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Hemp has such versatile properties that it can applied industrially to a surprisingly broad range of uses. In fact, until its demise that commenced in 1937, it was one of the most widely traded commodities and a key economic and political influence from an early era. Probably the most significant use was in that of paper production; the fibrous stem provided the perfect material for paper production. This was initiated by the Chinese roughly 2000 years ago and from then on in its durable properties made it irreplaceable for this purpose; by the 19th century up to 90% of paper was produced in this way.

Hemp paper is still recognised as being more durable than its successor, wood pulp paper, and certainly has less environmental impact. Producing pulp and paper casts an ecological shadow far beyond its impact on the world’s forests. Converting wood into paper uses large amounts of water, energy and chemicals and generates vast amounts of air and water pollution, not to mention the fact that forest are being eradicated for this and other purposes at 4 times the rate they are regenerating.