Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hemp in New England


By John E. Dvorak

As a Hempologist living in the Boston area, I've had an excellent
opportunity to learn about the role that hemp played in America's
past. Cities and towns up and down the northern seacoast can boast
that boats built and maintained with hemp were one of the primary
factors influencing America's independence from Britain's tyranny.
By sharing this information with you, we may be able to once again
determine how humanity can become independent of the current
tyrants of petroleum, pollution, and poverty. 

This article is the culmination of several visits to the
Newburyport, Massachusetts (MA) library coupled with numerous hemp
fact finding excursions. I would like to thank my wife, Pam, for
loaning me her library card, humouring me on our road trips, and
editing my grammar and typing. Although we couldn't locate the
alleged site of a rope walk on Winter Island in Salem, MA, we will
try again in the future.

The History Of Hemp In The Greater Newburyport Area

For over 200 years, the people of Newburyport, and several
surrounding towns, which lie approximately 40 miles north of
Boston, grew and processed hemp to supply many of the needs of the
sailing ships which were vital to the early transportation,
shipping, and defense industries. Before steam power and
electricity, hemp was needed to provide people with the raw
materials to survive and, to eventually prosper.

Early settlers found the going tough as the following quote from
Joshua Coffin's book, A Sketch of the History of Newbury,
Newburyport and West Newbury, attests [emphasis on the word HEMP
added by the author]: "All foreign commodities at this time [1641]
grew scarce. Corn would buy nothing - and no man could pay his
debts, and so forth. These straits set our people on work to
provide fish, clapboards, plank, and to sow HEMP and flax (which
prospered very well) and to look out to the West Indies for a trade
for cotton. The town of Rowley made laudable efforts to raise HEMP
and to some extent succeeded."

Two years later in 1643, Coffin relates that supplies from England
continued to decrease thereby increasing the pioneers' emphasis on
self reliance. Hemp was now being processed locally and "Rowley, to
their great commendation, exceeded all other towns." In 1676, hemp
and butter both sold for sixpence a pound. Does hemp and butter
cost the same amount per pound today?

Currier's book, History of Newburyport, mentions that in 1764
"Cordage factories, employing from twenty-five to fifty hands,
produced from two to three hundred tons of white lines and tarred
cordage annually." This cordage was made almost exclusively from
domestically grown hemp. The rope walk portion of the cordage
factories were also used as temporary barracks by revolutionary
troops. Economic times were tough after America gained her
independence and hemp played a key role in "keeping America free".
Coffin summarizes this sentiment with the following statement about
life in 1779: "In the preceding year, the general court had passed,
from the best of motives, an act to prevent monopoly and
oppression, and the towns of Newbury and Newburyport, had, in
pursuance of this act, adopted and published a scale of prices,
affixed to all the articles they had for sale, and also all kinds
of labor. These prices were never to be exceeded. No imported
goods, except HEMP and warlike stores, should be sold at more than
two hundred and fifty pounds sterling, on one hundred pounds prime
cost." This quote verifies that hemp played an integral role in
Colonial America's defense and economy. 

Spinning Hemp Yarn inside a Rope Walk

Records indicate that in 1781, there were three rope walks in the
greater Newburyport area. By 1840, the number of rope walks in the
area had increased to seven. In addition to providing employment
for farmers, manufacturers, and businessmen, hemp kept local fire
departments busy fighting fires that were only too common in the
tar laden rope walks. One significantly catastrophic hemp related
event, which occurred on October 19, 1843, was described by Coffin
thusly; "This morning, about half past six o'clock, an hour after
the workmen had commenced operations, the boiler of a six horse
power engine in the patent cordage manufactory of Michael Wormsted
& Son, on South and Marlborough streets, exploded. Mr. John Green,
the engineer, who was probably standing in front of the furnace,
was instantly killed, . . . This was the first steam engine erected
in Newbury, and had been in use five or six years." The fact that
the town's first steam engine was used to process hemp exemplifies
the value that people placed on hemp. 

This is called the "rope walk". Men would wrap huge hanks 
of raw hemp around their waist, and then walk backwards
 down this aisle, spinning rope with their hands as they went. 
(Mystic Seaport, CT)

Upstairs, spinning wheels for making hemp into strands later to be woven into huge ropes for the ships.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, society's cutting edge
technology can once again be applied to hemp. The Internet could be
hemp's next "steam engine" as it processes and carries
hempformation to all corners of the globe.

Hemp Tour, Yankee Style

Well, if sitting in a library on weekends searching the index of
books for the words: hemp, rope, cordage, oakum, line, rigging,
sails, and etc., doesn't tickle your fancy, you could always take
your own New England hemp tour. Below, I'll touch on a few of the
hempstoric places to go in MA and Connecticut.

As most devotees of Jack Herer's landmark book, The Emperor Wears
No Clothes, know, thousands of pounds of hemp line was used as
rigging on the U.S.S. Constitution. Visitors to Boston can still
clamber aboard the world's oldest commissioned warship to get an
idea of what sea going life was like in the 1800's. A nearby museum
contains some of "Old Ironsides'" original hempen artefacts. While
there, be sure to ask why hemp is not being used during the
restoration of this historic ship in preparation for the
celebration of her 200th birthday. Where's the hemp!?!

Travelling north from Boston on scenic Route 1A will bring you to
the town of Essex and the Essex Shipbuilding Museum. Here, one can
learn how the great sailing ships of yore were constructed. In
addition to pictures of rope walks, the Essex Shipbuilding Museum
has a hands-on oakum exhibit. Oakum, which is defined as "loosely
twisted hemp or jute fiber impregnated with tar or a tar derivative
and used in caulking seams (as of wooden ships)", is hammered in
between the planks that make up the hulls and deck of some wooden
ships. The museum's curator related the following anecdote about
oakum to me. Apparently, during long ocean-going journeys, if a
crew member did something that deserved punishment, he would be
sent to the brig to "pick oakum". This involved the laborious task
of taking worn out, tarry line (rope) and pulling the fibers apart
so that they could be used as oakum. The euphemism "pickin' oakum"
was therefore associated with someone who was in trouble. i.e.,
Where's JD? Ahhhh, he's pickin' oakum again. Oh, he should have
learned better by now.

A few miles north of Essex is Newburyport, where the former site of
one of the area's first rope walks has been turned into a park.
Bartlett Mall, which is now the site of summer festivals and
concerts, contains a plaque commemorating the rope walk's legacy. A
rope walk's length represents the maximum length that a piece of
cordage made there could be. The advent of steam power brought
advances that eliminated the need for these peninsular appendages.
Keep this in mind as you stroll through this part of America's

During the 1995 Eco Expo in Boston, MA, I had the pleasure of
meeting the venerable Don Wirtshafter and his family. During one of
our conversations about hemp, he mentioned that a portion of an
actual rope walk had been moved to the Mystic Seaport Museum in
Connecticut. This tip resulted in a roadtrip to a place where we
found numerous examples of how hemp was used by early Americans. 

Oakum is used to caulk the museum's restored sailing ships. The
shipyard's Office Manager, Ted Kay, is Mystic's resident
hempologist. Ted's knowledge of hemp's role in the sailing industry
is impressive. The Mystic Seaport Museum's most notable exhibit
associated with hemp, however, is the aforementioned rope walk
which was moved from the Plymouth Cordage Company in MA. Here,
visitors can walk through the long, narrow building and see how
tiny strands of hemp fiber were fashioned into heavy duty cordage.

Plymouth, MA, where the Mayflower made her historic landing, is
approximately 40 miles south of Boston. After visiting "The Rock",
drop by the original site of The Plymouth Cordage Company. Cordage
Mall, as it is now called, contains many shops and restaurants as
well as several displays detailing the history of the company that
made rope out of cannabis hemp for over 100 of its 150 years of
existence. On a final research related topic, the book, "The
Ropemakers of Plymouth. A History of the Plymouth Cordage Company",
written by Samuel Eliot Morison in 1950, is a must read for any

It covers the history of the North American sailing industry, the
price of hemp fiber and cordage throughout the 1800's, the type of
hemp rigging used on the sailing ships of that era, and an
explanation of why hemp fell out of favor in the early 1900's. So,
even if you can't visit the above mentioned places, you can still
sail through time on hemp's historic wind.

Hemp History, Hemp Future

I hope that this article has increased your understanding and
awareness of the role that hemp played in this country's history.
From the earliest settlers scratching out a meager existence to the
great sailing ships which dominated the seas, the integral nature
of cannabis hemp overshadows all other resources. After a 100 year
reprise, hemp is poised to regain its place as this planet's most
utilitarian plant. It is everyone's responsibility to do as much as
they can to help hemp complete its comeback. 

PO Box 178, Mullumbimby, NSW 2482, AUSTRALIA 

Mailbag: For industrial hemp


I am speaking on behalf of concerned citizens who wish to create a free market for industrial hemp.
Hemp gets a bad reputation due to its ties with marijuana. The truth is the THC levels in hemp are .05 percent, giving it no drug value. However 99 percent of marijuana that is “eradicated” is really just ditchweed. In addition, the government warning the so-called dangers of industrial hemp creates a bad influence on children, because when they realize the government was lying to them, they will ignore any warnings about more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Hemp has many viable markets for its oils, protein, long fibers and inner hurds. Hemp production and sales are increasing globally. The government should not make a decision for hemp to remain illegal under the guise that it is not profitable. This is a perversion of the free market system!
George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson experimented with hemp growth. Does our current government think they are more knowledgeable than our founding fathers? If they were serious about the economy getting back on track, they should use every feasible resource.
If the American people are serious, they should visit and support the movement.
Alex Szeklinski, Leander, Texas (June 24)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Points of Divergence


  A definite point of divergence took place when Europeans arrived to the Americas and first began interacting with local indigenous people. One story goes that the Europeans traded farming tools to the American Indians and then showed them how to use to them. On learning the natives laughed. Now because of the language barrier the Europeans thought the Americans were laughing at themselves for not coming up with the idea to make and use such tools before. In actuality the Indians were laughing that the Europeans did not see the expansive garden they had fostered already.   

The American Indians practiced permaculture, not agriculture.   

The Americans had fields where wild food grew for all. They already had fields to harvest from and animals to eat. They did not see the point in wasting time working agriculture when the permaculture provided everything already, in bounty.  

    There is a point of divergence.   

The white western world was based on agricultural trade. And the indigenous American world operated through permacultural hunting and gathering. Now we have corporate agriculture. The reason we are an agricultural society and not a permacultural one is because permaculture cannot be controlled and sold.  

    The mentality depicted in this point of divergence is applicable to the systems of energy distribution throughout the world today. The point of divergence relative to this story occurred when Rudolph Diesel mysteriously died at sea. Diesel promoted the localization of fuel sources through biofuels designing his engine to run on hemp oil or whatever was locally available. When he died at sea mysteriously we diverged from the localization of fuel sources to the globalization of fuel sources.   

All energy, be it oil or nuclear is distributed in an oligarchic design where the few are in control of the resources the many need. The only way to solve the world's energy problems is to integrate localization of fuel sources. For instance if solar was promoted and integrated with new and existing structures we would require less oligarchic energy distribution. If people were allowed and encouraged to harvest hemp biofuels we would require less oligarchic energy distribution. Hemp is one of the oiliest plants there is.

    Yet we have designed a system which does not promote localization and does not empower individuals, a system which in fact promotes homogenization and empowers oligarchical institutions. All energy distribution benefits the few over the many and it is time to review and reverse this point of divergence.

    Prophecy Rock in the Hopi Nation in Old Oraibi illustrates a point of divergence. Its meaning is layered, but it definitely depicts a point of divergence. One line becomes two and people go astray from our true nature of farming, whether permaculture or agriculture, and gravitate toward the materialistic and shallow world of nuclear power plants instead of growing powerful plants.

