The 1938 Edition of Popular Mechanics called hemp The New Billion Dollar Crop.
Unfortunately, the Billion Dollar Crop was not meant to be. Randolph Hearst’s newspapers depended on wood (he owned several sawmills) and his investments in timber would be threatened. DuPont’s chemicals were also a factor, in that they were used with the wood pulp to create the paper. Hemp was a threat to timber, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and oil.
What exactly is a cash crop? A cash crop is a crop grown for direct sale, as opposed to being grown for the farmer’s use (livestock feed, etc.). Before prohibition, hemp WAS a cash crop. Hemp was used for food, textiles, fuel, medicine, and housing. It was also used as money. People could pay their taxes with hemp!
Hemp can produce ten times the methanol as corn. Crop rotation is not necessary, as the hemp enriches the soil on its own. It does not need pesticides or herbicides.
Up until the 20th century, hemp WAS the largest cash crop in America.
Today there is a movement to get BACK to hemp. Hemp farming is legal in several states, but getting the permits from the DEA is next to impossible. Farmers WANT to grow hemp. With over 50,000 products that can be produce from hemp, it IS the perfect choice.
Hemp fibers are the longest and strongest in the plant kingdom. Hemp fabric lasts longer than cotton and is less chemical and water intensive