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Hemp, the perfect paper substitute

Adam Klein / Columnist

Hemp. Does the word make you think about illegal drugs and getting high?

Well let me inform you that hemp will not get you high, but it is illegal to grow it in the United States.

First let’s talk about where hemp comes from and what hemp can do for you and the environment. Hemp comes from the plant called cannabis; the common strain is sativa. The fiber produced from the cannabis is called hemp. From hemp many goods can be made, from bikinis to rope.

Hemp oil, which is used in cooking, is produced by pressing the seeds of the fiber. Hemp meal can be made from cannabis, which is high in protein. But the main product that I would like to talk about is hemp paper.

The world uses 200 million tons of wood each year for paper. Do you think the world’s population of trees can keep up with this number? And this number does not include lumber for houses or disposable Chinese chops sticks found at Acorn.

Hemp, which can grow to harvest in one season, compared to tree’s 20, produces four times as much paper in one acre than one acre of trees does in the same time.

Everything from grocery bags to Playboy magazines uses paper. You can argue that this paper is being recycled, but while tree products can only be recycled once, hemp products can be recycled many times over.

In the production of paper, acidic and/or alkaline chemicals, which are harmful to the environment, are used. Hemp needs only hydrogen peroxide and does not need to be bleached white because it is naturally white.

Right now, American entrepreneurs are losing out on what is already a $50 million import industry.

Just imagine, fields and fields of home-grown cannabis harvested and taken to plants to be made in to hemp. From here, cloth, oil, food and paper products could be produced while providing hundreds of jobs.

I would think that everyone knows that the drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper.

But did you know Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” was written on hemp?

I think it is time for the American government and people to open their eyes to the common sense that hemp is the wave of the future and to not ride it is to lose out on billions of dollars.