About Hemp

What everyone needs to know about hemp and more…

Hemp, marijuana, and cannabis
What causes the “high”
More on CBD
More on THC
THC vs alcohol and tobacco
History of why THC is illegal
Moment of reflection
What needs to be done
Join us

First things first, what is hemp, marijuana, and cannabis?

I’m sure you’ve heard of hemp, marijuana, and cannabis, but do you know the difference between them? If you are anything like I was then it’s a real gray area, and it actually took me a while to really figure it out. Part of the problem is that you can do all these searches and read conflicting descriptions. The short “big picture” answer is they are all the same plant. Now for the long answer.

The word “hemp” can be traced back to various old languages of the Germanic order {Old English,hænep; Proto-Germanic, hanapiz; Old Saxon, hanap; Old Norse, hampr; Old High German, hanaf; German, Hanf}. The word “cannabis” came from ancient Greek “kánnabis” (latin “cannabis”). Both of these terms originally describing the exact same plant. Mexican-Spanish term “marihuana” is also a reference to the same botanical plant “cannabis”. The term “marijuana” came about in the early 1900’s as the result of Americanized slang with the direct intention to demoralize and demonize the hispanic and minority communities. Very similar in etymology to the hispanic word “negro” to “nigger” with the same vile intent.

The tax act restricting hemp in 1937 was labeled “Marijuana Tax Act”, as well as, all the verbiage throughout referencing “marijuana” as this evil plant that turns men into monsters. Many farmers of the time didn’t understand how this hemp plant they’d been growing for years had anything to do with this “marijuana” and why they should be restricted. As a result, a terminology division occurred that caused “marijuana” to reference the cannabis plant that causes the psychoactive “high” and “hemp” to reference the cannabis cash crop that makes their paper, clothes, rope, medicine, and so on. Historically speaking they are all simply the same plant.
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Why is it that one will make you “high” and the other wont if they are the same plant?

In a search on the difference between hemp and marijuana, you will find some sources claiming that hemp is the “male” plant while marijuana is the “female”, however, this actually isn’t true. I’d refer you to this wiki page if you’re interested in a more detailed discussion on the complex nature of gender for the cannabis plant. But what is commonly understood is that the chemical that gives you that “high” is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The other well known chemical found in cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD actually contains anti-psychoactive properties. So, if were trying to grow recreational marijuana, the more CBD you had mixed in your plant then the less intense will be the psychoactive “high”. Now to finally answer the question why one plant will make you “high” and the other wont. Cannabis has 3 variations (or strains):

  1. Plants cultivated for it’s fiber and seed production. This will have low levels of THC and high levels of CBD.
  2. Plants cultivated for its intoxication properties. This will have low levels of CBD and high levels of THC.
  3. Escaped hybrids, or wild forms of the above. The ratio of CBD to THC can vary.

Okay, so what’s wrong with saying #1 is hemp and #2 is marijuana. Well, technically, there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, the current legal definition of hemp is any cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana is everything else. For me the issue with #1 is simply in historical research. It was very confusing, however, it is otherwise a great distinction. My issue with #2 merely boils down to political correctness. I’m ‘offended’ in behalf of all cannabis plants being labeled with this derogatory and demeaning terminology! So, joking aside, marijuana carries a negative ambience since it’s inception. Even it’s rebirth during the 60’s didn’t help much for it’s image. But since I don’t have a better name for it, I’ll just reference #2 as THC so as to not perpetuate that negative vibe.
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More on CBD

If you search around online you will see many different claims to the benefits of CBD. I’ve gathered and attempted to categorize them as follows:

