For all their happy talk about wanting to revitalize the economy, Republicans in Raleigh and Washington offer precious little in the way of effective action. Beyond rosy rhetoric about getting big government out of the way of small business, there's no there there.
Yet even in their claimed sweet spot of rolling back regulations, political leaders in North Carolina have fallen dreadfully short in getting the job done. In particular, they have consistently avoided taking action in an area where economists, farmers, business developers, and just about everybody else sees huge economic potential: industrial hemp.
If you follow the link above, you'll find your way to Forbes Magazine, hardly a bastion of liberal politics.
In 2012 the U.S. hemp industry was valued at an estimated $500 million in annual retail sales and growing for all hemp products, according to the Hemp Industries Association, a non-profit trade organization consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses.
Not only can hemp be used for an astonishing number of products, its net environmental benefit is impressive. Among the more salient features, hemp grows in a variety of climates and soil types, is naturally resistant to most pests, and grows very tightly spaced allowing it to outcompete most weeds. A natural substitute for cotton and wood fiber, hemp can also be pulped using fewer chemicals than wood because of its low lignin content. Its natural brightness can obviate the need to use chlorine bleach.
Why is this incredible plant illegal?
The answer is obvious: Mainstream politicians are scared to death of thinking for themselves ... and they haven't yet found a way to capitalize on hemp production as a source of profits and fundraising. But they will, and when they do, North Carolina will find itself in a race to dominate the hemp industry. Unfortunately, we'll be starting out behind ... even though we have the most to gain economically from hemp because our state's massive tobacco acreage.
In the meantime, the folks in Raleigh are spending their time on motorcycle vaginas, trashing our public education system, unleashing pollution on our environment, and giving tax breaks to millionaires. Jobs? That's just another word for nothing left to lose.
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