by Gabe Bullard, WFPL
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner-elect James Comer is planning to support legislation to allow industrial hemp farming.
The bill has been pre-filed in the General Assembly to legalize the controversial practice. Comer supports the measure and says he will make it part of his legislative package once he takes office next week. But a federal waiver would still be required before hemp farming could begin.
Comer is prepared to fight for a waiver.
"Once the bill passes and becomes law in Kentucky, then I will go with Senator [Rand] Paul and a group of our federal delegation to Washington and try to get Kentucky to be able to have a pilot project to grow industrial hemp," he says.
A bill that was passed and signed into law a decade ago allows the University of Kentucky to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Comer says research is no longer necessary, and wide-scale farming will be an economic boon for tobacco growers who are looking to diversify their farms.
Comer will also support legislation to make him the head of the hemp commission. The panel was formed ten years ago as part of the legislation allowing research farming, but the panel hasn’t met or chosen a leader.
Governor Steve Beshear says he does not support industrialized hemp farming based on objections from the law enforcement community. Comer says such concerns are misguided.
By Carole Rooney, 100 Mile House Free Press
100 Mile House Industrial Hemp Producer's Group chair Dave Zirnhelt recently provided a project update.
The Zirnhelt Timber Frames construction company, founded and owned by his sons, recently finished eight, four- by eight-foot industrial hemp panels.
The local project shares information with the University of Manitoba, and professor Kris Dick recently came out to observe the construction and install sensors to monitor the drying process, Zirnhelt explains.
That performance data is now electronically linked to transmit to the university, he adds.
An ongoing challenge that remains and prevents moving forward significantly from here, Zirnhelt says, is tying down somebody in the market who will agree to put up funds for product development.
"Now, it's back to mostly the private sector to make the business opportunities work. I think one of the weaknesses is we thought it was something anybody and everybody could do."
These previously-unknown obstacles include irrigation, likely required for drier years; good soils, or otherwise high input costs; and finding places or equipment that can process the tough hemp fibre. All of these problems are hindered by the market weakness, Zirnhelt explains.
By William Connelly, The Swannanoa Journal
North Carolina is home to Hemp Technologies, a company responsible for building the first modern made hemp home in the United States. David Madera and Greg Flavall co-founded this company with the intention of building ecologically sustainable houses with non-toxic, healthy materials.
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Fairbanks City Council passed a resolution encouraging the legalization of industrial hemp production. Growing hemp is illegal under federal law because the plant is a relative of marijuana. City Council member Lloyd Hilling sponsored the resolution to support hemp as a viable agricultural crop for Alaska. Hilling told the council hemp has lot of valuable uses.
"It's fibers for a myriad of cloth-type products and rope and canvas, and of course the seeds for oils that are used in a bunch of different food and even potentially for fuel. And then the hurds, the center of the stalk which is an extraordinarily good fuel. It competes with wood," Hilling said.
Hilling says hemp is grown at similar latitudes in Canada, and the United States is the world’s largest hemp importer. During public testimony, Lance Roberts questioned the council’s consideration of the hemp cultivation resolution, considering no farming is likely to happen in the city.
"I don’t really think this is city business, I don't think this is anything that the city should be involved in. This has nothing to do with the city," Roberts said.
The photo below show the company's employees, mostly area farmers in 1917. The company owner is pictured in the back row at the far right.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Established in 1916, the Fairwater Hemp Company was one of the upper midwest's largest hemp producers. It was located adjacent to the booming railroad line and also to the west of the north fork of the Grand River, making it convenient for the production of electricity to power their manufacturing plant. The community of Fairwater, which was founded around the water power of the river in 1848, was officially incorporated in 1921.
In 1917, Fairwater Hemp began using industrial hemp as electrical energy when the river was low by burning the byproducts of their hemp rope manufacture, hemp hurds, to drive a steam engine to produce electricity. This instance is the first documented use of hemp as an energy source.
Although Fairwater hemp operations ceased in 1931, the number of things that can be made from hemp continues to grow today. The possibilities for the plant are endless job producers for those who wish to be innovative. It is this writers opinion, we must re-introduce this agricultural crop to our society, now more than ever.
by Dorothy Chomicz, News Miner
FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks City Council member Lloyd Hilling will introduce a resolution at the next council meeting urging the state government to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in Alaska. This is Hilling’s first resolution since regaining the council seat that he lost to Emily Bratcher in 2008.
