Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Passive Solar Hemp Building

By Dionne Payn
Source: HempLifestyleMagazine.com

There are two types of hemp builders. On one side there are your
hemp advocates; those who already know hemp is a fantastic resource
for so many different aspects of our daily lives and would never
consider building with anything else. On the other side, there are
those who set out to build an environmentally responsible home and
quickly realise that hemp is one of the best alternative building
materials available.
Kirstie and Ben, who are  currently building their  house on the
Southern New South Wales coast of Australia, definitely fall into
the latter category. "I live in a mud brick house which is
beautiful to live in but building with mud brick is really hard and
heavy work", says Kirstie. Knowing that she wanted to build an
environmentally sustainable home led Kirstie into researching
natural building techniques such as rammed earth, light earth and
straw bale. It was an article in Owner Builder magazine that
alerted Kirstie about the benefits of hemp.
Kirstie recalls, "I looked into the light earth technique and saw
cases where the material had taken too long to dry out and the
straw started going mouldy. When I first read about hemp building I
dismissed it as something a bit new and untried, but eventually I
was attracted to it because the lime [used in the binder] is
naturally anti-mould. Plus as the lime dries out it continues to
cure regardless of the weather".
During her research Kirstie found that most natural building
materials either provide thermal mass, such as mud brick and rammed
earth or provide excellent insulation such as straw bale. In
contrast, hemp provides great insulation and thermal mass, which
for Kirstie who is building a passive solar house, was an important
factor in her decision. After taking part in a hemp building course
with Klara Marosszeky, Kirstie took the plunge and submitted her
plans to her local Council for approval.
Getting Council approval was not a straightforward process to start
off with. Any new build using traditional methods such as brick
veneer and weatherboard must comply with the Building Code of
Australia. As Kirstie was working with a non-standard building
method she needed to prove that it would meet certain requirements
including standards for weather proofing, fire safety and wind
resistance. Once she realised that she needed to find a suitably
qualified engineer who would be able to prove to Council that hemp
building did meet the requirements of the Building Code, and with
Klara's help, she obtained the necessary engineers report and
finally received approval.
Building a house that heats and cools itself
Kirstie's passive solar design uses the sun and the day/night
temperature to heat and cool the house, without the need for active
sources such as air conditioners and heaters. "I think that every
person who is building a house has an obligation to build the best
way they can. Rather than having a poorly oriented, poorly designed
house that you then have to pump a lot of electricity into to keep
it at a comfortable level, a better solution is to build a house
where the design of the house does these things itself".
The house is designed to capture as much winter sun as possible
which falls onto the concrete slab and acts as a thermal mass to
absorb, hold and re-radiate the heat during the cooler evenings. In
summer, the reverse happens; at night all the windows are opened to
let in the cool air, which is absorbed by the concrete slab and
keeps the house cool during the day.
The building process has presented some challenges. For example,
Kirstie chose to build using a prefabricated timber frame. "I had
specified stud [the upright pieces of wood in the frame] spacings
of 600mm but because of the location of windows and the extra
height of some of my walls it meant that we had to put in extra
studs. So in some spots we are packing hemp between quite closely
spaced timbers, which is more time consuming". 
Another issue Kirstie found tricky is packing the hemp underneath
and around the noggings [the horizontal bracing piece used between
studs to give rigidity to the wall frames of a building]. While
they have figured out a way around this, Kirstie acknowledges that
next time she would work more closely with the framing company
about their designs, as using stronger or larger timbers would
reduce the need for so many of the studs.
Hemp building - it's girls work!
Having previously built a mud brick shed, Kirstie noted that hemp
building is something that can be easily done by women. "In
contrast to building with mud brick, where after a day of making
the bricks your shoulders and arms know about it, hemp is so light
for its volume. Even when you mix the hemp with the binder and sand
and when you're lifting the hemp and pouring it in, it's really not
heavy work".
Another aspect of hemp building that Kirstie found appealing is
that it is not a highly skilled task, which means that friends have
become willing helpers after being shown a couple of times how to
mix the hemp and binder and how to tamp the mix between the
formwork. Kirstie recalls the sense of camaraderie from having
friends involved in the building process. "On a few of the more
difficult sections, we had one person working from the inside and
one person working from the outside. It was just lovely working
together on it".
To minimise the environmental impact of the building process,
Kirstie tried to source the hemp and binder as close as possible to
the site. The hemp was supplied by EcoFibre Industries in the
Hunter Valley, about 5 hours away from Kirstie's location. While a
large proportion of the cost was due to transport fees, after
purchasing a semitrailer of hemp there should be enough material
available left over for Kirstie to build her house and either a
garage or shed as well. The binder, which is made and tested in
Australia, was purchased from the Australian Hemp Masonry Company.
At just 123 square metres the house is small by today's standards.
However, building a small house is probably one of the best ways to
reduce your carbon footprint as you need less materials and
generate less waste. What about the costs of hemp building compared
to traditional techniques such as brick veneer? Kirstie says "just
based on the cost of materials the price would be similar. The
problem then is that you have to pay a skilled brick layer, unless
you can lay bricks yourself, and then someone to gyprock the inside
of your house.  So the real cost saving for us is that we are doing
the build ourselves".
As an owner builder who is also working part-time, Kirstie hopes
that the house will be completed within 12-18 months. Kirstie
advises that anyone interested in learning more about building with
hemp should do a workshop or work on someone else's build to gain
the confidence to build their own house. Kirstie's final piece of
advice to anyone interested in hemp building is "if you are looking
for an environmental building material, that doesn't have high
energy inputs and has a lower carbon footprint, hemp building
definitely ticks all of those boxes".
For more details in relation to Kirstie's build visit her blog at
The Owner Builder Magazine - www.theownerbuilder.com.au
Ecofibre Industries - www.ecofibre.com.au
Australian Hemp Masonry Company - www.hempmasonry.com

