HEY Y'ALL, IT'S LEGAL TO GROW HEMP IN TEXAS!
Actually, growing hemp is legal in all of the USA. President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law in December of that year—which legalizes industrial hemp after decades of the crop being caught up in broader cannabis prohibition. The signing ceremony represented the culmination of a months-long debate over various provisions of the wide-ranging agriculture legislation. But after the House and Senate Agriculture Committees reconciled their respective versions, the final Farm Bill easily passed in full floor votes last week.
Hemp legalization, a provision of the bill championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), received bipartisan support, with members on both sides of the aisle celebrating its inclusion in the now signed law.
But you do have to follow a few rules!
SO, WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF ALL THIS?
The implications are nothing short of changing the world. Right now, the focus seems to be on growing hemp for CBD products, but that is a very limited focus. Hemp can be and has been used as the base material for hundreds of products—wood for floors; fabric for clothing; hand lotion and other cosmetics; replacement for paper products; even material to replace plastic products.
In terms of quality and performance, hemp fiber stands out as probably the strongest and most durable fiber in nature. In addition to being 10 times stronger than wood fiber, hemp is four times stronger than cotton. Industrial hemp is lighter and less expensive to process than wood.
Trees take a long time to grow, which is why trees are being cut down faster than we can replace them. On average, trees are 10-30 years old before they are used for paper. Hemp, on the other hand, takes 60-90 days to reach maturity. Basically, hemp is ready to be harvested and made into paper after one season.
HEMP AND HUMAN IMAGINATION CAN TRANSFORM OUR WORLD. IMAGINE THIS FOR GARLAND:
The ideal products for local economies and the environment are those that are consumable and create little or no waste and are manufactured and purchased locally, thus eliminating all the pollution and expense of transporting the product to 1,500 miles away. Toilet paper made from hemp is just one such possibility.
What if leaders of local governments let go just a few of their conservative notions that government should not be involved in production and put some of the 57 square miles of unused land in Garland to use growing fields of hemp? The fiber from these fields would be used to create the end-product of toilet paper.
A total of 2,000 Americans were polled on their single-use household item spending habits. On average, respondents spend $182 annually on toilet paper (plus an extra $15 per month since the pandemic started). So, let’s say that roughly a little more than a third of the population of Garland (100,000) purchased their toilet paper from a local supplier. That would be $18,200,000 annually in potential gross income. That’s a lot of money flowing into a local economy from just one product.
Furthermore, it’s a proven fact that more of the money produced by locally held companies tends to stay and be recirculated in that economy. Real change tends to be the most meaningful to the individual at a local level.
SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE WITH THE HEMP TOILET PAPER PROJECT?
The first step would be to create a feasibility study to determine the merit of this idea. Some of the information included in the study would be identification of all the feasible land within the City of Garland (both city-owned and private) that would be available as acreage for growing hemp; estimated expense for establishing a plant to process and manufacture the hemp into toilet paper; evaluation of the market who would purchase the toilet paper; estimated profitability, etc. Perhaps the business would be set up as a cooperative of the people of Garland which would involve job creation along with sharing some of the profit with the local government of the people whose leaders would then plow this income into projects that benefit the community.