Get More Involved With Hemp Reform

By Anndrea Hermann
hemp industrial

Many of my posts will reflect on my hemp dreams. I am thankful to have this outlet to share them. I hope that interested readers will get more involved here at NCC and with Vote HempHemp Industries Association and The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance.
During my internship I had the opportunity to assist the Parkland Crop Diversification Foundation (PCDF) with their hemp trials in the Parkland Region of Manitoba. PDCF has been conducting hemp field agronomic trials since 1998. These may be the longest consecutive  government funded hemp trials in Canada, to the best of my knowledge. The project are transferable to the USA, especially states like North Dakota as the environmental conditions are similar. The PCDF reports are a great agronomic tool as we prepare for hemp legalization in the USA.
From the 2011 report I will highlight 1 of the 4 trials: Industrial Hemp Trial- Dormant Seeded vs. Spring Seeded (3rd year). As part of the Canadian hemp regulations, volunteer hemp plants that return must be culled from the field. It was noted that some of the hemp cultivars had an increased occurrence of this ‘volunteerism’. This made for an interesting agronomic take on seed timing. I have seen volunteer hemp up before the weeds appeared, or before you could start to work the field. This kind of canopy coverage and elongation advantage could result in increase yields and decrease in weed pressure.
Anndrea Hermann hemp researchPCDF examined 3 hemp cultivars (Alyssa, Delores and Petera ) seeded both in the fall (Nov. 2010) and spring (May 2011) season. Unfortunately the plots were eventually destroyed due poor emergence of the fall seeded hemp. It was concluded the poor emergence was due to early heavy snowfall which created an insulation affect preventing the ground from freezing up soon after seeding. Mother Nature, gotta appreciate her!
The data from the previous 2 years showed a increase in grain and fibre yields resulting from the dormant seeded hemp over the spring seeded. However, more research is needed to identify seeding depth, rate, timing, effect of different crop stubble, to isolate dormant traits within the gene pool and yield potential vs risk.
Insider Note: The Plant Breeder of the 3 cultivars always named his cultivars after women he respected. After his death, the PIHG named his newly registered cultivar Petera (female version of his name Peter) in his honour.
The PDCF complete reports can be downloaded at PCDF Reports.
This years trials are doing well and I’ll keep you posted on the Hemp Field Day!

Published with special permission from National Cannabis Coalition

Sakha Leader Wants to Plant Hemp to Replace Marijuana


The head of Sakha region wants to grow nonpotent hemp to inhibit the spread of naturally growing marijuana. Above, an outdoor plantation in the UK with a varietal of Cannabis sativa that contains ultra-low levels of cannabinoids, making it useless for recreational purposes.

The head of Sakha region wants to grow nonpotent hemp to inhibit the spread of naturally growing marijuana. Above, an outdoor plantation in the UK with a varietal of Cannabis sativa that contains ultra-low levels of cannabinoids, making it useless for recreational purposes.

The leader of the northeast Siberian republic of Sakha said Tuesday that nonpotent hemp should be planted in the region to inhibit the spread of naturally growing marijuana.

"There is cannabis that is free of drugs. I suggest planting it in the areas where the wild cannabis grows," Yegor Borisov said at a meeting of the local anti-narcotics commission, Interfax reported.

He said the measure would hinder the reproduction of the drug-containing cannabis plants and asked the local agriculture ministry to consider the proposal.

A ministry representative promised to conduct research and provide an expert opinion.

In September, the head of the Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov, said drug-free cannabis could be planted to replace potent plants covering about a million hectares of the country.

He said that at least three Russian research institutes had cultivated 20 subspecies of "harmless" cannabis that could be used to produce oil, livestock feed, paper and other products.

Hemp Events Around The World


I Grew Hemp

By Anndrea Hermann
We all want to make a difference when it comes to Cannabis but often wonder how can I get connected with others that share my passion. I still seek this connection and want to share some cool hemp events coming up over the summer so you can get connected from Philly, PA to Belguim, EU!
European Events: 
Are you in Belgium? Going there or want to?  There is 2 great events happening that are in-conjunction with The Walloon Agricultural Research Centre, Department Production and Commodity Chains, Belgium
The presentations will more than likely be in French so if you go please translate a few bits for me!
On June 30th,  2012  from 9am-12pm the town hall in Villers-le-Bouillet Belgium will be having a tour of the local hemp construction project. Guest are asked to register at . Special visits to other hemp business are being planned to follow the tour.
To showcase the agricultural diversification projects at the Walloon Agricultural Research Centre farm of Verly, Meix front-Virton, 99, Belgium . An afternoon information session will be held Monday, July 2 at 1:30 p.m. Please find attached the invitation includes all the practical information. Invitation chanvre Meix-devant-Virton 2 Juillet 2012
Thinking about travelling to Slovenia around August 25-30th? Then you should attend the World Hemp Congress
July20th-22nd, 2012 in Eugene Oregon check out the Emerald Empire HempFest 
August 17th- 19th, 2012 – Seattle, U.S.A Seattle Hempfest 
August 25th, 2012, Philly, PA Hemp Heals Music Festival  Hemp_Heals_Deck1000
Look up The HIA Events and Canna-bis. net Hemp Events for other great event listings
Stay tuned for Updates on the Hemp Industries Association annual meeting to be held in Nov. after the San Fransico  Green Festival.
Once I know about the hemp fields days I’ll let you know.  
Join the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance  in Edmonton, Alberta Nov 4-7th. 2012  for the annual convention! This event, Growing the Sector Hemp 2012 will be a packed 4 day event with presentations, poster session, trade show booths, industry networking and technology transfer, amazing hemp infused food, delegate gift bags, a fashion show and a silent auction all ending with a tour of a hemp fibre processing research centre.  CHTA_GrowingtheSector_2012 (1)
Hope to see you out and remember thank the sponsors by using your purchase power to make a hemp difference!
Anndrea Hermann is from Joplin, Missouri and graduated from Missouri Southern State University in 2002 with a B.GS in Ecolonomics focusing on hemp. She acquired an internship with a coop of hemp farmers in the summer of 2001 and in late 2003, Anndrea was selected as a Manitoban Provincial Nominee under the Unique Skilled Worker Program (Hemp Technician) in which, she became a Canadian landed immigrate and permanent resident in 2004. In August of 2008 she completed a Masters of Science in hemp fibre agronomy at the University of Manitoba. She has authored articles, book chapters and industry reviews. To date, Anndrea is in the process of starting her own company. With 15 years experience in the Canadian & International Hemp Cannabis industry, she has a wide range of interdisciplinary skills: Hemp Fibre & Seed Agronomy, Hemp Field Trials & Crop THC Sampling, Sales, Marketing, Product Development, Regulatory Affairs, Certifications and Licensing, Client to Client Connections, Hemp Building Applications, Project Analysis, Bodycare, Fashion, Food and so much more….
Published with special permission from the National Cannabis Coalition

