Monday, July 29, 2013

First hemp house in Atlantic Canada under construction in The Falls

By Sherry Martell 

 Dominic Watson Wall, project manager at Dorje Denma Ling in The Falls, holds hempcrete, the main building material being used to construct a staff residence at Dorje Denma ling, near Tatamagouche. The coarse, sticky mixture of hemp, lime and water is packed, or tamped, into a house frame using wooden hammers that hardens into concrete-like blocks. SHERRY MARTELL – TRURO DAILY NEWS
Dominic Watson Wall, project manager at Dorje Denma Ling in The Falls, holds hempcrete, the main building material being used to construct a staff residence at Dorje Denma ling, near Tatamagouche. The coarse, sticky mixture of hemp, lime and water is...

THE FALLS – A popular European construction technique is taking root here with the first hempcrete building currently underway in the Atlantic region.
Dorje Denma Ling, a Shambhala program and group retreat centre in The Falls, is spearheading the project with a long-term goal to work with local farmers to grow the hemp industry.
“We are very excited about it, so we can put that first dot on the land,” said Lennart Krogoll, centre executive director. “It’s something tangible that people can come and touch it and see it.”
Hemp-lime masonry, or hempcrete, is a cutting-edge natural building material. It is a mixture of chipped industrial hemp stalks, that look and feel like coarse wood sawdust, mixed with lime and water.
There are about 40 hemp-constructed buildings in Canada but it has been a widely used construction material in Europe for many years.
Steve Allin, a native of South West Ireland facilitating a four-day hemp building workshop at the centre, described the sticky mixture as “like apple crumble.”
Allin, a hemp buildling consultant and teacher, has been working with the all-natural material for the past 16 years, watching as its popularity in Europe has grown in leaps and bounds.
“This material originates partly from a crop that is very valuable with many other uses as well,” said Allin, also a director of the International Hemp Building Association.
He said there is an estimated 25,000 uses for industrial hemp from clothing, paper and car parts, to medical and construction applications.
While industrial hemp is derived from the same species of plant as marijuana, it has low THC levels (Tetrahydrocannabinoids, intoxicating ingredients) because it is not cultivated to produce buds where the chemical is found in great amounts.
While hemp is grown in western Canada, bundles of the chipped stalks were imported from the Netherlands for this project so the mixture would be uniform.
“We couldn’t get it quick enough or cheap enough from one (Canadian) supplier,” said Allin.
As part of the workshop, about 17 people were mixing, pouring and tamping batches of hempcrete this week under Allin’s instruction. The thick grey mixture is poured into forms encasing a 30-centimetre (12-inch) wooden frame, then it will harden into concrete-like blocks.
Once it sets-up, it will be covered with a lime-based plaster.
When complete the 10.8-metre by nine-metre (36-foot by 30-foot) building will have three bedrooms and one washroom. It will be airtight and energy efficient, heated by a central system.
“It (hemp) has a host of qualities that make it a desirable building material,” said project manager Dominic Watson Wall.
He said it is mould resistant, flame retardant, vermin resistant, vapour permeable, or breathable, and has an “incredible longevity.”
The builders estimate it will be ready for occupation as a staff residence by early fall.
“Part of the whole motivation (for this project), we really want to help stimulate this type of building and encourage a local hemp industry,” said Watson Wall. “We want this building to be a seed for that.”
The centre has purchased Italian designed panels used in the formation of hempcrete blocks, as well as an industrial sized mixer that will be available to rent to contractors working on hemp building projects.
Krogoll said this pilot project is the first of several hemp buildings planned for the site and they are “fine tuning the mixture” to see how it works in this climate.
“I think it is part of our vision and mandate, or mission, so to speak to collaborate with a lot of communities and people here,” said the executive director. “This is a fabulous opportunity in that regard.”
People are welcome to stop by the centre and see the building under construction until the end of this month, and on Sunday mornings in mid-August.
Anyone wanting to volunteer with the project or learn more about it can call the centre at 657-9085.
At a glance:
Hemp fibre is the longest, strongest and most durable of all natural fibres.
Hemp cultivation requires no chemicals, pesticides or herbicides.
Hemp produces four times as much fibre per acre as pine trees
The seed and seed-oil are high in protein, essential fatty and amino acids, and vitamins.
Hemp is an ideal source of biomass for fuel, and hemp Ethanol burns very cleanly.
Hemp for commercial use is grown mostly by China, Hungary, England, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, India and throughout Asia. 
* Source: Hempethics

Hemp Seeds: Why and How You Should Be Eating This Superfood

By  | Healthy Living 

Humans have been using hemp for thousands of years, and for good reason too--it's extremely versatile. Used for clothes, beauty products, paper, food, milk, pet products and more, hemp lives up to the definition of a superseed.

Although hemp is breaking away from it's negative reputation for being associated with the Cannabis plant, it's important to know that it's not relatively close to being like marijuana--it is bred with much lower levels of the psychedelic chemical THC than the drug is. Our favorite way to use hemp is, of course, in its edible form: as an oil, a fiber and a seed. Hemp seeds especially carry tons of nutritional benefits and can be used in numerous amounts of recipes.

 Health Benefits

This list is a long one! There are so many health benefits to hemp seeds that it would be foolish not to run out to the store this instant to buy them!
  • A 1.5-tablespoon serving of hemp seeds contains five grams of protein, 86 milligrams of magnesium, 10 percent daily value of iron, 1245 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids and 436 milligrams of Omega-6 fatty acids!
  • One of the Omega-6 acids, gamma linolenic acid (or GLA), is an excellent source of anti-inflammatory hormones that support a healthy metabolism and good skin, hair and nails.
  • Like flaxseeds, hemp seeds contain all ten of the essential amino acids
  • It's protein source is much more digestible than others, and won't leave you feeling bloated.
  • Hemp seeds contain anti-aging antioxidants such as vitamin E.
  • They're also rich in other minerals such as zinc and phosphorus.

Indulge in Hemp! 

Hemp seeds, which are technically a fruit, can be used in a wide variety of recipes. If you're looking for something simple, add them to your favorite smoothies. But if you're feeling a little more adventurous, then check out some of the tasty recipes below that incorporate this delicious superfood. 

1. Creamy Hemp Pesto 
2. Goji Berry and Hemp Seed Granola 3. Cheezy Kale Salad 4. Creamy Lemon Herb Dressing 5. Banana Chocolate Chia Pudding 

Hemp shows some promise in Kentucky but on a smaller scale, UK ag study shows

By Carol Lea Spence

Hemp can be grown for both fiber and seed. (Photo by Maros Markovic,

A recent University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment study went beyond hope and hearsay and examined industrial hemp’s true potential as a viable crop in Kentucky.
It found that profitable opportunities may exist for a limited number of farmers and processors, particularly in seed and oil, but the current lack of efficient fiber processing techniques, potentially strong global and domestic competition and a high return from row crops in recent years are some of the factors that could limit the number of growers willing to shift much of their acreage into industrial hemp production.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Kentucky Hemp Commission asked the UK Department of Agricultural Economics to do the study, called Considerations for Growing Industrial Hemp: Implications for Kentucky’s Farmers and Agricultural Economy. It was predicated on the Kentucky General Assembly’s passage of the “hemp bill” in March, which established a regulatory framework for the production and marketing of industrial hemp if federal policy should change or if the state could obtain a federal waiver.
“If political challenges are overcome, enticing processing interests to locate in Kentucky, along with production research, will be critical to capitalize on a relatively small, but expanding niche market for hemp products,” said Will Snell, one of the study’s authors. Other UK agricultural economists involved in the study included Lynn Robbins, Greg Halich, Carl Dillon and Leigh Maynard. Dave Spalding, extension associate in the UK Department of Horticulture, also contributed.
Hemp is grown in more than 30 countries; China boasts the most acreage, but Canada, the U.S.’s likely chief competitor, is beginning to influence both production and trade. Their acreage has grown steadily over the past five years, and the Canadian government provides grants and no-interest loans to support production.
Hemp can be grown for both fiber and seed. Some people have talked about the potential for industrial hemp fiber to be a major market for Kentucky farmers.
“Based on what I’ve seen, that is not going to happen in Kentucky,” Halich said. “If people are doing this to make money, it’s going to be on the oil seed side, not on the fiber side, at least in the foreseeable future.”
To obtain the most value from the long hemp fiber, the outer layers of the stalk must be removed, a process known as decortification. Cost-effective mechanization for this has not been available. Using Canada as a model, profitable opportunities to date have been largely limited to seed and oil production.
“In the end, fiber production is going to depend on a processing plant being fairly close and willing to pay a high enough price to entice farmers to switch over to grow it,” Halich said.
The hemp oil processing chain is fairly well established. Maynard, however, spoke with a representative of a Canadian processing company who said even a large oil customer that might use 30,000 pounds of hempseed oil per year would support only 96 acres of production.
“None of the processors with whom I spoke — and some of these are well established companies in Canada — none of them thought it was going to be an activity that would produce large numbers of employment or require large numbers of acres,” Maynard said.
For about 15 years in the middle of the 19th century, Kentucky was one of the major hemp producers in the country, until cotton and imports of other materials became more popular. During World War II, industrial hemp production peaked for the manufacture of, among other things, rope and twine for the war effort. Kentucky, with its 52,000 acres, claimed about 10 percent of the market share.
Today, though the U.S. market for hemp-based products is a shadow of what it once was, it is growing, driven by a dedicated base that is interested in natural foods and body care products. There is no expectation, however, that hemp will ever be anything like tobacco, which was highly profitable in many years.
“While our study, under the most optimistic scenarios does show some promise, the current market for industrial hemp products would only generate hemp sales and jobs in the short run that would be relatively small compared to the rest of the Kentucky agricultural economy,” Snell said.
The study is a reminder that should regulations relax and hemp production be allowed, Kentucky producers cannot assume they will automatically corner the U.S. market; other states will enter the market, as well.
“If hemp proves to be profitable in the short run, without barriers to entry, the emergence of new producers from other states and nations could easily result in oversupply and price volatility, which could erode long-term profits to levels comparable with other row crops,” Snell said.
Hemp, however, could be another crop in a farmer’s diversified portfolio.
The full report is available here.
Carol Lea Spence is an agricultural communications specialist at the University of Kentucky and editor of The mAGazine.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to Build an Electric Luxury Scooter Out of Hemp

