As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)

FRENCH CONNECTION: Worth taking another look at hemp for paper production

Ninety years after being deemed illegal, few are afraid of marijauna

It’s lilac time. Williams Lake doesn’t have as many lilacs as it once did, and they don’t linger, but they’re lovely while they last.

How many remember — or care — that lilac is the city’s official flower?

***

The containers of some products, like ketchup, are easy to open. Other stuff comes buried in plastic or has glued-on lids. Necessary, it’s said, to prevent any tampering with the contents. Easy openers, like ketchup, have been around as long as I can remember. Does nobody tamper with them? Or is there some kind of deal between the producers of newer products and plastic makers?

According to reports, the skyrocketing price of lumber could mean high prices for toilet paper. Are we in for another round of TP hoarding? What about using hemp for paper? It produces four times as much paper per acre compared to tree pulp, the paper is good quality and is environmentally friendly. Why isn’t it used more? Is there a story here?

Paper made from hemp fibers was used worldwide for more than 200 years. The story is that in the 1930s, William Hearst, who dominated the U.S. newspaper business, bought thousands of acres of woodland to provide paper for his industry.

Hemp was competition, so Hearst used the power of the press to get rid of it by convincing the public it was an extremely dangerous drug.

READ MORE: Reasonable decision making can go a long way

While newspaper fear-mongering was effectively scaring the public, Hearst’s business buddies were pressuring the U.S. congress to make the growth of plants belonging to the Cannabaceae family: marijuana and hemp, illegal. Their campaign was successful. Marijuana became illegal and hemp was out.

Ninety years later, few are afraid of marijuana. So maybe it’s time we made better use of hemp. The forest industry will surely survive.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian and book author.


 


editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ColumnistWilliams Lake