Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ukraine Cabinet Extends Quota On Growing Hemp 47% To 1,700 Hectares In 2012



The Cabinet of Ministers has extended the quota on growing hemp (Cannabis) by 47% or 552 hectares to 1,727 hectares in 2012, reads Government Resolution 128 of February 22.

The quota on planting white poppy (Papaver somniferum L.) must make 1,240 hectares, by 3.8 times less than in 2011.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Cabinet in March 2011 reduced the quota on growing hemp by 28 times to 357 hectares in 2011 and then in July increased the quota on growing hemp 3.3-fold to 1,200 hectares.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Camira’s success in producing the fabric of society

Harriet Toogood
Harriet Toogood

It is one of the oldest domesticated plants known but a Yorkshire textile company has found a new use for hemp after creating its most environmentally-friendly product to date: a flame-retardant fabric for office furniture.
Camira, based in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, has just launched its hemp-based fabric, which comes in 30 colours, in the UK to upholster chairs and sofas for offices as well as schools and colleges.
Marketing manager Ian Burn said: “It performs well on lots of different furniture types. It is easy to upholster and performs to strict flammability regulations and abrasion standards.”
He added: “It’s in its very early stages at the moment but its price point is very attractive so we hope to attract furniture manufacturers as well as interior designers and architects.”
Hemp is already grown commercially for cosmetic purposes. It is also used in health foods, paper and even construction blocks in the building industry.
However, the fabric now forms part of Camira’s collection of wool bast fibre fabrics, which is expected to add £1m to its turnover by the end of 2013.
The fabrics combine wool with plants which have natural flame retardant qualities.
The hemp material comprises 60 per cent wool and 40 per cent hemp, and, according to Camira, it is the most environmentally-friendly fabric the company has ever produced, with a lower carbon footprint than other fabrics.
The collection also includes a nettle blend, which is used by high-profile companies including Google at its US headquarters.
The nettle fabric was launched to the market in 2008 after a four-year research project but Camira said it now needs more farmers to start growing the plant.
“It is quite expensive because there is not much of it,” said Mr Burn. “The hemp, on the other hand, is more readily available and is easier to grow.”
Compared to cotton, nettle is far stronger but is finer than hemp and other bast fibres. In the past, nettles have been used in Scotland as a replacement for linen.
To safeguard and promote the supply of both hemp and nettle, Camira is joining forces with farmers in Leicestershire to set up a bast fibre farming company.
It is also hoping to add flax to the collection and is in discussions with Merci, a Manchester-based organisation, to take flax grown on brownfield sites in Manchester and extract the fibre, blend with wool and spin it into yarn.
The company is also helping Starbucks to become greener by helping the coffee chain to dispose of jute sacks in an environmentally-friendly way by grinding them into fibre and turning them into a luxurious fabric called Wojo.
Camira, which has 475 staff and annual sales of £51m, is one of the largest textile firms in Britain, selling some 10 million metres of fabric annually.
The company operates on a worldwide basis in markets such as commercial offices, hospitality, education, healthcare and mass passenger public transport
It employs 225 staff in Huddersfield and Mirfield but aims to create up to 100 jobs in Yorkshire by breaking the £75m turnover barrier in the next three years.
It recently appointed assistant designer Harriet Toogood, a woven textiles graduate from Brighton University.
She is working as part of the design team, bringing her ideas to the drawing board, working on custom-made projects, core developments and research into new product areas.
Camira fabric is used by banks, bus, coach and rail firms, including East Coast mainline trains. The company has also supplied the fabric for the new BBC Media base in Salford Quays.
It has a 60 to 70 per cent share of the UK office market but exports make up the majority of the business, accounting for 60 per cent of the company’s sales.
Camira sells in up to 80 countries a year. The company has offices in countries including Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Hong Kong, China, Australia, and Belgium.
It also opened up a US office in Indianapolis in September 2010.
Mr Burn said: “We’ve just had our first full year of operation. The US market is still a new venture for us but we beat our budget last year and also recruited about 20 independent sales representatives.
“We are continuing to develop there and the hemp fabric will be launched in the US in June.”
He added: “There is massive potential over there for us.”
Meanwhile, Camira recently formed a new partnership with a distributor in China and one of its sales representatives is now based there 50 per cent of the time.
In addition, it still sees room for expansion in its core European market.
Back in the UK, Camira is about to open its first showroom in Clerkenwell, London.
Mr Burn said: “It will be based right in the heart of where the big architectural practices are based.
“When they are specifying products and end users are choosing furniture, we will be right on their doorstep.”
The company has been independently recognised for outstanding product innovation and environmental stewardship, gaining Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in Innovation in 2005 and Sustainable Development in 2010.
A leader in the textile world
Camira was founded in 1974 as Camborne Fabrics. The company changed the office interiors industry by supplying fabrics quickly from stock with no minimum order quantities.
Camborne was acquired in the 1990s by the US modular flooring specialist and environmental pioneer Interface.
The company changed its name to Interface Fabrics and had nearly 10 years as part of the group, benefiting from its world leading environmental standing.
A management buyout in 2006 led to the creation of Camira. Along the way, the company has acquired new capabilities and entered new market areas, taking it into 3D knitting and mass passenger transport under the Teknit and Holdsworth brands.
It now has 475 staff and annual sales of £51m, making it one of the largest textile firms in Britain.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alliance advocates hemp production

