Please note, all information on this page was taken from Vote Hemp with permissions. We encourage you to visit their site for even more information and the latest updates in the industry.
Myth: United States law has always treated hemp and marijuana the same.
Reality: The history of federal drug laws clearly shows that at one time the U.S. government understood and accepted the distinction between hemp and marijuana.
Myth: Smoking Industrial Hemp gets a person high.
Reality: The THC levels in Industrial Hemp are so low that no one could get high from smoking it. Moreover, hemp contains a relatively high percentage of another cannabinoid, CBD, that actually blocks the marijuana high. Hemp, it turns out, is not only not marijuana; it could be called “anti-marijuana”.
Myth: Even though THC levels are low in hemp, the THC can be extracted and concentrated to produce a powerful drug.
Reality: Extracting THC from Industrial Hemp and further refining it to eliminate the preponderance of CBD would require such an expensive, hazardous, and time-consuming process that it is extremely unlikely anyone would ever attempt it, rather than simply obtaining high-THC marijuana instead.
Myth: Industrial Hemp fields would be used to hide marijuana plants.
Reality: Industrial Hemp is grown quite differently from marijuana. Moreover, it is harvested at a different time than marijuana. Finally, cross-pollination between hemp plants and marijuana plants would significantly reduce the potency of the marijuana plant.
Myth: Legalizing hemp while continuing the prohibition on marijuana would burden local police forces.
Reality: In countries where hemp is grown as an agricultural crop, the police have experienced no such burdens.
Myth: Feral hemp must be eradicated because it can be sold as marijuana.
Reality: Feral hemp, or ditchweed, is a remnant of the Industrial Hemp once grown on more than 400,000 acres by US farmers. It contains extremely low levels of THC, as low as .05 percent. It has no drug value, but does offer important environmental benefits as a nesting habitat for birds. About 99 percent of the “marijuana” being eradicated by the federal government-at great public expense-is this harmless ditchweed. Might it be that the drug enforcement agencies want to convince us that ditchweed is marijuana in order to protect their large eradication budgets?
Myth: Those who want to legalize Industrial Hemp are actually seeking a backdoor way to legalize marijuana.
Reality: It is true that many of the first hemp stores were started by Industrial Hemp advocates who were also in favor of legalizing marijuana. However, as the hemp industry has matured, it has come to be dominated by those who see hemp as the agricultural and industrial crop that it is, and see hemp legalization as a different issue than marijuana legalization. In any case, should we oppose a very good idea simply because some of those who support it also support other ideas with which we disagree?
Myth: Hemp oil is a source of THC.
Reality: Hemp oil is an increasingly popular product, used for an expanding variety of purposes. The washed Industrial Hemp seed contains no THC at all. The tiny amounts of THC contained in Industrial Hemp are in the glands of the plant itself. Sometimes, in the manufacturing process, some THC- and CBD-containing resin sticks to the seed, resulting in traces of THC in the oil that is produced. The concentration of these cannabinoids in the oil is infinitesimal. No one can get high from using Industrial Hemp oil.
Myth: Legalizing Industrial Hemp would send the wrong message to children.
Reality: It is the current refusal of the DEA and ONDCP to distinguish between an agricultural crop and a drug crop that is sending the wrong message to children.
Myth: Industrial Hemp is not economically viable, and should therefore be outlawed.
Reality: The market for Industrial Hemp products is growing rapidly. But even if it were not, when has a crop ever been outlawed simply because government agencies thought it would be unprofitable to grow?
The Vote Hemp Treatise
A Renewal of Common Sense: The Case for Hemp in 21st Century America was written in 2001 by Erik Rothenberg, President of Atlas Corporation and a director of Vote Hemp, with the assistance of various industry experts. This treatise lays out a clear vision for industry and agriculture and hemp’s critical place in a healthy and prosperous new world.
If you are pressed for time, we particularly recommend reading the sections The Market for Industrial Hemp (pp. 10-16) and Hemp vs. Marijuana — Rhetoric vs. The Reality (pp. 17-22). The former section outlines in depth the tremendous potential hemp fiber and seed have in diverse markets, which is important to understand in the face of government propaganda to the contrary.
The latter section clarifies that non-drug industrial hemp is not marijuana although both are varieties of the same species (Cannabis sativa), and refutes categorically the specious arguments traditionally used by law enforcement to justify the prohibition of industrial hemp. Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Spain, along with over twenty other countries, cultivate and process industrial hemp without affecting the enforcement of those countries’ marijuana laws.
The section concludes by showing a rational government precedent in controlling the “opium poppy” from which narcotics like heroin are derived, while allowing non-drug poppy varieties of the same species (Papaver somniferum) to be cultivated freely in backyard gardens and the seeds of the “breadseed poppy” variety to be consumed commonly on poppy seed bagels. This is an absolute must-read document! To read A Renewal of Common Sense: The Case for Hemp in 21st Century America online please click here.
Congressional Research Service Report on Hemp
In January of 2005, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a new report on the industrial hemp marketplace and legislative efforts to allow hemp farming in the United States. “Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity” is a comprehensive report on the status of U.S. industrial hemp policy and highlights the fact that America is the only developed country to ban farmers from growing non-psychoactive industrial varieties of Cannabis. The CRS report has been updated four times since January 2005. Please click here to see the latest version in our archive.