Hemp house nears completion in Hailey

Source: mtexpress.com

Age old innovation in building industry

Local builder Blake Eagle and his wife Angie began researching healthy and sustainable building materials about four years ago for use in a home they planned to build in Northridge in Hailey. They settled on a material with high thermal mass that does not require the usual amount of chemicals and vapor barriers used in conventional construction.

“It just makes sense to build our living environment using natural, breathable materials in a healthy sustainable manner as our budget allows,” said Blake Eagle.

It took the couple 18 months to receive permitting from the City of Hailey to proceed with construction of their two story wood-framed Northridge home. The delay was due to their decision to use a thick layer of hemp and a lyme- based, non-concrete binder on the exterior walls of the building.

Hemp is a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) variety of the plant Cannabis sativa. According to Wikipedia, of the approximately 2000 cannabis plants varieties known, about 90% contain only low-grade THC and are most useful for their fiber, seeds and medicinal or psychoactive oils.

“People keep asking me if they can smoke my house,” joked Eagle.

German project highlights hemp as bio material

By Charlotte Eyre
Source: europeanplasticsnews.com

Manufacturers of bioplastics can resolve the problem of dosing natural fibres by using hemp pellets, according to a new Germany-based project led by the Nova Institut.

The Nova Institut’s Michael Carus said the project was set up because natural fibres cannot be easily fed and dosed in the plastic process, as they stick together. The partners decided on hemp as a material because only flax and hemp are grown as fibre crops in the EU.

Prof Dr Jörg Müssig (HS Bremen, Bionik) and his team tested the properties of the hemp fibres from German manufacturer BaFa before and after pelletisation, within the granulate and in the end product, as well as checking the mechanical values of test specimens and end products.

Carus said that as well as solving dispensing problems, hemp can also improve mechanical properties when used in a biopolymer.

“This is depending on the application but [the mechanical strength] often comes close to glass fibre reinforcement, for example, 30% glass fibre is equal to 40% natural fibre reinforcement,” he told European Plastics News.

The infeed of natural fibres in form of optimized pellets also leads to a more homogenous distribution of the fibres and lower fibre damage, and production is cheaper and more sustainable than that of plastic pellets, according to the project partners.

According to Carus, several companies, including big automotive and plastic processors, are using the new pellets for testing and will soon decide to use them on whether to use them on a commercial level.

As well as Nova and BaFa, the project partners include FKuR, H.Hiendl, Linotech and the Fraunhofer WKI. The project is entitled “development of industrial scale natural fibre pellet production using natural fibres to reinforce bioplastics in injection moulding and extrusion techniques”.