Bt David Fleischer

Could York Region become a hotbed of hemp-growing activity?

The York Region Environmental Alliance wants to find out and, armed with a Trillium Foundation grant, it’s hoping a local farmer or two is willing to give the crop a try.

Alliance executive director Gloria Marsh and her compatriots got the idea after realizing the impossibility of obtaining sustainable, local materials such as cotton. Ms Marsh had a basic knowledge of the uses of hemp, but dove headfirst into her research and concluded it would be perfectly suited for York Region.

The alliance hosts an information session in early March, aimed at demonstrating how it can inject life into York Region’s farming community.

Beyond its many uses — as a biofuel, for construction, food, fabric and other materials — hemp is also a very sustainable crop that needs very little fertilizer, herbicide or pesticide, she said. Processing is onerous, Ms Marsh admitted, but she hopes to grow an entire hemp community alongside the crop.

Between its ecological benefits and capacity for generating jobs, embracing hemp has lots of potential, Oilseed Works founder Greg Herriott said. For 18 years, Mr. Herriott’s Barrie company has been at the vanguard, producing oil, salad dressing, flour and other hemp-based products.

Canadawide, acreage dedicated to hemp doubled between 2010 and 2011 but, aside from a 50-acre local patch, most of his hemp comes from the prairie provinces, he said. “The market is there. The stigma is still out there, but we’ve come a long way,” he said, touching on the elephant in the room when it comes to this particular crop. As with marijuana, hemp is part of the cannabis family, though it contains far less of the THC that causes the former’s psychoactive effects. It can’t be grown at all in the United States and to do so in Canada requires having no police record, obtaining a special permit that is renewed annually and giving the federal government the precise location of your farm, just so it can make sure you’re not up to anything nefarious.

But it’s not onerous enough to slow down Ms Marsh.

“Why is there such a stigma against it? I think there’s been a concerted effort to equate industrial hemp with its very naughty cousin,” she said.

Just as there have been forces aligned against other environmental initiatives — think “electric car” — so, too, are there vested interests against the benefits of hemp, she said.

Health Canada’s red tape isn’t too hard to cut through, Mr. Herriott said, adding a real challenge is the expensive land costs in the GTA and Ontario. “I think there are opportunities here ... but you have to look at it realistically,” he said.
Key to making it work is forming a true partnership, with the alliance able to be the overarching, driving force keeping it going, Ms Marsh said.

The plan is firstly to find a farmer willing to lend or lease the land. Mr. Herriott has already volunteered to both provide the seeds and do all the paperwork. “I really believe in it. If we can create a strong, repeat acreage in our area, that’s only a big benefit,” he said. Ms Marsh hopes her group can find 1,000 acres by next year — or even this summer — to give it a try. 

If the social enterprise takes off, the alliance would be in line for a cut of any profits, but it’s hardly the first thing on Ms Marsh’s mind. She envisions local municipal fleet vehicles powered by hemp biofuel and Magna plants churning out car parts made from hemp.

The focus is primarily on industrial uses, though Ms Marsh hopes it can also be used for cottage industries, such as artisan paper. 

Hemp and sustainable solutions for retrofitting

New research by Graduate School of the Environment staff and students at CAT suggests sustainable solutions for retrofitting

The cottage at CAT where the research has been undertaken

Staff and students at the Centre for Alternative Technology's Graduate School for the Environment have received praise for new research evaluating the environmental impacts of mainstream methods of insulating solid wall homes, and investigating sustainable alternatives. Students Marion Wright, Naomi Miskin, Andrew Flower and staff Ranyl Rhydwen and Arthur Butler were awarded best paper at the prestigious Retrofit 2012 earlier this year.

