In searching for reviews of The Hemp Revolution, Anthony Clarke’s documentary on the many potential uses of the much-maligned hemp plant (besides, of course, getting stoned), I find that the film drew particular interest from two San Francisco critics.
Peter Stack writes in the S.F Chronicle:
Australian producer-director Anthony Clarke, who was formerly with the Los Angeles-based Empowerment Project research center and who worked on the Oscar-winning film The Panama Deception, regards hemp as one of the greatest overlooked natural resources in a world increasingly fixated on high-profit synthetic plastics, fabrics, fuels and drugs.
In Clarke’s fascinating The Hemp Revolution, the film maker advances the theory that the hemp plant, more popularly known as cannabis or marijuana, has been maligned and that its benefits as a possible source of pulp for paper and pest- free substitute for cotton have been suppressed.
The film, admittedly a propaganda piece for hemp, is chock full of engaging facts, among them that the Declaration of Independence and the Gutenberg and King James versions of the Bible were originally printed on hemp-derived paper. No less a patriot than George Washington grew the stuff, and Levi’s jeans were originally made from recycled duck, a lightweight hemp canvas commonly used for sails.
Barbara Shulgasser in the S.F. Examiner is a little more dubious about the film’s many claims for hemp’s potential to save the world, but entertains the possibility of the plant being suppressed by competing commercial as well as government interests:
Sometimes Anthony Clarke’s documentary sounds so fantastically upbeat about the ability of hemp to provide cheap protein, non-polluting fuel, tree-saving paper and soil-saving textiles that you’d think you were watching a Monty Python skit on how the imaginative use of chicken beaks could save the world.
As for the fear that hemp cultivation would lead to increased drug use, the experts point to the fact that strains are now grown that are free of THC, hemp’s psychoactive ingredient. The pharmaceutical industry probably isn’t crazy about it either, as hemp produces treatments for such ailments as glaucoma and asthma.
Alternative medicine guru Andrew Weil and others point out that prejudice against hemp persists while far more deleterious legal drugs such as caffeine and tobacco are condoned and even supported by the American government. What a world.
How persuasive do you find the film’s claims for a “hemp revolution”? Only one way to find out – light up!