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Hour Town Archive: Cover Stories

Proudly Introducing the Ithaca Hemp Half HOUR!

August 1996

by Mickie Quinn

Printed at Fine Line Printing in June 1996, this currency was handmade by John Stahl of Evanscent Press of Leggett, California. The paper is made entirely of hemp, 50% of which comes from Spain (one of many countries that legally cultivate hemp for fiber), and 50% of which was grown in Mendocino, California.

In 1937, after lobbying by timber and pharmaceutical companies, hemp was outlawed under the name "marijuana," which the voting public didn't know was the same plant. Hemp has held a historical place in our country.

America's first hemp law was enacted in 1619 in Jamestown Colony, Virginia, ordering all farmers to use the Indian hemp seed based on hemp's value as a source for fiber, food, oil, and medicine. Hemp was the first crop grown in Kentucky and it was the state's most important cash crop until 1915. In 1943, the U.S. Government ordered 240,000 acres of hemp to be grown domestically for the war effort. The USDA produced a documentary film "Hemp for Victory" which showed American farmers how to grow and process it.

Right here in Ithaca hemp was grown for rope making until the factory burned down in 1829. According to "Flora of the Cayuga Lake Basin," hemp grew wild in Six Mile Creek.

In the 20 years it takes an acre of trees to mature, the annually renewable hemp acre will produce four times as much pulp for paper. Using hemp for paper also reduces the need for sulfuric acid compounds in breaking down the fibers to pulp.

Currently, hemp paper is noticeably more expensive to purchase because the hemp has to be import-ed. Other countries are creating a profit by supplying American's demand for hemp products.

Hemp is also the number one biomass source on Earth, creating a clean, renewable fuel. Hemp hurds produce ten times more methanol than corn per acre. The growth cycle of the hemp plant removes four times as much carbon dioxide from the air as if puts out. Hemp actually cleans the air as it grows. Hemp is the only annually renewable resource capable of replacing all fossil fuels on a global scale!

Hemp provides us with fuel, fiber, paper, food and medicine. With the education of open-minded individuals, such as yourself, we can end the prohibition on this much needed plant. When you're spending your Ithaca Hemp Half HOURS, make sure to pass along some of these facts, and say "Hemp Hemp Hooray!!"

Mickie Quinn is an organizer and fund-raiser for T.H.I.N.K.- the Tompkins Hemp Information Network. You can get involved by calling her at 277-6977. She is also co-signer of the Hemp Half HOUR, with Shade Gomez, a GreenStar produce manager.

Only 1,000 of the 1996 Half HOURS have been printed.

They can be purchased (for HR or $5.00 each) at the HOUR Bank:

Autumn Leaves Used Books, 108 The Commons.

They're available by mail for One Ithaca HOUR or $10.00 each (or your town's Half HOUR + $5.00):

HOUR Town, Box 6578, Ithaca, NY 14851

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