"Make the most of hemp seed and sow it everywhere."
* George Washington, 1794
Did you know that canvas was named for cannabis, the Latin term for hemp, because Renaissance artists used hemp cloth for their paintings? Or that our founding fathers wrote the first two drafts of the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper? Hemptech, a company trying to reintroduce industrial hemp in the United States, describes the history of this now-illegal crop and its future potential in a booklet printed on - what else? - 70 percent hemp paper. Hemptech says hemp can be used for products as diverse as paints and dynamite, and, unlike its medicinal cousin marijuana, industrial hemp has low THC levels and is not psychoactive. The crop's fans say it grows fast, needs fewer pesticides than most crops and that in one year, a single acre can yield as much paper as four acres of forest. Industrial hemp is legally grown in many countries such as China, England, France, Holland, Hungary and Russia, and the governor of Kentucky recently formed a task force to evaluate it as a supplemental crop to tobacco. But opposition remains firm: A sheriffs' association and a group called Drug Watch International recently defeated a Colorado bill to allow hemp production, calling it a smokescreen for marijuana legalization. For more information or a copy of the 48-page Industrial Hemp, contact Hemptech, P.O. Box 820, Ojai, CA 93024-0820.