. Still enough hemp fuel could be created and still have enough hemp biomass left to produce methane for electrical generation.
Taking all the hemp seed oil which yields about 15 gallons per ton of hemp seed and hemp seeds account for 28% of the hemp total biomass weight then converting hemp oil only into biodiesel would produce about 12 trillion gallons of high quality biodiesel a year. Significant amounts indeed but hemp seed oil can also be used as heating oil without conversion into biodiesel too. The great thing about hemp is it's totally biodegradable, if you spill hemp biodiesel or heating oil, it does not become a hazardous waste indecent. It's just like spilling cooking oil.