Sunday, October 27, 2013

Indiana senator calls for hemp legalization


  • Courtesy of Indiana Agricultural Statistics Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

In a move meant to bolster Indiana's agricultural economy and farmland preservation efforts, State Sen. Richard Young Jr., D-Milltown, renewed his legislative efforts to legalize hemp production in Indiana. Last session he issued a resolution urging his colleagues to appreciate the business and environmental benefits of legalization.
The following is excerpted from the senator's Oct. 18 news release:
Put simply, hemp is an excellent alternative crop. It can be harvested just 120 days after planting and requires no particular soil or climate. Hemp is a very leafy plant and produces more oxygen than other crops. It is a dense plant making it difficult for sunlight to penetrate the leaves and reach the ground, freeing it of weeds. It is naturally resistant to pests, so there is no need for herbicides or pesticides.
He noted hemp products are "safer for the environment and consumers than traditional plastics or textiles É can be recycled and are 100 percent biodegradable," plus, since they offer an alternative pulp for paper, "could lead to a reduction in global deforestation."
Noting that ten states, including Kentucky and West Virginia, support industrial hemp production, Young continued: "I believe that hemp needs to be a controlled crop with the appropriate oversight of the Department of Agriculture to ensure that marijuana is not grown with the hemp. I look forward to bringing this issue before the General Assembly in 2014."
On Oct. 25, the Libertarian Party of Indiana issued a news release welcoming Young's contribution to the Libertarian's "long-standing mission to allow local farmers to make money growing hemp, a native crop." The release continued, "If Democrats and Republicans would like to join the wave of the future, they should adopt another long-held Libertarian platform plank and decriminalize marijuana for adults."
click to enlargeGallupPotLEgalization.png

    The Libertarians also referenced an Oct. 22 posting by Gallup's Art Swift, which opens as follows: "For marijuana advocates, the last 12 months have been a period of unprecedented success as Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. And now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized. This is in sharp contrast to the time Gallup first asked the question in 1969, when only 12% favored legalization."
    Gallup stats on the percentage of supporters by age range underscored a sea change of acceptance among progressively younger generations.

    click to enlargeGALLUP
    • Gallup

    The pollsters concluded: "It has been a long path toward majority acceptance of marijuana over the past 44 years, but Americans' support for legalization accelerated as the new millennium began. This acceptance of a substance that most people might have considered forbidden in the late 1960s and 1970s may be attributed to changing social mores and growing social acceptance. The increasing prevalence of medical marijuana as a socially acceptable way to alleviate symptoms of diseases such as arthritis, and as a way to mitigate side effects of chemotherapy, may have also contributed to Americans' growing support."

    This Is What The End Of Hemp Prohibition Looks Like


    Farmers in Colorado made history this month when they harvested a hemp crop -- the first in the United States since 1957 when the U.S. government banned hemp.
    Led by Springfield, Colo. farmer Ryan Loflin who planted the 55-acre hemp crop back in May, Loflin and hemp advocates across the nation came to his farm in October to harvest the historic crop.
    Technically, Colorado won't be granting hemp growing-cultivation licenses until 2014, but Loflin just couldn't wait.
    "It's time for this to happen," he said.
    It happened. And this is what the end of hemp prohibition looks like:
    hemp harvest
    Derek Cross, a chef who specializes in cooking with hemp, helps harvest the plant in Springfield, Colo. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)
    colorado hemp
    A girl in the Colorado hemp field. (Photo courtesy Ben Droz)
    colorado hemp
    Volunteers harvest hemp at a farm in Springfield, Colo. during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)
    colorado hemp
    America's first hemp harvest in almost 60 years. (Photo courtesy Ben Droz)
    colorado hemp
    A volunteer walks through a hemp field at a farm in Springfield, Colo. during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)
    colorado hemp
    Hemp seeds. (Photo courtesyBen Droz)
    colorado hemp
    Derek Cross, a chef who specializes in cooking with hemp, demonstrates the burning properties of hemp oil, which he touts as a digestible bio fuel, during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s, at a farm in Springfield, Colo. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)
    colorado hemp
    The faces of Colorado's hemp harvest. (Photo courtesy Jason Lauve)
    Hemp is a genetic "cousin" to marijuana, but contains little to none of the THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana associated with the "high" sensation. And although hemp hasn't been grown domestically for decades, in 1998 the U.S. began to import food-grade hemp seed and oil for various uses.
    In the 1700s, American farmers were required by law to grow hemp in Virginia and the other colonies. It was a widely used crop for hundreds of years in the United States. Cut to 1957 when the U.S. government banned hemp over confusion about its relationship to marijuana, and the plant from which the paper for the The Declaration of Independence was sourced remained banned from America's soil until now.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture recorded the peak of industrial hemp production in America in 1943, with more than 150 million pounds on 146,200 harvested acres.