By DJ Pangburn

The Be.e is the first electric scooter to be made out of hemp. It also happens to boast a hip, sleek industrial design, features a battery with an 8-year life and 2000 cycles, as well as a 4kW motor, LED lighting, USB charging (yeah!), a smartphone holder, GPS tracking, and various other accoutrements. It almost seems too strange to be true.  
So when I contacted the eco-scooter company Van.Eko, I didn't expect a near-instant reply. But that's what I got. Founder and Be.e designer Vaniek Colenbrander, who's based in Amsterdam, emailed me back immediately, and we hopped on Skype. The light on his end wasn't good, but even so, I could see a mass of curly, floppy hair belonging to a man who was jazzed up about his scooter, and probably exhausted from more than a fair share of international press and dealer attention. 
I spoke with Colenbrander about the plant material used in the Be.e's construction (industrial hemp), the genesis of the idea, his AirBnB-esque plan for scooter's owners to rent their scooters, and how he will encourage users to choose the manner in which they electrically power the bike. Oh, and he wanted me to emphasize that the Be.e is currently not in production. You're not putting in an order after you read this interview. He still needs to find some more investment money to bring it to the world.
Motherboard: What was the genesis of Van.Eko and the Be.e?
Vaniek Colenbrander: It started some time in 2007 for a my graduation project when I was studying industrial engineering at TUDelft here in the Netherlands. I got into contact with the company named Quick, and they wanted to explore the area of bio-based materials and its application in a light vehicle—that being a scooter. They specialized in electric, so that's how it all got started. We were granted government funding so we could make a prototype, of which there are still some images available here and there on the internet. But, that was really just a proof-of-concept. From there, the idea just sat in the refridgerator for awhile as we thought of how to do something with the materials and double check on business plans, because the costs involved for a low-scale are expensive since it is made by few hands here in the Netherlands, compared to millions of hands in a Chinese factory.
We were also kind of waiting on more funding to help push forward development. That funding came from another university, InHolland. They wanted to have a project which would be a collaboration with an SME (small and medium enterprise) business in an innovative area that would cut across several faculties: communication and branding, but also FEM analysis, material analysis, and construction stuff, and some other areas. So they did a lot of small-scale research for us—that is, me, Quick (at the time), NPSP (Nebraska Peter Simon Peter) Composieten, and WAARMAKERS designers. It resulted in this concept that was designed by WAARMAKERS. NPSP Composieten are the manufacturers of the actual plant-based bio-composite.
I was pretty much the end customer for all of the deliverables, being the final engineer to get the parts together to fit into the production process and to make sure the whole thing, in the end, becomes a scooter. That's where Van.Eko comes in. In the last six months we've put together a business model to bring it to market. 
That's interesting that two universities were part of the funding mechanism for a company. Here in America, the idea that universities would fund a business would be perceived as a tree-hugging, socialist conspiracy. I'm joking, but kind of serious. 
[Laughs] From the perspective of university investors, they want to stimulate the synergy between colleges and practically-oriented research. The idea is to put the research near the actual work—this was their goal. They also wanted to put together a teaching program, and this project is now a case study that they use for future assignments. 
Right on. Let's talk about how you were inspired to go in a plant matter-based direction for manufacture. 
Well, in making an electric scooter, you want to make a better product. And, from my perspective as an industrial designer, I want to make a product that is better in every respect, or at all levels. Where we're at in the world is building products with oil-based plastics, or from steel that has to be treated with chemicals to not rust and last longer, and various laborious processes in bad environments like Chinese workshops. From those perspectives, yeah, I was looking at the entire material chain loop, and looking for better materials. And I stumbled across these bio-based composites, which are actually a follow-up of glass and carbon fiber composites. So, they have similar strength properties. They are stronger than glass fiber, though not carbon.
Glass and carbon fibers are the real pollutants, even though everyone seems to be cool with carbon fiber everything. But, creating one fiber of carbon costs around a 1,000x the energy of making a fiber of glass. And making a fiber of glass costs about 100x the energy of making a hemp fiber. The energies involved in making the raw material are really large in that domain. The bad thing is that with the glass fiber polyester—with which boats, wind turbines, and a lot entertainment park stuff are being made—you can't dispose of it. You can't burn it, so the only thing you can do is put it in a landfill. In that respect, the nature-base composites were very viable materials.


