By Chris Conrad
|Here’s one book about cannabis that comes with a free sample in each copy;
— the title page is printed on hemp paper! (Second edition only).
The book opens with a vision: a day in the life of a fictitious couple living in an a hemp house. Then it’s off on a whirlwind tour of 10,000 years of human history, with an emphasis on the United States. It documents that hemp was a major industry for most of the world’s great civilizations and had medical, religious and cultural uses. It shows how the plant’s name suddenly changed from “hemp” to “marihuana” amid hysterical news accounts of a non-existent crime wave just before the entire plant species was banned in 1937. Based on its global survey of hemp today, the book forecasts a multi-billion dollar cannabis revival. It projects the cash crop’s huge economic potential for food, clothing, housing, paper, plastic, energy and more. There is a separate chapter for each of the major uses of hemp, highlighting current technologies that encourage job development and environmental quality. It examines hemp botany, ecology and farming techniques.
First Edition: Spring, 1993. Second Edition has hemp page inserted.
The Many Uses of Hemp Explanatory Chart
Part I: Future Prosperity, Rooted in the Past
Part II: The Premier Plant of the Planet
Part III: Beyond the Marijuana Smokescreen
Part IV: Appendices
1: The House That Hemp Built.
This is the story of two very special species. One is a plant and the other is an animal. To understand this relationship, we must understand those involved. The plant is cannabis sativa, or hemp. The animal is homo sapiens, or human beings. The best way to see how hemp is intertwined with a biosustainable society is to visualize a day in a typical household in the not-too-distant future.
Hemp will be used in almost all the component parts of the house itself: the construction boards, insulation, finishes, paint and plumbing. Hemp is incorporated into the desk and all the papers in it, the clothes in the closet, the fabric of carpets and curtains, and all the plastic components of phone and entertainment systems, computers and accessories. Hemp biofuel provides the household’s energy supply. You might say hemp has built the house and garage, and even put a car in it-complete with a tankful of gas and a bagful of groceries.
It’s a long story that begins with simple vegetable cells and works its way to the height of technology and into 50,000 consumer and commercial products. We pick up our tale in everyday life.
A Day in the Life: The Morning
You wake up in the morning, shut off the alarm clock, rub your eyes and slip out of your cozy, hempen bed sheets and blankets and into a soft, warm hemp robe. The shower water is good and hot, and these new hemp towels are so soft, thick and absorbent.
What a wonderful day!
Open the window and take a deep breath. You notice how fresh the air is, blowing over the hempfields, scented with new flowers.
Over breakfast you can’t help but notice how good the eggs are. Whatever they’re feeding those chickens sure makes them tasty. You pick up the newspaper and leaf through it. There’s a small notice that today’s edition is printed on recycled hemp paper. It’s about time! DEA investigators located and destroyed another illegal stockpile of chemical weapons. The FBI finally caught up with that illegal dumper who poured toxic waste into the nearby stream last month. Good riddance. Violent crime and property theft are at a record low since all those police resources have been diverted from prohibition enforcement to focus on serious crime. They could have done that long ago. Another forest is officially preserved for posterity. Excellent.
When you stand up, you notice your leg is a little sore from that hike through the reforested zone yesterday. “Honey, can you hand me the cannabis balm out of the medicine cabinet,” you ask. “And the antibiotic cannabis cream, too; I’ve got a few scratches here.”
As you head out the door, you smile to remember how you only recently discovered you are allergic to synthetic fibers and had to have the carpets replaced with hemp weave. And you thought you had hay fever all those years! What a relief that turned out to be.
You drive the car out of the garage and wave goodbye, then head down the road, past tall stands of hemp alternating with alfalfa, corn and other crops. It’s great that the community industrial center is not too far away, yet you can still feel like you live out in the country. Since most of the car is made of lightweight re-fabricated vegetable matter instead of steel, it doesn’t use much fuel, and that new hemp-ahol blend works great. What will they think of next?
The Afternoon’s Business
Most of the morning and afternoon are spent meeting with a group of clients to review their proposal. They plan to convert an old steel mill and make PVC plumbing components, electrical insulation and fiber-optic cables out of recycled plastic and cellulose from that big new hemp processor they use at the re-opened textile mill. You’re confident the project will be approved. After all, the plan is consistent with the local raw-material exchange programs, where waste products from one industry are used as raw materials at another operation located nearby. Those programs have really come on strong over the past few years. Looking over details of the reports is meticulous but interesting work.
You resolve a few minor technical problems, reprint the report on the laser printer and make a stack of photocopies. Now that the duplication equipment uses seed oil inks instead of toner, the type quality is as good as real printing. Since the proposal is still on the drawing board, you use blended hemp and recycled paper for copies today, saving the 100 percent hemp paper for the final version after the plan has been approved. That’s when they will be archived in the permanent file, so you want to use paper that does not have to be treated with preservatives.
The Evening’s Relaxation
You get home just in time for dinner-delicious, as usual.
Tomorrow is your turn to cook, so you start planning the menu now. Luckily, there are plenty of hemp sprouts ready for a salad and hempseed oil for the dressing. Your mother will be coming over, so you decide to pick up a packet of barbecue-roasted hemp seed for her to munch on, to help her digestion.
“Your cousin just got a job over at the textile mill, and they’re opening up a new hempseed coffee shop near the civic center. Did you notice the neighbors installed a backyard biofuel unit for their garden clippings? Oh, by the way, we got the electric bill.”
You decide to visit the herb garden, water the houseplants and have a nice, hot cup of hemp flower tea to relax before you look at it. Settled back in your soft hemp tow-upholstered chair, you open the bill. Just above the “hemp paper” symbol is the amount due. You breathe a sigh of relief. Not so bad since they decommissioned the nuclear reactor and converted it to use biomass fuel. The utility company saved so much money on transport and insurance that rates have actually gone down for the first time you can remember. They enclosed a self-congratulatory note about passing the savings on to you. That frees up a little more pocket money.
You take a little stroll out through the night to enjoy the cool air of the evening breeze. You hear birds and wildlife rustling through the woods and fields. Hard to believe the city is just over the hill there, across the “green belt” of farmland designed into the city plan. Tomorrow there’s no presentation to make, so instead of driving you can bicycle into town to get some exercise and enjoy the view.
When you get back to the house, you notice the lights are dim. An incense-like fragrance drifts out from the bedroom. You freshen up in the bathroom and smile at the sexy music that’s playing.
This, you tell yourself, is how life is meant to be. And if other people have different ideas about how to live, so be it.
After all, it’s a free country.
Author: Chris Conrad
Copyright, reprint rights: © 1993, 1994 Chris Conrad. All rights reserved.
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