Pubdate: Wed, 28 Nov 2007
Source: Central Florida Future (U of Central Florida, FL Edu)
Copyright: 2007 Central Florida Future
Author: Melissa Ringfield


In the recent article about medical marijuana, you noted that "hemp
became a major crop in Kentucky." In fact, both George Washington and
Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, and during World War II, the government
ran a "Hemp for Victory" campaign and subsidized crops. I haven't
enough space to list all the benefits of hemp, but here are just a

Hemp can produce clothes, paper, foods, building supplies, cosmetics,
plastics and even fuel. According to Hemp Industries Association,
hemp-seed oil contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other source
and is second only to soybeans for complete protein. It produces more
pulp per acre than timber, but it grows in less than four months.
Unlike cotton, hemp crops don't require pesticides, herbicides, or
fungicides - major causes of soil and water pollution. The textiles,
paper and building materials that hemp produces are stronger and
better than products made by cotton or timber.

So what's the problem with mentioning hemp in an article about
medicinal marijuana? HEMP IS NOT MARIJUANA! I am concerned that
including even a sentence about hemp in this editorial might confuse
readers - something the government has been trying to do since the
1930s. Hemp contains negligible levels of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol),
the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes the feeling
described as a "high." Smoking hemp will get you about as high as
smoking your underwear.

I understand the desire to form an alliance between advocates of
medical marijuana and hemp; the government and big business have
spread misinformation about both. However, with our growing need for
sustainable, eco-friendly practices, it is crucial that we keep these
battles separate. I encourage everyone to learn as much as possible
about the many economic, health, and environmental benefits of this
wonderful crop.

Melissa Ringfield

UCF Alumna, Visiting Instructor
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