“Improving the energy efficiency of Europe's housing stock is crucial in view of climate change,” says lecturer Ranyl Rhydwen. “It is an urgent priority for the government and the building sector.” The international Retrofit conference, hosted in January by Salford University, was set in order to appraise recent research into this area.

30% of the UK's carbon emissions come from the domestic sector – and with 56% of that coming from heating, improving the energy efficiency of our homes can go a long way toward reducing the impact we have on the environment. And while new legislation will see all new builds be 'zero carbon' by 2016, retrofitting existing housing stock remains a priority, as some calculations suggest that retrofitted homes can save up to 15 times as much CO2 as demolishing and rebuilding.

However, even if retrofitting is the greener option, the materials used to renovate buildings are frequently carbon intensive and environmentally detrimental. As the researchers say, “the manufacture of building materials tends to have a high energy input, involve toxic processes and create harmful waste.” As the majority of the UK's housing stock requires renovation to improve its thermal efficiency and moisture handling ability, investigations have been on-going at CAT to trial sustainable alternatives that could significantly decrease the carbon cost of a large-scale retrofitting project.

Hemp is considered to have particular potential for its ability to sequester large amounts of carbon, improve biodiversity, improve soil quality, grow well without fertilisers, herbicides, or pesticides, and its capacity to simply be composted at the end of its life.

The CAT team received praise for their work comparing two methods of insulating solid-wall homes – dry-lining, the more mainstream method, and using an insulating hemp render. Their research was the first study to directly compare these two methods in a real-world trial, carried out over 18 months in one of the old slate cottages that form part of CAT's on-site community. Their research considered the performance and impacts of both techniques, as well as forecasting into the future with the use of a complex computer monitoring procedure.

Concerns about the efficacy of dry-lining go beyond considerations of the environmentally un-sound materials it requires the use of - dry-lining has also been thought to increase internal condensation and moisture build-up between walls, leading to rot and frost damage. Finding a better method is especially relevant for the UK's heritage buildings, many of which are have solid walls.

The study confirmed that dry-lining causes moisture build up in walls, as well as demonstrating that hemp renders are effective at insulating, as well as drying out the external wall and handling moisture well.

Hemp seems set to be recognised as an effective, low-carbon, sustainable solution for retrofitting homes. Research into the use of hemp continues at CAT, with staff and students investigating all its potential uses. Rather than using materials with a “long-term environmental legacy,” in Ranyl Rhydwen's words, utilising materials like hemp which have the ability to sequester carbon may allow us to off-set emissions from other sectors, or from on-site renewables. Perhaps it's time to consider a stage further than the 'zero carbon' home – the negative carbon home.

For more information about research undertaken at CAT into the use of hemp, go to

Cannabis club rolls voting booth to campus

By Kevin Smith

Marijuana activists look to carve out a spot in Academic Plaza to hold a voting booth checking the pulse of Aggie decriminalization advocates on Thursday.
The Aggie Cannabis Reform and Education Society, ACRES, is an on-campus organization that promotes the legalization of hemp and medical marijuana, and pushes for decriminalization of recreational use.
"We want to educate people about the facts of marijuana," said Mostafa Selim, ACRES president and junior university studies major. "We know there's a large cannabis-friendly community at Texas A&M, so we want to organize everyone into a serious formal movement."
A student and ACRES member who requested anonymity said the club does not promote the use of marijuana, but hopes that laws controlling marijuana can be reformed.
"The system is spinning out of control. There were over 80,000 arrests last year, we can't keep justifying all of these incarcerations for a harmless plant," he said. "[University Police Department] arrested 40 of our fellow Ags last year and potentially took away the hopes of graduation from them … We aren't saying that everyone should smoke weed. All we want is to crack down and get realistic law enforcement that's going to solve problems, not create them."
ACRES holds meetings to educate students about legislation and laws surrounding marijuana, such as the schedule system, which prioritizes the drugs into different "schedules" depending on each drug's decided potency.
"Marijuana has caused zero deaths; it doesn't kill anyone and you can't overdose," Selim said. ‘People die in College Station of alcohol poisoning every year. It might make more sense to put alcohol on Schedule 1 and take weed off of it."
Weed joins the ranks with drugs including LSD and heroine. Examples of Schedule 2 drugs include cocaine and methamphetamine.
The anonymous ACRES member said the use of marijuana helps ease complications of chemotherapy in cancer patients.
"Weed has legitimate uses for medicinal purposes. For example, cancer patients suffer from side effects from chemotherapy — it's called wasting syndrome.
Their appetites are destroyed because of the radiation blasted into them. Weed can help with that through the ‘munchies' by raising the appetite of cancer patients," the anonymous source said. "Not one prescription medication increases appetite."
There is also, however, opposition to the club and its beliefs among Aggie students.
"Having smoked weed, I wouldn't say it's worse or better than anything else," said Jacob Metcalf, senior construction science major. "How do we better society by smoking pot? Are we going to think up crazy ideas and then after the high realize we're too lazy to do anything?"
Selim said the bottom line is that it should be a matter of choice.
"It should be your choice to smoke, it shouldn't be someone telling you that you can kill your liver with alcohol and then throw you in jail for weed," Selim said.

