It’s been less than a decade since the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, and we’re still suffering from its restrictive decision. Obviously, the act directly affected those who enjoy the calming effects of the plant we all know and love, cannabis. But it similarly constrained the use of one mighty crop: hemp. Hemp can be used in the production of many things—paper, textile, plastics, building materials, food products and fossil fuels. In an era concerned about sustainability, the economy, and the environment, hemp could be the savior. Currently, just hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) is expected to earn $3.1 billion over the next three years. However, the industries that produce the things hemp could replace don’t see the plant as the godsend it is. Rather, because they threaten their foreseeable futures, these industries don’t want hemp legalized.
1. Non-Organic Cotton
Cotton has long received attention as the “fabric of our lives”. This likely is due to the fact that hemp has stayed so long in the agricultural closet, wasting away its potential. Non-Organic cotton— which we can find in anything from our American Apparel tee shirts, yoga pants, ankle socks and more— is a prime enemy of hemp legalization. That’s because hemp outperforms non-organic cotton on many accounts.
It offers a more eco-friendly and sustainable option to clothing manufacturers. Non-organic cotton uses more than 25 percent of the insecticides and more than 10 percent of the pesticides in the world.
It requires more room to grow than hemp, needing twice as much space as hemp per ton of finished textile.
Similarly, non-organic cotton needs 50 percent more water, our most prized and diminishing resource, in order to grow.
The clear lack of non-organic cotton to keep up with hemp makes it a prime enemy. Currently, cotton makes up to 78% of manufactured textiles. As one of these industries that don’t want hemp legalized, the cotton industry fears the innovations in hemp farming and manufacturing.
Like the UK is slowly learning, the bast fibers in hemp make for a great addition to the textiles required for mattresses. As we continue to expand the knowledge on hemp and what hemp can do, cotton may phase out altogether. Hemp, in its absence, will surely take over.