    Building a house with hemp

    By Tim Bryant

    Tim Bryant/WN
    Engineer Jayeson Hendyrsan directs hempcrete into the wall frame of the microhouse 
    being constructed on Dion Lefebvre’s property south of Westlock on Oct. 5. The house 
    is part of a workshop to explain the benefits of hemp as a building medium.

    A mini housing revolution took place in the Westlock area over the past week, in more ways than one.
    Out at Dion Lefebvre’s property south of town, he and a number of specialized contractors were working on what he termed a “microhouse” constructed from an unusual material — hemp.
    “It’s more eco-friendly and durable,” Lefebvre said of his choice of building material.
    He’s working on an experiment in portable houses, he said, with an eye on providing low-cost housing for low-income people. Taking cues from the microhouse industry in British Columbia, his goal is to build structures that are more permanent, but still transportable.
    Using hemp as the primary building material brings with it different and unique benefits, said Jayeson Hendyrsan, chief executive officer with Hempcrete Natural Building Ltd.
    Hendyrsan said hempcrete, which is a mix of hemp fibres, water, lime, sand and some concrete, both insulates and radiates heat. He explained it can absorb heat to a degree, and then radiate it back out into the home, cutting down on heating costs.
    An example he gave was in a bathroom after a shower, the walls will have absorbed the moisture, and then gradually release it as the room cools down.
    “It likes to live in the same heat and moisture environment as people,” Hendyrsan said.
    As a building material, hempcrete is not as hard as concrete, but is still strong enough to last many years once it’s set. The walls of the house Lefebvre is building contain rebar, Hendyrsan said, but that’s only for added support.
    One extra benefit of building with hemp comes when it is time to demolish the house, he said. Because the majority of the materials in the wall are biodegradable, the walls can be broken up and spread on farmers’ fields for added nutrients.
    The build at his property was a workshop, Lefebvre said. It was a chance for people to see a new building technique and spend a few days learning about the benefits of hemp in the construction industry.
    The house was not finished by the end of Sunday, and work was scheduled to continue this week to finish pouring the walls.
    When it’s completed, Lefebvre said the house will be meant for his son to live in.

    Comer to pitch hemp to auto execs Read more here:

    By Janet Patton

    Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said hemp fibers could make cars "greener."JOHN FLAVELL — Herald-Leader

    Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will take his pitch for hemp to auto manufacturers on Thursday.
    Comer will attend AutoConnect, an industry trade conference in Nashville sponsored by Frost Brown Todd. Executives from Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda and others are expected to attend the event.
    Comer hopes to meet with the executives to discuss using hemp, which he said has fibers that are "longer, stronger, lighter and greener" than other products currently used in the auto manufacturing process.
    "It has been my goal to make the pitch for Kentucky-grown industrial hemp to automobile manufacturers," Comer said in a statement. "Now the opportunity is here and I believe this could be a win-win: a win for Kentucky farmers and a win for an industry working hard to find a more environmentally sound manufacturing process."
    Some car makers in Europe use already hemp as a sustainable and biodegradable material in parts such as dashboards, soundproofing, and interior panels.
    With federal restrictions eased on marijuana in some states, Comer said that Kentucky might plant hemp next year despite an advisory letter issued last month by Attorney General Jack Conway saying that farmers who do "will expose themselves to potential criminal liability and the possible seizure of property by federal or state law enforcement agencies."
    Comer and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, have requested explicit direction from the Justice Department on whether the Drug Enforcement Administration will prosecute farmers for growing hemp, since the DEA is not going to pursue marijuana growers in states where it is legal and regulated.
    Comer hopes that building a market for hemp will spur action to clarify the legal situation. Legislation passed earlier this year by the General Assembly lets the Kentucky Department of Agriculture set up a licensing structure for farmers to grow hemp and Comer's office is working on those regulations.
    "We are not deterred by political shenanigans on this issue," Comer said Tuesday. "This opportunity is real, and we need jobs and rural economic development in Kentucky. We are not playing games."

    Read more here:

    Read more here:

    Read more here:

    Hemp Hemp Hooray: Hoodlab Screens Hemp Documentary Bringing It Home

    By George Peele

    “Honestly, it feels like I just went to the moon. I feel like I’m on the moon,” says activist Jason Lauvre, referring to the historic Colorado hemp harvest that is happening around him. The diverse crowd at Hoodlab is watching 3-D footage that hemp advocate Erik Hunter shot at the Springfield farm on October 5. It was the first (known) large-scale American hemp harvest since 1957. Excluding the Hemp for Victory campaign during World War II, marijuana’s sober cousin has been irrationally regulated by the U.S. Government since 1937. Bolstered by our state’s increasingly liberal position on pot, Crested Butte’s Ryan Loflin air seeded 60 acres of his father’s land in June. Forty-five volunteers from six states converged to help Loflin hand pick the first weekend in October. The agricultural milestone scored ink in the NY Times, the LA Times and USA Today. To paraphrase Ron Burgundy, it was kind of a big deal.
    Nick, son of Hoodlab owner Adam Dunn, isn’t a fan of the red and blue lenses. The Loflin harvest footage, exciting as it is for those of us with eyes on the field, isn’t the main event. We had come for a screening of hemp documentary Bringing It Home. Nobody minded the victory lap that preceded it, though, especially not man of the hour Loflin—on hand for the occasion.
    Bringing It Home opens with the first of several animated segments. The narrator asks you to imagine your cousin committed a crime. What if law enforcement jailed both of you because of the genetic similarities? It’s a perfect metaphor to describe this country’s longstanding stance on marijuana and hemp. Yes, they’ve got some genes in common. But, regardless of your thoughts on pot, hemp’s eco-friendly, industrial potential is impossible to ignore any longer in these tough economic and planetary times.
    Anthony Brenner is a healthy home consultant in North Carolina. His daughter Bailey has a rare genetic disorder called CDKL5. Autism is a prominent feature. Extreme chemical sensitivities are a major issue for Bailey. Brenner experimented with removing everything from his family’s home that might trigger a reaction. Bailey experienced fewer seizures. Brenner began to contemplate the drywall and standard insulation used to build most homes. He set out to find a non-toxic alternative. He found hemcrete. A mixture of hemp hurds and lime, hemcrete is not only 100% natural, it’s fire-resistant, mold-resistant, pest-resistant and thermal-regulating.
    “We’ve got an epidemic in this country right now, I believe, with the amount of mold that we’ve got in our homes. Industrial hemp, with the hydrated lime, I now believe that it’s the world’s healthiest material that we can use in building,” stumps Brenner. “Currently, we are importing the industrial hemp from the U.K. The issue with importing is its cost. It’s very expensive. Until we’re in a position in the U.S. where we can effectively grow and process it, we’re stuck with this solution.”
    Healthy fields of industrial hemp—farmer porn, if you will—carry many of the film’s transitions, including the one that takes viewers to a 50-acre plot outside London that produces the raw material for both hemcrete and Good Oil, a successful hemp food company. One by one, individuals and businesses around the world that are benefiting and profiting from hemp are introduced. There’s a house in Spain and a builder in Ireland. There’s a Hemporium in South Africa. Switzerland makes a cameo.
    I could go on. The biggest thing missing from the film is Loflin. Still, I’m ordering a few copies for my friends and family. I might even wrap ‘em in hemp paper. Make bows out of hemp rope. Use the leftover for a noose to hang my Uncle $cam voodoo doll for depriving us for so long.
    The Hoodlab family
    The Hoodlab family

