Yesterday, I purchased two of the softest cloth diapers I have ever held in my two hands. These diapers are so soft and cuddly, even before they’d been washed, that I personally wanted to put one on. I didn’t, because, um, that would be weird.
What are these diapers made of, you ask? They are made of a delightful blend of organic cotton and organic hemp.
After buying these two diapers, I immediately wanted more. So I started Googling hemp diapers, and I came across several links about hemp that positively astonished me.
Did you know that hemp can be used as food, shampoo, paper, clean burning fuels, paint, plant-based plastics, clothing, concrete and wood? It was even used as money back in the early days of our country. All that and it’s amazingly beneficial to the earth, too. Unlike trees, which can take a lifetime to grow to maturity, hemp is ready to be harvested in just 120 days. It also requires little water, doesn’t erode topsoil, and puts nutrients back into the dirt.
Amazing, huh? What’s even more amazing is that it is illegal to grow in the United States, thanks to our good old buddies, The Giant Corporations. Back in 1937, one man, Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, was able to make hemp-growing illegal by falsely claiming it’s narcotic effects, due to hemp’s close cousin, marijuana. Anslinger’s connections to some of the largest corporations in the country should surely seem suspect.
Seriously? Were they afraid people would take the shirt off their back and smoke it? Not that it would be possible, anyway. Hemp is not marijuana. It does contain negligible amounts of THC, the chemical that causes the high from marijuana, but how many harmful chemicals are in synthetic materials? Broccoli and cauliflower are from the same plant genus as marijuana, but you can still buy that in the grocery stores.
Of course, the real reason it was made illegal was the fact that hemp was a big competitor for the major corporations: synthetic fabrics, oil, lumber…all had something to fear if hemp was a contender in the U.S. After all, if a farmer could grow a clean burning fuel for vehicles, why would we need the oil companies?
Thanks a lot, Anslinger.
Luckily, it’s not illegal to purchase goods made with hemp in the United States. It can legally be grown in England, Hungary, China, Netherlands, and Ukraine, to name a few. Hemp is much easier on the environment to produce than cotton, due to the fact that although cotton crops are grown on only one percent of the U.S.’s farmland but use fifty percent of all pesticides used in this country. Hemp, on the other hand, is resistant to disease and insects and uses little to no pesticides, and needs little irrigation. An acre of hemp also produces two to three times as much as cotton.
Here are some really cute clothes made from hemp: