This oldest and most versatile crop known to man, HEMP, was worn by Christopher Columbus. It was also used to make the first pair of Levis Strauss jeans.
According to HIA (Hemp Industries Association) report, the total retail value of hemp products in the US (consisting of fabric, food, building materials, etc.) crossed about $500 million in 2012, out of which $156-$171 million was contributed by hemp food and body products alone.
Globally, there exists a 1.5 trillion dollar market for hemp.
Though cotton is a popular choice for comfort fabrics, hemp is better. It is strong and durable yet it softens with each wash making it more comfortable to wear. It looks like raw silk but is softer. Unlike cotton, its fibers don’t break down and it retains its structure with age. Hemp is also a cool fabric to use in hot and humid climate. It breathes well, is non-irritating to skin and is moisture absorbent. Hemp comes in various colors like green, grey, brown, black and creamy white. They can also be dyed to obtain colorful fabrics.
Production needs less land and water usage when compared to cotton. In fact, cotton, the fabric that contributes for 78% of natural fiber in the global market, takes twice the amount of land and water for its cultivation. Also hemp grows fast like weed and it produces 200% more fibre yield than cotton on the same land. Since its naturally pest-resistant; this means less need for costly harmful pesticides
Hemp is not legal to grow in the U.S. under Federal law because of its relation to marijuana, and it is considered a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Currently, all of the hemp production in North America comes from Canada because Mexico and the US still remain under hemp prohibition. Health Canada, the responsible regulating body, announced that the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp cultivars would be permitted as of the 1998 growing season. The Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA) govern Canada’s hemp regulations. The government defines hemp is as any variety of Cannabis sativa L. which contains less than 0.3 % by weight of THC in the flowering heads, leaves, and viable seeds of the plant under question. All stakeholders (farmers, importers, exporters, processors, manufacturers, retailers and distributors) involved in the newly found Canadian hemp industry are required to obtain permits from Health Canada in order to ensure the legitimacy of the industry.
Hemp requires a temperate climate, which is why growing hemp is particularly well adapted to being grown in France. Hemp is grown in the North-West and North-East for fibres and in the South-West for seeds. In 2002, the cultivated surface in Europe was about 15’000 Ha (Fédération Nationale des Producteurs de Chanvre, 2002), 7700 of them being grown in France.
The UK is a producer of fiber, as the climate is not conducive to seed production due to excess rain and unstable weather conditions. This also has an implication for harvesting and retting, both of which are highly dependant on favourable conditions. Chile is one of the major hemp producers that has been producing a stable supply of hemp since the 1960’s with 4,550 ha harvested in 2004 (FAOSTAT data, 2005).
The Chinese government is now actively promoting hemp cultivation as a tool for lifting rural Chinese out of poverty. Officials in southwest China’s Yunnan Province are promoting the cultivation of hemp for industrial use to increase the income of local residents. A hemp fiber processing factory with an annual capacity of 2,000 tonnes began production in 2009 Menghai County in Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Xishuangbanna, a mountainous region in Yunnan.
In addition to providing useful fibers, hemp seed also has high nutritional value. and the plant can be used to make biodegradable plastics, some fuels, and a variety of other things. Hemp foods including but not limited to hemp energy bars, hemp salad dressing,hemp milk, hemp protein shakes, hemp oil gel caps and hemp proteinpowder are among some of the health products being produced today. A renewable fuel, food, and fiber. Tell me why nature is illegal?