What if there was a single crop that could boost the economy, fix a long list of environmental crises, and promise a sustainable future for our planet? What if this crop could end deforestation, absorb significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, restore nutrients to the soil of depleted farmlands, and create a wide variety of jobs?
This isn’t fantasy or wishful thinking; such a crop exists and is being utilized in many parts of the world. This versatile crop is HEMP, and the list of its uses totals in the thousands. The only problem is that hemp is currently illegal to grow in the U.S. because of its misunderstood relations with marijuana.
That’s why Project Green Challenge dedicates an entire day to hemp, spreading awareness about the uses and power of this amazing crop. It is all too common to mistake hemp for marijuana and vice versa. However, the two are anything but interchangeable. Marijuana contains high levels of THC, the psychoactive drug that induces a high, while hemp contains CBD, a completely different ingredient that cannot be used as a drug. It is naturally pest-resistant, which eliminates the need for harsh chemicals for pest protection, requires very little water, and grows rapidly.
As PGC participants worked through the Hemp Challenge, students became exposed to the positive and productive ways in which hemp can help heal our planet. The content and feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive, mobilizing students en masse in just one day. Letters were written to senators and beautiful artwork displaying the benefits of hemp were shared widely across social media. A participant from The Ohio State University spreading the hemp word on campus by chalking, making posters, and writing on dry erase boards! Another participant from Colombia created a beautiful poster to share with peers. Here are a few exciting submissions we received from newfound student hemp activists!
As author Rowan Robinson said in The Hemp Manifesto, “Education is the only way to overcome ignorance, and ignorance is the only thing holding the hemp revolution back.” Many people are completely unaware of what hemp is, and that is taking a serious toll on this country. Gaining the support of our thousands of PGC participants is one step in the marathon to re-legalize industrial hemp in the US. We are proud to continue the journey with mass student support, alongside our partners like Vote Hemp, Dr. Bronner’s, Nutiva, the HIA, and Hemp History Week. It is inspiring to witness everyone’s passion and calls to action once informed about the plant. Once you are exposed to the power of hemp, it is impossible to justify or accept the US ban on cultivating this crop. Hundreds of participants posted about hemp on social media and urged friends and followers to sign the petition “H.R. 525” to the US House of Representatives, US Senate, and President Barack Obama, which calls to “amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana.” Here is an example of one such post:
But don’t just take our word for it! For many 2014 PGC participants, this was the first time learning about the issue or cause – and students quickly joined in strong support! Here are some of our favorite quotes, captured from social media posts:
“Hemp is hope.” –Juanita Camargo
“No other plant on earth could meet the needs of global energy consumption, but Cannabis Hemp could.” – Lydia Maendel
“I wrote to my Representative & Senators to ask them to be cosponsors of H.R.525/S.359 legalizing industrial hemp!” – Charlie Cevallos
“Hemp & marijuana are NOT the same plant. Support legalizing this amazing natural resource!” – Julia Murphy
The possibilities with hemp are endless – and together we will create a generation of knowledgeable, powerful activists. To join the movement and support the legalization of industrial hemp in the US, you can sign the H.R.525 petition here. To learn more, download our toolkit. And check out this year’s PGC hemp challenge! Here’s to hemp!
This article was written by a guest blogger!
Megan Fuerst is a sophomore at The Ohio State University, working towards a degree in Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability with a concentration on Policy Analysis. Being environmentally friendly has always been extremely important to Megan and her family, and she is most passionate about food justice and the industrial hemp movement. She hopes to use her degree to help re-legalize industrial hemp in America. She has taken on a leadership position for the outreach committee for Teens Turning Green, and is the Vice President of Internal Affairs for our Project Green U program.