  • Anti-psychotic: It can help treat symptoms of psychosis, paranoia, confusion, or hallucinations. This could be as a result of side effects of other drugs, or in dealing with mental health diseases. Disclaimer: CBD is not a cure but simply can treat some symptoms.
  • Anti-depressant: It can help with some of the many forms of depression, such as, social anxiety, general anxiety, OCD, agitation, and chronic pain. Disclaimer: CBD is not a cure but simply can treat some symptoms.
  • Anti-oxidant: The idea here is that natural oxidation in our bodies produce free-radicals which are damaging to our cells. Our cells then try and protect themselves by absorbing the anti-oxidants provided by CBD.
  • Anti-inflammatory: It can help remedy pain by reducing swelling and inflammation. Note that this type of pain relief is different from opioids in that opioids will block the pain receptors to the brain where CBD will actually work on the injury itself. Disclaimer: CBD is not a cure but simply can treat some symptoms.
  • Antiemetic: It can help with vomiting and nausea caused by motion sickness or medications side effects of opioids or chemotherapy. Disclaimer: CBD is not a cure but simply can treat some symptoms.
  • Antitumor: I’m bringing this one up because there are studies out there that show CBD can inhibit or stop the growth of tumors including cancer. There is plenty of controversy behind this claim which I am tremendously not qualified to engage. But wanted to mention anyway in that there really needs to be more research dedicated to this claim.

I’m going to say this one more time: CBD is not a cure but it can treat symptoms. If you are already on medication, please consult with your physician before using CBD.

There is no known dose of CBD that is considered lethal. This is a statement that cannot be made by many of our modern day medicines. The negative side affects of CBD come in using too high of doses which can be light headedness, drowsiness, and lowered blood pressure.
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More on THC

So, one more time I’ll mention that when I reference THC I am choosing to be politically correct on behalf of the undeserving cannabis variation. So, yeah, I’m saying THC instead of marijuana. Perhaps you’ll understand why below.

I’ll start with some known benefits of THC:

  • Euphoria
  • Lower doses can reduce nausea and vomiting
  • Lower doses can reduce anxiety
  • Mitigate seizures
  • Relieve inflammatory Bowel
  • Treat glaucoma
  • Slows Alzheimers
  • Stop spread of cancer cells
  • Relieve arthritis
  • Improve lung health from tobacco carcinogens
  • Helps with PTSD
  • Reduce muscle spasms
  • Help heal concussions
  • Studies have indicated antitumoral properties
  • Increased appetite (this may or may not be a positive)

Some less pleasant side effects:

  • Higher doses can cause nausea and vomiting
  • Higher doses can cause anxiety and paranoia
  • Dry mouth
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Flushing
  • Blurred vision
  • Mood alterations
  • Altered senses
  • Dizziness
  • Reduced coordination
  • Increased appetite

I’m going to add my disclaimer here as well. THC is not a cure but it has been shown to treat many symptoms. At higher doses, It also can cause a full set of other unpleasant symptoms. Please consult with your physician before using THC products.

Also, note that we do not sell any products with THC as THC products are still illegal in most states.
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Comparing THC with alcohol and tobacco

I wanted to dedicate a special section to help put THC into perspective. As noted above, THC actually has a list of positive and healthy benefits despite being classified as a “Schedule 1” drug. Other schedule 1 drugs being heroine, LSD, and ecstasy. So, let’s take a moment and put this in perspective.

The three leading causes of preventable deaths in the US are (in this order): Tobacco, poor diet and exercise, and alcohol.

   Alcohol vs THC:

  • Alcohol: kills about 88000 people per year. THC: zero.
  • Alcohol: poisoning kills 6 people every day. THC: zero.
  • Alcohol: increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, and breast. THC: shown to decrease risk.
  • Alcohol: causes liver disease, pancreatitis, osteoporosis, heart disease, immune system dysfunction, malnourishment, and ulcers. THC: none of that.

They can both cause:

  • Cognitive issues
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Stress on family and employment
  • Both can lead to psychological dependency

   Tobacco vs THC:

  • Tobacco: kills about 440,000 people per year. THC: zero.
  • Nicotine in tobacco: is highly addictive. THC: causes no chemical dependency.
  • Tobacco: can cause over 10 types of cancer. THC: shown to decrease risk.
  • Tobacco: can cause asthma. Some studies show that THC actually increases lung capacity.
  • Tobacco: can cause nicotine poisoning. THC: nope.
  • Tobacco: can cause chronic obstructive lung disease. THC: nope.
  • Tobacco: can cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, blindness. THC: nope, nope, nope, and nope.