    Sunday, October 13, 2013

    Colorado hemp offers hope for struggling farmers

    By Jenny Deam

    Colorado farmers growing hemp
    Ryan Loflin tends to a hemp plant at his farm in Crested Butte, Colo. 
    (Aaron Ontiveroz / Denver Post /October 12, 2013)

    SPRINGFIELD, Colo. — Out near a lonely highway southwest of town, a farmer's son stuck some seeds in the ground last spring to see what would happen. What he pulled from the soil made history and has sown new hope for struggling farmers both here and across the nation.

    Last weekend, 41-year-old Ryan Loflin, a fifth-generation Coloradan, along with an enthusiastic crew of 45 volunteers, harvested what is being called the first U.S. crop of commercial hemp in more than half a century.
    Hemp is the mild-mannered sister of marijuana, springing from the same tall, leafy plant family. Although it is often mistaken for its more potent sibling, hemp has only a tiny trace of the buzz-worthy chemical THC found in marijuana. Highly marketable, hemp's seeds, roots, stalks, fibers and oil are used for products including soap, clothing and construction materials. A company in Boulder even sells hemp ice cream.
    It grows easily here, needing less water in this flatland of drought and wind. Loflin's father, John, has made his living coaxing corn, wheat and alfalfa from the soil since the 1950s. Over the years he has watched the hard life take its toll as storefronts shuttered on Main Street and families moved away. The population here is about 1,500, down nearly 1,000 from a generation ago.
    "This could be the miracle crop we have been waiting for," the elder Loflin says.
    There is just this one pesky problem: Like marijuana, hemp is illegal. At least so says the federal government.
    "According to the Controlled Substances Act, there is no differentiation between marijuana and hemp," says Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington. She says the federal law banning the two plants has been on the books since it was signed by President Nixon in 1970.
    Last year things got tricky. Colorado, along with Washington state, legalized recreational marijuana. When a state law conflicts with a federal law, the feds win. But in the case of small-scale marijuana use, federal authorities have been advised to back off, letting local jurisdictions handle the issue through regulation, according to a recent Justice Department memo.
    Hemp was legalized under Colorado's Amendment 64, but more as an afterthought, says Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a national advocacy group. State lawmakers were directed to come up with a plan to regulate hemp farming, and that authority was given to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
    "It should not be treated like a drug, it should be treated like corn," says state Sen. Gail Schwartz, a Democrat and chair of the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
    For years hemp was widely grown in this country, even promoted by the government during World War II. But it eventually fell out of favor, and the last known commercial harvest was in Wisconsin in 1957.
    Colorado's rules for hemp farming are still being determined and will not go into effect until next year.
    Ryan Loflin knows he jumped the gun with his harvest but is unapologetic. "I like to be first," he says. "Someone needs to take this ball and run."
    The father of two has never been arrested in his life, and searches for a family-friendly adjective for the federal law equating marijuana with hemp. He settles on "comical."
    After Amendment 64 passed, he thought of his father's struggle, knowing hemp could potentially bring three times the profit of wheat. The big problem was — and is — getting hold of the seeds, which are illegal in this country. He is vague about how he was able to smuggle 1,500 pounds of hemp seed from Canada, Europe and China.
    Last year he grew about 50 seedlings at his home in Crested Butte. He transplanted them as well as sowing the rest of his seeds on a 60-acre plot in Springfield leased from his father.
    As fall approached, Loflin considered harvesting the inaugural crop with a combine but quickly found the machinery chewed up too much of the plant. He decided to go old-fashioned and pick by hand. He put out the word on Twitter and Facebook, and help arrived.
    Kay Cee Carson came because she had known Loflin since kindergarten and wanted to be part of what she considers a new national movement. She's still got the blisters. Matt McClain and three others drove 18 hours straight from Los Angeles and camped in tents near the field. His company is launching a hemp clothing line that gets its material from overseas.
    "I'm almost 64 years old with a bad back, but I got out there and picked too," says John Loflin. But both father and son admit they are in a trial-and-error phase because no one really knows how to grow hemp anymore in this country.
    Today, the harvested hemp sits in a waist-high pile inside a steel barn. The younger Loflin says it is already spoken for by companies wanting to buy it all, root to stem. He is keeping the seeds for next year, hoping to triple his crop. His father fields calls from farmers in their 70s from across the county who thank him, saying they have wanted to plant hemp for years but never had the nerve.
    Of course, not everyone is sold. Mayor Dusty Turner worries that his town's growing fame comes at too high a price.
    "I don't want to be on the map for anything illegal. Maybe this is the cash crop farmers need. We want economic growth, we want families to move back. It's just we want to make sure when it does happen it's legal."
    John Loflin's 94-year-old mother was worried too, but about the pickers smoking the yield.
    "Mom, you don't smoke hemp," John remembers telling her.
    "Oh," she replied. "Well, then I hope Ryan gets rich."
    "Yeah, me too," he said. "Me too."