Hilling said he has several reasons for writing the resolution.
“Well, I’ll tell you, my primary motive is that this is something that should be legal, and should be investigated and should be explored. It should be experimented with openly and possibly be developed into something relatively big for Alaska,” Hilling said.
Hemp, or Cannabis sativa, has only minute quantities of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannot be used as a recreational drug. Hemp grows quickly, and the plant and fibers can be used for many purposes such as paper products, textiles, plastics, animal bedding, rope, essential oils, medicine, food and construction.
Cannabis indica, commonly referred to as marijuana, is not suitable for industrial use and is cultivated almost exclusively for recreational or medicinal drug use. The cultivation of marijuana, and consequently its close cousin hemp, has been illegal in the U.S. since the 1930s.
Even though it is illegal to grow hemp in the U.S., it is not illegal to use it industrially.
It hasn't gotten the attention of medical marijuana, but a growing number of states have passed laws authorizing the growth of hemp and are attempting to get the federal government to make it legal nationwide.
By Tim Johnson and Adam Silverman, USA TODAY
Hemp can be cultivated for fiber or oilseed, and it is used to make thousands of products worldwide, including clothing and auto parts. From 1999 through last year, 17 states have enacted measures that would either permit controlled cultivation or authorize research of industrial hemp, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Colorado was the most recent to authorize research in 2010. Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia have passed laws authorizing cultivation, according to NORML.
Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same species of plant, Cannabis Sativa. Industrial hemp has lower THC content, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.
The federal government classifies all cannabis plants as marijuana and places strict controls on the cultivation of hemp. Industrial hemp was an American staple in colonial times. The output peaked during World War II.
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. develops renewable and environmentally sustainable biomass resources from flax, hemp and other bast fibers.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT) announced that it has entered into a short-term Crailar Flax fiber development agreement with Carhartt to support evaluation of processing Crailar Flax fiber in premium grade work wear.
Established in 1889 and based in Dearborn, Michigan, Carhartt is a global work wear brand with a heritage of developing rugged apparel for workers on and off the job.
"Carhartt aligns perfectly with our current portfolio and we are excited to add them to our growing mix of partner brands," said Ken Barker, CEO of Naturally Advanced Technologies.
"Our testing to-date has demonstrated significant qualities that will be beneficial to the work wear market, including increased tensile strength, reduced shrinkage and high dye uptake that can reduce chemical usage," Barker continued.
"Perhaps most important is Crailar's ability to wick moisture, which provides Carhartt with a performance advantage by ensuring consumers stay cooler in hot summer months. We look forward to demonstrating this during our development period with Carhartt," explained Barker
By Michael Holder, Hillingdon Times
A HILLINGDON pensioner is living with his family in a new environmentally-friendly 'hemp home' for people with disabilities.
The house in Mulberry Crescent, West Drayton, was built with Hemcrete, a blend of a lime-based binding and hemp that absorbs CO2 during the manufacturing process.
It has water-heating solar panels, extensive insulation and emits 100% less CO2 than a standard building.
Father-of-four Sharif Omar, 37, who lives in the house with his 79-year-old disabled father, said: "It has changed my life - my whole family is very happy here."
"We worked with Hillingdon Council to make the access better for my father and he can use the garden and other rooms now."
To date, 47 new bespoke borough homes have been created, including several bungalows for people with disabilities.
Cllr Philip Corthorne, cabinet member for social care health and housing, said: "Not only does it use cutting-edge materials and processes to create an environmentally friendly property, it also looks at the specific needs of the resident - something that will ultimately empower them to live as independently as possible."
The project is part of a programme launched by the council in 2008 to redevelop derelict and under-used spaces, previously targeted by vandals, into affordable housing.
Canada is investing in innovation that will help develop new bio-composites derived from hemp fibers.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
SASKATCHEWAN - Members of Parliament have pledged funding for the Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) to study hemp fibers with the goal of making composites that perform better than fiberglass and plastic.
"Finding new and innovative uses for our flax and hemp will greatly benefit farmers and the economy in Western Canada," said MP Bruinooge. "This investment will enable farmers to adapt their growth and harvesting regimes to optimize fibre performance, increasing the demand for their crops and resulting in increased profitability."
The investment through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) is designed to study the sub-molecular structure of hemp fibers.
