Medical marijuana opens door for industrial hemp, catapults indoor farming to new heights

A few days before President Obama’s administration publicly told government officials to stop wasting taxpayer funds prosecuting medical marijuana patients in states where the herb is legal, a Montana farmer named Laura Murphy was issued the state’s first official license for the growing of industrial hemp– 160 acres somewhere in Madison county.

She has been given permission to grow the controversial plant from the state government, along with a stern warning that failure to miraculously get permission from the DEA may easily result in a federal prosecution.  There are absolutely no guarantees that the federal government will choose not to waste taxpayer funds on this case and others like it, although the tightening of budgets and increasing public scrutiny of government policies make it far less likely that the feds can continue fighting this long-since lost battle against the world’s most useful (and profitable) industrial crop.

It seems as though our financial troubles have done what no amount of activism or education could accomplish:  the war on weed is finally over, meaning (among other things) that the age of industrial hemp has now begun.  And it appears that Montana, along with its neighbor North Dakota will be leading the way forward.

While scientific trials and individual testimonials continue to prove that the cannabis plant has a huge potential in a wide range of medical treatments, scientists and entrepreneurs throughout the world continue to show that industrial hemp, which has been cultivated for over ten thousand of years, has the potential to help us build a much healthier and sustainable world.  The legendary fiber was once found in the original Levi’s jeans, and was even used by Henry Ford to build an automobile which was lighter than fiberglass and stronger than steel back in the 1930s.

Ford’s plans to “grow our transportation” were put on hold for more than seventy years, but now represent our nation’s best hope for developing a sustainable energy plan and reinventing the American manufacturing industries.  We have a technically superior and environmentally responsible raw material for all sorts of plastics, paper, building materials and perhaps even fuel–once we build an infrastructure to support it.  And here is where the technical advances of indoor farming come into play.

There are no problems, only solutions.”

As medical marijuana becomes more widely accepted and larger numbers of people gain the right to smoke without fear of prosecution, the demand for indoor growing supplies continues to rise–creating a huge catalyst for the continued development of advanced grow lights, techniques and associated technologies.  While the most immediate impact has been felt by established growers, such as the Mexican cartels who are now competing with “mom-and-pop” operations across the country; the long-term effects of these technological and cultural advances may someday soon have a large impact on the way most people live, what they eat, and perhaps even how we view this commodity known as time.

Dr. Dickson Despommier is currently a Professor at Columbia University, and is widely known as an advocate for the implementation of vertical farms.  Although many experts from a wide variety of fields agree that this approach represents a good way forward, the central crux remains in that these structures will require a massive upfront investment–at least until manufacturing and construction practices can be sufficiently streamlined, just like with any other revolutionary advance in technological gadgetry and human imagination.  But in this particular case, we happen to have a particularly large catalyst in the form of a certain, now pseudo-legal plant.

Actually they are technically two different plants which happen to share the same genus and species; if they happen to cross-pollinate, it can easily leave both crops virtually worthless.  This either means that industrial hemp crops will be in jeopardy wherever the other cannabis plant is being grown, or it means that the growing of recreational and medicinal cannabis will be confined to greenhouses and indoor (perhaps vertical) farms.

In the latter scenario, it seems reasonable that the budding new industry known as “medical marijuana” will have no problem shouldering some of the costs of another developing sustainable industry.  Not only will this help to ensure that medical users get the highest quality and most ecologically responsible product possible, it establishes a blueprint for changing our entire culture.  As it once again becomes affordable and feasible to grow our own food no matter where we live (perhaps through co-ops or other ventures), it also becomes significantly easier to balance the budget and live a healthier life.  All of this is possible thanks to a policy which has been failing miserably for over seventy-five years, but which is thankfully no match for the ugly and undeniable truth which it has spawned.

So it always seems with the natural order of things, nothing is ever truly in vain.

Below is just one example of a vertical farm design found at  Click here to see this and dozens of different designs, many of which are now being seriously considered for construction throughout the world.


4 Responses to Medical marijuana opens door for industrial hemp, catapults indoor farming to new heights

  1. David Scott says:

    I love your stuff!
    Marijuana prohibition has been a total failure and is perhaps this country’s greatest mistake. Not only has it created criminals out of nearly a third of the country’s populace, it costs our society billions of dollars every year, creates a strain on our prison system, and has little or no effect on marijuana use in the US. In some cases, prosecuting marijuana use has turned non-violent, middle class kids into violent and unpredictable, career criminals. Once a person has a criminal conviction on their record, they are far less likely to find a good job and become a useful member of society. Other countries with more liberal drug laws have much lower rates of drug addiction among their people.

  2. Elsie Erret says:

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  3. Vince Klopf says:

    This is a wonderful post and may be one that should be followed up to see how things go

    A colleague e mailed this link the other day and I’m desperately awaiting your next content. Continue on the very good work.

    • J Michels says:

      much appreciated; these topics will definitely be a main focus in my next big post, which hopefully I’ll get published sometime next week…

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