In just four months, hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber, and on a sustainable basis.
Hemp’s low lignin content reduces the need for acids used in pulping, its natural colour reduces the need for bleaching, as well as reducing wastewater contamination.
Simply, manufacturing hemp paper results in fewer chemical by-products.
Petroleum-based plastics end up in the ocean and never biodegrade. Hemp plastics, on the other hand, are biodegradable and non-toxic.
Hemp fibre is UV resistant, antimicrobial, requiring less water and fewer pesticides to grow than cotton.
I could fill the rest of this piece with the benefits of hemp, but the kind of innovation and possibility of a hemp-based economy is an entrepreneurial problem. There is no predicting what a free-and-fair market would look like.
In the meantime, however, Canada’s regulations are destroying any chance of weaning the country off its destructive resources and investing in this alternative.
According to Health Canada, only bare stock and seed can be harvested from hemp. The rest of the plant, its leaves, bracts, branches and roots, must be destroyed.
The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) is leading the fight to get hemp recognized for its potential.
But the process has been slow, with Health Canada refusing to acknowledge CHTA’s requests for changes.
“As a taxpayer I was appalled,” said CHTA’s executive director Kim Shukla.
Health Canada has spoken with CHTA before, but the problem, according to Shukla, is that Health Canada doesn’t understand hemp and won’t recognize it as a commercial crop.
Of course, the problem isn’t Health Canada’s attitude toward the commodity, the problem is with Health Canada itself.
There are plenty of well-intentioned and hard-working government workers, but without the ability for citizens to withhold taxes and patronize competitors, these regulatory services are unresponsive to consumers, they are subject to a hierarchy of rules and codes.
Absent state privileges, the only way to make money is by providing goods and services to consumers on a consensual basis.
Our common law tradition makes possible, through non-political forces, reasonable care as to not injure others and their property.
This includes pollution, a problem governments enabled with tort reform and now claim to have solutions for by introducing carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes.
Environmental solutions involve getting politicians out of the way, not giving them more power to raise taxes and regulate our daily lives.
If we want to see a hemp-based economy where entrepreneurs can develop more than the crop’s stock and seed, then we need to recognize that regulatory services are in demand and will be provided for on a free-and-fair market.
If a regulatory service company is in cahoots with crony-corporate-capitalists, or enforcing wealth-destroying rules, then that company risks losing its market share and more competent competitors will take over.
In the current system, bureaucratic mistakes are glossed over, no one loses their job and funding is never cut. Consumers can never cease paying for Health Canada despite how archaic its regulations may be.
The fate of the planet rests on cutting government red-tape and closing down entire regulatory bodies.
We can start with Health Canada and its hemp regulations.