Camira fabric showcased in green home exhibit

By Heath E Combs

This sofa in The Museum of Science and Industry’s 2012 Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit is covered in Camira’s Hemp fabric.This sofa in The Museum of Science and Industry’s 2012 Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit is covered in Camira’s Hemp fabric.
CHICAGO - The 2012 Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit here is featuring a sofa upholstered in textile supplier Camira's Hemp fabric.
Built on the grounds of the Chicago museum, the functioning three-story modular sustainable green home highlights eco-friendly technologies.
A repurposed sofa in the living room is upholstered with Hemp, a fabric made from wool and harvested hemp, which according to Camira, makes it natural and biodegradable.
The fabric is a classic plain weave, piece dyed fabric available in 25 shades. In most of the fabric, the wool portion is the only colored section, to emphasize the look of undyed hemp.
The fabric has inherent fire retardancy and a five-year wear warranty, a press release said.
The look of the green home was created by antique shop Scout and its owner, Larry Vodak. The exhibit runs through Jan. 6.

The world needs hemp, says Abhay Deol

By Abhay Deol, Hindustan Times

Abhay Deol

Conspiracy theorists will have you know that the “war” on drugs is just a way to keep drugs in the black market so that their valueremains “high”. Comparing cannabis (marijuana/hemp) with hard drugs like cocaine, crack, heroin etc is a way to demonise the drug further. 

The downfall of the plant started early last century in the US. Ironically, it was illegal NOT to grow hemp in a few states in the early part of US history. Even George Washington grew it. Its uses were many — as fiber for ropes and sails, to make paper, its seeds are high in proteins, it makes for a stronger, longer lasting material to make clothes with, than cotton. It was possibly the first agricultural crop. 

It can be grown in most climates, is drought resistant, requires little fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides. Its seeds can be used to make hemp oil.

A little known fact is that it can also be used to produce fuel! Henry Ford’s first Model-T (the people’s car) was even constructed from hemp! He said it was “grown from the soil” and its impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel! Hemp fuel is also biodegradable, does not contribute sulphur dioxide to the atmosphere and is non-toxic. 

Farmers around the world would greatly benefit from growing it. But alas, we live in a market driven economy and I personally have come to believe that the market is driven by scarcity. 

If upon further research it is proved that hemp can provide us with so many alternatives, it would drive many companies out of business. Think about it, it can replace trees for paper, that would not be good for companies who make profit from cutting down trees. Being a weed, it grows really fast and outcompetes other weeds. 

Hemp strains produce their own resins that make the crop naturally pest free. Not good for companies that make pesticides! It can be used as a fuel! This is one of the major threats! Oil companies are some of the biggest giants in the corporate world. Both Henry Ford and Rudolf Diesel designed cars that ran on vegetable oils and hemp oil. This was a century ago! 

