By Rita Trichur, Globe and Mail
Photo by John Woods, Globe and Mail
Hemp is fast becoming a staple of daytime TV as Oprah, Dr. Oz and others extol the health virtues of hemp oil, protein powders and pasta. At the same time, industrial interests tout it as a potential base for products ranging from textiles to car parts. As a result, demand is surging in the United States, Germany and Japan.
But American farmers are prohibited from growing hemp. That leaves farmers in Canada – where it's been a legal crop since 1998 – free to tap the growing U.S. interest in hemp-based products.
First, though, they must navigate the shifting sands of public opinion – or, as one Alberta report called it, "the snicker factor."
According to an Alberta Agriculture Department report on industrial hemp production in Canada, the plant's cultivation evokes chuckles "largely because of its hippy-dippy image and close association with marijuana, its consciousness-altering cousin."
Nevertheless, this is serious stuff. The North American market for industrial hemp – which has only a minuscule amount of the chemical that gives marijuana its punch – is booming.
For centuries, hemp had been ubiquitous in global commerce – from paper making to the rope used on sailing vessels – until synthetic fibres usurped its naval role and global anti-drug sentiment put paid to the rest.
COVINGTON—Two of the three gubernatorial candidates debated in Covington Thursday afternoon, Republican State Senate President David Williams and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith.
Gov. Steve Beshear announced earlier in the week that a scheduling conflict would keep him from attending the debate at the joint conference of the Kentucky County Judge/Executives Association and the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.
Williams criticized Beshear as having no agenda.
"My favorite Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, talks about people in the arena who have the blood and sweat and get in there and try," Williams said. "Gatewood, thank you for being here today and offering yourself for public office. You're in the arena. Two out of three candidates are here, and the other will be engaged when he chooses, but he's not here today."
Galbraith blamed partisan politics for Kentucky's woes and said as an independent, he will work with both sides of the aisle.
"I foresee that after my stint as governor, I'm going to be one of the most disliked people in the state because I'm going to have to make decisions that neither party candidate can possibly make, because they've got to answer to the party," Galbraith said. "I don't answer to anybody except God and an occasional judge or two."
One of the questions involved the state gas tax, which funds road improvements throughout Kentucky.
By KSEE News
Shampoo, shirts and milk are just several things that can be made out of hemp. Stratford farmer Charles Meyer has been an advocate for industrial hemp for years. He said, "In the early days hemp was the standard of the economy. It could be a multi-trillion dollar had it kept going from the early days had it hadn't been outlawed because of it's relationship with marijuana."
A bill that would allow the growing of industrial hemp just passed the State Assembly Ag Committee. It would permit the growing of hemp as an eight year pilot program in Kern, Kings and San Joaquin counties. A number of law enforcement agencies are against the plan. They say growers can easily hide marijuana in hemp fields. They add it would bring more crime to the area. Meyer says this isn't the case.
"You can't grow marijuana in a hemp field it would get pollinated by the male plants and would seize to produce the thc or wouldn't produce it at all," said Meyer.
Legislation advancing to allow crop to be grown in Kings, four other counties
By Hanford Sentinel Staff
A state bill that would allow farming of industrial hemp in Kings, Kern and three other counties could hit Gov. Brown's desk in September.
Senate Bill 676, authored by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Rafael, would create an eight-year pilot program in five counties. The other three counties are San Joaquin, Imperial and Yolo.
The legislation passed the Assembly Committee on Agriculture last week and earlier was approved by various other committees in the Senate and Assembly. The bill goes before the Assembly Appropriations Committee and a potential floor vote in August. Approval there would take it back to the Senate for a concurrence vote and a potential trip to the governor's desk.
Kings County was included in the list because local farmers have expressed interest, according to Leno's office. Most if not all of that interest has come from Charles Meyer, a Stratford farmer who has for years been a vocal advocate for industrial hemp.
The Kings County Farm Bureau has declined to take a position on the bill.
"We decided to stay neutral on the situation," said Michele Costa, Kings County Farm Bureau executive director. "We didn't really think it would affect us."
By Silvia Pikal, Mobile Mag
While hemp can be used for food, textiles, paper, fabric, and fuel oil, the misunderstood crop breeds fear amongst politicians in the United States and has led to the crop being illegal to grow without a DEA permit, which is pretty hard to get. But growing hemp is legal in Canada. Canadian company Motive Industries has taken advantage of this, and have been working on an electric car made of hemp plastic. Touted as Canada’s first bio composite electric car, the Motive Kestrel’s top speed is 135 km/h, with a range of 160 km. The ultralight car is a 3 door 4 passenger electric vehicle, and packs 16 kWh of lithium battery juice to keep the car going 160 kilometers per charge.
Now Motive has announced that bio composite materials derived from hemp and flax fibre will also be used in the car’s interior. They will be used to create the headliner, door panels, door trim, floor tub and center tunnel, instrument panel and the center console panel. The prototype should be coming out sometime this year, with a production goal of 2012.
High on a hill, this looks like many other examples of elegant modern architecture but it's been built from a special ingredient.
Green textiles on the fringes: Here's how plant-based fabrics flax, hemp, bamboo and Tencel stack up in terms of sustainabilitySubmitted by restore on Wed, 06/29/2011 - 20:59
By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
Much as they're trumpeted by so-called eco-designers, plant-based alternatives to cotton are a minuscule piece of the fashion puzzle. Dwarfed by cotton and synthetics such as polyester, spandex and rayon, textiles made from flax, wood pulp, hemp and bamboo make up less than 2 percent of the market. But that percentage is growing because of consumer and corporate demand, as well as technological advancements that make natural fibers easier to transform into wearable fabrics.