   Summation:
Yes, there are some negative effects to THC, especially when:

  • specially grown to increase level of THC and decrease the level of CBD for the express desire of high potency,
  • used at a young age, and
  • when used profusely for long periods of time

However, when we put those side effects in perspective of two other legalized drugs, we have to ask the question: why is THC illegal?
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If THC isn’t as bad as we’ve been told, why is it illegal?

To understand this we need to talk history…

Pre-1930’s:

Hemp is one of the oldest known cultivated crops in human history. For thousands of years, our ancestors used this plant for a wide range of purposes. They recognized the benefits from the different chemical properties and bread them accordingly. What exists now as hemp is the culminated efforts of 1000’s of years of work.

The term ‘hemp’ or ‘cannabis’ meant something completely different in the early 1900’s. People knew you could get ‘high’ from it but that’s not how it was truly known. The vast majority of all ropes were made with hemp. The USS Constitution is the US’s oldest Naval ship and it was said to have over 120,000 pounds of hemp rigging. Hemp was a legal tender in the US up until the early 1800’s. In fact, there were certain periods in our history where you could actually get arrested for NOT growing hemp. The Gutenberg Bible, almost 600 years old, was made from hemp paper as well as the King James. It was also used for tea bags, filter paper, cigarette paper, clothes, food, building material, lotions, hair care, and so on. The one thing to take away from this is that 100 years ago, hemp was viewed very, very, very differently than it is today. Why?

Hearst

Early 1900’s brings us our first hemp protagonist, William Hearst. William was wealthy business owner with strong ties in politics. He was twice elected in the House of Rep, ran from president in 1904, and Mayor of New York in 1905-1909. William ran his own news paper called the “New York Journal”. It was well known in his day for “yellow journalism”. Essentially, it was the Enquirer of the early 1900’s. He did own a paper mill for a short time in 1900’s (Dexter Sulphite Paper & Pulp Company). He also, at one point, owned up to 1.5 million acres. Claims have been made that he began an assault on hemp to monopolize the paper industry, although that may not actually be true.

What most certainly is true is that he published many sensational articles and cartoons villianizing cannabis. He was known to be racist and use his newspapers to aggravate racial tensions. He’d publish such things as “The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races” and “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.” He also consistently used the slang term of ‘marijuana’. People of the time didn’t know that this ‘devils weed’ was in fact the same from cannabis. Not only was he using a Mexican-Spanish version of the term but he also mis-spelled it. This allowed for him to effectively perpetuate a sensationalized fear-hate campaign against women and minorities: “This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others”

Mellon

I’m going to make note here because you can read in multiple locations regarding Andrew Mellon and his connection with the DuPont company. There exists conspiracy claims that he cooked up the idea of making “marijuana” illegal to remove hemp as competition to the new product nylon. Now, it is true that Mellon was:

  1. a very wealthy man;
  2. the one who hired Harry Anslinger as the first commissioner to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics;
  3. he was Anslingers wife’s uncle
  4. It also appears that the Mellon Bank was the principal investor in Irenée DuPont’s petrochemical company.

Mellon was also well known for being a corporate money whore and was blamed in part for the great depression. As a result, Mellon was released from his position of Secretary of Treasury in 1932. Also, Anslinger didn’t start any campaign against marijuana until 1934. On top of that, nylon wasn’t invented until 1935 (after Anslinger already started). Then finally, Mellon died in 1937 (same year the bill was passed). All this makes it hard to support that Mellon had anything to do with cannabis prohibition.

With all that said, there is no doubt in my mind that DuPont made significant money over the years because of the illegalization of hemp and its removal as a competitor. But I haven’t been able to find any evidence that they had anything to do with the process. Although, it’s naive to believe that the rich and powerful would not influence government and public opinion, I’m not sure there is enough evidence to this claim. I think we’re just going to chalk the Mellon/DuPont connection to unsubstantiated conspiracy theory.

Anslinger

Harry Anslinger, on the other hand, was the most nefarious and prominent figure in this story. Our cinematic villain, if you will, at least regarding the future of hemp. His path begain, as far as this story is concerned, in 1917 when he started working for various police and military organizations both nationally and internationally. Anslingers focus was on stopping the international drug trafficking. This took him all over the world for the next decade. This work landed him the job as an assistant commissioner of the Sec. of Treasury Dept of Prohibition in 1929. During this time there was a lot of scandals and corruption that he tore open. This gave him this honest, upstanding, and incorruptible credibility in the political spectrum.

