America’s Next Natural Resource & the Organization on a Mission to Build the Infrastructure Required
The Cannabis sativa L. plant, also known as ‘hemp’, has been a utility workhorse for mankind since before the mid-19th century. Emperors, kings and even United States presidents have mandated and enforced production requirements throughout history seeking to utilize the plants’ strength, flexibility and nutritional benefits, while taking advantage of its productive and restorative agricultural traits. However, the move towards industrialization and commercialization through alternate resourcing, big corporations changed the trajectory of hemps’ history.
The trans-national interests in the global timber market coupled with new advancements in chemical-intensive paper manufacturing, as well as commercial commitments to develop the domestic cotton industry, drove incentive away from hemp utilization thus hindering sustainable technological advancements in application.
There is more to the history of what put cannabis behind bars, and many more capable people than I who have provided, and will continue to provide, revisions to the current edition of the plant’s already revisionist history. Alas, this is not the topic of my writing today.
The reason I share the above historical context is to open the discussion, not to point out the bad-actors, or pass judgement of the dominating zeitgeists of earlier generations, but rather to simplify a multifaceted - multicultural issue. In short; The only reason we do not have a thriving global industry of hemp derived ingredients and products is because the infrastructure for the utilization of the plant was never built.
Over the past four months, I have watched, interacted with and learned from an organization who can see a hemp-empowered future for the world by reinstating the United States as a global leader in agricultural innovation with sustainable economics. The National Hemp Association (NHA) and the Standing Committee of Hemp Organizations (SCOHO), which represent more than 90% of all state permit holders, are providing specific recommendations and taking decisive action to assure the successful development of “America’s Next Natural Resource.”
On Wednesday, Sep-15th, the NHA submitted a summary economic impact analysis to the White House outlining detailed information on the economic benefits of hemp production covering job stimulus, economic output, carbon savings and rural area stabilization. Some of the estimates that stand out in this analysis include the repatriation of more than 66,000 American jobs by 2030, the infrastructure expenditure and economic stimulus of $18 billion, a carbon savings of 8 million tons per year, and a total economic impact in the US of $32 billion.
In coverage of the formal outreach to President Biden, NHA Chairman Geoff Whaling said;
“Prior to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp had been absent from our landscape for more than 85 years, due to government prohibition and misunderstanding”, “This absence has prevented this sustainable commodity from benefiting from the research, technology, incentives and investment that America’s other commodities have received. We have much catching up to do ''.
The impact summary provided an overview of the Hemp Industry Economic Impact Report submitted by the NHA and SCOHO to the United States Government in early September as supporting documentation for the submission and request of a $1 billion dollar amendment to the pending House Budget Reconciliation.
Submitted to both the House of Representatives and US Budget Committee, the request seeks to allow the US Secretary of Agriculture to:
“ empower hemp farmers, processors, and related businesses to compete globally, sequester unprecedented amounts of carbon, remediate contaminated soil and water, provide funding and jobs to traditionally disadvantaged members of the farming community, and much more.”
The Letter proposed a specific language recommendation that details timing, qualification and method for the distribution of the requested 1 billion over a 12 month period.
A thorough presentation of a sustainable approach to lasting public-private partnerships is at the core of the capital deployment recommendations made to the budget. Including the development of large-scale non-profit, regional processing “super sites,”, in order to anchor a stable hemp supply chain. These “super sites,” capable of receiving grants through university collaboration and with focused funding to underserved farming communities, provide a holistic approach to not only saving the farmer from failing big-agriculture, but empowering the country with the single most productive crop not being industrially utilized today.
Considerations for capital spending, governmental support programming as well as tribal inclusion are called out in this submission, and with nearly industry-unanimous support of the amendment, I believe this is the most compelling advancement of a true plan to build the Infrastructure and Supply Chains the hemp industry needs and rightfully deserves.
Hemp can restore the planet’s soils, sequestering carbon while revitalizing croplands with the necessary nutrients to prevent the devastating effects of desertification being seen through the country.
In addition to the rich cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant, which are and will continue to lead the way for a plant-based medicinal revolution, the already defined applications of hemp including; protein, animal feed, construction materials, plastics, papers, textiles, energy, automotive and aerospace components are truly incredible and will continue to lead the way for the evolution of several industries over the coming years.
America has the chance to lead during this important time in global history. Proving the viability and value of an industrialized hemp commerce will position the US for significant financial and cultural improvement; healing our lands and empowering our citizens through the industrialization of “America’s Next Natural Resource”.