Ford even said that the fuel of the future is going to come from weeds and fruits, anything that can be fermented to produce ethanol/ethyl alcohol. But as gasoline emerged as the dominant transportation fuel in the early part of the last century, as more and more oil fields were discovered, there was intense lobbying by the petroleum companies to maintain steep taxes on alcohol thereby killing the market for alternative fuels. 

The rabbit hole goes deeper. The case for hemp as mankind’s (and the Earth’s) saviour cannot be made by me in a 300 word article (which I have far exceeded). Before the western influence started to dictate our laws, we were happy to spark up, drink, and even eat the damn drug with no one having any objection. 

Our festival of Holi is proof of that. Today it is illegal. So how is it that bhang is sold at government outlets during Holi? Why is it that sadhus who smoke chillums are not arrested? When and why did we bring a law to ban it? Was it to benefit us, or the US?

Sen. Ron Wyden's attempt to expand production of industrial hemp fails

by Charles Pope

chez gourmet.JPG
Silvia Gregory (left) and Jim Gregory package Hemburgers - veggie 
burgers made with hemp. An amendment by Sen. Ron Wyden to 
make it easier for farmers to grow industrial hemp failed in the Senate.

WASHINGTON - Hemp is a plant that has many commercial applications but Sen. Ron Wyden's effort to include a provision in the farm bill to formally classify it as a legitimate crop failed Thursday as the Senate finished work on the bill without considering his amendment.

The official reason was that the "hemp amendment" was not germane because it edged into the Controlled Substances Act. Wyden's amendment would have excluded industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. He hoped to attach it to the farm bill.

"I firmly believe that American farmers should not be denied an opportunity to grow and sell a legitimate crop simply because it resembles an illegal one," Wyden said in a statement after the Senate finished work on the 1,010-page bill that governs farm policy for the next five years.

Despite the defeat, Wyden sought to put a positive spin on the effort.

"Raising this issue has sparked a growing awareness of exactly how ridiculous the U.S.’s ban on industrial hemp is," he said.
"I’m confident that if grassroots support continues to grow and members of Congress continue to hear from voters then common sense hemp legislation can move through Congress in the near future," he said.

Wyden argued that changing the definition would create jobs. Industrial hemp, he argued, is a commercial product with many uses that should not be restricted like a drug. Ten states, including Oregon, have removed barriers to its production or research of industrial hemp.

Even so, farmers that grow hemp are subject to raids by federal agents and potential prison terms because under federal law hemp is defined as a controlled substance.
wyden-bruceely.JPGWyden says the government's continued refusal to allow industrial hemp to be widely grown is "ridiculous."

There have been similar efforts in previous years but the size and scope expanded this year. More than 15,000 letters were delivered to Congress in support of Wyden’s amendment and similar measures to de-criminalize hemp. The Hemp Industries Association orchestrated a lobbying campaign.

If Wyden's amendment had not gone up in smoke, it would have reversed a prohibition imposed 50 years ago. It also would give states the authority to regulate cultivation of industrial hemp. Wyden argued it would not have adverse impact on the federal government's efforts to dry up the marijuana market and people who raise it.

Industry officials and supporters say hemp has a large market potential and can be used for everything as a substitute to milk to textiles and rope, as well as to make building materials and for use in plastics.

Iowa Democrats Add Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp to Party Platform


Earlier this year, the Colorado Democrats announced their support for marijuana legalization in their 2012 party platform. On June 9th, the Texas Democrats endorsed marijuana decriminalization. 

Last weekend, the North Carolina Democratic Party added resolutions supporting medical cannabis and industrial hemp. 

Now, the Iowa Democratic party is the latest one lining up to support sensible marijuana laws.

At their state convention on June 16th, the Iowa Democrats adopted their 2012 platform. Two of the policies endorsed within were medical cannabis use and the industrial cultivation of hemp. You can view the full 2012 Iowa Democratic Party platform here.

Also worth noting, on June 2nd, the Washington State Democratic Party built upon their earlier endorsement of their state’s legalization initiative, I-502, by adding support for full marijuana legalization and medical cannabis as planks in their party platform. You can view the 2012 Washington State Democratic Party Platform here. Recent data from Public Policy Polling has shown the majority Washington State voters support I-502.

