Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Tue, Oct. 27

Industrial hemp equals freedom says Flagstaff activist

The Southwest Hempfest, held in Flagstaff on September 22, brought a message of freedom and truth, according to activist and photographer Bill Gobus. Also known as "Knee Bone," Gobus is a walking encyclopedia of information on Cannabis sativa L.

"There are over 400 strains of hemp, one very high in THC and on the other end of the 400 strains, there is one with very minute traces," says Gobus. This would be industrial hemp. Listening to its supporters one comes away with the impression that industrial hemp would win the gold medal in versatility and usefulness.

The four basic uses of Cannabis Hemp are food, fiber, fuel and medicine and can provide all the basic necessities of life. Hempseed oil includes amazing nutritional vitamins, minerals, and is low in saturated fats. Aside from this, hempseed oil can be used in an amazing array which includes printing, lubrication, household detergent and medicinal uses. It can help with nausea, seizures, depression and pain. The extraordinary long fiber of 15 feet or more makes hemp an excellent choice in textile production.

"Natural hemp requires no pesticides," Gobus pointed out. "It can be grown with little water and no pesticides, and builds up topsoil rather than breaking it down. "It's uses are too numerous to mention. Henry Ford built a car from hemp, which ran on fuel produced from hemp oil. Basically, anything made from hydrocarbons can be made from carbohydrates." And hemp contains high levels of carbohydrates.

"Rembrant and Van Gogh painted on hemp cloth with hemp paints," Gobus continues. "Cotton cloth worn next to our skin, which is the body's largest organ, is full of chemicals." Hemp, on the other hand, is not.

"A lot of people across the reservation are interested in industrial hemp as a cash crop," Gobus explained, describing his own efforts in establishing hemp farming for the production of textiles-all on the Navajo reservation. To date, these efforts have met with failure. In the United States of America, it is illegal to grow industrial hemp. According to Gobus, it is his understanding that the Navajo Nation does not wish to go against federal law.

A logical question concerning the issues surrounding the legality of hemp, which was grown by famous Americans such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, is whether or not the economic competition with corporations which already produce petroleum, plastic, textiles and other products explains why the growth of hemp is illegal.

In Gobus' differs with this theory. He believes it has nothing to do with economics. "It's not about money, it's about control. If everyone in America, or any geographical area, agreed to tell the truth as they see it for just one day, the game would be over." The game being control. "They want us to see what they want us to see."

Aside from the issue of control, there are merits to hemp production on the reservation. These include employment and economic growth, self-sufficiency. For example, a textile factory which produced fabric, which in turn was turned into clothing. "With the interest in things Native American in countries such as Japan and Germany, combined with the interest in hemp products, this would be a multi-million dollar industry," Gobus explained. "What that equals on the reservation is freedom," he said.

Gobus' primary purpose in holding the Southwest Hempfest, which featured bands including Porchlights, Each Other's Legend and Fat Chance, is to bring the truth of industrial hemp to the public. He describes himself as an activist-and yet he is more. He is the proprieter of the Flagstaff Hemp Company, which provides a variety of hemp products to the public, as well as a gifted photographer whose work is featured on post cards and in publications such as Arizona Highways.

"If you pulled up to a gasoline pump in Tuba City, and had the choice of a fuel which was environmentally friendly, which cost half the price, which was locally grown and produced, or the choice of a fuel which cost more, ruined the land where spilled, and is produced in a foreign country, which one would you pick?" Gobus did not answer his own question other than to offer a knowing smile.

For more information on industrial hemp, contact the Flagstaff Hemp Company at (520) 913-0886, or visit them at 111 E. Aspen #4 , Flagstaff.

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