IRS Threatens to Shut Down Medical Cannabis

Press Releaase

Twelve medical cannabis states form a national alliance, 280E Reform, to challenge U.S. IRS Tax Code 280E.

Oakland, CA (PRWEB) February 23, 2012
The IRS threatens to turn back the clock on medical cannabis. A national alliance of industry leaders, patients and elected officials are fighting back with a new project aimed at education and policy change. The 280E Reform effort plans to bring an end to the current IRS campaign to close medical cannabis dispensaries.
The IRS campaign of aggressive audits was launched approximately 2 years ago and uses section 280E of the IRS code to deny dispensaries the ability to deduct legitimate business expenses. Denied expenses include items such as rent, payroll, and all other necessary business expenses.
These denials result in astronomical back tax bills for the affected dispensaries that, if not changed, threaten to destroy the financial viability of every medical cannabis dispensary in the country—thereby ending safe and affordable access to cannabis for legally qualified patients.
Section 280E was passed by Congress in 1982, long before the passage of medical cannabis laws and was intended to apply to traffickers of dangerous drugs. Last year, Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) introduced the Small Business Tax Equity Act (H.R. 1985), which would create an exception to 280E for legal medical marijuana businesses, allowing them to take the full range of business expense deductions on their federal tax returns.
With fear looming that these audits will eventually shut down all legally operating medical cannabis businesses that have been operating according to their state laws—and some paying taxes for years—time is of the essence.
Campaign spokesperson Steve DeAngelo outlined the consequences: “Should the IRS campaign be successful, it will throw millions of patients back in to the hands of street dealers, eliminate tens of thousands of well-paying jobs, destroy hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue, enrich the criminal underground, and endanger the safety of communities in the 17 medical cannabis states.”
In response to these dangers, the 280E Reform project is announcing a nationwide campaign to bring awareness to legislators, provide legal and tax counsel for threatened organizations and prepare a grassroots educational effort to enlighten the public on the need to reform 280E.
“We are going to challenge this tax code to make sure that patients all over America have the ability to safely fill their health care needs with safe access from medical cannabis providers who are operating clearly with state laws,” said lead tax attorney Henry Wykowski. “This is a public safety issue and a healthcare right.”

The 280E Reform effort plans to bring an end to the current IRS campaign to close medical cannabis dispensaries.
Quote startWe are going to challenge this tax code to make sure that patients all over America have the ability to safely fill their health care needs with safe access from medical cannabis providers who are operating clearly with state laws.Quote end