Ron Hart: It's time to legalize marijuana


"The war on drugs has been a utter failure, uhhh, I think we need to rethink, uhhh, and decriminalize marijuana laws."
— Barack Obama, 1/21/04
Yet again, I agree with President Barack Obama (actually, with candidate Obama), except I believe the war on drugs has been "an" utter failure. Then again, I did not receive an almost-free, Ivy League education.
Pot should be decriminalized. I suggest that Congress consider it, perhaps in a joint session.
Recent polling says that more kids are smoking pot than cigarettes, and that well over half of Americans support decriminalizing marijuana. Those who say it is a "gateway" drug are right: It's a gateway to the White House.
Even though they were best sellers, Obama's books — like him — were all about himself. He admits to smoking a lot of pot. In his high school yearbook, he (Barry Obama) even thanked his weed dealer, Ray, for "all the good times."
Government likes to wet its beak in all the vices. Government currently controls the numbers (lottery); drugs (DEA and FDA); alcohol, cigarettes, and guns (ATF); etc. It is like the Mafia without the organizational skill or code of honor.
If a bale of marijuana were to wash ashore from Mexico, I would support giving it amnesty. Some would delight in its use, and the money from the sale would not go to fund violent Mexican cartels.
The White House has been petitioned to change the laws on weed. It is not that they would not consider it, but the impassioned plea for legalizing pot could not be taken seriously since it was written on three empty Domino's Pizza boxes.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray testified (as have other authorities) as to why spending taxpayer money to incarcerate citizens arrested for pot possession is stupid. He said, "The tougher we get with pot, the softer we get with prosecuting everything else — homicide, rape ..."
My dad was a Marine and then a policeman and he agrees. Tying up law enforcement by sending kids to jail for pot is a waste. It costs us money, and they come out of prison as more hardened and violent criminals. It is estimated that in our failed War on Drugs, more than 20 million Americans have been sent to jail over weed, and it has cost us $1 trillion. Prison is not for nonviolent criminals.
One in 30 people in America is in the penal system, the highest incarceration rate in the world. Arrests are disproportionately minorities and the poor. Black men make up 40 percent of the prison population. According to Department of Justice, 13 percent of people are in jail for marijuana offenses. The report says that modest reforms in laws relating to the criminalization of marijuana would save taxpayers $20 billion a year and would reduce our prison population by 800,000.
As he is with most subjects, Ron Paul is right about our wasteful War on Drugs. Be eternally suspect when Washington declares a "war" on anything: Terror, women, poverty, Christmas, drugs, etc. We never win any of them; they are just an excuse to grow government.
Hypocrites in Washington will not act, even on hemp. We can no longer legally grow hemp in the U.S., yet our first two Declarations of Independence were written on cannabis hemp paper. And no federal building will ever be named after Ron Paul (well, maybe just a tunnel from Tijuana into California).
Prohibition spawned Al Capone and the rise of the Mafia. Drug laws have brought us Mexican cartel violence.
New York Mayor Bloomberg is trying to regulate the size of sodas. New York City will fine you $200 for a soda larger than 16 ounces; for pot, $100 and for murder, $50.
It is a bad idea to attempt to regulate human behavior. Real regulation comes from the individual, from family, faith, conscience, and consequences — never from government. Aside from the notion that we are a free country, we can put in our bodies what we please as long as it does not harm others. Where does government regulation of our personal behavior end?
Even the Rev. Pat Robertson said when he came out for marijuana reforms, "Just because something is legal it does not mean we should do it." I apply the same logic to pineapple on pizza and those froufrou International Flavor creamers like hazelnut in my coffee. If crack or meth were legal, I would not use it — but it should be my choice, as long as it does not harm others.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hemp: A green, growing industry

By Liina Flynn

NEXT spring, rather than planting the usual crops, why not plant industrial hemp?
GROWING INDUSTRY: A harvest of hemp crops at Ashfield. 

