I am growing increasingly frustrated with the progress of industrial hemp farming legislation in our country. I never gave the cause much thought, before my daughter was born, though. I must admit I used to associate the promotion of hemp products with the marijuana legalization cause, because that's how it was portrayed in the media. All it took was doing 15 minutes of research to educate me, otherwise, and see that hemp and marijuana are two separate things, and though the two advocacy circles overlap, they are not inextricably linked.
I became interested in hemp, when we found out my 18-month old daughter had multiple food allergies, including an allergy to cow's milk. I was looking for a suitable non-dairy milk. I couldn't use nut-based milks, like almond milk, and rice milk didn't have enough nutritional value for my liking, and we had been on soy milk for a while, but were trying to get off of that, as well. All of my research resulted in this post, comparing the nutritional facts panels of many of the non-dairy milk options. In my opinion, hemp milk was the hands-down winner. Once I decided that, I contacted my daughter's pediatrician, who said hemp milk should be fine for her to drink. I found a brand of hemp milk and saw a label about something called "Test Pledge", which assured customers that there was 0.00% THC, the "drug" component of cannabis. Industrial hemp has about 0.03% THC, which is still not enough to produce any "high", but I can understand why people would want the reassurance that there is flat out no THC in their food products.
They sell hemp milk alongside a variety of other non-dairy milks at the health food store. They sell hemp seeds near the chia and flax seeds. Hemp seeds are ridiculously good for you. It is one of my daughter's few safe protein sources, with 10 grams of protein per 3 Tablespoon serving. I currently get my hemp seeds from Manitoba Harvest, which is a dedicated hemp foods company. The only thing is, they are in Canada. The same goes for Living Harvest, the company that makes our hemp milk. I believe some Canadian companies sometimes have to source hemp from companies in Europe, as well, when weather affects their crops. I have lived in Europe and have friends in Canada, so I don't have anything against these fine nations, but I think we should have our own source of hemp, locally. We should not be entirely dependent on other countries for something so nutritious and versatile. I only use hemp for hemp milk and hemp seed, but as research will show you, hemp has so many uses and can benefit the economy in innumerable ways.
I have been following the legislative efforts to get hemp farming legalized and I am figuratively beating my head against my desk, in reading the comments of the opposition. They say they are worried about how this might confuse children. They are the ones confusing the children, by continuing to hold false beliefs that run counter to science, and lumping hemp with marijuana. My daughter is only 4, but I don't want her to grow up and wonder why her legislators can't understand basic science and are trying to tell her that the milk she drinks and the protein she eats are confused for "drugs". She isn't confused. Do these legislators really think I would feed my sweet girl anything that I considered to be an "illegal drug"? I'm flabbergasted at how they see that these hemp products are sold legally, all over the country, yet somehow think it will be a problem for our local farmers to grow the product, right here in the U.S.
They also say that this might pose a problem for law enforcement. Do not insult our law enforcement personnel by telling me that they cannot tell the difference between the plants. Hemp is tall, marijuana is short and bushy, to put it simply.
|Photo Credit: TheWeedBlog.com
|Are you smarter than a 4-year-old?
So, if you have any decision-making powers in this arena, I ask you to consider the children who need hemp foods, as a source of safe protein. I haven't seen this side of the story told, anywhere, so perhaps you're just not aware and think that all of this campaigning is just smoke-and-mirrors for the pro-marijuana side of things. I want you to know that there are plenty of us out here who are interested in industrial hemp, purely for our children's sake and from a health perspective. (I think everyone, not just children, should start incorporating hemp into their diet, as it's a great source of nutrition.)
For the rest of us, we can start by signing the petition below, to hopefully help things move along. We need the support of the federal government, if this is really going to happen. It's all well and good for states to pass their laws (which they should continue to pursue, as each piece needs to be in place), but if the federal government is not on board, it won't work out. Your child might not even eat hemp food products, but please consider helping out those of us who need this protein source. Your help and support is greatly appreciated!
Edited to add: There's a new petition on MoveOn.org.
For more information, visit VoteHemp.com.
Though my intent, for this post, is to keep the hemp and marijuana discussion separate, this article on TheWeedBlog really states things very well: http://www.theweedblog.com/arguments-against-hemp-and-why-they-are-wrong/