One of the more promising developments in sustainable textiles is flax, a stalky and fibrous plant that can be grown with far less water and fewer pesticides than cotton and produced at a lower price. While cotton is cultivated on 12.6 million U.S. acres, flax is currently grown on just 2 million acres of U.S. and Canadian farmland. Most flax is produced for its grain, which is turned into food. But its fiber can also be transformed into materials that look and feel similar to cotton. As a textile, it's incorporated into 1.1 percent of U.S. garments and most commonly used in linen.
Drafted by Jon Marsh of The Hemp Consultants
While Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were drafting the U.S. Constitution (on hemp paper), each was farming cannabis hemp. Said Jefferson, who would later become the 3rd President of the United States:
"Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country."
The U.S. President before Jefferson was John Adams. Adams too had something to say about hemp:
"We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption."
And the very first President of the United States, General George Washington, is infamous for writing:
"Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere."
The Hemp Consultants represents over 100 million citizens who wish to farm, medicate with, and consume cannabis hemp. We are collectively embracing these words from our Founding Fathers, the very men who fought to establish what was once considered the freest nation on Earth. We are also embracing the actions of the Founding Mothers, women who stood by these men during this tumultuous time in our nations history, feeding, clothing and tending to soldiers during our country's citizen-based Declaration of Independence.
HEMPSTERS is a thought-provoking and compelling documentary that will not only encourage all of us to take action, but move us one step closer towards a more sustainable planet.
Available on DVD June 28, 2011
As our society continues to consume 30% more than the planet can regenerate, Industrial Hemp is proven to be a viable and cost-effective crop that can reduce our reliance on some of the earth's most precious resources. HEMPSTERS: PLANT THE SEED, featuring Woody Harrelson, will be released on DVD June 28th by Cinema Libre Studio.
This lively documentary, directed by Michael Henning and produced by Diana Oliver, explores the reasons why the United States is the only developed country that still bans the growth of Industrial Hemp. Hemp, which is a durable fiber cultivated from plants of the cannabis genus, can be used for paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel. Due to its relation to marijuana, it is illegal to grow in the U.S. under Federal law. Hemp is considered a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act even though it contains minimum levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
By Kevin W. McCarty, Daily Nexus
Humanity stands at a crossroads. For nearly two centuries, human civilization has seen its every facet transformed by the machinery of industrial development. During this period of rapid expansion, we have beheld the gracious power of cheap fossil fuels, namely petroleum oil, as our premier source of energy and electricity. But today we are witnessing crude oil prices skyrocket as many economists say we have already reached peak global oil production and will see increasing prices until the supply of petroleum is diminished. As a result, we must expect additional sources of renewable electrical power will sustain economic growth in the coming decades.
For most of human history, the hemp plant has been used as an integral crop of commerce and navigation. Cultures across the globe have utilized hemp as a source of food, rigging and building materials and paper pulp. It is, without a doubt, the most resilient and efficient plant the Earth has ever grown. But not until now has it become quite so necessary to realize the prohibition of hemp and cannabis must be suspended. The arguments against legalization do not stand trial when compared to the immense benefits.
By Jay, Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute Staff Writer
Art Bell and Willie Nelson talk about hemp cannabis marijuana in this clip no longer available on the original Coast to Coast site. In this clip from Friday May 9th, 1997, country music legend Willie Nelson chats with Art Bell about the state of hemp criminalization. You may find it surprising how little has changed in the last dozen years.
While several states now allow medical marijuana and thousands of people have been able to emerge from under the dark cloud of criminalization, millions more still fear for their freedom because they enjoy the benefits of this herb superb. The country as a whole still suffers under the unnecessary burdens of the expensive and ineffectual War On Drugs while being denied the financial benefits of this valuable commercial crop.
By Paul Armentano, NORML
Texas Republican Ron Paul and a coalition of 25 co-sponsors are once again seeking to allow for the commercial farming of industrial hemp.
House Bill 1831, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, would exclude low potency varieties of marijuana from federal prohibition. If approved, this measure will grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.
Several states — including North Dakota, Montana, and Vermont– have enacted regulations to allow for the cultivation of hemp under state law. However, none of these laws can be implemented without federal approval. Passage of HR 1831 would remove existing federal barriers and allow states that wish to regulate commercial hemp production the authority to do so.
By Gabrielle Giroday, Winnepeg Free Press
Bet you never thought a bus part might be made with hemp, canola and flax.
But Helena Marak, Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council program coordinator, sees possibilities for the products you might be more used to encountering on the shelves of your local health-food store.
Marak stood Saturday morning with a brown University of Manitoba prototype at the Agriculture in the City event at The Forks.
"People have really found this interesting. They marvel at the strength of it. It's really, really strong, it's durable and, of course, it's made with natural fibres that are grown right here in Manitoba, so that's a big bonus," said Marak.
She said hemp fibres left over from making food products can be used for other purposes, like products for the transportation or aerospace industry such as car door panels.
The three-day event is dedicated to educating the public about farmers, agriculture science and research, and uses for Manitoba crops beyond the table.
Event organizer Reg Sims said it started in 2003 and is expected to draw thousands of people.
"At one time, everybody in the city had an uncle or a grandparent that lived on a farm. They'd go to the farm, they knew their milk came from cows, their hamburgers came from cows," said Sims. He said he believes farmers are "the greatest stewards of our land."
"Agriculture is a lot more than food," he said.
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.