Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

Industrial Hemp

Industrial hemp is the next soybean.
— Jeff Gain, former CEO of the National Corn Growers and also the American Soybean Association

I came to my interest in industrial hemp as a substitute for wood fiber in paper and construction products. It can do that and much more. Hemp, when blended with very abundant agricultural waste fibers, can make stronger, lighter and cheaper construction products than those made of wood. Similarly blended, it also makes a superior paper. Hemp blends can replace wood for most things.

In June 2016, the North American Industrial Hemp Council and 24 individual petitioners file a formal request for administrative rulemaking to the Drug Enforcement Administration to change the definition of "marihuana" on the federal drug schedules to no longer include industrial hemp. 

Courtney N. Moran and I co-authored the petition. It is a formal administrative rulemaking petition to the Drug Enforcement Administration to remove industrial hemp from the drug schedules requests that DEA redefine the definition of "marihuana" (that's how it is spelled in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, as amended). The petition recommends a definition that draws a bright line between intoxicating marijuana and non-intoxicating industrial hemp. If the THC: CBD ratio is <1 (and the material has <1% THC), it would be "industrial hemp." Alternatively, the petition suggests a definition of industrial hemp as any Cannabis material with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. THC (∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most prevalent intoxicating substance in marijuana. CBD (cannabidiol) is the most prevalent cannabinoid in industrial hemp and is an antidote to THC.

NAIHC webmaster and board member Jonathan Harsch has parted out the 183-page official petition to more digestible bites:

Below you will find other articles I've written on, particularly useful links and quotes about industrial hemp.


Testimony on Oregon Senate Bill 348 to re-legalize industrial hemp in Oregon. A later version of this be is now the law Oregon. This is my best attempt so far to explain how industrial hemp is not marijuana, how marijuana growers won't want industrial hemp growing anywhere near their drug crop, and how most of the rest of the world distinguishes industrial hemp from marijuana.

The Argument in Favor of Industrial Hemp is my best 750 words on the subject and appeared in the Wallowa County Chieftain.

Potential of Industrial Hemp to Displace Fiber from Forests is a back-of-the-envelope analysis I did in 1998.

Hemp to Save the Forests is a longer view of how I got interested in industrial hemp, click for an article that appeared in Wild Earth.

The Environmental Benefits of Using Industrial Hemp is something I penned but never formally published.

While I was executive director of Oregon Natural Resources Council (now Oregon Wild), I commissioned:

Ehrensing, Daryl T. 1998. Feasibility of Industrial Hemp Production in the United States Pacific Northwest. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 681.

Here is same study in pdf.


North American Industrial Hemp Council is the best beginning source on industrial hemp. (I am a founding board member and currently serve as a board member.)

Also informative are Vote Hemp, National Hemp Association and Hemp Industries Association.

Other Quotes

Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forests and mineral products in the annual growth of the fields? I know from experience that many of the raw materials of industry which are today stripped from the forest and the mines can be obtained from annual crops grown on the farm.

Henry Ford

All--plants, animals, and men. The phosphorous and calcium of the earth build our skeletons and nervous systems. Everything else our bodies need except air and sun comes from the earth.

Nature treats the earth kindly. Man treats her harshly. He overplows the cropland, over grazes the pasture land, and over cuts the timber land. He destroys millions of acres completely. He pours fertilizer year after year into the cities, which in turn pour what they do not use down the sewers into the rivers and the ocean. The flood problem, in so far as it is man-made, is chiefly the result of overplowing, over grazing and over cutting of timber. This terrible destructive process is inexcusable in a young civilization. It is not excusable in the United States in the year 1938.

The social lesson of soil waste is that no man has the right to destroy soil, even if he does it in fee simple.

Henry Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture, Yearbook of Agriculture, 1938.

(T)he best possible working plan for any man in our civilization is to have one foot on the soil and the other in industry.

Henry Ford

Anything that can be grown to provide industry with manufacturing materials will bring new revenue to agriculture.

Henry Ford

I believe that the great Creator has put ores and oil on this earth to give us a breathing spell. As we exhaust them, we must be prepared to fall back on our farms, which is God's true storehouse and can never be exhausted. We can learn to synthesize material for every human need from things that grow.

George Washington Carver