There was once a car made by Ford that not only ran on hemp fuel, but which also had a body made of a composite of super-tough hemp plastics said to be ten times stronger than steel. Hemp is also the prefect plant for the creation of textiles, building insulation, clothing, paper (already in use for over 2,000 years), fuel and even chemical cleanup, but it has been lumped in with marijuana by the federal government as an illegal, Schedule I substance. Rep. Rick Little (R-Chaparral) of New Mexico has introduced House Bill 166 (HB166) to try to change that.
The legislation, should it pass, would remove industrial hemp from the state’s list of controlled substances, opening a vast number of opportunities for the full-scale growth, and sale of the crop.
If HB166 successfully passes, a farmer would not need a license to grow hemp. There would also be no regulatory structure so hemp would be grown, bought, and sold just like tomatoes or pumpkins. Should New Mexico successfully pass an industrial hemp law, it would help to remove the stigma of growing a plant which is still, sadly, prohibited by the federal government.
The DEA recently scheduled CBD hemp oil (which is non-psychoactive) and used by millions of people for a number of medical conditions as a Schedule I drug. This is even more reason for New Mexico’s HB166 to pass – CBD is a ‘wonder-drug’ that can’t easily be patented because it is nearly impossible to chemically or genetically reproduce.
Hemp also requires no, or very few pesticides to grow compared to many other comparable crops, like GM cotton. Hemp seeds grow with little attention into tall, healthy stalks which are dense, preventing the sun from getting to the soil. This also happens to prevent many other weeds and pests from growing along with a hemp crop.
The Navajo have already signed a treaty to grow hemp on Indian reservations, which may prevent further raids, such as the federal raid which occurred on the Menominee Indian reservation in Wisconsin in 2015. 30,000 cannabis plants were destroyed by government officials. The tribe lost a lawsuit against the action, with a federal judge stating that since Wisconsin hadn’t legalized marijuana, the tribe could not grow hemp, either within state borders.
New Mexico’s HB166 is needed more than ever, and hopefully more states will submit similar legislation for voters to approve.