When I was last in Montevideo (in January and February 2010) I met quite a few Americans who had come to Uruguay in order to make some dollar. Their main objective was real estate, buying cheap land near the cost and building some fancy dan apartments there. For Americans of retirement age it couldn’t really get much better than Uruguay. They have coast aplenty which stays at a pretty decent temperature for the majority of the year, there’s hardly any cars on the roads, the cities are very quiet, meals are cheap and rather large, everything an old couple might want.
As well as real estate though these American entrepeneurs had increasingly taken an interest in the production of hemp and marijuana. It is legal to smoke weed in Uruguay, although it is still illegal to sell it. It’s rather strange how the smell of weed eventually comes to permeate any kind of gathering you’re at, whether in the park, outside a bar or at the carnival, people are smoking it everywhere. If you then factor in that it is legal to buy cannabis in California and that Uruguay has the perfect growing conditions for the drug it is clear to see why they were taking such an interest. It is very possible that if the use of cannabis increased in the US one of the cheapest and easiest places to grow it would be in Uruguay.
I still think this might happen but it seems as if, before we get to that eventuality, Uruguay will instead focus on hemp production, as an alternative to soy beans, which is currently their main export. The quite obvious problem with soybean, as has been largely reported elsewhere is that most of the soy seeds being planted are made by Monsanto, “the evil destroyers of all things good”, as I like to call them. Their soy seeds are specially designed so that they are resistant to their own herbicide Round Up, which kills everything in its path, be it plant or animal. A shot of this stuff would kill a human in a couple of hours. Not a great thing then to put on your fields. The great thing about hemp is that it simply grows without need for any fertiliser or herbicide; it outgrows everything. It seems like it could be the best option for Uruguay, especially as many of their small farmers have started to struggle after damaging their land due to over-use of Round Up. Here’s a little more about hemp:
Industrial hemp, with its fast growth and dense foliage, needs no herbicides to compete with weeds and other plants – it simply outgrows them. This alone would be a massive boon to both the farmers and the ecology of Uruguay. Hemp has proven effective in cleaning pollutants and heavy metals from soil; it is feasible that it could also work for removing agrochemical toxins. Hemp’s composted foliage makes an excellent fertilizer which can replenish vital nutrients in soil, while its deep root system aerates and improves the land. Hemp can actually improve the yields of many other food crops when grown in rotation.
This paragraph was taken from the Marijuana and Cannabis blog, that goes into this whole subject in a lot more depth. You can read about it HERE. The only thing I am still unclear on is exactly how useful hemp is, it’s no good in cooking, but can be used in beauty products such as soap. If anyone knows more ways in which it can be used I would be glad to hear it.