But thanks to the federal government, this widely-diverse crop has been highly underutilized, even despite the fact that it is entirely different than psychoactive marijuana.
Now, in a huge game-changing move for the US, North Carolina has recently legalized the cultivation and manufacturing of industrial hemp.
Spring Hope, North Carolina has one of the only large hemp decortication plants in the US. Decortication is the process of stripping the bark (long fiber) from the stalks, allowing the crop to be better utilized for production. Say hello to more clothing, jewelry, rope, fuel, and much more derived from hemp.
The North Carolina plant hasn’t been able to process hemp because of obvious legal issues. Though it will now be able to process a whopping 40 million pounds of hemp each year, paving way for long-awaited production and employment opportunities.
On October 31, 2015 Governor Pat McCrory passed Senate Bill 313, allowing farmers in North Carolina to wake up in the morning with a new option for growing crops. Industrial hemp production became legal at the stroke of midnight.
The bill passed the House and Senate in late September by a vote of 101-7 and 42-2, respectively. It has been, until just recently, awaiting Governor Pat McCrory to sign it into law.
“…finds and declares that it is in the best interest of the citizens of North Carolina to promote and encourage the development of an industrial hemp industry in the State in order to expand employment, promote economic activity, and provide opportunities to small farmers for an environmentally sustainable and profitable use of crop lands that might otherwise be lost to agricultural production.
The purposes of this Article are to establish an agricultural pilot program for the cultivation of industrial hemp in the State, to provide for reporting on the program by growers and processors for agricultural or other research, and to pursue any federal permits or waivers necessary to allow industrial hemp to be grown in the State.”
Currently, the United States is the number one importer of hemp products in the world. We have to import it because we can’t grow and produce it here. So, we spend millions, as a whole, bringing it in from other countries who know better than to ban such a valuable crop.
What makes hemp so valuable?
Its uses are virtually endless. But, here’s a start:
- Building materials
- Cooking (hemp oil)
- Food (it won’t get you high)
- Skin care products
- Animal and bird feed
- Animal bedding
- Water and soil purification
- Weed control
- Clean fuel
Now, North Carolina can show the country how to re-utilize an infinitely-old crop that once helped run America.