NEXT spring, rather than planting the usual crops, why not plant industrial hemp? According to Northern Rivers Hemp, there's a massive demand nationally and internationally for industrial hemp and a shortage of supply.
Klara Marosszeky from The Australian Hemp Masonry Company said local farmers thinking about a change can get much bigger returns from growing industrial hemp than they can from other crops.
"Farmers can get $500 per tonne for fibre and you can get at least 10 tonnes from one hectare," Klara said. "In this region, we have trialled 18 industrial hemp cultivar varieties over the last eight years on every soil type - it will grow nearly anywhere except in water-logged places. It's a very versatile and hardy plant and will grow with half the water needed to grow lucerne."
"We currently have about 20 hectares of industrial hemp under cultivation in the North Coast area, but we need 1000 hectares to meet the demand of the building industry," Klara said.
A forum being held on Saturday will give farmers an opportunity to get accurate information about opportunities to grow industrial hemp as part of a regulated industry.
Klara has spent the last 12 years developing hemp masonry to build energy-efficient housing with breathing walls that never grow mould. Now there's so much interest in the product, overseas companies want to licence it.
Industrial hemp can be integrated into many existing industries; at the moment, a company on the Central Coast is making hemp palettes. It can also be used in latex, mattresses, pillows, ropes, oils, fibreglass replacements, food, pharmaceuticals, automobile panels and plastics.
Locally, Dr Keith Bolton has been using hemp as a bio-remediator to remove contaminants from soil and he'll be at the forum to answer any questions people may have about 'mop crops'.
Hemp food tasting will also be a highlight of the event with local entrepreneur Andrew Kavasilas,who believes we should be drinking milk made from industrial hemp seeds.
"It's high in essential acids and more nutritious than soy milk," Mr Kavasilas said.
Forum at City Hall
This Saturday, June 23, from 10am-12pm, Northern Rivers Hemp will be holding a forum at Lismore City Hall Fountain Room and invites anyone interested in growing, manufacturing or marketing hemp products to come along.

First Hempcrete Building Course Taught In The USA



Hempcrete Is A Blend Of Hemp Hurd And A Lime Binder

By Anndrea Hermann, National Cannabis Coalition
This past week, my husband Aaron and I had the opportunity to attend the first hemp and lime (Hempcrete) Building Course in the USA, taught by world renowned hemp and ecological builder Steve Allin of the International Hemp Building Association. The event was sponsored by Original Green Distribution (OGD), Prescott WI. OGD provides 2 product lines — Hemp Shield and the OGD brand HempStone lime component binder.
The course was held at the Eagle Rest Eco-Village, a Sustainable Community & Land Conservation Development Organization in the Lower Saint Croix Valley near Prescott, WI. The Eagle Rest Eco-Village will be more then just the Eco-Center; it will be a community of homes, schools and farm land that will provide families with a safe place to live, re-connect with their food and grow as a community.
hempcrete qualifying classThis 3 day hemp course provided educational background on building with hemp, it history, binders, timber types, frame systems, casting, bricks, mixing, shuttering, window details, application of hempcrete into wall shutters and the final render (hemp plastering).
Hempcrete is a blend of hemp hurd and a lime binder. The lime based binders have hydrophobic characteristics that are mixed with other materials to increase compression strength and lessen set-up time. When working with lime binders, wearing a face mask is suggested.
Hempcrete is breathable, has thermal inertia and latent heat characteristics, and produces an ‘echoing’ effect of self cooling or heating. Hempcrete buildings keep a even temperature year round and create a healthy living environment and air quality. On top of all that, hempcrete has been calculated to be overall a carbon negative product. It is pretty amazing to shutter a wall, pour in the hempcrete, give it a light tamping, remove the shutter, and before you know it you have a living breathing wall!
hempcrete qualifying classIf you would like to learn more about building with hemp you must order the 2nd edition of Steve Allin’s book Building with Hemp.
CBS WCCO Channel 4 presented a story on the construction, and I must say they did a good job of representing the event.
At the end of the course we learned our Certificate of Competence in working with Hemp Building Materials and left behind this first hemp wall in WI!
Many thanks to the OGD team and Steve Allin for sharing his knowledge.
Anndrea Hermann is from Joplin, Missouri and graduated from Missouri Southern State University in 2002 with a B.GS in Ecolonomics focusing on hemp. She acquired an internship with a coop of hemp farmers in the summer of 2001 and in late 2003, Anndrea was selected as a Manitoban Provincial Nominee under the Unique Skilled Worker Program (Hemp Technician) in which, she became a Canadian landed immigrate and permanent resident in 2004.
hempcreteIn August of 2008 she completed a Masters of Science in hemp fibre agronomy at the University of Manitoba. She has authored articles, book chapters and industry reviews. To date, Anndrea is in the process of starting her own company. With 15 years experience in the Canadian & International Hemp Cannabis industry, she has a wide range of interdisciplinary skills: Hemp Fibre & Seed Agronomy, Hemp Field Trials & Crop THC Sampling, Sales, Marketing, Product Development, Regulatory Affairs, Certifications and Licensing, Client to Client Connections, Hemp Building Applications, Project Analysis, Bodycare, Fashion, Food and so much more….