In 2004, Nike introduced SB Dunk Low made out of hemp. Here’s the “Red Hemp,” which some collectors have deemed as one of the top 100 NB shoes designs Nike has manufactured. Just about every feature on this shoe was made from hemp.

This year, just in time for 4/20, Nike will be introducing an all new SB Dunk Low sneaker called the “Hemp” Dunk Low. The shoe features an all-textile upper (presumably hemp) in a natural shade of light tan.

This product comes at a unique time in our nation’s history. You see, industrial hemp is currently being grown in over 30 countries, but the United States is one of few industrialized countries that has outlawed hemp cultivation entirely…but all that could change relatively soon.

Currently, millions of dollars worth of hemp are imported every year for American industries. Companies like Nike use hemp fibers in sneakers; our automobile industry uses hemp fibers to produce plastic and car door panelling. In 2014, we spent an estimated $500 – $620 million dollars on imported hemp.

The funny thing is, most of our hemp is coming from our closest neighbor to the north— Canada — where the country’s 15 year hemp industry banks millions per year in revenue.

According to The Toronto StarIn the first four months of 2015, Canada exported $34 million worth of hemp seeds and oil.

If hemp is such a valuable commodity, why can’t American farmers grow it? Why must American industries pay to import something that could be grown and cultivated state-side? We’re looking to the 2016 presidential hopefuls to find new ways to improve the economy and generate jobs, so why isn’t an entirely new industry like industrial hemp (an industry that makes other countries millions of dollars) on the table?

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