The Latin name for the hemp plant is cannabis.
Hemp is the English word for this useful plant that made ancient history. Hemp seeds provided high-protein porridge and often saved populations from famine. Oil pressed from hemp seeds provides fuel, lighting oil, paint base and cooking oil. Hemp meal (what remains after pressing the oil) is high protein food. Hemp fiber becomes rope, fine clothing, canvas, sails and durable paper. Hemp hurds provide fuel and building material. Medicine from cannabis sativa and cannabis indica is prescribed for arthritis, asthma, glaucoma, nausea, cancer, anxiety, anorexia and depression.
Medicinal and recreational uses are a small sliver of the economy that can thrive, once we can grow industrial/agricultural hemp, which has almost zero THC. The Kachemak Bay Cannabis Coalition worked together quietly for years. This coalition is now merging with the wider Kachemak Bay community, holding weekly Wednesday evening meetings, 6 p.m. in the downstairs Conference Room at the Bidarka Inn.
On Feb. 24, 2015, cannabis users can come out of the closet without fear of arrest. The Coalition is planning a series of community meetings on agricultural hemp, medicinal hemp and the hemp economy. Feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and concerns.
Check out SB8, a bill to legalize the growing of industrial/agricultural hemp in Alaska. Once SB8 passes, there could be hundreds of small growers raising agricultural hemp around Kachemak Bay. Hemp is an important crop and a foundation of an economy. Our community needs to understand the importance of hemp to Alaska’s future.
I personally plan to grow agricultural hemp for seed this summer, and sow fields of it next season. The seed of agricultural hemp is sweeter and more delicious than high-THC medicinal seed. By 2016, I hope to sell non-THC food seed at the Homer Farmer’s Market. As a businesswoman, I hope to set up a decorticator — a machine that crunches fresh hemp stalks to produce fiber and hemp hurds (cellulose). As a citizen for truth, justice and reconciliation, I say: Millions of people have been imprisoned for growing, transporting, smoking and possessing this useful plant. Release them all from prison. They harmed nobody.
As an economist, I will write to Bill Walker and Byron Mallott, offering to pay a voluntary tax in hemp. I will gladly tithe 10 percent of my annual hemp crop to the State of Alaska. I advocate the Alaska Plan, a constitutional amendment to operate Alaska’s government on 8 percent of the permanent fund (generated by investing the fund) plus a tax on Alaska’s natural resources. Alaska soils are a prime natural resource; why shouldn’t hemp growers — who will benefit from this resource — voluntarily tithe hemp? A tithe is not a tax. It is voluntary.
Please contact your legislator and ask for support for SB8 and clear the way for agricultural production of Alaska hemp.
Agricultural hemp is grown in dense stands for fiber. The same seed, grown farther apart, produces a seed crop. (Medicinal cannabis is grown farther apart, like small Christmas trees.) Agricultural hemp grows like a weed during the interior Alaska summer, and will do very well in the excellent soils of the Kenai Peninsula.
Hemp was an important crop in America’s economy before it was driven from our fields by a combination of petroleum, chemical, drug and timber/paper mill interests led by William Randolph Hearst.
The petroleum, chemical, timber and drug companies did not want the American people to continue to grow their own fuel, food, paper, fiber, paint base and medicine — all in one plant. These companies hired an attack dog named Harry Anslinger, who whipped up popular fear in a frenzy of racist propaganda to get “marijuana” outlawed in the 1930s.
The Mexican word “marijuana” was used in this campaign to fool the American people. Had the American medical community known cannabis was to be outlawed, doctors would have worked to keep cannabis legal, because 50 percent of American medicines used cannabis before it was outlawed. The destruction of hemp removed one of the foundations of American popular economy. During World War II, the federal government ignored the law and encouraged growers to grow hundreds of thousands of tons of hemp for rope, canvas, safety kits, backpacks and hundreds of other uses.
When our economy rests on a foundation of hundreds of small growers, nothing can shake us. George Washington said,
“respect the hemp seed and grow it everywhere.” People get ready! Let freedom ring! Feb. 24, is Alaska’s economic independence day!
Lindianne Sarno is a writer and educator in Homer.
You can contact her at: email@example.com