Hemp Has Between 25,000 and 50,000 Uses!

Hemp Has Between 25,000 and 50,000 Uses!
Posted by FoM on July 03, 1999 at 11:54:52 PT
Published on July 2nd, 1999
Source: Intelligencer Journal
Hemp has between 25,000 and 50,000 uses, leaders in the hemp-producing industry say. But mention hemp to the average man on the street, and chances are good chance he'll think of just one. And it probably won't be legal.
The truth about industrial hemp is that it doesn't have the same psychoactive properties as its cousin, the illegal drug marijuana. Instead, the fibrous weed has myriad uses in the textile, clothing and food industries.Ralph Amato, president of New Holland-based No Problem Inc., has found his own use for hemp. He calls it the "Hempzel."Hempzels are pretzels that are a mix of hulled hemp seed, organic brown rice and traditional wheat pretzels. They come in a variety of gourmet flavors and can be found locally at health food and "eco-friendly" stores like Rhubarbs Market and It's Only Natural."This is not marijuana. This is not a drug issue," Amato said. "This is industrial hemp. It's economics. It's a business."Using hemp in food is not unprecedented. There are chips, cookies, butter, soda, beer, wine, ice cream and, yes, even brownies made with hemp. But don't go looking to get a buzz from these products.Industrial hemp contains less than 1 percent THC, the chemical that produces psychoactive side effects. Marijuana contains between 3 and 20 percent of THC.A person who ingested enough industrial hemp to get a buzz would be subject to the same effects of taking 2-3 doses of a high-fiber laxative, the North American Industrial Hemp Council says.Hemp seeds and oils are nutritional. They are high in essential fatty acids and protein, and they taste good, too.Food Distribution Magazine, a national trade publication that focuses on new trends in the food industry, recently held a blind taste test of 30 pretzel brands, and the Hempzel took second place.Hand-rolled at pretzel bakeries in Hanover, the Hempzel is sold across the country. Amato is just finishing test runs of mass-produced Hempzels and will soon beginning marketing to distributors en masse.Amato is no stranger to the business of hemp. In 1993, he began retailing a line of custom-made hemp clothing at York Galleria Mall. No Problem Inc. still makes and sells clothing, but has branched out into marketing a variety of hemp products, including soaps, shampoos, salves and snack bars.The Hempzel is Amato's attention-getter, and awareness of and support for the hemp industry is just what he's bucking for."We've gotten to the point where we want to familiarize people with hemp in more than just clothes," Amato said. "We really think that food is going to be the gateway for people learning more about hemp."Jane Balmer, president of the Lancaster County Farmers Bureau, is among the many people who want to learn more about hemp. Local farmers are looking for alternative crops in place of corn, soybeans and especially tobacco, which is rapidly devaluing.Balmer and others are going to Ontario next month to visit with hemp farmers to see how viable and profitable it would be to raise hemp in the county."I think hemp has got a lot of pluses," Balmer said. "I think it could create jobs for us.""We would like for farmers to have a cash crop in lieu of tobacco," said Amato, who would prefer using domestically grown hemp seeds for his Hempzels, instead of importing them from Canada.Unfortunately, industrial hemp has been classified as a narcotic in the U.S. since the 1950s, which makes it all but impossible to grow here.The U.S. has been obstinate in its opposition to hemp. Currently, most European and Asian countries, as well as Australia, Canada and have all legalized, and in some cases subsidized, the growing of hemp.Technically, it's possible to grow hemp in the U.S., but the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has placed such strict guidelines on how it is grown (securing fields with fence, razor wire, dogs, guards, lights and the like) that raising a crop is cost-prohibitive.Some states are beginning to pass initiatives or laws that facilitate growing hemp, which has prompted federal regulators to reexamine their policies.A spokeswoman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy said the DEA is currently reviewing its guidelines for manufacturing hemp. Businesspeople are also lining up behind the hemp cause. Trade organizations like the Hemp Industries Association, of which Amato's No Problem Inc. is a charter member, are out advocating for the industry.HIA members include more than 280 farmers, processors, manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers, researchers and publishers worldwide. Their goal is to legitimize hemp as an important natural resource."It is the world's most misunderstood plant," Amato said. "I still get people asking, "Can I smoke my shirt when I'm done wearing it?' " Hemp Industries Association:
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