Also, putting nature-based composites into a scooter makes it sturdy and rough, as opposed to scooters made out of a steel frame and ABS or polypropylene parts, which are very fragile. I've already experienced the plant-based composites' robustness. We had four scooters in a truck that weren't fixed in place well, and so they piled on top of each other once we stopped. Luckily, nothing was broken because of the strength of the material. But, we still have to do a true crash test, which is something I want to do. [Laughs] But, I only have two that are driving around right now, so I'm hesitant to crash them and see what happens. 
How are the Be.e's parts made from the plant-based material—in this case, hemp?
You start off with industrial hemp, or marijuana or whatever you want to call. You can smoke it, but nothing is going to happen. So the plant grows really quickly because it's weed—it's not called weed for nothing. It shoots out of the ground. In four months you have a plant that is four-and-a-half or five meters high, and you leave that to weather. The fibers are taken off in a completely natural process, and are then woven into non-woven or woven mats. Woven mats are flex fibers, which are common in linen, jeans, and all sorts of clothing. They're really strong fibers. These are placed into a mold, which is then closed, vacuumed out from one end, and from another end a polyester-based resin drops into the void between the two molds and where the resin is at. VARTM (Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding) is the production process we use.
At the moment the resin is still a 50 percent oil-based resin, but there are experimental, 100 percent bio-based resins available. These are made from a combination of sugars, alcohols, and polylactic acids which are yeasted into resin that then cures at room temperature. That's a highly chemical process with which we try to use bio-based components, and, as much as possible, non-food-related materials. 
And the Be.e bio-scooter is 100 percent electric?
Yes. But, the end user can choose what type of electricity he or she uses, whether it comes from solar, coal, oil, wind, tidal or nuclear-based processes. The only fuel that I feel is sustainable for us as human beings is the sun. The oil transition will lead us to solar energy; allowing, of course, for politics to do their thing, which we humble people talking to each other over Skype have no power over. Everyone focusing on electric vehicles should be thinking that we are reducing local emissions where people live. The pollution is from cars, motorcycles, buses, and transport. It's not from the industry on the city sidelines, it's transport. So, make it electric and at least you don't have those emissions anymore. 
So, what are you looking to do in the short term as far as bringing it to market: launch it in the Netherlands?
Yes, but the main thing is that I'm looking for investors at the moment to build out the business plan. And, the business plan is not that I'm going to be selling the scooter. Why? Well, because of the raw materials' long life cycle, durable materials, and somewhat more expensive production process, the costs would be nowhere near a price point that people currently pay for electric scooters. The advantage is that you can put on shitloads of miles without any wear and tear because the engine is a hot motor in the rear wheel with one powered moving part. I'm also using batteries with 2,000 cycles, so you could do daily trips of 60 miles for around eight to ten years. That's why you would be paying somewhere around $11,000 for the product as it is now.
I'm going to be owning the scooter as a company myself and sub-renting it to what I call Be.eKeepers. They have a monthly subscription, which will cover the first full year. After that, they can end it in whatever month they want. But, if they want to go on with the rental, it just goes on.
And the Be.eKeeper plan is something like AirBnB. Can you explain how that will work?
They can offer the scooter on my Van.Eko website for times in which they don't use it, which will function like AirBnB. Through the site, someone who I call a WannaBe.e can reserve the scooter. They can see that a guy lives in a certain part of Amsterdam or New York City, for example, and say, "Hey, I'm getting there around 10:00am, if you're there, I'll use your scooter for a couple of hours." He then pays his fee to the user for a couple of hours through his web account, while the user then gets a discount on his monthly fee. In the end, my subscriber could use the scooter for nearly free.
And if he's willing to hardly use the scooter for himself and pretty much rent it out the whole time, he could actually earn some money on it. Quite a significant amount of money if the viral effect really gets going. My site will offer insurance and liability. The Bee.Keepers can still rent the scooter without me knowing, but if they do not go through my website and there is an accident, I can track people back and make sure them that they assume all liability in that case.

