Hemp is marijuana. No it isn’t. That’s pretty much the debate in a nutshell, and the closest the “hemp is marijuana” side can get to the facts is an entrenched guilt by association.
We’re talking industrial hemp. Marijuana drips with psycho-active THC. If a drug dealer sold industrial hemp, he’d trash his drug dealer reputation (20% THC for getting high; 3/10 of 1% in industrial hemp).
The film “Bringing It Home” carries a well-crafted “Hemp is hope” message. It reveals seriously silly obstacles to the profound contributions industrial hemp could make to America’s future if it were legal to grow it. We can and do legally import hemp products.
We’re talking jobs for farmers. We’re talking a range of American jobs in clothing and accessories, rope and paper, building materials and insulation. We’re talking foods – foods high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp products include oils, soaps, lotions.
Growing hemp doesn’t demand pesticides the way other crops (seem to) need to. Wearing hemp and building with it doesn’t involve toxic chemicals the way other materials (seem to) need to.
The list of possibilities is compelling. The film “Bringing It Home” engages with far more than list making. For instance, a father concerned about his autistic and illness-prone daughter talks about “canary kids,” kids with more delicate, sensitive, and indicative needs that tell us something about everybody’s vulnerability.
Hemp is also a canary in the politics mine. If we can’t shake off reefer madness about industrial hemp, what chance do we have with more complicated issues for the future of our children?
Distilled from conversation with “Bringing It Home” director Linda Booker
Chuck Jaffee: Can we get past the “reefer madness” obstacle to legalizing industrial hemp in America?
Linda Booker: Though 20 states have passed or introduced legislation, federal law that lumps it with marijuana trumps state law. After close to 12 years of trying, it looks like federal law may change in two to five years.
CJ: Do you have favorite hemp products that are now routinely part of your life?
LB: I use oils, nuts, powders for the nutritional value. I prefer plant protein, and hemp is high in omega 3 fatty acids. I feed my dog hemp. It’s getting on super-food top ten lists. Whole Foods says the market for hemp products is growing fast. Dr. Oz promotes it.
CJ: Your film talks about hemp contributing to a more sustainable world. Is “green” where the traction is for industrial hemp, or is it just good economics?
LB: It’s both; a huge part is the environmental and health benefits. The building sector is very excited about the potential for removing carbon emissions. This and the benefits of working with hemp materials is a main motivation.
CJ: Tell us one of the things you learned making “Bringing It Home.”
LB: Making documentaries, you ask what do I want a film to do. With a topical film, you ask how do I reach beyond people who are already into the issue. I wasn’t a hemp activist. I was skeptical. I had to be convinced beyond the hype. Working on this film made me more of an optimist.