Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fields of Green

Records show that humanity has been cultivating marijuana for at least 8,000 years. Most archaeologists agree that the cultivation of the plant probably began in China and spread throughout Asia and into Africa where it moved to South America and up to North America. Evidence has also been found in Southern Russia of marijuana’s cultivation going back to 700 B.C. The Russians were master rope makers and sold hemp products throughout Europe. They also became leaders in early commerce because of their softer hemp fabrics and ropes which made it easier for Italy and England to rule the European seas.
Humans have cultivated Hemp for clothing for at least 2,400 years. Fabric from Hemp predates even cotton. Hemp fibers were the first to clothe humanity in a natural progression from animal skins to fibers grown from the earth.
Paper was soon to follow. For hundreds of years scribes wrote on stone, wood, bamboo, silk or parchment. Records reveal that hemp paper initially appeared around the first century B.C. in China. Hemp fibers were mixed with mulberry tree bark, made into a paste and then spread into molds to dry. The technique remained a secret for hundreds of years but was then discovered by Japan and eventually the Arab world caught on too.1 Hemp paper remained the paper of choice for Europe and the New World for hundreds of years, until the 19th century introduction of the chemical wood pulping process lowered the demand for hemp. Our forefathers drew up the famous Declaration of Independence on paper made from hemp and this document survives today.

It was discovered early on that food could be made from the seeds. Natives of India report that hemp remains the favorite food of Shiva. A special beverage called, “Bhang” is a mixture of marijuana with other herbs and spices. It has been called the drink of the Gods. “Bhang” continues to be a popular drink amongst many Indians today.
Because Hemp seed is high in essential fatty acids, including Omega 3’s, many food products in the natural foods market include Hemp seed or hemp seed oil within the supplements and food products sold. Make-up, shampoo, lotion and other personal care products can be manufactured from Hemp. Bird seed is also a popular item made available commercially. However, because Hemp can’t be grown in the U.S., these product ingredients are grown in Canada and then sold to us for use. Our government has even been known to harass individual citizens who have ordered non-psychoactive hemp seeds from Canada to use for their pets, health or food recipes thanks to an ongoing multi-billion dollar “Drug War” that focuses on eradicating marijuana use as a top concern at the expense of the American tax payer.
Canada is a leader in hemp production and though it’s good to have a friendly neighbor to do trade with, their multi-million dollar hemp industry is costing Americans. Because of our southern state climates and the Mediterranean climate of the West coast, American farmers could be growing hemp year round as an annual crop that requires much less water and fertilizer than both corn and cotton, making it both an economically feasible crop as well as a profitable crop.
By the way, estimates show that Marijuana already is the number one cash crop in the u.s. and it's not taxed. A great profit for some.

The buzz word of American politics right now is, “Energy Independence” and as John McCain said in his first prime time debate last night with Senator Obama, “Everyone is for alternative energy NOW!.” I can remember when this was not the case, and it was not very long ago. I am happy to see that everyone agrees that it is time to become more energy independent and that we are willing to consider alternatives but this will involve thinking outside of the comfortable box of complacency and supervised knowledge.

The current global market for hemp derived products is valued between $100 Million and $200 Million annually. Add the decriminalization of marijuana for personal and medical use and the reasonable taxation of sales and profits, preparation of hemp bio-fuels for use within the fuel infrastructure, including possible exports, and we could “Bail Out” our current economic and political system from further decline. Now that's Independence! We possess the resources to make hemp the number one cash crop in the U.S. Yet, out of fear and ignorance we limit American farmers, retailers and all investors in our economy.
I have a day dream each time I drive past farm land long vacant with “for sale” signs, up sometimes for years, in hopes of a future subdivision or shopping mall venture. Some hit it lucky and become millionaires overnight. Others work the land they’ve purchased or inherited only to find themselves further in debt just to be able to work the land. With the acceptance of hemp and marijuana as cash crops, we can reignite the land and its people. We can save billions each year in the un-necessary prosecution of marijuana “offenders”, (an estimated 700,000 Americans per year), and put the focus back on individual rights and freedoms, leading the way to reason and eliminating the black market and the assorted crimes that come with that market.

I see fields of green as far as the mind can imagine. When I grew up in Oklahoma I used to love the fall wheat fields that would sway like ocean waves across a large field of golden wheat. It’s one of the few things I loved about that landscape but the beauty made an indelible impression on my psyche, as well as the sounds of oil wells right in the middle of those wheat fields, clicking and squeaking throughout the day and night with a rhythmic sound that I’ve often missed at night as an adult. It was my “white noise” as a child, lying in the middle of the dark country night. Now I have the click of the ceiling fan.
It is my dream, within this lifetime, to see fields of hemp, swaying effortlessly in a sea of green. To see open commerce and renewable fuel productions escalate as we become a prosperous and reasonable nation, free of our obsession with foreign oil and the politics that involves. Hemp growing can be “Green” in so many ways, and not just the cash either. A “Green Economy” is the wave of the future, will you be a part of that future? Whether you are willing now or not, you will be involved.

