Written by Colby Dunn, Smoky Mountain News
If someone said the word "hemp," the first thing to spring to mind probably wouldn't be home construction. But if you're looking for a strong, green, energy-efficient building material that's resistant to pretty much everything, hemp might be your best choice.
This is the concept being pitched by Greg Flavall and David Madera, owners of an Asheville-based business called Hemp Technologies. They're some of the first to build with the material in the United States, where industrial hemp hasn't seen the rise in popularity it enjoys in other countries, thanks to a federal ban on U.S. production.
Its recognition is slowly ramping up, though, due in part to its benefits over standard concrete. The third house in the country to be built with the technology is going up now, in the mountains above Lake Junaluska.
Roger Teuscher, the homeowner, said he was turned on to the idea by his first architect, who suggested the plant as a cleaner, greener alternative to standard homebuilding supplies. Tuescher, who lives most of the year in Florida, said he was drawn not only to the cost savings gained by increased insulation, but by the product’s recyclability.
Over the past several years, sixteen states have passed pro-hemp farming legislation, so why are Illinois lawmakers working against the farmer?
By Michael, Hemp News Correspondent
Last month, because of years of festering propagandist lies, the Illinois House of Representatives voted against mid-west farmers and their right to grow a viable rotation crop (HB1383 - Illinois Industrial Hemp Act). The bill, which passed a House Agriculture and Conservation Committee by a vote of 11-2 earlier in the same week, would have licensed: individuals desiring to grow, process, cultivate, harvest, possess, sell, or purchase industrial hemp or industrial hemp related products. In many cases, an alternative rotation crop, such as hemp, could possibly save the multi-generational farms from foreclosure.
"The fiber from industrial hemp is one of the strongest natural fibers known, and it is present in bundles that surround the main stem. Industrial hemp fiber applications include uses in textiles, cordage, construction materials, paper products, and bio-composite plastics," according to Donald P. Briskin, Professor of Plant Biochemistry/Physiology, Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois.
By Government of Alberta, Agriculture and Rural Development
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. The species was banned in North America in late 1930s because its leaves and flowers contained a hallucinogenic drug known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It was banned internationally in 1961 under the United Nations’ Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Hemp does suffer from the “snicker factor”, largely because of its hippy-dippy image and close association with marijuana, its conscious-altering cousin.
By Paul Benhaim, Hemp News Correspondent/Hemp Building Consultant
As there are so many applications for hemp and hemp products, so it is not a surprise to find that it can be used to build a house; but the question we need to answer is, is it worthwhile?
Let's look at the facts and see why the answer to this question is undeniably YES!
To begin with, hemp buildings are not a new concept - but the technology necessary is very new and constantly evolving. Although there is a 300 year old hemp-built house in Japan! Hemp building technology was originated in France where most hemp building products come from.
There are several different combination's of building materials used in hemp building:
• Hemp + Lime, Cement and minor wetting agents.
• Hemp + Lime only
• Hemp + Gypsum based binder
The Gypsum composite is the basis for hemp bricks, for building, generally the first method is the most used. The composite should be chosen to suit the climate and specific requirements of the building. Hemp houses exist from the snow of Canada down to the Australian tropics and just about everywhere along the way!
David Piller, Hemp News Correspondent
A friend of mine recently put together a survey for a ethnography research methods class on the topic of creating effective hemp education and promoting hemp awareness. Below are a few of my responses.
What is your educational platform (or pro-hemp argument) that you use when doing hemp outreach?
My main "argument" is that if we are truly serious about maximizing the growth of the green economy and creating a sustainable future, industrial hemp must become, once again, one of the United States' primary crops. I stress how cultivating hemp will do more to help clean our air, soil, and water than any patented technology our scientists can offer. I include hemp nutritional benefits and communicate how making more hemp foods available to our citizens, we can improve the quality of life of many and reduce our long term health care costs.
Do you change this platform for various audiences: when and why?
Yes and no.
I think it is important to make things as simple as possible for people to grasp hemp’s true potential, and I always strive to bring it down to a healthy environment, healthy food, and healthy industries to lay a solid foundation to build a dialogue upon.