Breaking ground: The First Hemp House in New Zealand

Interview by Dionne Payn
Source: HempLifestyleMagazine.com

Breaking ground: The First Hemp House in New Zealand 
Q & A with Greg Flavell
You are about to build the first hemp house in New Zealand. How did
this come about?
I went and gave a presentation to the Green Party about hemp
building and one of the audience members, Lance Palmer, was
interested in the technique. It turned out that Lance is the
Managing Director of a company called Fowler Homes based in Taranaki,
New Zealand and had been considering building his own home from
rammed earth. Once he saw samples of the hempcrete and saw how easy
it was to apply stucco cladding to the sample, he decided he wanted to
build his 195 m2 house using hemp. Rockcote Resene are going to
provide the lime based exterior wall cladding for the house.
We have another house lined up in Canterbury, on the South Island
of NZ, and Fowler Homes are bidding on two more.
What has the reception been from the New Zealand public?
New Zealanders seem to be more embracing and accepting than the US
public. I think New Zealand seems to be a test-bed for many things,
probably because of country's physical isolation from other countries.
Since the Christchurch earthquakes, the building codes are stricter,
but this is not much different to building codes in California.
Are the hemp and binder sourced in New Zealand?
The hemp will be supplied from a farm in New Zealand or Australia,
depending on the amount of hemp available locally. There are three
cultivars grow well in here; "Kompolti", "USO 31" and "Ferimon" hemp.
In Europe only 5% of the hemp hurd is used for building, whereas in
New Zealand we intend to use about 10-15%. Planting is due to
start in late October with harvesting due late March - April.
We are working with Adrian Clarke who will bring his decorticator
to New Zealand by the end of the month and are hoping to process
168 bales of hemp. While we are working on hemp building, we
also supply markets for animal bedding, plastics and paper.
Loading...In the past we imported the binder material into the
US from Europe. This time we will use a proprietary binder
made using local materials.
Tell us about The Hemp Club
We are starting The Hemp Club (THC) as a way to help hemp advocates
have some ownership in a project. We search for residential
property and land at $10,000 - 20,000 below Rateable Valuation
(RV) to renovate, and then resell at a profit based on the
improvements we have listed below. It is much easier to renovate
than build, for example we can turn around house in 3 months
compared to a new build which takes 6 months. Plus there is
not as much planning permission required. We are mostly looking
for deceased estates that are coming onto the market, as
relatives often want to take the money quickly and move on.
Case Study
This home is now under contract for NZ$290,000 ($25k below RV) with
a 1317 m2 section in a good area of New Plymouth. THC would do
the following:
  • Renovate and insulate with hemp to increase energy efficiency
  • Survey to sub-divide section to create 2nd building lot
  • Increase windows insulation to <0.35 U-Value
  • Open the floor plan to provide more space and light
  • Add a full or half bathroom
  • Upgrade electrical, plumbing to current building codes
  • Replace hot water tank with tankless system, capturing space
  • Upgrade all interior/exterior lighting to reduce energy costs
  • Upgrade kitchen for aesthetics and entertaining
  • Add attractive decking for outdoor living space
  • New (low VOC) paint throughout
  • Update landscaping for increased curb appeal
  • Contract new valuation (RV)
  • List renovated hemp home for sale at new RV ~$419k
  • Build a new 15-1700 sqft hemp home at $150/sqft ($1500/M2) $255k
  • Landscape to create curb appeal
  • Contract new valuation (RV)
List hemp home for sale at between $393k to 425k Estimated net
profit on total project = ~NZ$138k
THC retains half the net profit after close of escrow and the other half is
paid out as dividends to THC members, proportionate to investment.
For more information and to get involved, visit
Your colleague David Madera sadly passed away recently. Would you
like to share some of your favourite memories?
David and I were good friends for years and built together in
California and North Carolina. David passed on July 22, 2012
after a valiant battle with Melanoma, complicated with a heart
condition that had been diagnosed in 2004. Traveling to Peru
to practice with a shaman in the Amazon, to radical altering of his
diet he was diligent in working an integrated practice of both
Eastern and Western methodologies to release his body from the
grip of chronic illness. He rarely complained, always offered a positive
attitude, mischievous grin and a contagious laugh as he touched
countless lives on his time on the earth plane. He will be missed
but his carefree, carpe diem approach to living life will survive
in the hearts of all those who had the pleasure of spending time in
his light.

Marijuana Initiative 502 a tough sell in Eastern Washington

By Jonathan Martin
Source: seattletimes.com

While Initiative 502's call for marijuana legalization was conceived with Seattle sensibilities, the campaign is trying to woo Eastern Washington voters with conservative and libertarian messages. It's a tough sell.

Travel guru Rick Steves has been touring the state advocating for Initiative 502. 
He spoke last week at a rally in Leavenworth.

