Hemp and marijuana are said to be two untapped agricultural crops that could easily contribute billions of dollar to the American economy.
Hemp, as it’s commonly known, refers to the high growing varieties of the cannabis plant where as other variants of the plant, marijuana are typically low growing and are widely used as a drug.
The uses of hemp include food, building materials, rope, cloth, paper, jewelry, water and soil purification, weed control, fuel, among others.
However, for more than fifty years the growing of hemp in the United States has been deemed illegal. This is partly due to its relations to marijuana.
Although recently some states have made the cultivation of industrial hemp legal, they are yet to start growing the plant because of the resistance from Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
However, with the recent bipartisan farm bill passed with an amendment to allow industrial hemp research, Congress could very well have opened the door for an agricultural revolution in the U.S.
American hemp production was at its highest point in the 1940s. However, production dropped to zero in the late-1950s as a result of rising anti-drug sentiment and competition from synthetic fibers.
Today, China produces 79% of the world’s output of hemp, followed by smaller output from other countries such as France 14% and Chile 4%.
On the other hand, marijuana which was prohibited by law from cultivation in many countries since the early 20th century is now gaining widespread support for its growth because of its medicinal and commercial value.
According to a United Nation’s 2012 Global Drug Report, marijuana “was the world’s most widely produced, trafficked, and consumed drug in the world in 2010.”
There is now a loud appeal in many countries for the decriminalization of marijuana use. Already, many jurisdictions have lessened the penalties for the possession of small quantities of the drug.
Currently, 18 states of the United States, as well as the District of Colombia, have passed laws allowing marijuana to be used for a variety of medicinal conditions. Notwithstanding, the growth of marijuana still remains illegal by federal law in the U.S.
In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country to legalize the growing, sale, and use of marijuana.
The fact is marijuana is produced in virtually every country in the world. Some of the world’s leading producers are Afghanistan, South Africa, India, Paraguay, Mexico, and Morocco.