Legalizing Hemp


For many years, the United States government has prohibited
drugs such as marijuana from sale in the marketplace. Yet,
with prohibition, marijuana use has decreased only
minimally. Because of prohibition, the media has publicized
only the bad aspects of marijuana use. What many people do
not realize are the many positive aspects of marijuana
legalization, including new medical cures, cleaner and more
efficient industry, and reduced marijuana usage. 

Marijuana, as most people commonly know it, is really a
plant called hemp, or 'cannabis sativa'. There are other
plants called hemp, but cannabis hemp is the most useful of
these plants. 'Hemp' is any durable plant used since
prehistory for many purposes. Cannabis is the most durable
of the hemp plants, and it produces the toughest cloth,
named 'canvass'. The cannabis plant also produces three
other very important products that other plants do not (in
usable form): seed, pulp, and medicine. 

To understand why hemp is illegal, it is necessary to look
at the law prohibiting hemp today. This law is called the
"Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act of 1970". (Public
Law 91-513). Title II of the law, known as the Controlled
Substances Act, established criteria for determining which
drugs should be controlled, mechanisms for reducing the
availability of controlled drugs, and a structure of
penalties for illegal distribution and possession of
controlled drugs. Marijuana, hashish, and THC are listed in
Schedule I, the most restrictive classification. 

To understand the reasons why marijuana, the drug, became
illegal, one has to go back to the beginning of the century
and talk about two other drugs, opium (the grandfather of
heroin) and cocaine. Opium, a very addictive drug (but
relatively harmless by today's standards) was once widely
used by the Chinese. When Chinese started to immigrate to
the United States, they brought opium with them. Chinese
workers used opium to induce a trance-like state that
helped make boring, repetitive tasks more interesting. It
also numbed the mind to pain and exhaustion. By using
opium, the Chinese could pull very long hours in the sweat
shops of the Industrial Revolution. During this time, there
was no such thing as fair wages, and the only way a worker
could make a living was to produce as much as humanly
Since they were such good workers, the Chinese held many
jobs in the highly competitive industrial workplace. Even
before the Great Depression, when millions of jobs
disappeared overnight, the White Americans began to resent
this, and Chinese became hated among the White working
class. Even more than today, White Americans had a very big
political advantage over the Chinese-they spoke English and
had relatives in the government, so coming up with a plan
to force Chinese immigrants to leave the country was easy
for them (or at least keep them from inviting all their
relatives to come and live in America.) This plan depended
on stirring up racist feelings, and one of the easiest
things to focus these feelings on was the foreign and
mysterious practice of using opium. 

A similar pattern was used again with cocaine, except Black
Americans were the targets. Cocaine was not especially
useful in the workplace, but the strategy against Chinese
immigrants (picking on their drug of choice) had been so
successful that it was used again. For Blacks, though, the
racist feelings ran deeper, and the main thrust of the
propaganda campaign was to control the Black community and
keep Blacks from becoming successful. Articles appeared in
newspapers which blamed cocaine for violent crime by
Blacks. They painted Black Americans as savage,
uncontrollable beasts when under the influence of
cocaine-they said that it made a single Black man as strong
as four or five police officers. 

In order to combat the crime wave, the government formed a
large police force. The number of police grew rapidly until
the end of Prohibition, when the government decided that
the best way to deal with the situation was just to give up
and allow people to use alcohol legally. Under Prohibition
the American government had essentially (and unwittingly)
provided the military backup for the takeover of the
alcohol business by armed thugs. Even today, the Mob still
controls liquor sales in many areas. After Prohibition the
United States was left with nothing to show but a decade of
political turmoil-and many unemployed police officers.
During Prohibition, being a police officer was a very good
thing. They got a relatively decent salary, respect,
partial immunity to the law, and the opportunity to take
bribes. Many of these officers were not ready to let this
lifestyle slip away. Incidentally, it was about this time
when the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs
was reformed, and a man named Harry J. Anslinger was
appointed as its head. Anslinger campaigned tirelessly for
funding in order to hire a large force of narcotics
officers. (After retiring, Anslinger once mused that the
FBNDD was a place where young men were given a license to
steal and rape.) The FBNDD is the organization that
preceded what we now call the DEA, and was responsible for
enforcing the new Federal drug laws against heroin, opium,
and cocaine. One of Anslinger's biggest concerns as head of
the FBNDD was getting uniform drug laws passed in all
States and the Federal legislature. (Anslinger also had a
personal dislike of jazz music and the Black musicians who
made it. He hated them so much that he actually spent years
tracking each of them and often dreamed of arresting them
all in one huge, cross-country sweep.) Anslinger frequented
parents' and teacher's meetings, giving scary speeches
about the dangers of marijuana. This period of time became
known as Reefer Madness. (The name comes from the title of
a movie produced by a public health group.) 