On a rainy Sunday in downtown Spokane, Rick Steves jumped on stage to evangelize for marijuana legalization.
The audience, at the Bing Crosby Theater, was not filled with the usual suspects for a pot rally. White-shoe attorneys sat near ministers. A grandmother, wearing a button opposing gay marriage, quietly feared for the grandson she says might be lost to the stuff.
Steves, the travel author and TV host with folksy charm, said he once was afraid to advocate for marijuana legalization in public, and so appeared as "Jerry" on a Seattle radio show about pot. Not anymore. "I feel like we are on the side of truth here," Steves told the crowd.
Steves' appearance was part of a traveling roadshow through red-state Washington on behalf of Initiative 502, which seeks to legalize marijuana. Conceived with Seattle sensibilities, the campaign must also appeal to values on the other side of the Cascade curtain to win on Nov. 6.
The campaign message in the 509 area code weaves conservative and libertarian themes into a liberal idea: Spend less to enforce low-level drug crimes and respect private adult conduct.
"Remember, it's not pro-pot; it's anti-pot-prohibition," Steves told the audience.
It's a tough sell, in part because as some voters said last week, they assume use would rise, and are uncomfortable with the idea of a state awash in legal pot.
A new poll of registered voters by the University of Washington finds I-502 winning statewide, 51 percent to 41 percent, thanks largely to strong support around Puget Sound. But in Eastern Washington, the measure trails with just 41 percent favoring it and 53 percent saying no.
Business leaders in the region have been mostly silent, but police have not.
In Yakima County, a hub for marijuana trafficking from Mexico as well as outdoor growing, Sheriff Ken Irwin is offended by what he sees as "hollow" arguments for I-502, which he believes would encourage drug use, especially among kids.
Mostly, he scoffs at I-502's argument that a legalized market would kneecap gangs controlling the marijuana black market.
"To think that by legalizing marijuana, the cartels would be out of business is just naive and absurd," Irwin said. "Criminals are criminals. They would find a way to undercut the price."

The politics of legalizing
The last marijuana initiative on a statewide ballot, the 1998 medical-cannabis law, was approved in Spokane County and in the Tri-Cities but handily shot down in Yakima and in Central Washington farm country.
I-502 is a leap beyond that, representing an unprecedented experiment. It would treat marijuana like alcohol — decriminalizing one ounce for adults 21 and over, and regulating and heavily taxing marijuana sold in state-licensed stores.
A state fiscal analysis estimates the state would need to license at least 100 grow farms to supply 187,000 pounds of marijuana a year to feed the retail market — if the federal government doesn't step in to block the law.
State Sen. Lisa Brown, a Spokane Democrat who is retiring after two decades in the Legislature, acknowledges it is a big experiment and believes the Legislature would have to tweak the law.
But I-502 "is preferable to the status quo, which has essentially created a lot of law breakers and resources devoted to that," said Brown. "I think we're a little more of a civil libertarian state. There's that western, 'Let's let people do what they want' kind of thing."
I-502 has used some of its $5.5 million campaign budget to air TV ads featuring former federal law-enforcement officials supporting legalization. That law-and-order appeal may have more sway in Eastern Washington. The often right-leaning editorial boards of The Spokesman-Review and The Wenatchee World endorsed I-502.
But Travis Ridout, a Washington State University political-science professor, hears little talk about legalization. "People are talking about the economy, the economy, the economy. That seems to be what's on people's minds, not the social issues" of marijuana and gay marriage, which is also on the ballot.

"I hate to see it come in"
A drive west from Spokane along Highway 2 is a trip through Washington's most conservative counties, where an "R" next to a candidate's name assures victory as a "D" does in Seattle.
Mark Smith, editor of the Davenport Times, which has published continuously since 1884, recalled asking the local sheriff about the state medical-marijuana law. "He said, 'Oh, Mark, don't go there. We gotta clamp down,' "said Smith.
Local voters embrace the "self-made man" ethos, and have a libertarian streak, he said. But voters aren't likely to embrace I-502's argument that Washington should directly confront the federal prohibition on marijuana.
"The state can vote on it, but the feds are really controlling the whole thing," said Smith.
A few miles down the road, in the no-stoplight farm town of Creston, Walt Wruble, a retired state criminal investigator, paused outside the Corner Café.
"I hate to see it come in, but it's probably no worse than what's already here," Wruble said. He said he knows people who've used marijuana as a first stop to harder drugs, and believes dealers ought to be imprisoned.
He expects I-502 to pass. "I think there's a lot of no votes over here, but there's also this feeling of, 'What are you going to do? There's already rampant use.' "
Whether use would rise is unknown; no state has legalized it. A study of the potential impact of marijuana legalization in California in 2010 predicted use could double, bringing it up to the peak consumption rates of the 1970s.
Study co-author Beau Kilmer, drug-policy research coordinator for the RAND Corporation, said cost, taxation and advertising restrictions will determine use. "If anyone thinks they have exact numbers on this, you have to be suspicious," said Kilmer. "The bottom line is, we just don't know."