    Photos: Colorado hemp harvest


    Although it can’t be grown under federal drug law, about two dozen Colorado farmers grew marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin this summer. This is the first known harvest of the industrial version of Cannabis sativa in the U.S. since the late 1950s. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, just cultivated differently to enhance or reduce the psychoactive chemical, THC. The photos shown here are from a harvest in Springfield, Colorado on Oct. 5, 2013.

    In this Oct. 5, 2013 photo, Derek Cross, a chef who specializes in cooking with hemp, helps harvest the plant in Springfield, Colo. Although it cant be grown under federal drug law, about two dozen Colorado farmers grew marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin in the summer. This is the first known harvest of the industrial version of Cannabis sativa in the U.S. since the late 1950s. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

    In this Oct. 5, 2013 photo, a volunteer walks through a hemp field at a farm in Springfield, Colo. during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)

    In this Oct. 5, 2013 photo, Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin harvests hemp on his farm in Springfield, Colo. Emboldened by voters in Colorado and Washington in 2012 giving the green light to both marijuana and industrial hemp production, Loflin planted 55 acres of several varieties of hemp alongside his typical alfalfa and wheat crops. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)

    In this Oct. 5, 2013 photo, volunteers harvest hemp at a farm in Springfield, Colo. during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. America is one of hemp's fastest-growing markets, with imports largely coming from China and Canada. Most of that is hemp seed and hemp oil, which finds its way into granola bars, soaps, lotions and even cooking oil. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)

    In this Oct. 5, 2013 photo, Jason Lauve, executive director of Hemp Cleans, looks at hemp seeds at a farm in Springfield, Colo. during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, Cannabis sativa, just cultivated differently to enhance or reduce marijuana's psychoactive chemical, THC. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

    In this Oct. 5, 2013 photo, Derek Cross, a chef who specializes in cooking with hemp, demonstrates the burning properties of hemp oil, which he touts as a digestible bio fuel, during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s, at a farm in Springfield, Colo. America is one of hemp's fastest-growing markets, with imports largely coming from China and Canada. Most of that is hemp seed and hemp oil, which finds its way into granola bars, soaps, lotions and even cooking oil. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

    In this Oct. 5, 2013 photo, Jason Lauve, executive director of Hemp Cleans, looks at hemp seeds at a farm in Springfield, Colo. during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, Cannabis sativa, just cultivated differently to enhance or reduce marijuana's psychoactive chemical, THC. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

