Hemp Shop Deflects Debate

Hemp Shop Deflects Debate
Posted by FoM on December 26, 1999 at 11:41:58 PT
By Pat Garnett, CNHI News Service
Source: Chickasha Express-Star 
While some people, most notably actor Woody Harrelson, argue about the value of hemp-made products, Bill Wise is quietly going about his business and selling many products made form the controversial plant. 
Before Wise made the decision to open his Wise 2 B Hemp shop here, he researched his subject thoroughly and believes hemp is an economic and environmentally safe product with hundreds of uses. He also studied the plant enough to know that industrial hemp does not have the same content of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short, as its infamous relative, marijuana.Marijuana contains 20 percent THC, and THC at that level will get someone high if they smoke it, he said."The hemp they use to make all these products contains only 0.1 to 0.4 percent THC," Wise said. "You can't get high off it - it would only give you a headache."Wise said he ran across a copy of Hemp World, a magazine promoting the use of industrial hemp. After reading it and getting catalogs from wholesalers, he decided to start his business. "I took a leap of faith and jumped into it," Wise said. "I thought it would be a good business, and I've always wanted to own my own business so I wouldn't have to do drywall any more."He first opened his store in Chisholm Mall but later decided to move it to Marlow where he lives. Despite the controversy surrounding hemp, Wise said no one has made any negative remarks about the store. Wise imports all his products from foreign countries, because it is illegal to grow hemp in the United States.One of his jobs, as owner of a hemp shop, is to sell the idea of products made from it to make the products more acceptable. Kim Tigert, store manager, said several "senior citizens" have come to the store.They always want to talk about the many things they once owned, like overalls, that were made of hemp.Although Wise and Tigert sell many products at Wise 2 B Hemp, including clothes, jewelry, backpacks, skateboards, snack food and more, what they sell is only a fraction of the products that can be made with hemp. Wise said hemp has a long and illustrious history. It was used for many things before the time of Christ and was a major crop in early America. "All three of Columbus' ships had sails and ropes made of hemp," he said. "George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin all had hemp farms. "In the late 1800s, farmers had to grow hemp because it was such a valuable product," he said. "They had to grow at least four acres of hemp or they would be thrown in jail. Today if you grow it, you're thrown in jail." Wise said hemp was popular in the Old West because of its durability Many of the covered wagons heading west during the country's expansion were made of hemp. Levi Strauss also made his first pair of jeans using hemp. Henry Ford used a hemp product to make panels in his first cars. It can and has been used to make flour, food, oil-based paints, soaps, paper, fabric, medicines, inks and much, much more, he said. After World War II, the government cracked down on marijuana. The laws made no distinction between the two plants, and marijuana's relative, hemp, was a casualty of the first drug wars.After doing a lot of research, Wise thinks hemp has a place in today's economy."It's a valid crop, and they're going to have to get back to it," he said. "You can make 10 times more products with one acre of hemp than you can with 10 acres of trees."And it's a lot better for the environment, he said. It doesn't need herbicides because it doesn't matter if insects eat the leaves. Only the stalk and seeds of the hemp plant are used. It's also a hardy plant that doesn't require much water or fertilizer, he said.It's easier to harvest than trees and cotton, it doesn't deplete mineral s form the soil, it doesn't destroy rain forests, and it grows back much more quickly than trees.Tigert said hemp would not be so controversial if people would stop concentrating on the "abusive nature" of its relative and start working on the positive aspects of hemp.Pubdate: 15 December 1999Chickasha Express-Star (OK)Copyright: 1999 The Chickasha Express-StarNews Article Courtesy Of MapInc. Cannabis News Hemp Related Articles:
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