Written by Laura Noble
Disinformation has surrounded industrial hemp in the United States since the 1920’s. Commerce for industrial hemp was put at bay by The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 (H.R. 6385). It enacted a hefty tax on the permits and sale of hemp. That bill was drafted by Harry Anslinger. He was very successful in turning industrial hemp into a demon crop by making a false claim that it was a narcotic.
Anslinger didn’t limit his shout-out to the United States; he reached out to the world. Media press was headed by Randolph Hearst as he helped to create a negative campaign of “Reefer Madness”.
Funding came from a bandwagon of wealthy individuals and corporate giants that would reap great benefits in this propaganda; thus prohibition began. (It should be noted the etymology of the words “marihuana” and “marijuana” carries a very short history. Some historians make claim the word was made up by Randolph Hearst in an effort to bring confusion to industrial hemp.)
Prohibition on growing hemp in the U.S. was lifted for a short period during World War II. At that time, Japan was the U.S. supplier of hemp fiber. The fiber from the plant was needed for manufacturing rope for ships and fabric for uniforms. Select U.S. farmers grew hemp as “Hemp for Victory” became a short lived patriotic duty to fill this need.
In the 1970’s industrial hemp took a turn for the worse. President Richard Nixon sentenced it to prison, con- victing it of a crime it didn’t commit by placing it on the Schedule I Control Substance list.
Industrial hemp is not a drug; it never has been. Nixon was advised against this, but managed to lock hemp away in a matter of days before he resigned from his presidency. This inaccurate classification placed the industrial hemp plant at the mercy of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The DEA became the drug czar of controlling the permits to grow industrial hemp; even though it is not a drug.
The costs for permits became out of reach for farming. Further if permits were applied for; the DEA would not grant them.
Because of the false information surrounding the industrial hemp plant; compounded by the difficulty and cost of getting permits to grow the crop in the United States; as an agriculture commodity, it was squashed from economic development. So although hemp is a sustainable crop that can provide the raw materials for tens of thousands of products, and a seed food crop that provides one of the most nutritionally dense food sources for mammals, it was banned from being cultivated and harvested in the United States.
The oil from the hemp seed also provides for a wealth of products. It’s a versatile commodity that can be consumed by mammals for nutritional purposes; it can be used in body/hair care products. It can provide a renewable energy supply source for the production of fuel. (As a side note, around the 1930’s, Henry Ford had experimented using hemp oil (hempoline) to fuel automobiles. As you can imagine, this certainly was not something John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil Company wanted to see materialize.)
In 1998, after years of advocacy work, Canada opened their farm fields to growing industrial hemp.
In 2001 the DEA made an attempt to keep industrial hemp products illegal in the United States. A three-year long law suit ended February 6, 2004 with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issuing a permanent ruling that blocked the DEA from this prohibition. Since 1998, industrial hemp has become a highly profitable cash crop for Canada. The United States imports hemp from Canada and other countries at a premium price. Today, the U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not grow industrial hemp.
During 2014 many U.S. states have taken to passing legislation to begin growing industrial hemp in response to Section 7606 of the (Federal) 2014 Farm Bill that was signed in by President Obama, which allows for lim- ited growing of industrial hemp based on research. In January 2015, Michigan joined in this limited prohibi- tion by passing 2 hemp bills into law that now allows universities and agriculture departments to grow the crop for research purposes.
Please take note: Industrial hemp is not the same as medical marijuana and although many states allow for the cultivation of medical cannabis, this does not automatically allow for the growing of industrial hemp.
It should also be noted that the Federal Government recognizes this difference and states it in their own congressional research report, “Although marijuana is also a variety of cannabis, it is genetically distinct from industrial hemp and is further distinguished by its use and chemical makeup.”
So, even though the federal government knows and recognizes that there is a genetic difference with indus- trial hemp verses medical cannabis (marijuana), they have yet to provide industrial hemp with a get-out-of- jail-free card by removing it from the Schedule I Control Substance List.
As of February 2014, the federal government is continuing its prohibition on industrial hemp. If the
Feds would simply remove it from the Controlled Substance list, it would release the plant from the DEA’s control, thus allowing farmers the ability to grow the crop without a lot of fuss and muss.
Some select states like Oregon are being aggressive against the federal government in their legislation for hemp. North Dakota is working to legalized hemp farming in their state, effectively nullifying the federal prohibition by setting up the framework to effectuate a commercial hemp farming program in their state. The federal government is basically trying to keep a choke hold on U.S. farmers who want to plant industrial hemp for commerce verses “research”. American farmers are being denied the right to grow a cash worthy crop that can meet the needs for raw materials for products that U.S. consumers are purchasing. Further, U.S. manufactures could then produce hemp based products at more competitive price point. As long as the Federal Government continues to miss-classify industrial hemp as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, farm- ers could be putting themselves and their farms at risk to federal prosecution and seizure should they grow the crop.
