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Illegally Green: Environmental Costs of Hemp Prohibition

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Publication Date: March 2008

Publisher(s): Reason Foundation

Author(s): Skaidra Smith-Heisters

Topic: Agriculture, forestry and fishing (Crop management)

Type: Report

Abstract:

Prior to prohibition in the United States, industrial hemp raised considerable excitement and speculation. The same is true today. Interestingly, the newest technological applications of this ancient crop may be the most promising.

Nations that followed the United States in prohibiting hemp cultivation have, for the most part, rescinded those laws, some more than a decade ago. The United States is
now the only developed nation in which hemp is not an established crop. Ultimately, the costs of hemp prohibition are abstractions and cannot be fully calculated. The full potential economic and environmental value of hemp can only be tested if the crop is legal and unrestricted in the U.S. market.