Today, it is indisputable that the status-quo has failed.
Increased spending for the enforcement of narcotics laws
have not produced any significant improvements. With drug
related deaths increasing in the inner cities, and usage
again on the rebound, we all can see that a change in our
system is necessary. Below is a chart representing
increased marijuana usage among people in the key ages of
19-28. Percentage of Persons Reporting any Illicit
Marijuana Use: Age 19-28 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992
1993 66.5% 66.0% 63.8% 62.8% 60.2% 58.6% 60.2% 62.2%
Source: The University of Michigan 1991 annual study titled
"Monitoring the Future," conducted under a series of
research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse
to the U-M Institute for Social Research. 

As stated before, propaganda was very well produced and
distributed during "Reefer Madness". Sadly, much of the
health related data included in the propaganda is untrue,
or overstated. The falsehoods have been numerous. One of
the first deviations from the truth involves the supposed
lowering of testosterone amounts in men who smoke
marijuana. There has yet to be any strong evidence that
would prove this point. They manufactured this lie during
the first "Reefer Madness", in order to scare men into
thinking that they would lose their manly characteristics
after using the drug. Another misinterpretation of a study
involves propaganda stating that prolonged marijuana usage
makes men sterile. In fact, "marijuana use shows no
conclusive evidence of reducing the sperm counts in males
age 18-39, where sperm production is usually a constant
between individuals" (US Government). Another
misunderstanding promoted by anti-drug literature is the
idea that marijuana kills brain cells. This is far from the
truth. A study attempted to show that marijuana smoking
damaged brain structures in monkeys. However, the study was
poorly performed and a medical review board severely
criticized it. Studies done afterwards failed to show any
brain damage. In fact, a very recent study on Rhesus
monkeys used technology so sensitive that scientists could
actually see the effect of learning on brain cells. No
damage was found. Another popular myth often told by
prohibitionists is that marijuana smoke causes cancer.
There has yet to be a study that conclusively points to
this. Scientists do not really know what it is in tobacco
that causes malignant lung cancer. Many think it may be a
substance known as Lead 210. Of course, there are many
other theories as to what does cause cancer, but if this is
true, it is easy to see why no case of lung cancer
resulting from marijuana use alone has ever been
documented, because tobacco contains much more of this
substance than marijuana. Anti-drug literature also
promotes the misconception that marijuana smoking causes
laziness. The US Army did a study on this, and the results
showed no effect. Many Eastern cultures, and Jamaicans, use
marijuana to help them work harder. `A motivational
syndrome' started as a media myth based on the racial
stereotype of a lazy Mexican borracho. The prohibitionists
claimed that marijuana made people worthless and sluggish.
Since then, however, it has been scientifically researched,
and a symptom resembling a motivational syndrome has
actually been found. However, it only occurs in adolescent
teenagers-adults are not affected. Yet another
misunderstood and misused fact about marijuana is how it
contains over 400 chemicals. What many people do not
understand is that the amount of chemicals in a substance
is totally irrelevant to the products effect. Products such
as coffee and tea contain 829 and 611 chemicals,
respectively. These two substances do not affect ones
health, yet contain many chemicals. The fact that there are
over sixty unique chemicals in cannabis, called
`cannabinoids,' is something that scientists find very
interesting. Many of these cannabinoids may have valuable
effects as medicine. Also misunderstood is the fact that
certain chemicals in marijuana stay in your fat cells for
up to a month. The part of marijuana that gets one high is
called `Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.'The body will change
Delta-9-THC into more inert molecules known as
`metabolites,' which don't get people high. Unfortunately,
these chemicals also have the word `tetrahydrocannabinol'
in them and they are also called THC-so many people think
that the metabolites get people high. Anti-drug pamphlets
say that THC gets stored in your fat cells and then leaks
out later. They say it can keep people high all day or even
longer. This is not true, marijuana only keeps people high
for a few hours. These are the chemicals that stay in your
fatty cells. There is almost no Delta-9-THC left over a few
hours after smoking marijuana, and scientific studies which
measure the effects of marijuana agree with this fact.
