Chapter 33:           ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY HEMP PRODUCTION IN                                         AUSTRALIA


 

MOTION: That the Rudd Government immediately seek to remove regulatory roadblocks and other disincentives to the development of a thriving hemp fibre industry in Australia in direct competition with the environmentally unfriendly, (a) cotton industry, (b) the woodchip and pulp industry (c) the US pharmaceutical industry and (c) some aspects of the oil industry.

Rationale:

The historical view is that the environmental virtues of large scale hemp plant cropping were denied during 20C by US Governments for irrational reasons in the democratic context. Worse is that the US companies with vested interests in banning hemp cropping were able to extend the bans around the world despite the environmental virtues of growing hemp. As usual, Australia governments trotted along behind very obediently during 20C and continue to do so in 21C. Governments around the globe, almost universally acquiesced to the negative lobbying of interests vested in cotton farming, pharmaceutical companies, lumber and wood pulp companies and oil companies.

Considering the global food shortages and radical price increases of staple foods such as rice in under-developed nations, the time for sloughing off the Yankee anti-hemp shackles has arrived.

Hemp stems can be used for fibre for durable clothing and myriad other uses. Hemp seeds are rich in nutrients and can be used equally for cattle feed in lieu of wheat grain for example as well as for human consumption in lieu of rice. Hemp plants can be cultivated for a wide range of pharmaceuticals. Hemp seeds are rich in oils that can be used for bio-fuels and for plastics production. The plant can be used for making quality paper. Virtually every part of the hemp plant has a practical use. Only the wit and a nationally independent political will would be required to begin replacing forest clear felling practises and wood-chipping with actually sustainable, large scale hemp farming.

If the Rudd Government had any real balls and the slightest sense of independence for Australia, then they would disassociate Australia from conforming to the Luddite views of the subject maintained in the USA which have been foisted upon the planet. Hemp is one of the most environmentally friendly and most useful plants ever invented, but its usefulness has been denied by the machinations of the vested interests of industries that could not compete with hemp products during 20C. Today, given the opportunity to do so, environmentally friendly hemp products could easily provide alternatives to a range of unfriendly products. Selective breeding and/or genetic engineering could result in an enormous range of varieties, free of the hallucinogenic tetrahydrocannabinol. A range of varieties could be grown in a wide range of environmental conditions and could be a truly sustainable cropper, thus replacing the need for wood-chipping native forests down to the last half dozen big trees.

Hemp cropping for fibre and seed could be cultivated extensively in Australia and would provide a renewable feedstock for a variety of uses, such as paper making, ethanol production, bio-diesel fuel, biodegradable plastics, durable fabrics, and a plethora of pharmaceuticals. Protein, oil and carbohydrate rich hemp seed could easily augment cattle feed and human feed. However, the immense potential of hemp products has been squandered ever since the time of the 20C black and white movie entitled “Reefer Madness” was promoted in the USA. Brainwashing killed hemp despite its enormous potential usefulness. Contrarily, the US Government recognised hemp as being phenomenally useful during the 2nd WW. And so, US Farmers were directed to grow vast crops of hemp for the war effort. But as soon as the war ended, all hemp crops were ordered to be destroyed as a result of lobbying to that end. The demands of vested interests of cotton growers, pharmaceutical companies, the oil industry, the US timber and paper making companies ensured that the most valuable plant on Planet Earth could not freely compete with them.

It is a matter of the historical record that during the 1930’s in the USA, Dupont chemical industries conspired with others to eradicate all sources of hemp products that competed with Dupont’s nylon and other synthetic fibres manufactured from oil. A Google search elicits enumerable papers and documents on the subject. A summary historical time line worth viewing can be found at the following address:

http://www.innvista.com/HEALTH/foods/hemp/history.htm 

Another famous work on the subject entitled “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” written by Jack Herer can be found at

http://www.jackherer.com/chapters.html

The most common source of angst with respect to large scale farming of hemp has been generated by the promotion of the insidiously euphoric drug qualities associated with the plant. The reality is that people who use hemp as cannabis for recreational purposes are generally only interested in the most potent varieties. The potent varieties do not grow well if at all outdoors, because they have been bred for intensive hydroponics farming under perhaps 20 hours per day of high powered lighting, usually indoors, hidden away from prying eyes. Thus, the proposition that large scale industrial hemp might be subject to skulduggery is simply an excuse for total misrepresentation by those who have vested interests in maintaining the status quo and who will anything to prevent change to current practises.