The stage is now set for him as the new “Federal Bureau of Narcotics” (FBN) was created, and he was set as its first commissioner in 1930. He served in this capacity until 1962. The point I want to make here is that this position was under the Sec of Treasury. Now, the prohibition of alcohol began in 1920 an ended in 1933. This also was run under the Sec of Treasury. Mellon filled this position from 1921 to 1932, and it was he that started this FBN. The reason why alcohol (and now narcotics) was so important to Mellon was all about money. The prohibition was NOT about making it illegal to consume alcohol (and narcotics), but that the production and sale could be taxed. It was about increasing revenue. To be clear, the department did NOT care whether people were getting drunk or high.

Now, we bring back Hearst into the story. He spent the past decade sensationalizing this mysterious drug from Mexico he called “marijuana” in his tabloids. When Anslinger finally caught wind of this publication in approximately 1934, his concern (per his treasury department employment) was strictly financial. The “Marijuana TAX Act” was exactly that, a “TAX” act. It wasn’t intended to make the USE of “marijuana” illegal but to make it illegal to sell without taxation. But access to cannabis was very easy and common, just like home brewed alcohol. So, how does he turn this relatively harmless drug into revenue? He follows the same pattern that was done for alcohol: He demonizes it.

1937:

This is the year of the infamous “Marijuana Tax Act”. Like I mentioned above, this act was not intended to make marijuana illegal. Think about how awesome it would be, from the Dept of Treasury’s position, if they could impose a higher tax on this amazing cash crop simply by aggrandizing the psychoactive aspect of one of the strains. That would certainly help ensure he wouldn’t loose his job, for what, another 25 years. Is this conjecture? You bet it is! I wasn’t there in 1935 when they started formulating this bill, nor would I have had access to the closed doors it hid behind during it’s creation.

But here’s what we do know:

  1. It was a taxation act under the Dept of Treasury
  2. They focused on an unfamiliar terminology/slang of “marijuana” to promote fear and anger, and not the more well known term of “cannabis” or “hemp”, even though the taxation would affect the whole family (not just the drug)
  3. They used Anslingers upstanding and honest notoriety to their advantage
  4. They also used Anslingers connections to the law enforcement agencies to pull sensationalized reports of drug crimes
  5. They utilized Hearst’s angry bigotry and fabrication as a platform to help propel the agenda forward
  6. They did not include or even inform any affected organization of it’s existence until last minute. For example, the American Medical Association (AMA) didn’t find out until a few days prior to the hearing that this “marijuana” was in fact the “cannabis” they were using in their practice.
  7. We all also know how much politicians like making themselves look like heroes. By passing this bill they could put a check mark on their re-election resumes that they were making it harder for these “negroes” to dope up our 14 year old daughters (I’m not making that up).
1942-1945:

Since the 1937 “Marijuana Tax Act”, hemp production in the US declined because the cost to produce was no longer competitive for what it cost to import. However, WWII brought on a sudden and new high demand for more hemp as the Japanese had taken over the Philippines, our primary source of imported hemp. So began the “Hemp for Victory” campaign.

A film was made by the US Department of Agriculture to encourage farmers to start growing hemp, as well as, posters depicting farmers as “True Patriots” if they were to grow hemp for their country. The heavy taxation on hemp was briefly lifted as farmers grew hemp for military uniforms, canvas, parachute webbings, ropes, and so on. Check out the video in the side bar above or go here.

1948:

This reprieve was short lived as Anslinger returned to nail the coffin lid back on the cannabis plant. According to an excerpt in a book (that begins) “Mail Order Drug Paraphernalia Control Act…” on page 266 it states that Anslinger now went before a very anti-communist congress and testified that marijuana will make its users “peaceful and pacifistic”. He said that “…in the future, the communists could and would use marijuana to weaken our American fighting boy’s will to fight.” Of course this is directly opposed of his initial argument a decade earlier that it’d make the user wild and vicious.