The changing perception
"I see fields of industrial hemp in Eastern Washington," said farmer-turned attorney-turned marijuana activist Alex Newhouse, of Granger.
I-502 has pitched its legalization of hemp — the non-psychoactive variety of marijuana — as a boost to Eastern Washington's agriculture. It could be an attractive option for crop rotation, and a substitute for many fiber-based products.
Under federal law, hemp can't be grown here, but it is imported, often from China. Newhouse acknowledges that risk-adverse farmers wouldn't jeopardize their land unless the feds recognize hemp as legal.
But he said I-502 has helped change the politics of marijuana, even among some conservatives. "What's most fascinating, there's a lot of people openly discussing this," he said. "Three years ago, that just didn't happen."
David Rolfe, head of a crime-reduction nonprofit called Safe Yakima Valley, agrees that perceptions of marijuana have changed — and that's what worries him.
Yakima appears to have the most organized local opposition to I-502. Rolfe said he hears from business leaders concerned about lost worker productivity, and educators anxious about their students. Yakima has twice the statewide average for drug treatment among adults; youth rates are 60 percent higher, according to state figures.
"You now have this perception this drug, that is harmful, is somehow healthful and can heal you," said Rolfe, which he attributes to the medical-marijuana movement. "It concerns me that not only is there a perception among adults about less risk, but it's also among kids."
During the recent tour for I-502, Rick Steves seemed prepared for hostile audience questions about kids and marijuana, but they didn't come. The initiative, he noted, bans possession for people under 21, and has a zero-tolerance policy for youth driving with marijuana in their bloodstream.
But that's no reason to continue criminalizing adult use, he said.
"I'm a hardworking, churchgoing, child-raising, taxpaying citizen," he said. "If I want to go home and smoke a joint and stare at the fireplace for two hours, that's my civil liberty."
It was the biggest applause line of the night.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hemp And Brain Health Infographic

Posted by Johnny Green
Source: theweedblog.com

canned hempseed

Your Brain Likes Hemp

Research has shown that a diet with a proper balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids – such as in hemp seed oil – may help delay or reduce the neurological effect of some diseases and improve quality of life.
Hemp Seeds are a good source of Essential Fatty Acids
Because EFAs make up a large portion of the brain, hemp is especially beneficial for brain health, particularly memory function.
Hemp Seeds Helps Brain Disorders
Membrane loss of EFAs has been found in such disorders as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’s diseases.
Hemp Seeds are an Alternative to Fish Oil
Fish oil supplements are a great source of EFAs, particularly Omega 3s which is why they have become so popular. However, for those who are vegetarian, they are not an option. There are also concerns that some sources of fish oils are contaminated with mercury and other toxins.
Hemp Seed Protein
Contains all the essential amino acids your body needs, in amounts that are closer to dairy and meat products than any other seed except soy.
 American Heart Association
Recommends replacing the saturated fats and trans-fats in your diet with Omega-6s and hearth healthy Omega-3s.
Hemp Seed Benefits the Brain
Hemp seeds contain Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, two essential nutrients for growth, development, heart function and brain function.

Why Candy Crowley Should Have Asked Obama and Romney About Hemp

By Martin A. Lee
Source: alternet.org

The debate was held in Hempstead, a town where farmers once cultivated the durable, lucrative crop that is illegal to grow today.

On Tuesday, October 16, the second Obama-Romney debate was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island, near where I grew up as a kid.

If I were moderator, I would have started by asking the candidates to explain the etymology of that quaint village name. Why is the town called Hempstead? Because once upon a time, farmers on Long Island grew hemp, marijuana’s durable, non-psychoactive twin. They grew hemp for fiber, cordage, paper, oil, and many other necessities. Many American farmers used to grow hemp – not just on Long Island.