Oregon Hemp History, Connecting the Past to the Future
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
In the early 1990's, C & S Specialty Builder's Supply (namely Bill Conde, Dave Seber, Barry Davis, and Tim Pate) in Harrisburg, Oregon, imported regulated bales of hemp and began working on a medium density fiberboard (MDF). The evolution of hemp MDF as a viable building supply option began when Bill Conde of C & S took their hemp fiber research and ideas to Paul Maulberg, the head of Washington State University's Wood Engineering Laboratory.
Conde explains in a 2005 Mycotopia blog, "We asked if [Maulberg] would consider trying some hemp fiber to make some experimental hemp MDF, and his reply was, 'You bet, hemp is the King Cong of fiber. I would love a chance to work with some."
Excitedly, Conde and team began the process working with Maulberg on creation and testing of the hemp MDF. It was soon discovered how strong the hemp fiber truly was, as the full-length hemp fibers jammed both of the processing machines and brought things to a standstill. The process for breaking down the fibers was redesigned and restarted with ultimate success.
Press Release: News Conference
When: Monday, March 28th, 10 AM
Where: 2712 NE Sandy Blvd. Portland, OR 97232
Who: Paul Stanford, Chief Petitioner & Treasurer
Jennifer Alexander, Campaign Manager
By Susan Gager, KEZI
EUGENE, Ore. -- Just months ago, a marijuana dispensary measure failed on the ballot in Oregon. Now the push is on to legalize the drug across the board.
The creator of the new initiative wants marijuana to be taxed just like cigarettes and liquor. He and its supporters say it would generate millions for the state. But does it have any chance of passing? That depends on who you ask.
"I think that it's time for the nation to take the demonization out of marijuana," said Phillip Allen, family nurse practitioner.
That's what the director of the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation intends to do with a new initiative to get marijuana legalized in the state.
"It really does relieve a lot of pain and it can really help a lot of people," said Eliza Williams, student.
The executive director of the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation says if it were taxed like cigarettes and liquor, it could generate millions of dollars in revenue for the state's general fund.
"Alcohol revenue brings in about $75 million. It will create lots of new jobs, and create all these new industries. We think it'll create billions and billions of dollars in the long run," said Paul Stanford, Hemp & Cannabis Foundation Executive Director.
By Steve Elliott, Toke of the Town/Special to Hemp News
If Paul Stanford has his way, cannabis will become legal in Oregon next year. The executive director of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF) is working to get a measure on the ballot in 2012 to legalize marijuana in the Beaver State.
Pot should be taxed like cigarettes and alcohol to generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state, according to Stanford, who said cannabis would be regulated and sold to people over the age of 21, reports Joe Raineri at KATU.
"We want to regulate it so that businesses like bars and taverns that bar the admission of minors can offer that as a business," Stanford said.
According to Stanford, legal marijuana would bring a steady flow of cash for Oregon.
"Alcohol revenues bring in about $75 million," he said. "It will create lots of new jobs. It will create all these new industries. We think it will be billions and billions of dollars in the long run."
About 90 percent of the revenue brought in by legal marijuana would go to the state's general fund.
In order to get the measure on the ballot, Stanford needs to get nearly 90,000 signatures.
More people are choosing this balanced food source despite legal potshots
By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Chicago Tribune
Hemp, its advocates say, is nature's perfect food source.
It has omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, contains 33 percent protein, is a good source of vitamin E and is low in saturated fat. It's an environmentally friendly crop that grows fast and requires few pesticides.
We can't farm it
Hemp is also a controversial food source because of its relationship with its naughty cousin, marijuana. Hemp seeds can contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.
While it is legal to import, sell, purchase and consume industrial hemp in the U.S., it is illegal to grow it without a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration, and it is virtually impossible to get such a permit. The policy stems from the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, when all varieties of cannabis were put into the category of schedule 1 drugs, alongside the likes of heroin.
The DEA tried to ban hemp food consumption in 2001, citing THC concerns. The ban was struck down in court.
But we can use it
By By Jacqueline Street, ABC News
Australians may have consumed a lot of food over the Christmas weekend but it is unlikely many thought about eating hemp.
Products like hemp chocolate and hemp ice cream are available in other countries but are banned in Australia.
