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"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."

Abraham Lincoln - Former U.S. President


Hemp & Ecology

The Emperor Wears No Clothes : Can Hemp Save The Planet?

In his book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer affirms that the humble hemp plant CAN in fact save the planet.



Herer points out that:
  • hemp grows easily anywhere, including marginal land,
  • needs little water
  • needs no fertilisers or insecticides.

Herer believes that hemp, an annual crop, could supply humanity with everything that it needs, and that there is no need to exploit the planets dwindling resources. Herer even offered $10,000 to anyone who could disprove this, and eventually his ideas crossed over to the mainstream press.

'The Emperor' is now a bestseller in English, French and German, and a British edition was published in 1994.

Another book published in 1994 was Hemp Today, edited by Ed Rosenthal. This book summarises the state of the global hemp industry in the early nineties, outlines the many potential uses of hemp, and asks whether Herer is right. Hemp Today concludes that hemp is no magic bullet, and will not save the planet on its own. However if there is investment in new technology, and a social and political revolution, then hemp and other annual plants will play a major role in a sustainable future for the planet.

According to Hemp Today, there are a number of flaws in Herer's argument. Firstly, hemp does require fertilisers and lots of water, to achieve maximum growth rates, so that it can compete economically with current practices. However hemp does do well in rotation with other crops and if fertiliser is supplied then it can be grown for at least 50 years on the same soil with no drop in yield. There may be few pests that effect hemp in the US, but in other countries insecticides are needed.

One of the main problems facing the hemp industry in the US is that the main consumer demand, entrepreneurial spirit, technological research and source of finance are all present in the US, but it is illegal to grow all hemp, even if it contains little or no THC.

Many of the processes suggested for hemp will only be economic if the transport costs are minimised by building the factory close to the fields. Thus there must be legal production of hemp in the US before anyone will invest money in new technology. And of course a similar situation exists in Australia.


Henry Ford's Hemp Car

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Henry Ford's Hemp Car

During the 1930's Henry Ford applied his ingenious mind to the creation of an all-organic car designed to run on hemp bio-mass fuel.

But Ford went a step beyond even that - the car itself was made primarily from hemp and other annual crop. Ford envisioned an automotive industry producing vehicles made from, and fueled by, organic based materials. The quite European-styled car he created is pictured above, outside the Ford Factory.

Documentaries on hemp issues, such as "Billion Dollar Crop" and "the Hemp Revolution", show archival footage of a demonstration of the unique strength of this car, in which the body of the car is repeatedly hit with a sledgehammer - amazingly there is no damage, the hammer appearing to bounce off! It was also rust-proof and, being powered by a non-fossil fuel engine, it's adoption as an industry standard could have meant huge environmental advantages over the past fifty years.

Plastics and petro-chemical based materials are so abundant today - they are used in almost everything around us, from surface tops, to pens, toothbrushes, computers, light fittings and the list really does go on & on.

With the new ecological consciousness and understanding can we still ignore the question of how the products around us are made? 

The visionary industrialist Ford was aware of the properties of hemp and saw it as a valuable, sustainable resource for the auto industry. However, the introduction of the prohibition laws in the U.S. (December,1937) put a halt to further research and development. We can only imagine where Fords vision for the hemp plant may have led.