This paranoia that the communists were to use this drug against America was refuted by both Russia and China. These countries had produced large amounts of cannabis for thousands of years, but now they too were starting to get paranoid that the Americans were now going to do this ‘pacifying’ tactic their soldiers. Thus, the marijuana paranoia spread across the globe.

1967:

President Johnson made the statement: “The act raises an insignificant amount of revenue and exposes an insignificant number of marijuana transactions to public view since only a handful of people are registered under the act. It has become, in effect, solely a criminal law, imposing sanctions upon people who sell, acquire, or possess marijuana.” And he was correct. After all the last commercial hemp fields were planted in 1957.

1969:

The Marijuana tax act was ruled unconstitutional in Leary v. United States. It was deemed a violation of the 5th Amendment since a person seeking the tax stamp would have to incriminate themselves.

1970:

Since the Marijuana Tax Act was ruled unconstitutional the previous year, congress subsequently repealed the tax act and passed the Controlled Substances Act as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Prior to this time it was only illegal to possess or use cannabis without having had paid taxes on it. But now, the war on drugs became official.

2014:

The Agricultural Act of 2014, or the 2014 Farm Bill, has a section included (Section 7606) which allowed for universities and agrigultural state departments to begin cultivating industrial hemp for limited purposes. So, the intent of the bill (or section) was NOT to legalize hemp but to achieve momentum as fact finding or exploratory research. It gave these 2 stipulations:

  1. The industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research; and
  2. the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed under the laws of the state in which such institution of higher education or state department of agriculture is located and such research occurs.

So, this bill also required that the grow sites be certified and registered with their state. So far there are 39 states that have approved this bill.

2018-2019:

There currently are several bills drafted and sitting before the Senate and House with the aim to completely removed any stipulations of growing industrial hemp. There is even a memorandum outlining to completely legalize marijuana by the end of 2019. This post in Marijuana Moment provides a wealth of current events information. But, even with federal legalization of either hemp or marijuana, the decision will be left on a state by state basis. So it’s imperative that we talk to and educate our representatives as soon as possible!

Summary:

So, the original question was: Why is THC is illegal?

THC got caught in a political crossfire. From 1937-1970, it was legal to use but not legal to sell or produce or own without paying proper taxes. This included hemp as well. But at some point, farmers decided it just wasn’t worth the hassle to grow; doctors determined it just wasn’t worth the taxes to prescribe it; as well as other industries, such as paper, clothes, food, and so on, just didn’t want to deal with special taxes. Until the only ones left using cannabis was recreational marijuana in the late 60’s. Police were arresting for possession but technically not because it was illegal to use but for tax reasons.

But 1970’s brought on the war on drugs and marijuana got swept into the mix due to it’s popularity. Industrial hemp was never made illegal. It was always legal to use hemp products like hemp lotion, or own a hemp t-shirt, or eat hemp seeds. But it became illegal to grow; we could import no problem; just can’t grow it. How that ever made sense is beyond me.
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Let’s take a moment of reflection…

What would life be like had Anslinger not pushed to passed that infamous “Marijuana Tax Act” of 1937 and the cannabis paranoia didn’t peddle the globe?

1. Hemp paper would not be the novelty item it is today.

I don’t believe it would be remotely reasonable from one to claim that hemp could take over the wood paper industry. The demand is too high, and trees can be harvested in a rotational process year round resulting in a net higher yield. However, hemps presence in the market would have helped slow the deforestation issues we face today by supplementing the demand. Additionally, hemp paper can be recycled 10 times in comparison to wood papers 2 times before it looses integrity requiring additional new fibers. This further extending the demand.

2. Hemp clothing would not be the novelty item it is today.

I’ve read in several places claims that hemp cloth is warmer, more water absorbent, and greater tensile strength (durability), and more flame retardant than cotton. Honestly, I’m not so sure on some of that. I did run across an interesting thesis on the topic here. So, I’m not going to say much on quality of the end product because it’s more complicated than I’m willing to go. But, something can be said about the production.