Team Hemp House launches drive to build first Colorado house made of hemp products


Jason Lauve.

Hemp advocate Jason Lauve has a new endeavor: Team Hemp House, the goal of which is to build a hemp demonstration house in Colorado.
"The intent is to show that we can use hemp to build the foundation and the walls and the tiles, but also the furnishings in the house, including the food in the fridge," says Lauve, who's helped legalize the crop.
There's a bigger goal, too, he adds: "The Team Hemp House project is the foundation that we need to get the whole industry excited and get it off the ground."
On Monday, Team Hemp House launched an indiegogocrowd-funding campaign to raise $350,000 in sixty days. That money will go toward purchasing the approximately three acres of hemp needed to build the house (ideally, the hemp would be grown in Colorado); processing the hemp into building materials, such as hemp concrete; securing a building site, contractors and architects; and paying staff to oversee the project and make sure the house adheres to building codes.
A screenshot from
There are a few hemp houses in the United States, and more in other parts of the world, including England. Lauve says hemp building materials have been shown to be more resistant to fire, mold and even termites than many other types. Furthermore, he says, the materials are known to keep houses warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
But the industry is still in its infancy, especially in Colorado. The Centennial State is, however, on the leading edge of industrial hemp production. Last year's pot-centric Amendment 64 directed the state legislature to "enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp" by July 1, 2014. Lawmakers beat that deadline in May when they approved a bill that requires the state Department of Agriculture to put in place a process to register hemp farmers by March 1, 2014. Once that happens, farmers will be able to grow vast fields of hemp, a variety of Cannabis sativa that contains little to none of the psychoactive ingredient THC.
Team Hemp House is being sponsored by a handful of local cannabis-related businesses, including the Hemp HoodLab, RiverRock and CannLabs. Lauve is working to attract more sponsors and spread the word throughout the traditional home-building industry. His goal is to start construction on the demonstration house next spring.
As for who will live in it, Lauve says he'd love to, but he doesn't want to claim it as his own. "The end of this project is to have a giant celebration with bands and food -- obviously, hemp food -- and really share that excitement," he says. "I see this house as a place where people continue to come to to see various features, like how a wall was constructed or how we dealt with code issues or how comfortable it feels to be inside the home."

Federal, state clash sets up knotty barrier to hemp production

By Lisa Rathke

Vermont joins the growing list of states, including Maine, that have rules allowing the cultivation of hemp, and pressure for changes at the federal level is mounting.

click image to enlarge
John Vitko holds freshly-picked strawberries in Warren, Vt., in June. Vitko would like to grow hemp to feed his chickens, but federal rules clash with a Vermont law that allows hemp cultivation.