Although hemp is one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops, we are looking toward a new beginning for industrial hemp here in the United States. It’s a crop that can serve farmers, manufactures, and consumers. It can help our environment while supporting local commerce and worldwide demand.
Truth be told, industrial hemp is not a narcotic, it is not a drug. If you eat hemp seeds you will not get high. When you think of hemp seeds, think about sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and Chia seeds. Then take into consideration that ounce per ounce, hemp seeds are the most nutrient dense food that a person could eat. The protein in the hemp seed is exceptional. Hemp seeds have more digestible protein than meat, whole eggs, cheese, human milk, cow’s milk or any source of high protein foods.
L & J Enterprises, Inc., is an artisan food manufacturer in Michigan that began using hemp seed as the main ingredient in products in 2011. We believe we are at the forefront of creating and manufacturing delicious hemp food products that people will come to enjoy for decades to come.
Hemp seeds are a perfect, natural blend of easily digestible proteins with 20 amino acids including the 9 es- sential amino acids necessary for healthy human life.
They are rich in essential fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6), and the rarely found Gamma Linolenic Acid
(GLA). They contain antioxidants, fiber, iron, zinc, carotene, phospholipids, phytosterols, Vitamin
B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D and E, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus and enzymes. The 17+ grams of omega fats supplied by the hempseed provides sufficient, con- tinuous energy throughout your day.
This tiny seed is nothing short of a superseed-superfood that can provide you with the needed nutrition for healthy body function and survival. Not only does the seed provide an outstanding food for humans and animals; the oil from the seed can serve as nutrition as well as a useful ingredient in body and hair care prod- ucts, providing a broad spectrum of additional benefits to the body.
Our passion to deliver high quality, nutrient dense food begins from the heart. We believe many of the foods on our store shelves today are contributing to chronic disease, even causing illness for many.
We are not speaking of food borne illnesses; we are referring to foods that are empty calories, lacking in nutrition that contribute to malnutrition chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, celiac, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, even brain dysfunctions and chronic neurodegenerative disease like Attention Deficit, ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease.
Our bodies are overwhelmed today from toxins in processes foods, unnatural foods and chemicals.
These everyday toxins not only come from food sources but are found in water and throughout our envi- ronment. Our bodies are powerful machines that can be resilient in fighting these toxins by removing them from the body via liver function and other means. To do this, the body needs fuel, which comes from proper nutrition. Hemp seeds are an excellent and natural food choice for this needed fuel. The nutritional profile of the hemp seed speaks for itself in supporting this process.
Food is often the focus of social gatherings. For the past few years, our company has been focused on devel- oping nutritionally dense formulated hemp food products that people would enjoy. We recognize that eating tasty foods is one of our human desires in life; eating should be an enjoyable experience.
We have spent time in the market place taste testing our product around the United States at various events from local farmers markets to larger venues like Mother Earth News Fairs. Young and old have all given us great reviews on our products. It has been inspiring to have people share with us their personal health im- provements after including our hemp seeds and hemp blended products in their diet.
We have developed some unique proprietary blends called, Hempelicious HoneyNut Mix,
GalaxSEED Energy Bar Mix, Vegan Flap Jacks and Fabulous Flap Jack Mix, which are not only nutritious, they are delicious. We package our own brand of Lady Jane Gourmet Seed Co Hemp Flour and our trade- mark brand name of Hempagizer Protein Blast. This all started from the humble beginnings of our Cousin Mary Jane Toasted Hemp Seeds with Sea Salt.
Our blends have been developed to be flexible for different dietary needs. All our products are gluten free, wheat free, soy free, peanut free and GMO free. They do not contain any artificial colors or flavors. If salt is listed, it’s a small amount of iodized sea salt and/or kosher salt. Most of our blends are free of dairy, contain no sugars* or sweeteners; (*our flap jacks do contain a small amount of cane sugar). Some of our products are vegan. Currently we hold 9 trademarks with plans on growing.
The economic development of industrial hemp in the State of Michigan has great promise. In January
2015 Governor Snyder passed 2 hemp bills for Michigan which opened the door for making industrial hemp an agriculture commodity in this state. Hemp is easily cultivated and it does not create issues in our eco sys- tem. It is actually beneficial to our environment. It’s a sustainable crop that not only can be grown for highly nutritious foods, but for the raw materials for building products, car parts, textiles, paper, and rope, to name a few. Most anything made from plastic or Styrofoam*
(*a trademark of Dow Chemical); can be made from the industrial hemp plant. Michigan has the infrastruc- ture and farmlands to become a leader in the upcoming industrial hemp revolution.
