The HIA represents a fast growing and environmentally sustainable industry
that is creating new jobs, with an estimated $400 million in sales in 2009,
despite a federal policy that outlaws hemp farming. Business leaders of
the North American hemp industry will meet in San Francisco to map out plans
for bringing back hemp farming in the United States, to present updates on
industry developments, and to share new data about expanding markets.
The problem with claims of "expanding markets" for hemp products is the fact that there's a highly relevant test case of what would happen if hemp were legalized in the United States. It suggests that hemp is unlikely to become an important commodity crop for U.S. farmers, even if it were made legal.
Hemp was legalized in Canada in 1998. In 1999, Canadian farmers planted 34,657 acres of the stuff, imagining it would be bought for use in fiberglass-like composites, hemp-oil-based foods and medicines, and hemp-cloth clothing. The problem was (and is) that hemp composite materials haven't taken off, in the auto industry or anywhere else. Hemp foods are a niche product targeting people with delusional views about the plant's healthfulness and curative powers. And hemp as a textile fiber produces a second-rate clothing material with a rough hand halfway between burlap and cotton. As for hemp's oft-touted historic usefulness as rope, that heyday passed in 1935, with the invention of nylon.
A considerable portion of the hemp crop did not get sold and producersNotwithstanding, hemp's true believers soldier on, bolstered by a belief left over from the dope legalization movement's 1970s era that says industrial hemp might be a step on the way to legalizing the other, intoxicant cannabis strains. Hemp industry enthusiasts claim loudly, and often, that their movement is unrelated to efforts to legalize dope. But it's worth noting that pot legalization's greatest California champion has been Sen. Mark Leno, who has had a keen legislative interest in medical marijuana, yet has otherwise kept a distance from the concerns of California farmers growing non-cannabis crops.
had to absorb the losses. Thus, the negative events of 1999 have brought
a lot of skepticism and fear for the future growth potential of hemp
industry in Canada
The convention will also include a presentation on plans for the second annualWe wonder if this group's version of Hemp History will include the crop's modern North American history, in which Canadian farmers were financially ruined by California hemp touts' inflated claims.
national public education campaign, Hemp History Week - May 2-8, 2011.
Designed to renew strong support for the re-legalization of industrial hemp
farming in the United States, the first annual event was a success with nearly
200 events in 32 states nationwide.