WAITSFIELD, Vt. — Some Vermont farmers want to plant hemp now that the state has a law setting up rules to grow the plant, a cousin of marijuana that's more suitable for making sandals than getting high.
But federal law forbids growing hemp without a permit, so farmers could be risking the farm if they decide to grow the plant that the Drug Enforcement Agency basically considers marijuana.
Hemp and marijuana share the same species – cannabis sativa – but hemp has a negligible content of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Under federal law, all cannabis plants fall under the marijuana label, regardless of THC content.
To grow marijuana for industrial purposes or research, a grower must register with the DEA and meet specific security requirements, such as installing costly fencing for a field of hemp.
A national nonprofit group is pushing to change current law and move regulation of hemp farming from the DEA to the state. In the meantime, the group, Vote Hemp, does not recommend growing hemp while state and federal laws conflict.
"It's literally betting the farm," said Tom Murphy, national outreach coordinator for the group. Farmers who grow it, or even conspire to grow it and import the seeds face jail time and the forfeiture of their land, he said. But it's unclear how seriously the DEA will enforce it.
Murphy said he's heard that people have planted hemp on leased land in Colorado.
"Now if somebody chooses to do it as civil disobedience, knowing full well what's going to happen, then that's on them," he said.
So far, 19 states have passed hemp legislation, including nine that allow its production, including Maine, where the law sets rules for industrial hemp production. Eight states have passed bills calling for the study of hemp, while three states passed bills setting up commissions or authorizing the study of it, according to Vote Hemp.
The states hope to nudge the federal government to change its law.
John Vitko would like to grow hemp on his Vermont farm to use as feed for his chickens now that Vermont has passed a law setting up rules to grow it. He doesn't know where to find any seed and knows he would be breaking federal law if he finds some and grows a small amount of the plant.
With the cost of feed continually rising, he said hemp provides an economical way to feed and provide bedding for his 100 birds, whose eggs are used in the custard-based ice cream he sells to restaurants and in a dessert shop in Waitsfield.
"It's one of the few things that are manageable for a small farmer to handle," he said of hemp, which doesn't require large equipment to plant and harvest like corn does.
"It's complete protein," he said. "It has all their amino acids. It's a seed which birds like."
Hemp has been grown in the U.S. in the past to make rope, fabric and even the paper that used to draft the Declaration of Independence. The country even launched a "Hemp for Victory" campaign during World War II as supplies for other overseas fibers dwindled.
Now most hemp products in the U.S. are imported from Canada, China and Europe and some farmers think the U.S. is missing out on a lucrative crop.
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado was granted a request to fly an American flag made of hemp over the capitol in Washington on the Fourth of July. He held the flag during the U.S. House debate in over a hemp amendment to the farm bill that he introduced with Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon. The measure would have allowed colleges and universities to grow hemp for research in states where its cultivation is permitted. The amendment passed but the farm bill failed.
"Support for our recent farm bill amendment demonstrated that there is growing consensus to revisit the antiquated drug laws that now keep U.S. farmers from participating in the $300 million hemp retail market," Blumenauer said. "A hemp flag flown over the Capitol on the Fourth of July is a powerful symbol of this reform movement."
The figure Blumenauer referenced comes from a Congressional Research Service report that says the industry estimates that U.S. retail sales of hemp-based products may exceed $300 million per year.
The bill that Democratic Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law last month is intended to push the federal government to change its law after Canada reintroduced industrial hemp in the late 1990s.
"The reason we want to push for a change is that hemp is potentially a valuable crop," said Democratic Rep. Caroline Partridge, chairwoman of the Vermont House Committee on Agriculture and Forest Products. "People want to grow it. Hemp oil is a valuable product, and there's so much of the hemp plant that can be used for very, very productive purposes."
The Vermont law sets up procedures and policies for growing hemp. A grower must register with the state agriculture secretary and provide a statement that seeds used do not exceed a certain concentration of THC.
The grower also must allow the hemp crops to be inspected and tested at the discretion of the Agriculture Agency, which warns growers that cultivating and possessing hemp in Vermont is a violation of federal law.
It's too late this growing season in Vermont for Vitko to grow hemp, but he hopes to plant just an acre of the plant next spring if the rules are worked out.
"I'm going to be a little farmer that's growing hemp, they've got bigger problems than me," he said of the DEA.

