Stevie Kute                                                                                                                              #6
3/9/14                                                                                                 Hemp Expository Paper

            Hemp is a plant that could be very beneficial to America. It can grow practically anywhere, its fibers can be made into clothing, and even automobiles. It is also much cheaper than other forms of textiles and crops that are used to make things. Hemp has been legalized by several states in the US, however there’s one problem. The federal government outlawed hemp production under the reign of President Hoover. Ever since, the production of hemp has been illegal in the United States, and the economy has been suffering ever since. There are many reasons why the government outlawed hemp production, and why there hasn’t been a lot of political activism towards making it legal again.

One reason that hemp production remains illegal in the US is because of its similarities to Cannabis. Cannabis and hemp are not the same thing, as hemp contains very little THC (which is the active ingredient in cannabis that gets you high), but the plants are technically the same thing. Under Hoover’s reign of presidency, cannabis, which wasn’t a well-known or popular drug at the time, was known to be related to hemp, and that scared Hoover. He felt that if it could be used as a drug, that it shouldn’t be used. This caused hemp to be quickly outlawed, even though it had been legal in several US states. In April of 1937, a bill was passed and hemp production officially became illegal in the United States.
Text Box: Figure 1: Hemp Production Historical Signhttp://tokesignals.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/url-8.jpeg            Another reason that hemp production became illegal in the US is because of powerful rich people. Why did I say that? When President Hoover and many other powerful men in America noticed that hemp production was beneficial and money-making, they became paranoid. These powerful men were owners of businesses that produced textiles, and produced goods using methods other than hemp production. They saw that the production of hemp was very profitable, and cheaper than the methods that they were using. This caused the rich upper class people who were threatened by the hemp production to panic. They practically begged the president to outlaw the production of hemp. They held secret meetings to meet and discuss outlawing hemp. They eventually bribed the government with money and eventually succeeded in making hemp production illegal in the United States.

A third reason that hemp production is illegal in the United States is because of the Mexicans. I don’t mean that in a racist way, but they are partially to blame for hemp becoming illegal. In the 1930s, many Mexicans were immigrating to the US to find better jobs and a better standard of living, which is pretty much why every person that has ever immigrated here has immigrated. They brought a drug with them which they called “marijuana”. This drug became widespread, and well-known to the government. When the government learned that the “dangerous” new drug was made from hemp, they panicked. They blamed the Mexican immigrants for bringing this drug into the country and they worked quickly to outlaw the production of hemp, which has affected the economy ever since.

A fourth reason that hemp production has become illegal is its portrayal in the media. When cannabis was discovered, and was seen as a dangerous drug, the media freaked out. As the media does, even today, they over-exaggerated the effects of the drug, and made it out to be that hemp and cannabis was the same thing. Back then, people were a lot cautious about questioning authority, and were a lot more gullible to things that they heard in the media. The media portrayed hemp as a drug, despite the fact that it isn’t, and people believed it. This caused the support for outlawing hemp to grow, and the fear of it to become widespread.

A final reason that hemp production is illegal in the United States is that it is misconceived to be a dangerous drug. Despite the fact that Cannabis and Hemp are made from the same plant, they are not the same thing. The government made it out to be a dangerous drug, and treated hemp the same way that they treated cannabis. They regarded it as a dangerous drug that was harmful to everyone. This caused the Americans to freak out and to try and outlaw hemp, and is the reason that it is illegal today. http://www.paurolhom.be/Canna%20card%2051.jpg
Figure 2: Hemp Production in KY

Overall, hemp production could be very beneficial to the economy and the environment. As we continue to trash the environment with greenhouse gases and pollutants, the environment gets more and more run down. The production of hemp could drastically improve the environment, but it is still illegal due to having a negative portrayal in society, and because of the government.