Hemp was one of the first crops cultivated by Puritan settlers in New England. Early American households in some colonies were required by law to produce hemp because the plant had so many beneficial uses. Thomas Jefferson penned the original draft of the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. Patriotic wives and mothers organized spinning bees with hempen thread to clothe the Yankee army. The first American flags were made of hemp cloth. Without enough hemp, American revolutionaries would not have prevailed in their struggle against the British.
But today it’s illegal to grow hemp in the United States. A plant once prized by our Founding Fathers, a plant with an impeccable patriotic pedigree, has been banished from the American agricultural landscape because of the war on drugs.
Concerned about the availability of marijuana, the federal government imposed tight restrictions on hemp, even though hemp contains minuscule amounts of THC, pot’s psychoactive ingredient, not nearly enough to make someone feel high. If marijuana is the funny stuff, then fiber hemp is its serious sibling, a sober, can-do ecologically sustainable plant with more than 25,000 known industrial applications – everything from hemp sneakers, lip balm, body lotion and granola to hemp surfboards, backpacks, building material and car panels.
Drug Enforcement Administration officials contend that if hemp were legal to grow, it would make marijuana law enforcement much more difficult because hemp and pot bear a resemblance. (They are actually the same species -- cannabis sativa – but are genetically distinct.) By misclassifying hemp as a drug, Uncle Sam essentially ceded a lucrative and expanding agricultural market to Canada, China, Russia, and the European Union, which subsidizes hemp farmers.
The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that prohibits commercial hemp cultivation. Yet it’s okay for American businesses to import hemp fiber and hempseed oil, as long as the plant itself is grown abroad.
That’s very frustrating to David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, which use 20 tons of hempseed oil in soaps and other products every year. It would be more cost-effective for Bronner’s company and better for American farmers and the U.S. economy as a whole if American businesses could purchase hemp oil and hemp fiber from American rather than Canadian farmers. “The Canadian farmers are laughing at us all the way to the bank,” said Bronner.
Rough industry estimates indicate that several hundred million dollars worth of hemp products are sold annually in the United States.
Nine states – Maine, Vermont, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Dakota, Montana, Oregon and Hawaii – have passed laws permitting hemp cultivation and research. But unlike in states such as California where medical marijuana is legal and people can grow limited quantities of cannabis for therapeutic use, industrial hemp farming hasn’t taken hold anywhere in the United States.
There is no industrial hemp resistance like there is a medical marijuana resistance. That’s because the feds generally follow a policy of only busting cannabis grow-ops larger than 100 plants. Whereas a family or a collective can earn decent money from growing 99 pot plants (which command a high price relative to other crops), for an industrial hemp grow to be economically viable, it would have to exceed many times over the 100-plant limit, which would make it an automatic target of federal law enforcement.
In effect, pot prohibition makes it more difficult for a farmer to grow industrial hemp than granddaddy purple -- underscoring once again the sheer idiocy of the war on drugs, a venal and destructive policy that has fostered crime, police corruption, social discord, racial injustice and, ironically, drug abuse itself, while impeding medical advances and economic opportunity.
The politics of hemp and the politics of marijuana are inseparable – if only because the feds have made it so.
To unshackle hemp from the tyranny of pot prohibition, Bronner and other activists are supporting three state ballot measures this fall that would legalize cannabis for adult use in Colorado, Washington and Oregon.
Hemp is the botanical elephant in the living room of American politics. It’s off limits to grow and presidential candidates keep dodging the issue – even when they’re debating in a town called Hempstead.

KELLY: Hemp vs. oil: How corporate & gov't collusion perverted the free market

By Travis Kell[y
Source: gjfreepress.com

Since the days of Cain and Abel, hemp has been one of the world's largest and most versatile crops, used to make textiles, paint, soap, rope, building materials, fuel oil, protein supplements, and medicines. An acre of hemp produces far more paper than an acre of trees — and you would have to smoke an acre of it to get high, as industrial hemp, though similar in appearance to its close cousin, marijuana (cannabis), contains almost no THC.

Today, in only one industrialized nation in the world, is the cultivation of hemp illegal. You guessed it: Ours truly. And it makes as much sense as outlawing ALL mushrooms because some of them are psychoactive or poisonous. How this travesty came about in 1937 is a lesson in the collusion of big corporations with big government and big media to pervert the free market and stymie competition.

In the early 1930s, Henry Ford's experimental biomass plant in Michigan extracted methanol, charcoal, tar pitch, and other distillates from hemp, demonstrating that it was an alternative to fossil fuels as an energy source, as well as a competitor to other petrochemical products then being introduced by the DuPont corporation. DuPont had a powerful ally in Washington — Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon, a banker who also had a controlling interest in the Gulf Oil Corporation.