California 2014 Cannabis And Hemp Prohibition Repeal Ballot Initiative Update


vote for california marijuana initiatives

Almost one year has passed since publicly began the effort to place a Cannabis and Hemp Prohibition Repeal Initiative on the 2014 California ballot. The seeds of the plan were primarily initiated by the failure of Prop 19 and the failure by California advocates to coordinate their efforts to make the ballot in 2012. In fact, when it was known that there was going to be 2, then 3, then…6 different efforts in 2012, it became apparent that they were all doomed to fail. And they did. Split advocacy and the resulting split funding efforts were not a winning solution in California. What was needed was an attempt to consolidate.
Over this time, made the most significant effort possible within the California movement to coordinate and unify all supporters. The website forum was utilized continuously to offer information, solicit input and make sure above all that everyone in California had an opportunity to participate in the Initiative development process. We reached out to those who were supportive and especially those who weren’t. We offered a public forum for everyone to participate and voice their opinions. We held meetings and conferences and reached out directly to all sides in the hopes of working together toward a mutual goal.
The process began with a single page base document that was posted to the forum. This was the first step on what has become in many ways an historical journey. According to input from several political advisers and legal experts, what was evolving was a thoroughly researched and legally vetted document created in a manner had never been done before. utilized the email forum and release of the companion wiki-based site to create the first true open-source generated California State Ballot Initiative. Grassroots development in the truest sense of the term. There has never been a document of this detail and complexity created for a State ballot utilizing the open-source technique to this extent. By essentially allowing THE PEOPLE to create, edit and directly participate in the writing process, history has once again been made in California.
In an age where high tech social and mass media tools now offer real-time information flow, this was the most practical and unifying (and now in hindsight, obvious) technique to achieve success. That success is now a reality in the form of a working final draft soon ready for submission to the State.
One of the biggest challenges has been the continuing effort to coordinate the existing Cannabis and Hemp supporters. It is not uncommon for the Movement reaction to unification to be cautious and move slowly until there is a crisis, then madly rush to create documents, argue issues, struggle mightily to get a consensus agreement on whatever the issue is, and then do nothing unless forced to at the last minute. The end result is often weak preparation, limited communication and coordination, and many times an example of amateurs attempting to play with the pros. Through no fault of some very skilled and dedicated advocates and legal experts sincerely attempting to do their best, winning and success have been a crapshoot at best.
Through patience, persistence, staying true to a consistent stance and always keeping our eyes on the prize, SaveCannabis,org has been able to overcome the majority of the internal challenges. There is still much to do, but the results of almost a full year of drafting and vetting now offer something concrete for everyone to support and we trust it will become easier every day.
Everyone connected to wishes to reach out once again to all Californians. As we maintain our objective and open-source support of Cannabis and Hemp Prohibition Repeal, we once again invite your input and suggestions for the Cannabis and Hemp Freedom Act of 2014.
By necessity, there is a very short time left for the editing process in order to meet the 2014 ballot deadline. The document will be locked for final editing by our legal team very soon. It will then be presented to the Secretary of the State of California for processing. If anyone is still reluctant to take part in this historic drive to freedom for California Cannabis and Hemp supporters, please put aside whatever reasons may be driving you to resist and consider the many positive changes you can support with this effort. Please take the time right now to communicate your thoughts and concerns directly to us or through the forum.
All of us are being given a wonderful yet time-restrictive opportunity. We can provide support for the thousands of patients, prisoners, families and jobless who would be greatly aided by this effort and the hope and compassion it brings. We feel an obligation to do everything we can for all of them. Prohibition Repeal is a winnable option for California. Arguments against a 2014 Initiative campaign are no longer valid. Reputable polling across the U.S. reveals increasing favor by well over the majority in support of medical cannabis use, and finally many polls show over 50% in favor of legal adult use. California is in agreement and positioned for success. Now is the time to take action.
Please visit to review and submit comments to the current version of the Initiative.

Hemp Cultivation Now Legal In Vermont, Farmers Not Required To Wait For Federal Law Change


Senate Bill 157 has officially become law, explicitly legalizing hemp in the State of Vermont. Under this new law, farmers who wish to grow hemp must simply file some paperwork with the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, and maintain a 0.3% or lower THC content in the hemp they cultivate. The secretary may require a registration fee, but the maximum they can issue is $25 a year. Unlike most other state hemp laws, this proposal allows farmers to begin cultivation prior to a federal law change.
With this law taking effect, Vermont joins Washington and Colorado which allow hemp cultivation before the feds end their prohibition. Obviously those who decide to cultivate hemp will be violating federal law and putting themselves at risk of prosecution, but they would no longer risk state-level charges.
This opens up a market for these states which, according to congressional research, consists of over 25,000 various products; the same research found that America imports nearly half a billions worth of hemp products from other countries, while maintaining the illegality of its cultivation.