The many medical benefits of smoking marijuana are not
advertised. Marijuana is better than regular prescription
medications for many reasons. First, companies sell
prescription drugs at high cost, partially because they are
hard to make. Commonly, they do not work as well, either.
Some prescription drugs which marijuana can replace have
very bad, even downright dangerous, side-effects. Cannabis
medicines are cheap, safe, and easy to make. Marijuana has
thousands of possible uses in medicine. Marijuana (actually
cannabis extract) was available as a medicine legally in
this country until 1937, and was sold as a nerve tonic-but
humankind has been using cannabis medicines much longer
than that. Marijuana appears in almost every known book of
medicine written by ancient scholars and wise men. It is
usually ranked among the top medicines, called `panaceas',
a word that means `cure-all'. Many people think that the
drug dronabinol should be used instead of marijuana.
Dronabinol is an exact imitation of a chemical found in
marijuana. There are many problems with Dronabinol,
however. The first problem with Dronabinol is that it is
even harder to get than marijuana. Many doctors do not like
to prescribe dronabinol, and many drug stores do not want
to supply it, because a lot of paperwork has to be filed
with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Secondly,
dronabinol comes in pills that are virtually useless to
anyone who is vomiting. Also, taking just the right amount
of dronabinol is difficult since it cannot be smoked.
Finally, because dronabinol is only one of the many
chemicals in cannabis, it just does not work for some
diseases. Many patients do not like the effects of
dronabinol because it does not contain some of the more
calming chemicals which are present in marijuana. Marijuana
has shown to be very beneficial in cancer patients who are
undergoing chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is one of the most
important cancer treatments developed in the past several
decades. It involves the intravenous administration of
medication that kills cancer. In attacking cancer cells,
they also kill healthy body cells, producing extremely
unpleasant and dangerous side effects. They can cause
bleeding, bruising, tissue rot, muscle rot in the heart,
hair loss, and sometimes a new form of cancer. Still, the
most common, and for many patients the most troublesome,
side effect of these drugs is profound nausea and vomiting.
Patients may break bones or rupture the esophagus while
vomiting. This can be emotionally devastating. As they
loose weight and strength, they find it ever more difficult
to sustain the will to live. The side effects are so bad,
patients often stop treatment altogether. Marijuana, taken
with these ordinarily painful medications, suppresses, even
eliminates, the side effects. This allows the patients to
sustain the treatment, and helps them physically to
expedite the healing process. Marijuana also has shown to
be beneficial in patients suffering from the eye condition
known as glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disorder that results from
an imbalance of eye pressure, leading to blurred vision. If
the eye produces too much of the internal fluid that keeps
eye pressure, or if the channels to which the fluid flows
are blocked, the increasing pressure may damage the optic
nerve, which carries impulses to the brain. This would
cause blindness. Glaucoma is the leading cause of Blindness
in the US Although present treatments work, they commonly
cause side effects including depression, asthma, slow heart
rate, heart failure, hypertension, heart disease, blurred
vision, and cataracts. In an experiment to see the effects
of Marijuana on the eyes, it was discovered that marijuana
reduces in ocular pressure. In a study, "(the participants)
eyes were photographed as they smoked, and the pupils were
found to be slightly constricted . . . An opthamological
examination showed that cannabis also reduced tearing. . .
Further experiments indicated a similar effect in patients
with glaucoma. . . for an average of four to five hours,
with "no indications of any delirious effects. . . on
visual function or ocular structure" (Grinspoon). Another
instance where marijuana has been beneficial is in patients
who suffer from epilepsy, a condition where certain brain
cells (the epileptic focus) become abnormally excitable and
spontaneously discharge in an uncontrolled way. This
spontaneous discharge causes a seizure. Doctors treat
epilepsy primarily with anticonvulsant drugs, but they help
only 75 percent of the time. Furthermore, these drugs have
terrible side effects encompassing bone softening, reduced
production of red blood cells, swelling of the gums, and
emotional disturbances. Overdoses my cause rapid
uncontrollable eye movements, loss of motor coordination,
coma, and even death. 

