|All photographs courtesy ofÂ Diana Sunshine Wulf|
|These hardy fiber strains of cannabis sativa have a proud and storied history reaching back to the Midwestern hemp farmers of yesteryear|
â€‹Back in the days before America got Reefer Madness, the good old U.S.A. was a worldwide center of hemp production. Verdant fields of the incredibly useful fiber crop were cultivated all over the country. Once cannabis was outlawed in 1937 due to Harry J. Anslinger’s scare campaign against marijuana, the economic incentive to cultivate hemp was gone.
After a brief return in the “Hemp For Victory” days of World War II—when the Japanese takeover of our fiber source, the Philippines, made it necessary to once again provide our own rope—hemp faded into American history as a crop of bygone days.
But that didn’t mean it was any less useful, it just meant it was no longer politically acceptable. And it also didn’t mean that hemp would no longer grow in Nebraska (and throughout much of the Midwest), it just meant it was no longer actively cultivated.
â€‹Wild, or “landrace” strains of hemp continue to flourish beautifully in Nebraska to this day, and these hardy cultivars, bred for fiber production and adaptation to the Midwestern climate, would make some great breeding stock for tomorrow’s inevitable strains of American-grown hemp, once the insanity of our current prohibition becomes a historical footnote.
There is so much potential within the genetics of these plants, not only for future industrial fiber production, but also because many of them contain high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid known for its medicinal and healthful effects.
Who knows how many great new medicinal and recreational strains could be produced by crossing these hardy, pest- and disease-resistant varieties with their high-THC cousins?
Smile, You’re On Cannabis Camera
A couple of years ago, Nebraska hemp activist Diana Sunshine Wulf started noticing Nebraska’s wild hemp plants and their beauty, and decided to start taking photographs.
|Diana Sunshine Wulf’s very first hemp photo, taken in April 2009 near Staplehurst, Nebraska|
â€‹“I began taking pics in spring of 2009, in April,” Wulf toldÂ Toke of the TownÂ Monday morning. “I was walking in the country near my home in Staplehurst, Nebraska, and I saw a wild hemp plant. It was not the first I had seen, but it was the first I photographed.
“I became a cannabis activist during that time,” Wulf told me. “Typing in the ‘restricted’ word MARIJUANA led me to the history of wrongful prohibition. I found out it was nothing about ‘getting high.’
“I found from my very first pic, a leaf on a railroad tie, that the story of this hemp plant leads down a road of corruption for profit and ending up, industrial sabotage of an entire nontoxic industry,” Wulf said.
Hemp grows wild all over Nebraska, according to Wulf.
“North, south, east and west,” she told me. “All parts of the state are plentiful with hemp—the ditches are full. It grows so well in the Nebraska spring, summer and fall! It’s unreal how, year after year, the hemp reproduces triple-fold!”
Wulf said it’s a real pleasure being able to see the hemp plants, growing wild as nature intended, and to walk among them.
“It’s like heaven in a field of wild hemp!” Diana told me. “The pollen fills the air with yellow haze as you walk the paths the deer or coyotes have made.
“It’s dark and cool inside a giant hemp patch—and hard to get a good pic if the sun isn’t right,” she said. “I never use a flash and my cell phone is all I ever take photos with.
“I love to go for a long walk or a drive and locate new spots,” Diana toldÂ Toke of the Town. “There are too many to photograph!
“I just want people to learn why it is NOT about getting high, and this is my way to educate,” Wulf told me. “I want people to realize everything made with toxic petroleum can be totally replaced with this nontoxic weed.”
There are more photos on the next page! Click on “Next Page” or “2” below to see them.