A stack of hemp that looks like straw and some mules in old-fashioned black and white photo

Hemp stalks in Kentucky circa 1900

Donald Trump should love hemp. That’s right, you know, hemp is terrific. Just terrific. It’s going to make a tremendous amount of money for people in this great country. Win big. Really big.

… or at least that’s what we’d like to hear him say.

Trying to find the new administration’s position on hemp and hemp alone is like parsing hemp stacks for chemical pesticides and herbicides. Non-existent.

But Donald Trump should love hemp anyway and here’s why.

First the necessary primer. Hemp and its more popular cousin marijuana are related, but still quite different. Both emanate from the cannabis plant, but like, say, the familiar family dog, they are distinct. Canines can be bred to be giant Great Danes or tiny Chihuahuas, gentle and kind Labrador Retrievers or strong and aggressive Pit Bulls. By analogy, the hemp plant can be grown to be strong and fibrous for cordage that sails ships, or molecularly balanced for the oils that treat seizures in small children. Believe me, this plant is incredible.

It gets better. Hugely. For industrial purposes, hemp has a wide range of applications – after all, cannabis is but one plant with many uses. A few that Donald Trump would love include:

  • Building materials. Donald Trump is well known for his high rise construction projects. Can you count the ten Trump Towers? Hemp hurds, the soft inner core of the plant’s stem, combined with other ingredients, produces a material that is becoming increasingly popular for concrete and insulation because it is lightweight, earthquake proof and adaptable to climate change, err, temperature variations.
  • Clothing. Ivanka, are you listening? The fibers from the hemp plant can be processed into textiles ranging from rugged canvas to silky gauze. These durable, absorbent, biodegradable and recyclable fabrics retain their dyes, hold their shape when washed and resist discoloration, ideal for dresses, handbags, shoes and jewelry. Don’t buy them from China! Make them with American hemp and give retailers one less reason to dump the Trump brand.
  • Food. Hemp seeds have been called one of the most nutritionally complete food sources in the world. They contain the essential amino acids and fatty acids in a near-perfect ratio to meet all human nutritional needs, particularly as they pertain to the proteins necessary for proper brain function. This bodes well for the Donald’s favorite foods. Bacon, potato chips, ice cream and even meat loaf can be hemp based – brain food for really smart people.
  • Oil. We’re now treading on Rex Tillerson’s turf. Hemp offers two kinds of fuel: biodiesel made from pressed hemp seed and ethanol/methanol made from fermented seed stalk. As biodiesel, hemp oils can run cleanly and without an unpleasant odor in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine. Because hemp can be grown virtually anywhere, there’s no need for dirty deals with foreign agents like Russia. In fact, sack the Dakota Access Pipeline and allow Native Americans to grow vast swaths of hemp on their tribal lands as should have been permitted by treaty long ago.
  • Billions and billions! The total U.S. retail sales of hemp products approached $600 million in 2015, and by 2020, hemp’s annual sales are expected to exceed $1.6 billion. China leads the world in hemp production and exportation, including textiles (hey, Ivanka …), while cultivars for hemp seed emanate mostly from Russia, Ukraine and … China, an oddly familiar set of players, right Rex? The U.S. share of this market is negligible because cannabis is federally illegal, regardless of species. However, due to provisions set forth in recent legislation, hemp cultivation has reemerged in states like Kentucky. You know, coal country, where economic revitalization via king coal was served up as a campaign promise never to be fulfilled. Instead, let ‘em to grow hemp. Huge farms worth millions and millions. So amazing!

All of these applications, uses and markets pivot on one man – Donald Trump. The executive branch, which he leads as president, can change policy and implement programs administratively – not just abolish them – without those losers in Congress. Although the vaunted executive order won’t work, hemp’s legal status, far too tied to its popular cousin, can be rescheduled or descheduled to spur the growth of this classy new industry.

Trust me, this is not fake news. Hemp is indeed a versatile plant capable of building towers, clothing models, feeding brains and fueling engines, not to mention generating millions and billions of retail sales.

But seriously, Mr. Trump. Make America Great Again. Legalize hemp and its many uses. You’ll really, really love it, and chances are we’ll think more highly of you.

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