Studies have shown that treatment with cannabis is
extremely successful. Here is a case of a 24-year-old man,
a sufferer of epilepsy: "With the phenytoin (prescription
medication), I had about one seizure a week. After smoking
two to five joints per night, along with the original
medication, the attacks no longer occurred. Even better,
side effects exhibited by the prescription medication alone
no longer occurred. It was a miracle." (Grinspoon)
Marijuana has been shown to be especially effective for
sufferers of multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is
a disorder in which patches of myelin (the protective
covering of nerve fibers) in the brain and spinal cord are
destroyed and the normal functioning of the nerve fibers
themselves is interrupted. There is no known cure yet for
MS. Corticosteroids provide some relief, but also produce
weight gain and mental disturbances. Drugs that treat
muscle spasms can cause drowsiness, dizziness, weakness,
confusion, liver failure, diarrhea, speech and verbal
disturbances, seizures, headaches, impotence, erotic blood
pressure, depression, feelings of suffocation, and
confusion. Greg Paufler was a suffering MS patient for many
years. His doctor told him to take ACTH, a drug to retard
the destruction of MS. After six weeks, he gained 130
pounds, found it hard to breathe, and was continuously
drowsy. One evening, his friend brought over some
marijuana. He smoked it, and Greg's symptoms disappeared.
He contributed this first to the mild high. His spasms
became less severe. He thought that was caused by the ACTH.
However, he continued to deteriorate. He soon lost his
ability to speak, and see. He could not move at all.
Doctors gave him megadoses of medications, but nothing
helped. He was severely disenchanted with the medicine. One
night he smoked a few joints with his friends. This same
night he was able to walk, if for only a few steps. His
doctor was unbelieving of the effects of marijuana. To
prove that it was the marijuana, he stopped smoking for a
week. His condition then began to deteriorate again. The
marijuana really was beneficial. When he smoked, he could
walk unaided, and see clearly. To prove the skeptics, he
stopped smoking again for six months. He became blind, and
lost control of his arms, legs, hands, and feet. He was now
addicted to Valium and became depressed. He started smoking
again. Within three weeks, he started to improve. After six
months, he could read, write, walk, and could teach his
children how to play soccer. He could kick the ball. He was
reborn. On a scale of 100, his doctor rates his present
health at ninety-five. 

