Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Drought Tolerant Plants Can Be Trouble

Photo Credit: kconnors on Morguefile
Looking for a drought tolerant plant that will stay green all summer?  How about growing Cannabis sativa then? 

Apparently, it's called "weed" for a reason.  According to the AP, police in Indiana have had an easy time spotting grow sites while flying over "browning forests and corn fields" this summer because the green plant sticks out like a sore thumb. 

If you are worried about the legality of planting your own crop, I suggest planting corn around it so you can feign ignorance.  Apparently that keeps most land owners from getting arrested. 

Click HERE for a link to the news report. 

All kidding aside, I thought I'd poke around the Internet and see if I could learn a few things about marijuana that weren't taught in Cheech and Chong movies.

The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation has some interesting facts on their web site.  For instance:
  • Benjamin Franklin started a paper mill using cannabis which allowed them to have a colonial press free from English control. 
  • Archaeologists believe that Cannabis was being cultivated by humans as long as 12,000 years ago.
  • "Sativa" is the Latin word for "useful".   
  • Apparently the US Government distributed 400,000 pounds of Cannabis seeds to farmers to aid in the war effort.  It doesn't say, but I'm guessing that was for the hemp and not for our soldier's glaucoma.
From other sites that may or may not be worth trusting turned up these tidbits:
  • Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag using hemp. 
  • The War of 1812 was fought over hemp because Napoleon wanted to cut off Moscow's export of it to England.
  • In 1916 the U.S. Government predicted that hemp would replace trees as the primary source for paper by the 1940s.  It was believed that 1 acre of marijuana could produce the same amount of paper as 4.1 acres of trees. 
  • Three men (with ulterior motives?) are credited with making hemp production illegal: Henry J. Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics; Lammot DuPont, owner of the largest chemical company at the time; and William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper owner. 
And my favorite "fact" I will quote exactly as I found it on the Internet:
The pot plant is an ALIEN plant. There is physical evidence that cannabis is not like any other plant on this planet. One could conclude that it was brought here for the benefit of humanity. Hemp is the ONLY plant where the males appear one way and the females appear very different, physically! No one ever speaks of males and females in regard to the plant kingdom because plants do not show their sexes; except for cannabis. To determine what sex a certain, normal, Earthly plant is: You have to look internally, at its DNA. A male blade of grass (physically) looks exactly like a female blade of grass. The hemp plant has an intense sexuality. Growers know to kill the males before they fertilize the females. Yes, folks…the most potent pot comes from ‘horny females.
From what I gathered, hemp does seem like it could be a useful crop.  I hadn't realized how wide the range of hemp products is.  But I've read similar claims about bamboo, so while the legalization of marijuana remains a hot button issue in the U.S., we might as well promote the use of bamboo in the meantime.  Besides, Americans are already overweight, the last thing we need is to be growing Cannabis and getting the munchies later on. 


  1. I was just in Amsterdam and didt get the first wiff......they say it is good for depression and pain....everyone should be on it...haha

    1. Really? I thought everyone smoked in Amsterdam?

      The picture I posted was taken by someone visiting the Marijuana and Hash Museum in Amsterdam.

  2. Very interesting post! Too bad no one's figured out how to genetically modify the cannabis to act as an appetite suppressant instead of giving everyone the munchies.

    1. That would be brilliant! But I bet Frito-Lay and Hostess would lobby hard against that.

  3. One acre of hemp could take the place of over four acres of trees destined for the paper mill? I had no idea hemp was such a versatile plant.

    I remember years and years ago visiting a home with a lush stand of exotic-looking plants acting as a hedge around the porch. When I asked him what he had planted and whether it was winter hardy, I was confused at first by his response.

    "The stuff grows like weed," he said with a wink.

    Duh! He had a substantial crop right out in plain sight. I wonder if he ever got caught? I guess I'd always heard the government could seize a property if a certain number of plants were found. As tempting as growing an acre for paper production sounds, I'd sure hate to lose the farm. Maybe I could try bamboo?

    1. I agree, Karen. It seems like a tempting thing to grow because of how useful it could be but it's totally not worth breaking the law for.

      Besides, I think bamboo looks better anyway - if you can control it.