Now a group of Tasmanian farmers is renewing a push to overturn the ban.
They say industrial hemp will not make you high and has many health benefits.
Phil Reader, who has been growing industrial hemp in northern Tasmania for five years, says the plant's similarity to cannabis ends at the leaves.
"There's absolutely no drug in it; it's below 0.35 per cent THC, so it cannot be confused with marijuana," he said.
Mr Reader says Tasmania has the ideal climate for growing hemp seeds, but his crop is tightly controlled because under state law hemp is classified as a poison.
"The reason it hasn't taken off is the legislation. In Tasmania we come under the Poisons Act," he said.
"It's not a poison; there's no reason for that to be called a poison."
Mr Reader says industrial hemp is not regarded as a drug crop anywhere else in the world.
"It's only in Tasmania that we have this problem and that means a whole host of issues with regards to licensing, administration and where we can sell the crop," he said.
Hobart hemp producer Brandt Teale says he is frustrated because he believes hemp could be a profitable food product in Tasmania and other states.
"There is absolutely nothing wrong with the responsible use of marijuana by adults and it should be of no interest or concern to the government. They have no business knowing whether we smoke or why we smoke." Keith Stroup, NORMLCON 2010
Compiled by Hemp News
1. Global: U.S.-Mexico Drug Summit Fails to Acknowledge Obvious Solution to Violent Drug Cartels
Ending Marijuana Prohibition Would Deal Crucial Blow to Mexican Drug Cartels, Drastically Reduce Border Violence.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Today, high-ranking officials from the United States and Mexico concluded a three-day conference meant to outline ways the two nations could reduce the illicit drug trade-associated violence that continues to plague the U.S.-Mexican border.
By LEX18 News
Gatewood Galbraith and Dea Riley will formally announce that they will be running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, respectively, on Wednesday, according to a press release Tuesday.
Galbraith and Riley say they will open their 2011 Campaign and Ballot Petition Drive with a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
According to the release, the candidates will outline their issues and plans for restoring Kentucky to prosperity.
Galbraith, who has been an advocate for the legalization of marijuana for years, has run unsuccessfully for various offices in Kentucky, including commissioner of agriculture, governor (four times - as a Democrat in 1991 and 1995, 2007, and as a Reform Party candidate in 1999), U.S. representative (twice), and attorney general.
Of all the various uses for Cannabis plants, add another, “green” one to the mix.
By Christine Buckley, UCONN
Researchers at UConn have found that the fiber crop Cannabis sativa, known as industrial hemp, has properties that make it viable and even attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biodiesel – sustainable diesel fuel made from renewable plant sources.
The plant’s ability to grow in infertile soils also reduces the need to grow it on primary croplands, which can then be reserved for growing food, says Richard Parnas, a professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering who led the study.
“For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel,” says Parnas, noting that major current biodiesel plants include food crops such as soybeans, olives, peanuts, and rapeseed. “It’s equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won’t need the high-quality land.”
Industrial hemp is grown across the world, in many parts of Europe and Asia. Fiber from the plant’s stalk is strong, and until the development of synthetic fibers in the 1950s, it was a premier product used worldwide in making rope and clothing.
By Cassandra Upton, NBC
It won't get you high, but researchers at UConn say they've found another use for Cannabis plants.
The fiber crop Cannabis sativa, known as industrial hemp, has properties that make it attractive as a raw material for producing biodiesel fuel, UConn Today reports.
Richard Parnas, a professor of chemicals, materials and biomolecular engineering, led a UConn study on the subject.
Several things make the hemp an appealing option for producing the sustainable diesel fuel that's made from renewable plant sources, he said.
Like the plant's ability to grow in infertile soils, reducing the need to grow it on primary croplands, which can then be reserved for growing food.
“For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel,” says Parnas, noting that major current biodiesel plants include food crops such as soybeans, olives and peanuts. “It’s equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won’t need the high-quality land.”
Industrial hemp is grown across the world, mainly in Europe and Asia and fiber from the stalk was used worldwide to make rope and clothing until the development of synthetic fibers in the 1950s. Parnas says that because a hemp industry already exists, a hemp biodiesel industry would need little additional investment.