The medical benefits of marijuana have also been witnessed
in patients suffering from paraplegia and quadriplegia.
Paraplegia is weakness or paralysis of muscles in the lower
body caused by disease or injury in the middle or lower
part of the spinal cord. If the injury is near the neck,
the arms as well as the legs are affected and quadriplegia
develops. Pain and muscle spasms often accompany both.
Sufferers have noticed that cannabis not only relieves
their pain more safely than opoids, but it also suppresses
their muscle jerks and tremors. AIDS sufferers have also
attested to the benefits of smoking marijuana. Doctors can
treat AIDS with medications such as AZT. Unfortunately, AZT
suppresses the production of the red blood cells by the
bone marrow, decreases the amount of white blood cells, and
has many damaging effects on the immune system. It also
sometimes causes severe nausea that heightens the danger of
semi-starvation for patients who are already suffering from
nausea. AIDS patients who smoke marijuana have noticed
reduced pain, and the elimination of vomiting and
headaches. Patients who have stopped taking AZT and instead
used marijuana alone have often found that they feel free
of the virus. These results have been obtainable through
the smoking of 2-3 joints per day. Marijuana smokers who
suffer from chronic pain have likewise seen the benefits.
Chronic pain is usually treated with opiod narcotics and
various synthetic analgesics, but these drugs have many
limitations. Opiods are addictive, and tolerance eventually
develops; nonaddictive analgesics are not powerful enough.
THC has been shown to relieve pain for several hours at
doses as small as 5mg, and even longer at 20mg. THC also
proved to be a sedative. It had fewer physical side effects
than other commonly used analgesics. Sufferers of the
migraine have furthermore seen how marijuana can reduce
severe pain. Migraine, a severe headache that lasts from
hours to days, results from dilated blood vessels in the
brain. Visual disturbances and vomiting often accompany it.
Marijuana has been shown extremely effective in preventing
migraines. In contrast to ineffective analgesics, marijuana
smokers do not exhibit side effects. "THC has been shown to
inhibit the release of serotonin from the blood of migraine
suffers during an attack." (Grinspoon). This release of
serotonin relieves the migraine, and can also prevent
further attacks. Pruritis sufferers have testified to the
substantial benefits of smoking marijuana. Pruritis is
severe itching and inflamed skin. Steroids are only
partially effective, and produce serious side effects with
long term use. People who suffer from this condition have
noticed that upon smoking marijuana for a few day s, their
skin problems are cured. Just like the vast majority of
marijuana smokers, they show no side effects. For chronic
depression and other severe mood disorders, marijuana has
proven to be an 'upper'. Other drugs for these conditions
can cause dry mouth, blurred vision, weight loss/gain,
constipation, dizziness, insomnia, and reduced blood flow
to the brain. Marijuana does not cause these symptoms. For
people who cannot use legal drugs, Marijuana has been the
cure they have needed. For asthma, marijuana serves as a
powerful bronchialdialator with little or no side effects,
compared to traditional asthma cures that can cause
sleeplessness, jitteriness, nausea, bone loss, seizures,
and bleeding. THC even helped non suffers breathe easier
and clearer. In asthma patients, THC reversed bronchia
constriction. For suffers of insomnia, cannabis is a great
help. Cannabis has a long history as being a sleep inducing
drug. New evidence shows that cannabidiol is the chemical
that causes this. One controlled study of fifteen
insomniacs found that over a five week period "sleep
quality was significantly influenced by 160mg of
cannabidiol as two thirds of the subjects slept more than
seven hours . . . most subjects had few interruptions of
sleep and have reported having a good nights sleep."
(Grinspoon). Marijuana has also been shown to have a
positive effect on nausea sufferers. In the past, abortion
was often necessary to save the woman's life if she
suffered form hyperemesis gravidarum - a greatly heightened
form of morning sickness in which the sufferer is never
free of nausea and vomiting throughout the pregnancy.
Nowadays, the women are placed in hospitals and fed through
an IV. Some have now discovered that they can do without
the IV by smoking marijuana, proven to suppress vomiting
and nausea symptoms. The relief given by marijuana can be
beneficial to sufferers of many diseases. Without nausea,
patients who get their nutrition intravenously can now get
their food naturally. This enables patients to rebuild
their strength, and it helps the body precipitate the
healing process. Sufferers of dystonia can also attest to
benefits derived from smoking marijuana. In 1981, it was
reported that patients with idiopathic dystonia improved
when they smoked marijuana. This is a group of disorders
characterized by abnormal movements and postures resulting
from prolonged spasms or muscle contractions. Animal
studies confirmed that cannabinoids might have
antidysotonic properties, and scientists undertook another
human experiment in 1986 that showed the same results. 