In the old days in Southern Ontario for example, before the advent of modern potent cannabis drug strains, it was common practise for cannabis plants to be secreted within tobacco plantations and corn crops. That tended to keep the Department of Agriculture and the Police busy, ordering the ploughing-in of entire crops of tobacco and corn crops. Today, cannabis drug crops are more likely to be found in factories or dwelling houses where electrical power supplies may be harnessed to provide the energy that the super strength strains require to flourish. An additional rationale for indoor cropping of the drug variety is that satellite spying for infra-red plant signatures has also reduced the likelihood that crooks would use outdoor cropping for significant production of illegal drugs.

Think about food crops generally. Lots of nonsense has been peddled regarding the need for farming rice in Australia for example. At a time when water scarcity is at an all time high level, it is time for sensible debate to occur. Rice farming bodies have been complaining about their inability to get enough water to produce viable crops. When criticised for being an environmentally unfriendly crop for Australia, the retort has been that the world needs food! Quite right – and there are better ways of doing it than by trying to grow rice in dry regions of Australia - apart from the fact that relatively free trade around Asia probably means that rice can be imported more cheaply than it can be grown in Australia anyway.

Rather than kowtowing to de facto Yank control of Australia’s farming practises, it would be nice have a government with independent policies on farming hemp seed as a source of quality food grain. To do so would be “What is in the nation’s best interests” and also “What is in Planet Earth’s best interests”.

Long overdue is a battery of government policies that will remove the entire gamut of 20C regulatory roadblocks that prevent the wholesale replacement of water guzzling crops and unsustainable wood chipping practises with more environmentally friendly hemp cropping. The genetics of industrial hemp could be manipulated to enhance a wide range of specific qualities of the plant for an amazing range of useful purposes. Given half a chance, hemp could be the saviour of the starving millions who are about to be deprived of food wheat diversions into ethanol production. Hemp grain farming could easily augment wheat grain farming as cattle food and human food source.

Hemp farming for paper manufacture is environmentally friendly and 100% sustainable and renewable. Wood chipping is not sustainable despite the claims of the timber industry to the contrary – if it were sustainable then Australia would have vast tracts of massive trees today - but not so.  Instead of having bipartisan support for Gunn’s paper mill in Tasmania and the corruption that has gone with it, Tasmania could produce paper pulp from Hemp farming, and thus provide more employment than is likely to be the case simply by decimating what’s left of the once exquisite forests. Bipartisan support for Gunns seems to have arisen from the need to win an electoral seat or two in chainsaw land. The people have had no choice in the matter and continue to have no choice.  Not democracy - not by any kind of BS that the vested interests of the major parties might like to cook up.

Similarly, most of the phenomenal quantities of water required to service mega-cotton farms in Queensland and NSW could be saved by farming fibre varieties of hemp in lieu of cotton. It is absurd to be conducting water intensive cotton farming in the driest continent on Earth, particularly when such farm effectively steals vast quantities of water that once travelled south to service the major population centres and to maintain ecological sustainability. Both are under extreme threat of totally inadequate supplies of water today. However, due to the virtually total absence of government consultation with the people on such issues, absurdity has reigned supreme and may well continue under the Rudd Government unless radical and rapid change gets promulgated.

If our Pollies allow the 20C traditional hysteria surrounding hemp growing to continue to prevent rational utilisation of one Earth’s most valuable plants, then they all need their heads read. If our Pollies can condone spending taxpayers’ money on advertising campaigns to brainwash the public into believing that government policies are “What’s in Australia’s best interests”, then they could certainly do likewise for a new environmentally friendly hemp industry that could easily replace unfriendly cotton farming, unsustainable wood chipping and the unsustainable rice industry in Southern Australia, et al.

If not, then the BS that maintains the political status quo and “What’s NOT in Australia’s best interests” will continue. Hemp seed is at least as good a source of food as is rice, for human consumption. Hemp seed also makes good cattle feed. Hemp seed contains oils that could be used to make bio-fuels. Hemp seed contains an array of useful precursors for the pharmaceutical industry. Hemp can be used to make high quality paper. Hemp can be used to make fabrics. The list goes on and on. If the extent of genetic manipulation that has been applied to cotton and other crops were applied to hemp, then the usefulness of the most extra-ordinary plant that God (Nature) ever invented could be harnessed for the benefit of everyone on Earth. But if our Pollies persist with acquiescing to Yankee style hysteria and/or vested interests to control or prevent large scale hemp cropping in Australia, then the only conclusion available would be that (a) Australian government is a captive of US government policy, (b) Australia is not a democracy and (c) Australian politics is extraordinarily corrupt. 

Cheers:

Jim Bailey

 

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