An impressive team has been assembled to lead this effort, including Don Duncan, co-founder of American for Safe Access (ASA) and medical cannabis supporter who has been featured on 60 minutes, Dan Rather Reports and the LA Times; Henry Wykowski, legal tax counsel who successfully defended CHAMP in a similar IRS audit; Troy Dayton, co-founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), former Senior Development Officer of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and current CEO of ArcView Group; Amir Daliri, entrepreneur and co-founder of California Cannabis Association and President of CannLobby, LLC, a medical cannabis focused political consultancy; and Steve DeAngelo, Executive Director of Harborside Health Center and activist, whose accomplishments include the passage of Proposition 59, the Washington D.C. medical cannabis initiative.
A graduate of the University of Maryland (summa cum laude), DeAngelo is a charter member of Americans for Safe Access and co-creator of Hemp Tour and Ecolution Inc., which produced hemp garments and accessories. He is the star of the new Discovery Channel series “Weed Wars.”
Workshops announced: The IRS is Coming! Are you Ready? IRS Tax Audit Seminars to aid medical cannabis businesses ‘How to Get Ready?’ will take place on February 25th from 1 to 6 pm at the Main Ballroom of Just Dance, which is located at 2500 Embarcadero in Oakland.
The same workshop will also be held on March 10th from 1 to 6 pm at the Courtyard Marriott, located at 925 Westlake Ave. N in Seattle. Enroll online: or (206) 466-1766.
About 280E Reform
The 280E Reform campaign is professionally managed and is committed to open communication and transparency. A national conference line is set up every Friday and is broadly published. This time is used to share with any interested parties the progress of this group. The call is every Friday at 12 pm PST, and can be accessed by dialing 209.647.1000; PW: 154639.
For more information, contact Gaynell Rogers at 415.298.1114 or gaynellrogers(at)gmail(dot)com.

Emmy Rossum Wears An Adorable Yellow Dress Made Partly Of Pineapple


Emmy Rossum

Emmy Rossum wore a dress made of pineapple fibers, hemp and other materials to Global Green USA's pre-oscar party in Hollywood yesterday.

Filipino designer Oliver Tolentino's Eco Coutour made the dress for the "Shameless" star. We give her two green thumbs up for the eco-friendly ensemble!

The actress recently admitted she was treated to hotdogs as a child if she showed off her opera skills. A member of New York's Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus, a local butcher gave her lunch if she sang them an aria.

Hemp study bill could open doors for Colorado industrial hemp production

By William Breathes

wes mckinley photo cropped.JPG
Wes McKinley.

Representative Wes McKinley wants to save the earth with hemp, and not in some philosophical, hippie-dippy way either. Through a bill he has introduced this session that would study how hemp plants clean contaminated soil, McKinley is hoping to eventually revive industrial hemp production in Colorado and the rest of the country.

House Bill 1099 wouldn't legalize hemp farming outright. If passed, it would authorize the chairs of the agriculture, livestock, and natural resources committee in both the House and the Senate to appoint a seven-member committee to study the process of phytoremediation, a fancy term for a simple process. You see, hemp plants suck up contaminants and radiation in the soil -- and it's been proven to work in places like in Russia, where they've been used to remove soil contaminants from the Chernobyl disaster site.
As detailed in the bill, the committee would consist of one soil expert from a Colorado university or college, one expert in radioactive material detection and leeching, one expert in phytochemistry, one horticulturist, and three Colorado residents "educated and interested in the specialized use of industrial hemp."
The committee would choose a small test site in Colorado and would have until July 1, 2022 to complete the project.
Canadian industrial hemp.
​The idea to use industrial hemp as a soil-remediation tool was brought to McKinley's attention by marijuana activist Jason Lauve a few years ago. McKinley says Lauve has been instrumental in getting the bill off the ground. Cannabis soil remediation dovetailed perfectly with McKinley's work with cleaning up the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant.
Though the project is a heavily regulated pilot program with a set, ten-year life span, McKinley hopes it will open doors to future industrial hemp production. "Being from a farming area, we are looking for crops that can make a profit," he says. "We think hemp doesn't have to be subsidized like they do with corn and wheat."
McKinley, a rancher who represents a highly agricultural segment of the state and isn't often photographed without a bolo and a cowboy hat, has approached the issue from an farming standpoint and makes the clear distinction between industrial hemp cultivation and marijuana cultivation. As he points out, Americans buys millions of dollars worth of legal hemp products each year from other countries -- money that could be going to American companies.
"Hemp was the basic agricultural crop of our country at one time," McKinley points out. "It provides food, fuel, fiber, oil. All of our ropes and sails were made of it at one time. But because of special interests, it was outlawed."
The language states that no money from the general fund would be used. The committee is allowed to accept grants and donations, but the language specifies that the money be kept in a banking institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
This may prove to be one of the measure's biggest hurdles. Banking has been a growing problem in the medical marijuana industry, as dispensaries are having a hard time finding banks willing to do business with entities violating federal drug laws.
The bill has already passed the House Committee on Local Government and goes before the Appropriations Committee next, though committee staff says it will be a while before it goes up on their schedule.

A WWII poster urging American farmers to grow hemp.