The hemp plant shows its unique versatility by having many
uses in industry. Hemp has many distinct benefits over its
counterparts in industry today. Hemp usage would result in
a cleaner and more efficient industry. One use of hemp in
industry is as a fiber. The process of converting hemp into
a fiber is quite simple. The stalk of the hemp plant has
two parts, called the bast and the hurd. Workers can weave
the fiber (bast) of the hemp plant into almost any kind of
cloth. It is very durable. In fact, the first Levi's blue
jeans were made out of hemp for just this reason. Compared
with all the other natural fibers available, hemp is more
suitable for a large number of applications. It is easy to
harvest hemp for fiber. A field of closely spaced hemp is
allowed to grow until the leaves fall off. They then cut
down the hemp and it lies in the field for some time washed
by the rain. They turn it over once to expose both sides of
the stalk evenly. During this time, the hurd softens up and
it returns many minerals to the soil. They call this
process `retting,' and after this step is complete, they
bring the stalks to a machine that separates the bast and
the hurd. They can then weave the bast. The cloth that hemp
makes may be a little less soft than cotton, (though there
are also special kinds of hemp, or ways to grow or treat
hemp, that can produce a soft cloth) but it is much
stronger and longer lasting. Hemp requires little
fertilizer, and grows well almost everywhere. It also
resists pests, so it uses little pesticides. Hemp puts down
deep roots, which is good for the soil. When the leaves
drop off the hemp plant, it returns minerals and nitrogen
to the soil. Hemp has been grown on the same soil for
twenty years in a row without any noticeable depletion of
the soil. Using less fertilizer and agricultural chemicals
is good for two reasons. First, it costs less and requires
less effort. Second, many agricultural chemicals are
dangerous and can contaminate the environment-the less we
have to use, the better. Another industrial use for hemp is
in victuals. Hemp seed is a highly nutritious source of
protein and essential fatty oils. Many populations have
grown hemp for its seed. Most of them eat it as `gruel', a
food similar to oatmeal. The leaves can be used as
roughage, but not without slight psycho-active
side-effects. Hemp seeds do not contain any marijuana, so
they do not get you 'high'. Hemp seed protein closely
resembles protein as it is found in the human blood. It is
easy to digest-many patients who have trouble digesting
food are given hemp seed by their doctors. Hemp seed was
once called `edestine' and was used by scientists as the
model for vegetable protein. Hemp seed oil provides the
human body with essential fatty acids. Hemp seed is the
only seed that contains these oils with almost no saturated
fat. As a supplement to the diet, these oils can reduce the
risk of heart disease. It is because of these oils that
birds will live much longer if they eat hemp seed. With
hemp seed, a vegan or vegetarian can survive and eat
virtually no saturated fats. One handful of hemp seed per
day will supply adequate protein and essential oils for an
adult. Hemp has been used to `bail out' many populations in
time of famine. Because of various political factors,
starving people in today's underdeveloped countries are not
taking advantage of this crop. In some places, this is
because government officials would call it `marijuana' and
pull up the crop. In other countries, it is because the
farmers are busy growing coca and poppies to produce
cocaine and heroin for the local Drug Lord. Yet another
industrial use of hemp is in the manufacturing of paper.
Both the fiber (bast) and pulp (hurd) of the hemp plant can
be used to make paper. Fiber paper was the first kind of
paper, and the first batch was made out of hemp in ancient
China. Fiber paper is thin, tough, brittle, and a bit
rough. Pulp paper is not as strong as fiber paper, but it
is easier to make, softer, thicker, and preferable for most
everyday purposes. The paper we use most today is a
`chemical pulp' paper made from trees. Hemp pulp paper can
be made without chemicals from the hemp hurd. Most hemp
paper made today uses the entire hemp stalk, bast and hurd.
High-strength fiber paper can be made from the hemp baste,
also without chemicals. The problem with today's paper is
that so many chemicals are used to make it. High strength
acids are needed to make quality (smooth, strong, and
white) paper out of trees. These acids produce chemicals
that are very dangerous to the environment. Paper companies
do their best to clean these chemicals up. Hemp offers us
an opportunity to make affordable and environmentally safe
paper for all of our needs, since it does not need much
chemical treatment. Because of the chemicals in today's
paper, it will turn yellow and fall apart as acids eat away
at the pulp. This takes several decades, but because of
this publishers, libraries and archives have to order
specially processed acid free paper, which is much more
expensive, in order to keep records. Paper made naturally
from hemp is acid free and will last for centuries. The
chemicals used to make wood chemical pulp paper today could
cause us trouble in the future. Environmentalists have long
been concerned about the effects of dioxin and other
compounds on wildlife and even people. Beyond the chemical
pollution, there are agricultural reasons why cannabis hemp
should be used instead. When trees are harvested, minerals
are taken with them. Hemp is much less damaging to the land
where it is grown because it leaves these minerals behind.
A newly discovered use of hemp in industry involves the
production of biomass fuels, or fuels made from plants. The
pulp (hurd) of the hemp plant can be burned as is or
processed into charcoal, methanol, methane, or gasoline.
The process for doing this is called destructive
distillation, or `pyrolysis.' This charcoal may be burned
in today's coal-powered electric generators. Methanol makes
a good automobile fuel, in fact it is used in professional
automobile races. It may someday replace gasoline.
Hemp may also be used to produce ethanol (grain alcohol).
The United States government has developed a way to make
this automobile fuel additive from cellulosic biomass. Hemp
is an excellent source of high quality cellulosic biomass.
One other way to use hemp as fuel is to use the oil from
the hemp seed-some diesel engines can run on pure pressed
hemp seed oil. However, the oil is more useful for other
purposes, even if we could produce and press enough hemp
seed to power many millions of cars. Biomass fuels are
clean and virtually free from metals and sulfur, so they do
not cause nearly as much air pollution as fossil fuels.
Even more importantly, burning biomass fuels does not
increase the total amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's
atmosphere. When petroleum products are burned, carbon that
has been stored underground for millions of years is added
to the air; this may contribute to global warming through
the `Greenhouse Effect', (a popular theory which says that
certain gases will act like a wool blanket over the entire
Earth, preventing heat from escaping into space.) In order
to make biomass fuels, this carbon dioxide has to be taken
out of the air to begin with-when they are burned it is
just being put back where it started. Another advantage
over fossil fuels 


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