It may surprise many people to know that for over 20 years,hemp has been grown in the contaminated areas around the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Pripyat, Ukraine and has been helping to reduce soil toxicity and cleanse it of the effects of radiation.
In 1998, Consolidated Growers and Processors (CGP), PHYTOTECH, and the Ukraine’s Institute of Bast Crops began what may be one of the most important projects in history – the planting of industrial hemp for the removal of contaminants in the soil near Chernobyl.CGP is an ecologically-minded multinational corporation which finances the growing and processing of sustainable industrial crops such as flax, kenaf, and industrial hemp. CGP operates in North America, Europe and the Ukraine.Chernobyl may seem distant, but the EPA estimates that there are more than 30,000 sites requiring hazardous waste treatment throughout the U.S. including Hanford and Three Mile Island.
Phytoremediation with industrial hemp could be used at many of these sites. Unfortunantly, the U.S. federal government still refuses to unilaterally legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp and clings to the obsolete myth that it is a drug. The hemp industry alone in the first decade could provide over 250,000 new products and create over 60 million jobs!
In Puglia, Italy, hemp is being grown on a wide scale to assist in the decontamination of some of the world’s most polluted soil. Similar to the devastation of Oklahoma buy the 20th century oil boom there the Ilva steel plant, the largest of its kind in Europe, poisoned local soil, plants, animals, and human residents for years with toxic emissions. Within a 20 mile radius of the plant, livestock is forbidden to graze.
In 2011 the extent of the crisis became apparent, so beginning in 2012 farmers began planting millions of cannabis plants in order to decontaminate the soil. Currently over 100 farmers are growing hemp, and the movement became an economic success. A new hemp processing plant has opened turning the ever growing harvests into textiles fiber for clothing and also fiber for hempcrete and insulation for the construction industry.
Seeing the success of Hemp in Italy and Russia Japan wants to implement hemp phytoremediation around Fukushima. However, due to the Cannabis Control Law enforced by the occupying U.S. powers in 1948, Japanese communities hemp may only grown hemp under license – and these are restricted and difficult to get even in cases of extreme emergency for fear it would grow into another Japanese industry that outpaces the west. But contrary to popular belief Marijuana and Hemp cannot be grown in the same field within a short omount of time you would have only hemp. As for how it came to be used for medicinal purposes… When it comes to marijuana Ancient Egyptians had uncovered and used the medicinal properties of cannabis even beyond what modern medical science has been able to do so far. The Ebers Papyrus was written roughly around 1550 BC and is one of the oldest finished medical textbooks to have been written. It mentions a number of formulas which make use of hemp to alleviate pain and inflammation caused by various diseases and injuries. Apparently, women in particular used marijuana as a way to waive off depression and other psychological problems in the early days of Egypt. Even the bible mentions hemp as a food that ground up was made in to a flat bread that saved the starving hebrews the etymology of the word traced back to the Hebrew qenêh-ḇōśemwas cannabis, which was used in sacred anointing oils by the Rabbis. Read more about the future of Hemp in the annual Hemp Issue on sale September 2018!