Mellon appointed his loyal nephew, Harry Anslinger, as chief of the new Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1932. Anslinger promptly began lobbying Congress to outlaw “marihuana,” using a series of hysterical propaganda stories run by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst — that era's Rupert Murdoch. Hearst owned vast timber lands in the Northwest that supplied the wood pulp for most of the American newspaper industry; DuPont chemicals were used to process that pulp. The “reefer madness” scare featured lurid, racist stories of “Mexicans and Negroes” going on murderous rampages while stoned; innocent white women seduced into ruin; teenagers going instantly insane after a puff; and other fearmongering fictions.

Anslinger told Congress that hemp — ALL hemp, whether smokable or not — was “entirely the Monster Hyde, the harmful effects of which cannot be measured.” The Marijuana Tax Act was rammed through Congress in secret committees controlled by DuPont allies. That same year, 1937, DuPont filed its patent on Nylon, which took over the textile and cordage markets that had been dominated by hemp. DuPont also supplied GM, which produced more than half of all American cars, with its petrochemical paints, varnishes, plastics and rubber, all of which could have been produced equally well from hemp. But no more. The competition had been criminalized.

The prohibition was suspended during WWII, with a Hemp for Victory campaign, then reinstated in 1955. Since then, our closest cousins, England, Australia and Canada (1998), have all legalized industrial hemp. China is the world's number-one producer, exporting most of it to us — the world's leading hemp importer — exacerbating our trade imbalance.

As global oil supplies continue to decline versus growing demand, and become harder to extract and import due to geological and political factors, domestic hemp could easily replace many petrochemical products with significant advantages. 

Hemp is a renewable resource, one of the fastest growing and most productive plants on earth, yielding four crops and 25 tons of dry matter per hectare per year. It requires few pesticides and no herbicides. It is now being used as a building material, Hempcrete, and, combined with fiberglass and flax, to make body panels for automobiles. It has also proved excellent as a “mop crop” for cleaning up contaminated soil. In all these cases, hemp is carbon neutral or even carbon negative, scrubbing and sequestering CO2 from our warming atmosphere.

Several states have licensed the growing of industrial hemp — California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia — but have not yet grown a single plant due to continued resistance by the DEA, who is still stuck in 1930s “reefer madness” paranoia, despite now overwhelming evidence that hemp's cousin, marijuana, is far less harmful than alcohol for both health and public safety. To grow industrial hemp, the DEA must issue a permit under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act — and it never does.

Colorado can join that roster on Nov. 6 by voting for Amendment 64. Eventually, we will budge the DEA from its archaic stupidity, end the virtual dictatorship of the petrochemical industry, and safeguard our national security by again realizing Thomas Jefferson's maxim: “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bamboo, hemp on cutting edge of sustainable textiles

Source: vancouversun.com

Ancient hardy plants provide modern solution for supplying raw materials for a plethora of textiles

Bamboo, hemp on cutting edge of sustainable textiles
Bamboo grows fast and tall everywhere but Antarctica, providing a plentiful supply of sustainable fibre. 

The ancient and hardy plants bamboo and hemp are often derided as invasive, pesky, worthless and even dangerous.

In reality, it's quite the contrary. The plants are now proving to be worth well more than their weight in gold to manufacturers of textiles around the planet, for use in clothing, upholstery, blankets and the like: all products that are essentials of comfort in life.

Here's the story on their sustainability.

• Is 100-per-cent naturally grown, without assistance from man.
• Thrives naturally without using any pesticides or fertilizers
• Is 100-per-cent biodegradable
• As the fastest growing plant in the world, grows to its maximum height in about three months and reaches maturity in 3-4 years. It spreads rapidly across large areas. Because of this, bamboo is known to improve soil quality in degraded and eroded areas of land.
• As a grass, bamboo is cut, not uprooted, also helping soil stability. Bamboo also can grow on hill slopes where nothing else is viable.
• The amount of product from an acre of bamboo is 10 times greater than the yield from cotton. In an age where land use is under enormous pressure this is huge.
• The water requirement for bamboo is minute, mainly just from what falls. This is minute compared with cotton, whose water requirement per shirt’s-worth is huge.
• Because Bamboo retains many of the properties it has as a plant (highly water absorbent, able to absorb three times its weight in water) it has an excellent wicking ability that will pull moisture away from the skin so it can evaporate. For this reason, clothing made of bamboo fibre is often worn next to the skin.