There are many streams of thought and statistics I could insert right now but I have chosen to use this site as a place of introduction though I have begun preparing a website at that can be accessed for more in depth research as I gather my material and complete my book, Marijuana: Green God , “The American Revolution of a Culture Icon.” I will make an announcement when the site is available.

For blog purposes, this is but a hint at the information that is available. A few simple google searches and anybody can become educated about the possibilities of hemp production, medical & recreational marijuana etc. There are some dedicated individuals out there that have been fighting this fight a very long time.
Much of what I will be sharing is nothing new. The Hemp Revolution has been occurring for thousands of years and for us as a nation, since the inception of the first colonists onto a land whose keeper, the American Indian, had been using the sacred plant for generations. The “Revolution” continues as the human evolution continues with cycles of birth and rebirth, death and regeneration. This amazing plant calls to all who are willing to listen. We sit at a precipice in this cycle of regeneration. Do we fall or greet the dawning of a new age in reason where knowledge is power?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Hemp-Rich America

It's an unprecedented and interesting time in this country we call home, "Land of the Free".
Along with un-necessary war debt that reaches 10 Billion per month, environmental disasters both natural and man-made, and a political system that is out of date and in control of a failing economy, "The Big Bail-Out" could prove to make us even more dependant on a system that is not working and some say this financial crisis could lead to the biggest "Great Depression" this country has ever seen. But many of us have "Hope" and are ready for "Change" this election season and we all seem to be holding our breaths, if ever so slightly, as we wonder HOW we are going to make the changes that are going to renew America's strength within and abroad.
CNN pundit Glenn Beck said tonight that this is "The Perfect Storm" that we've all feared, with our self-fulfilling prophecy's seemingly manifesting right before our eyes.

Here in "Nash Vegas", as we like to call our big-little city of Nashville, TN, we've just experienced our first official "Gas Crisis". Liken to the chaos of California in the 1970's, 80% of our gas stations were out of gas last week. IF you were lucky enough to find a place that had gasoline available you found your self stuck in a long line that took and hour or even 2 to get through. Gas prices rose minute by minute and in a matter of a few days, it went from $3.70/gal to an avergage of $4.19. One location, the only station with gas in a long stretch on a very busy road couldn't resist a price gauge at $4.59/gal. Apparently Hurricane Ike damaged oil lines as well as halted production. One story on the local news informed us that it was the stations themselves opting not to purchase the gas that was available. I'm still not sure what this is about but they say the crunch should be over by Friday, tomorrow.

As I've driven around Nashville lately and enjoyed the cooler mornings and evenings as Summer wanes and Fall prepares the regions hills with hints of color-change in the rich, green landscape that looks emerald with its lush variety of vegetation, I can't help but imagine the fields waving with tall hemp plants as high or higher than corn. The farmers here had it really tough last year. Because of the drought, the Corn fields that everyone planted due to the high demand for corn- based products, including ethanol, dried up and looked worthless.
This year's wet summer has been better for the crops and corn is king again. But, what if farmers could choose to grow Hemp or Marijuana alongside their corn crop and the Hemp needed less water and fertilizer? Could they still make a profit in a year where the corn dried up too early? I say they can. I would love to hear from farmers by the way.

I can't help but wonder, what if Tennessee farmers and those in other American States were allowed to choose Hemp as a legal crop that could be sold for biofuel? Because of the large number of other uses for Hemp, could American farmers begin seeing better returns on their yields? Research says they can produce 10-15 barrels of oil from one acre of hemp. What if at my local gas station, there was a pump labeled "Hemp Bio-Fuel" so that if (or before) we were having a gasoline shortage, we could convert our automobiles with a slight modification to accept bio-fuels, and at a much cheaper cost than gasoline? The answers to these questions might surprise you and the research and innovation is available to provide us the answers to the problems we face as a nation and as a society.

In my working-title book, "Marijuana: Green God" (The American Revolution of a Culture Icon), I am laying out the answers to many of the dilemmas this country faces as well as raising new questions while re-examining the past.

I have chosen today to begin this blog because I feel that there is so much happening right now in our country with its calls for change, and it is my hope that this work will begin a new dialog between all of us about the potential benefits that Cannabis Sativa offers and has offered us for thousands of years. With this new dialog, I hope that we can be bold enough to consider re-examining our prejudices and lack of full disclosure in regard to this mysterious "Green God" .

In the future I will begin posting sample chapters of my book and essays.
Much of the book reflects a psycho-spiritual and psycho-social theme as we explore marijuana's influences individually and collectively. The goal of this information is to educate and to lift the demonization myth of a truly powerful plant that has the potential of creating a new American spirit of cooperation and allowance.

I look forward to this dialog and hope you will feel free to offer your comments and feedback as we go along.

Kim West