The War on Drugs has resulted in the outlawing the entire hemp industry in the United States. Hemp, a variety of Cannabis sativa, the plant that marijuana comes from, does not have significant amounts of psychoactive (THC) substances in it, less than 1%. Without even realizing the plant had been outlawed several months prior, Popular Mechanics magazine published an article in 1938 entitled The New Billion-Dollar Crop anticipating the explosion of the hemp industry with the invention of machines to help process it. Recently, governmental refusal to take advantage of taxing hemp has been a point of criticism. Hemp has a large list of potential industrial uses including textiles, paper, rope, fuel, construction materials, and biocomposites (for use in cars for example).
The seed of the hemp plant is highly nutritious. Rare for a plant, it contains all essential amino acids. Rare for any food, it is a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega 3 fatty acid which is deficient in most diets.
Hemp is easy to grow and environmentally friendly. It grows quickly and in almost any climate. Few pesticides and no herbicides are used for growing the plant, in contrast to cotton (for textiles). Compared to processing trees to make paper, hemp requires fewer environmentally damaging chemicals.