• A term reserved for low tetrahydrocannabinol varieties of the plant Cannabis sativa. Of about 2,000 cannabis plants varieties known, about 90 per cent contain only low-grade THC and are most useful for their fibre, seeds and medicinal or psychoactive oils. Hemp is one of the earliest domesticated plants known.
• Hemp is used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, construction (as with Hemcrete and insulation), body products, health food and bio-fuel. Hemp is legally grown in many countries across the world including Spain, China, Japan, Korea, France, North Africa and Ireland.
• Hemp is one of the faster growing biomasses known,producing up to 25 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year. About one tonne of bast fibre and 2–3 tonnes of core material can be decorticated from 3–4 tonnes of good quality, dry retted straw.
• Hemp is environmentally friendly, requiring few pesticides and no herbicides. It has been called a carbon-negative raw material.

Hugh Lakeland, a mechanic and service station owner by trade looks over some of his 10 acres of commercial hemp. Lakeland was one of the first to obtain a license to cultivate hemp in B.C. from Health Canada. Paper, textiles and building materials come from the fibre and the seeds are produced for oil and food products.
Hugh Lakeland, a mechanic and service station owner by trade looks over some of his 10 acres of commercial hemp. Lakeland was one of the first to obtain a license to cultivate hemp in B.C. from Health Canada. Paper, textiles and building materials come from the fibre and the seeds are produced for oil and food products.

Hemp heads to the altar with this wedding dress with lace cap sleeves and detailing by Vancouver’s Patricia Nayel as part of her sustainable line called Pure Magnolia.
Hemp heads to the altar with this wedding dress with lace cap sleeves and detailing by Vancouver’s Patricia Nayel as part of her sustainable line called Pure Magnolia.

From Red Jade of Lucienne, a grey stretch jersey wrap dress is made entirely of hemp.
From Red Jade of Lucienne, a grey stretch jersey wrap dress is made entirely of hemp.

Saskatchewan company Hemptown produces shirts and rope.

Saskatchewan company Hemptown produces shirts and rope.

A chair is reupholstered in Polish hemp fabric and brought back to life by custom design and Vancouver upholsterer Maryanne Danylchuk.
A chair is reupholstered in Polish hemp fabric and brought back to life by custom design and Vancouver upholsterer Maryanne Danylchuk.

Hemp scarf from Oshun Spirit is both warm and fashionable.
Hemp scarf from Oshun Spirit is both warm and fashionable.

Vintage silk scarf quilt by Ouno Design contains 100-per-cent hemp backing
Vintage silk scarf quilt by Ouno Design contains 100-per-cent hemp backing

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dampie displays 75 years of hemp culture in new show at HoodLab

Source: westword.com

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All photos by Antonio Valenzuela

Denver has become the leading destination for all things related to the marijuana industry, especially now that Colorado sits on the precipice of a decriminalization law with Amendment 64, and a cutting-edge show by Dampie, a progressive artist who specializes in hemp-culture art, just opened at HoodLab, the gallery located inside the HoodLamb store at 3354 Larimer Street. The artist, a native of Holland who traveled from that country for Friday's opening, adopted the pseudonym "Dampie" while creating work in Amsterdam; he wanted to keep the negative stigma often associated with hemp separate from his personal life.
But there's not much stigma to hemp in Colorado these days. The show is titled 75 Years of Marijuana Prohibition, and Dampie says he could have opened it in a number of places, including Amsterdam or Los Angeles, but decided on Denver because hemp culture is thriving here. "People are more into it here," he explains, "and I felt like Colorado would appreciate the art more."
Much of the art in the show was inspired by the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, which "originated in the U.S., and some European countries just directly copy the laws made in the U.S. without changing them to actually apply to their country," he says. "So that's what this art is about: This is what happened, and here we are -- why?"

In 2005, Dampie met HoodLamb when the HoodLab -- which is what the hemp-clothing company calls its store -- was still located in Amsterdam. At the time, he was turned off by an art culture he describes as "corporatized," but eventually he applied his talents to the more grassroots aspects. "The hemp culture is a niche within a niche, but the people who enjoy the culture are young, educated people," Dampie says.
HoodLamb moved to Denver about three years ago, settling first in Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, then moving to RiNo. The company creates signature lines with different artists, and also makes snowboarding coats, hats and T-shirts.
Dampie's art will be on display at HoodLab through October; the gallery is open from 12 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with special hours Wednesday 12-7p.m. and Friday 3-7p.m. Admission is free; find more information at www.dampie.com . Keep reading to see more photos of the opening night of Dampie's show.
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