The United States is the world's leading consumer of hemp products—derived from the fibers of low-THC cannabis plants unsuitable for getting high—but while intoxicating marijuana is illegal almost everywhere, we're very unusual in not allowing any kind of hemp agriculture. Consequently, our hemp is overwhelmingly imported from Canada. But the United States has a lot of great agricultural land and a very productive agricultural sector, so now that many states are reforming their marijuana policies, proponents are hoping to bring hemp agriculture back to the United States.
To be clear, with total 2011 sales of $43 million, the hemp products market is not very large in the scheme of things. The total trade deficit for the United States in November was about $47 billion, so it's not as if reshoring hemp production is some kind of economic game changer. But at the same time, it seems like a total no-brainer as a policy reform.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
Everything You Should Know About Today’s Eclipse
Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.