One acre of hemp can produce as much as 2-3 acres of cotton. Hemp’s 10-15 foot height easily chokes out any weed competition negating the need for herbicides. It is also naturally resistant to most pests negating need for pesticides. So hemp requires little to no harmful chemicals to grow. However, cotton occupies 1% of our farm lands and uses 50% of all pesticides. Cotton’s high dependance on chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers) and high abrasion on hands and equipment make it a far less desirable choice for farmers.

But like with paper, it’s not reasonable to say that hemp could or even should take over the cotton industry. Cotton also has many great properties. However, having more clothing and fabrics containing a hemp blend would certainly make the supply demand stretch further. Hemp is known to blend well with cotton, polyester, and even silk.

An additional interesting note that the word “canvas” literally means “made from hemp”. Cool huh?

3. Hemp bio-fuel would be a competitor in the US and global market

Again, hemp bio-fuel could not even come close to replacing petroleum or coal based fuel, nor could it compete against the “miles/gallon” rate produced by modern electric cars. But it can definitely reduce the our dependance on foreign oil while placing that money directly into the hands of our farmers and local bio-fuel producers. Yes, hemp bio-fuel does leave a carbon foot print, but it’s exhaust is 47% lower than diesel. Also worthy to note that during it’s growth cycle it absorbs CO2, so while in burning fuel it then releases that same CO2 it absorbed. This is what is called a ‘closed carbon cycle’.

4. Hemp could be used as plastics and a wide range of other building materials.

It’s not realistic to even imagine that hemp would completely replace petroleum based plastics. Our dependence on plastics and our ability to grow hemp are completely out of proportion to each other. However, hemp can reduce the negative impact of plastics in our environment. Our plastic water bottles can take up to 450 years to bio degrade, and when they eventually do, they leave behind hazardous chemicals. But hemp plastics will degrade into healthy compost in much less time. But even outside of just plastics, hemp could have been uses in making carpets, fiberglass, insulation, mortar, and concrete.

5. Hemp could have been a major source of our nutritional diet.

Hemp seeds contain 35% protein and is high in non-trans-fatty acid (omega 3,6,9’s). This is great news for those who don’t appreciate those fishy burbs after taking those cod liver pills! Hemps seeds have been used in breakfast cereals, protein bars, bread, beer, and so much more.

For more information on the many uses of hemp see hempfarm.org and hempuniversity.com

As you can see, our world could have been very different. Sure, hemp would not have removed any competition nor should it have, but it’s presence could have had a significant positive impact on our health and the health of our planet. But it not too late!
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What needs to be done?

In a word: Education. Time has turn public opinion on the terms ‘cannabis’ and ‘hemp’ into something negative or back woodsie. Government has turned it into a dangerous drug and a detriment to moral society. But the truth is so very much different. As public opinion changes, so will our governments. Laws must change before real progress can be made.

The truth is that I don’t agree with the use of any drug for recreational purposes. I don’t drink alcohol or use tobacco, and I even limit my use of caffeine. Drugs are drugs and should only be used for their intended purpose. However, I also recognize that my opinion is just that: my opinion. In a country that touts “freedom”, one would think that we should also have the freedom to choose what we put in our bodies. We should not have this dictated to us by lawmakers and coerced by law enforcement. If we can choose to bungie jump or sky dive or scuba dive or any other dangerous activity that could cause serious harm to our body, then we should also be able to choose what we eat or drink (or inhale).

Here’s an odd ball hypothetical situation to consider: If I were kidnapped and my captor gave me a choice in being released to consume copious about of tobacco or alcohol or THC within a short period of time, the decision would be simple. Both tobacco and alcohol have horrendous short and long term effects to include death. THC will, no doubt and understated, make me loopy for a while but the effects would wear off and I would NOT be subjecting myself to a potential death sentence or organ failure. So, if we have to fully legalize THC in order to gain full advantage of the economical growth gained by all the amazing hemp products (including CBD), would it really be so bad?
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Join us

Please join us in our crusade to educate and spread the good word about hemp. Engage with your local, state, or federal representatives. Support our business and facebook page and/or any other hemp based provider, as we need you to stay the course. Hemp has the power to change our country by providing a wide range of new jobs and alternative resources. It’s long past time this prohibition comes to an end!
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