How should the Hemp industry and Labor Day be connected?
Today is Labor Day! Happy Labor Day! But other than a day off for government workers and a few other employees, what is the meaning of this Holiday? What is it's meaning for you, your friends, and the country/world? To some, it signifies the end of Summer. For children everywhere, it is a sign of the impending start of the school year. But the meaning goes deeper than that.
Finally, how should the Hemp Industry view and incorporate the celebration of this day with it's ideals and principles?
What is Labor Day?
First off, let's catch up. For some of those that aren't familiar with the holiday's history, here is a short version for your digestion.
Officially the first Monday in September, it was codified as a Federal Holiday by Congress on June 28th, 1894 and signed into law by President Grover Cleveland (after an ever increasing number of states adopted their own versions of the day).
There is some debate as to whether the origins of this holiday trace back to the influence of Peter J. McGuire (of the Carpenters Union) or of Matthew Maguire (of the Machinist's Union). But one thing is clear, it's roots lay in the celebration of the contributions of organized Labor and workers in building up the economy and framework of the modern world.
A little research into the history of the Holiday would be a great idea of a way to celebrate the Day, not just going to sales, parades or having a cookout. Of course, do all those things as well, just know why you are doing them!
Labor & Hemp
The Hemp industry has been absent from the American landscape for nearly 80 years. It's infrastructure and influence were neutered by the baseless inclusion of Hemp in the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Whereas the Organized Labor movement of other industries has grown and changed in many ways, that of the Hemp industry was never given the chance.
This is the work which we all face ahead of us. This generation of entrepreneurs and farmers will bring to life a sleeping giant that has been dormant for fa too long.
Hemp is a crop that can affect so many industries! From health care to plastics, construction, and even environmental industries. They are poised to bring many a positive change to so many aspects of life, and many we haven't even envisioned yet.
But this vision will not simply grow out of the ground like the plant we all know and place our future's in. It will take skill, talent, and determination to make it happen.
The industry faces a great many obstacles in the years ahead. Lack of education about (or willful ignorance of) Hemp and its many aspects. Other industries which profit off of things easily replaceable by the Natural (i.e., the petroleum industry and all that derives from it). Old prejudices and ideologies that refuse to accept the separation of Hemp and Marijuana. There is no one that I have met in the Hemp space (retail, farmer, manufacturer or otherwise) that has not experienced one or more of these things.
But in addition to changing "Hearts & Minds," the growth of the Industry will require investment in infrastructure that will allow it to prosper.
The Labor Movement, and thus Labor Day, celebrate the achievements and contributions of American workers to the prosperity of the nation. This movement (agree with the existence of Unions or not) grew from a shared interest and pride in what they were trying to accomplish, fairness (wages, work hours, etc.) drove a great many of these organizations to form when many of their arenas were less than a hundred years old. But, aside from unfounded criticism, they still maintained a common goal with their Corporate owners, producing a quality product or service for the customer.
By the same token, we in the Hemp Industry have a common interest that requires us to labor (i.e. work) during the infancy of our industries. Work to spread education and ideals, and work to establish the "roots" of our products and services.
Someday, Hemp manufacturers may have to tackle the issue of Unionization. But this is not the article to opine about that. The industry as a whole needs to grow to a point where it can no longer be ignored by the "mainstream" industries we seek to change, or outright replace.
Someday, there will come a time when a person can walk into a Wal-Mart and have, as a majority of their choices, clothes made of Hemp Fibers instead of all mostly synthetics. Someday gas stations will carry Biofuel based on Hemp, not corn, or Oil. Someday we may all live in Carbon Negative Hemp homes instead of traditional ones. But that day will not come unless we put some work into it now and not relent in the face of forces that would relegate the Hemp movement to a fad, or a fringe thing.
Basically, the day when a Hemp T-Shirt will not cost $50, which places it out of reach for a great many consumers, until there will come a day when the majority of them are NOT imported and are made here, in larger numbers.
Imagine a day when the Industrial Parks of the world are dotted by factories churning out Hemp Paper or Hemp flooring or other Hemp Made Products. Contributing not only to the survival of the planet, but to the Prosperity of us all.
Then perhaps some enterprising individual can lay the groundwork for a "Hemp Labor Day" to celebrate when a plant, and all those that would work with it, brought us out of the dark, gritty, oil based Industrial Age!
"What do you think? Tell us below."
History of Labor Day; U.S. Department of Labor Website, undated
Labor Day Purpose and History; By Robert Longley, Updated September 04, 2019
Labor Day; Encyclopedia Britannica, Upd. Sept. 3rd, 2020
(Contest) END OF SUMMER GIVEAWAY; Entries ends 30 Sept. 2020.