By Ron Lee
Here We Grow – Founders and Hemp
Josephine County, Oregon – Look around – things aren’t like they were 5 years ago. Businesses have vanished. Homes once filled with loving families now stand vacant; foreclosed upon. The climate in our valley, and across the country, has become socked-in by a fog of economic depletion. Not only are families finding this job-deprived environment difficult to manage, our local government, too, is faced with an impending financial crisis which would take away many of the services that are currently offered. Foremost would be sheriff’s services, and as the economy continues to shrink, everywhere except for on Wall St., it is imperative we have a sheriff’s department left to help defend what is our own. To that end it becomes the responsibility of the people to utilize every method possible to ensure the economic viability of our own community. Here in the Rogue Valley two of our greatest strengths are our agricultural prowess, and yes, the climate. We could literally grow the solution to our economic problems.
Before getting into the solution, let’s have a quick plain-jane economic lesson…
In a closed community there will never be enough money because ultimately the community has to buy goods from outside. Once even one penny is spent elsewhere, there will never be enough money to provide for its needs – no matter how much you tax its citizens, even the wealthiest of them – because the community’s money is being depleted by going somewhere else. Each penny spent is one less that is in circulation within the community.
You can then only achieve economic success by bringing money in from the outside the community by offering something other communities will purchase. Hence the need for industry.
Here in the Rogue Valley tourism is a great asset. It brings in millions of dollars into our local economy but it is not enough to cover the vast amounts we spend when we shop at the Walmarts, Fred Meyers, and the myriads of other corporations who take what we spend out of our community. Therefore, we will never have enough money to provide for our needs.
The only solution then becomes creating an industry here that is sought after by others.
We used to have that; it was logging. We used our natural resources to create our wealth and once that was taken away, we were left with our hands out to the federal government to provide us for the shortfall this lack of revenue created.
For years the federal government paid us in the form of the O&C funds, but that is going away, and soon.
So here we are, dying on the proverbial vine.
We could throw our resources behind already established industries like our award-winning vineyards and orchards and become the next wine country, but this would take years!
Or, we could fight the environmentalists to once again utilize our lands for logging, but the legal expenses and time needed make this option are ultimately too costly.
I’m not suggesting we don’t do those things; we should and will! We just need something now.
THE SOLUTION – Click here to read the proposed ORDINANCE
Josephine County Sheriff
Josephine County Commissioner
Myself, Commissioner Simon Hare, Sheriff Gil Gilbertson, US~Observer, the group Wake Up America Southern Oregon and many others are pushing for an industry that could literally transform our community from being impoverished, to being wealthy. It is the ultimate “green” product and even the environmentalists will support it. Its use as a commodity goes back thousands of years. It is deeply rooted in the founding of our nation and several founders like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson benefitted from it.
It is the growth and production of Industrial Hemp and the products that can be made from it.
HEMP IS NOT MARIJUANA – IT CANNOT GET YOU “HIGH”
The origins and benefits of hemp were covered in our last edition of the US~Observer and you can and should read about it on-line at www.usobserver.com where we will have a special hemp section for you to do your research.
In short, hemp creates more paper and chip board per acre than trees; its natural oils can make car oil and fuel; its fabrics are more resilient than cotton; its seeds are a great high-protein and omega-rich food source; and it can be grown here with many environmental and social benefits.
Hemp leeches out toxins and heavy metals from the soil and nearby waterways. It actually enhances the soil it is planted in to the benefit of other crops.
Hemp can also cross-pollinate with illegal marijuana grows and drop their THC (drug) levels to a point where drug growers wont want to be here, because it will ruin their drugs!
Industrial Hemp is legal to grow in Oregon, thanks to a 2009 legislative action, however, it is still considered illegal federally; but then again so is marijuana, and the state is allowing its growth.
TIME TO GROW
Working from an ordinance that was passed in Maine and given to me by Simon Hare, I have drafted the “Local Food, Economic Development and Community Self-Governance Ordinance of 2012.” You can read it in full HERE. Please do so. I want and need community feedback to craft this into a strong document to present to the county commissioners for passage.
Also, a Josephine County resident has contacted several large companies that produce hemp based items like paper and rope, and they have expressed an interest in moving here and being in production in as soon as 14 months! But, it depends on how quickly we can produce hemp and fast-track these companies.
There are currently talks discussing the potential of leasing county land to a grower, but it all starts with the ordinance.
MAKE IT LAW
Its time to create the industry our community lacks and supply the large demand in the United States for industrial hemp and its products. It’s time to create jobs and get to work. It’s time to grow.
“The fact well established in the system of agriculture is that the best hemp and the best tobacco grow on the same kind of soil. The former article is of first necessity to the commerce and marine, in other words to the wealth and protection of the country. The latter, never useful…” –Thomas Jefferson, Farm Journal (16 March 1791)