WHY THE HEMP PASSION
In early 2011, I was seeking hemp blended fabrics for making clothing. Hemp blended fabric can help protect the skin from harmful UV rays. The fabric is also beneficial in resisting bacteria. In the process, I came across hempseeds and was shocked at the high nutritional value and amino acid profile it carried. I had not been aware of this and found the nutritional profile amazing. It opened my eyes in an instance to this incredible food source. My initial thought was, “why is hemp not being utilized in our food production?”
After extensive research, I discovered a lot! I also found out if I wanted to include hempseeds in my diet, I needed to purchase them from Canada since there was no place close to me to get them.
Weeks later while at the grocery store with my 5-year-old granddaughter, she handed me a container of yo- gurt; I handed it back to her and asked her to read me the ingredients.
This was a product being targeted toward a young consumer filled with dyes, artificial flavor, sugar and a few other unneeded ingredients that a young growing body did not need. Let alone, ingredients that might actually cause ill effects. This was a product that was toting a message of being something healthy to eat. As I looked in all direction at the store, hemp seeds were nowhere to be found and it occurred to me that store shelves had gotten far worse in attempting to trick unsuspecting consumers than when my children were young. It was at that moment I became a hempseed advocate.
The journey to this point has had its bumps and winding curves. Although hemp has been legal to import into the United States since 1998, getting licensed with the Michigan Department of Agriculture, getting product liability insurance; getting a licensed kitchen to allow us to package products; all were struggles due to ignorance surrounding hemp. Compounding those challenges is the current price point of manufacturing the products, since we are strapped to importing hempseeds, which in turn limits the profit margin. After all, it is profit margins that drive products to our store shelves.
The almighty dollar is a powerful tool and consumers can vote with their dollars. The act of purchasing a product is one of the most fundamental efforts that an individual can use to help make a difference in bring- ing forth change. The fact that people are taking a more active role in wanting to eat better is another benefit to our product line. We recognize the need for education regarding the nutritional benefits in hemp seeds is huge and consumers need to know eating hemp seeds is healthy.
We are committed to making our brand a well-respected and known name; but at this point, it’s passion that is currently running our bottom line. Part of our success will be within the American consumer knowing about the nutritional benefits of eating hemp.
When a customer voluntarily calls and reports to us how their blood sugar is better than it has been in decades since they started eating hemp seeds daily; or when someone informs us how eating hemp seeds has helped then to drop 25 pounds; or how chronic digestive issues and constipation have been resolved now that they are eating hempseeds; or when someone tells us their joint pain has been reduced tremendously and leg cramps have gone away simply because they are eating hemp seeds; it’s very inspiring. The need for “scientific study” is a moot point to us. This is not magic, it’s simply good nutrition from a nutrient dense seed.
Our increase in sales to date is supporting that our products are good. Customers are returning to purchase again. To date we have been self-funded and have been cautious in growing too fast in order to be sure we are aligned properly to meet demands. One of our biggest challenges is the ignorance surrounding hemp seed. Times are changing and people are ready to embrace what industrial hemp has to offer.
Having hemp as the main ingredient in our products has its price. Our product line is costly because of the cost of importing quality hemp seeds from Canada. In building consumer demand the ability to make the product more affordable will be the ability to purchase hemp seeds stateside. As a nation, we must nullify the federal prohibition on industrial hemp agriculture here in the United States. Not only for the food supply, but for the thousands of products and jobs it will provide. Better eating is beneficial to everyone, not only for our quality of life, but it is a huge factor in managing health care costs. When children eat well, they are able to perform better at school thus helping with some of the education struggles that our school system is faced with.
Please take a stand and cast a vote with your dollars. Buy USA Made hemp products. When you do, we hope you chose our Cousin Mary Jane and Lady Jane Gourmet Seed Co brands. We want people to benefit from the nutrition in hemp seeds. We want to be on more store shelves. It’s your voting dollar that can help get industrial hemp back in our farm fields and more USA Made hemp products on our store shelves. Hemp is not the best product because we sell it; we sell it because it is the best.
It should be noted that our business focus with the industrial hemp plant is that of the hempseed due to its nutritional value. The value of the hempseed is not limited to food. The oil from the seed can provide a clean, renewable fuel and energy source that could be very powerful in making a change to how the world gets its energy. Hempseeds, it’s the seed we all need.
Find out more at:
www.CousinMaryJane.com www.LJSeedCo.com www.EatSomeHemp.com
Originally posted @ The Sovereign Voice