"This exciting collaboration between the CIC and our world-class Canadian synchrotron facility will provide our local and national biomass industries with a key competitive edge in a growing international marketplace," says CIC Manager of Product Innovation Simon Potter. "The information we generate with the Canadian Light Source will support the high penetration of agricultural fibers into building materials and composites for automotive and aerospace products."
The transatlantic cable, completed in August 1858, was the beginning of instantaneous communication, and hemp was there.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Our country has a history of growth and progress, from Pony Express letter to the iPhone call. Through the agricultural age to the industrial and straight into the technological age. Our citizens changing over time as new discoveries about our capabilities are made, we have gotten better at so many things, and yet continue to struggle in others.
By Tim Johnson, Burlington Free Press
Vermont supporters of hemp received a boost Tuesday when U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., signed on as a co-sponsor of The Industrial Hemp Farming Act.
That measure, introduced five months ago in the House by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, would remove federal restrictions on the cultivation of hemp, a crop Paul calls a non-drug variety of cannabis grown for oilseed and fiber. Hemp and other varieties of cannabis are now classified as marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and cultivation of hemp in the United States is effectively banned, requiring a special permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Hemp is used to make a variety of products, including clothing, drinks, skin butters and auto parts. Virtually all the hemp used in products sold in the U.S. is grown in more than 30 other countries, including China and Canada. Unlike marijuana, according to the pro-hemp lobby, industrial hemp has a psychoactive content so low that it won't produce a high if smoked.
Vermont is one of nine states that has enacted legislation that would permit controlled hemp cultivation or research -- contingent on federal authorization, which the Paul bill would provide.
By Tom Washington, Moscow News
Hemp could be back on the landscape as part of a $315 million project. "We have already assessed the costs, they stand at approximately 10 billion rubles," Viktor Ivanov, head of the Federal Drug Control Service, told Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
The State Anti-drug Committee will decide on Wednesday whether to allow the planting of hemp, currently prohibited in Russia. The country is currently one of the world's biggest importers of hemp fibers and oil.
He added that the funds could be raised "without cutting other important [budget] expenditures."
Russia is estimated to have at least 1 million hectares of illegal cannabis, planted mainly on the fringes of the country, in the Far East and Black Sea region. About 2,000 hectares are used to grow hemp.
The Federal Drug Control Service earlier said that a revival of hemp's industrial usage will help "to create new jobs and reduce social tensions in the regions, which are abundant with illegal wild cannabis."
By Agua Das1 and Thomas B. Reed2
Historically Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.) has been a very high yielding plant (Haney 1975). Assuming that hemp produces up to 4 tons/acre seed plus 10 tons/acre stalks. Table 1 shows how many gallons of liquid fuel import could be saved by each of the following proven conversion routes.
Recent hemp yield data is largely unavailable, due to restrictions on the growth of hemp. Cultivation of hemp currently requires permits under Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) form 225. Patented hemp seed varieties are now available in the EC and Eastern Europe which are effectively denatured and drug free. The hemp plant is a promising high yield biomass fuel crop cultivar and both production and utilization should be included in the DOE/TVA and regional biomass screening programs. One would hope that DOE regional biomass program contractors should not have difficulty qualifying for the necessary permits.
Hemp manufacturing is an innovative & effective "green" industry.
By Diane Walsh, Salem-News.com
(VICTORIA, B.C.) - In British Columbia — the word is now out, thanks to Bill Finley of Hemp & Company, in Victoria, where I got this magnificent bead on the story.
Sanctioned by all three levels of government, the successful results from BC’s Caribou Region 'pilot' plantation sites has allowed for 3 impressive scientific studies to be produced which have confirmed/demonstrated the viability of en-masse industrial hemp production in 100 Mile House district-region and vicinity. Not only that — there are clear plans for a manufacturing facility.
100 Mile House is a unique name — which many may not have heard — of a district municipality in the South Cariboo Region with a population of about 2,000, a few hours out of Vancouver as you drive North up BC on Highway 97 headed toward Prince George.
May seem like a little place, but if you read the (3) aforementioned report-studies: by visiting 100milehouse.com, you'll understand the extraordinary significance of what this community has done with industrial hemp crop.
The local government, known as District of 100 Mile House, has a 10 person Industrial Hemp Steering Committee chaired by Mayor Mitch Campsall and includes the participation of community members, hemp producers, and representatives from local government, First Nations, and provincial government staff.