    Cannabis Time Capsule, 1914: Hemp used as a weed killer

    By William Breathes

    Yesterday, Melanie Asmar wrote about the first legal hemp crop in Colorado (and the U.S.) in more than fifty years.
    It's a big step forward for advocates, who would like to see hemp return to the legal, useful status it once enjoyed.
    Like, for example, as a way to rid your fields of truly pesky weeds, as this article we dug up from the October 9, 1914 Routt County Sentinel points out.
    Not only can hemp help fuel our homes and cars, create fiber and foods and help draw out contaminates in soil - it can keep quack grass at bay.
    Yes, now that Amendment 64 has passed all of our quack grass worries are gone!

    ‘Everything should be made from hemp’ – even guitars


    ‘Everything should be made from hemp’ – even guitars

    Boyd Pellow and Stewart Burrows are partners in Canadian Hemp Guitars.

    Photograph by: Marie-France Coallier , The Gazette

    MONTREAL - Stewart Burrows spends most nights in pubs, playing cover tunes till 3 a.m., give or take, then driving back to the Châteauguay Valley. Waiting for him are his wife and three kids, and 20 heads of cattle from which he sells aged beef; $700 for 100 pounds.

    “Playing music is how I pay the bills,” he says.

    And he has a guitar workshop from where he makes ostensibly the world’s only true hemp guitar.

    With partner Boyd Pellow, Burrows, 42, a guitarist, pianist, singer/songwriter and teacher of same, wanted to make a guitar from a sustainable material.

    “Everything should be made from hemp,” he says.

    So he and Pellow started a little business, Canadian Hemp Guitars in Hemmingford, fooling around with hemp and moulds and plastics for about five years to create an electric guitar similar in weight and feel to hardwood.

    They sell for $1,150 to $2,000 and are built to order. Most of his inquiries come from out west — Calgary and B.C. to California — where hemp is associated strongly with its derivative, cannabis.

    Smoking his guitars is not advised.

    The company is a startup and sales are in the “low double digits,” but Burrows’s ambitions are small. He wants to make 150 to 200 instruments a year.

    “You’re fighting against juggernauts,” he says. “It’s a tough sell. Most people will buy Fender or Gibson if they’re going to spend $1,500.”
    Now they’re selling online, afraid that going into stores will mean they’ll “get lost in a sea of guitars.”

    He and Pellow, a luthier by training, are counting on guitarists’ penchant for collecting and the novelty of a beautifully finished hemp guitar that’s made here at home.

    “It’s responsive, built to spec and handmade,” he says.

    And if that doesn’t work, well, Burrows can always fall back on making music, ranching and teaching.

    “I’m a busy guy,” he says.

    Milk Alternatives: You Might Not Miss the Moo


    Are you lactose intolerant, vegan or on a low cholesterol diet? If you answered “yes” to any of these, then dairy may be something you are trying to avoid.

    hemp seed 300x225 Milk Alternatives: You Might Not Miss the Moo Photo
    Hemp milk is a nutritional powerhouse compared to its cow counterpart!
    Just because you are avoiding dairy, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice cold glass of milk or a delicious bowl of cereal. There are plenty of alternatives to cow’s milk that are healthy and taste good. Let’s take a look at some of the most common milk substitutes.

    Soy Milk
    Soy milk is a good source of protein. It’s low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol. Most manufacturers add natural thickeners to their soy milks to give the soy drink a texture similar to cow’s milk. Soy milk has a slight beany taste that may be difficult for some to get used to. If you don’t like the taste of plain soy milk, you may prefer the taste of the flavored varieties, like vanilla or chocolate.

    Almond milk is rich in vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, iron, fiber, zinc and calcium. It is also low fat, low sugar, low calorie, contains no cholesterol and high in antioxidants. Almond milk is much thinner in texture than cow’s milk, but it has a pleasant nutty taste.

    Coconut milk has a nice creamy texture and slightly sweet coconut flavor. Low fat coconut milk has a texture similar to cow’s milk and full fat coconut milk has a texture similar to heavy whipping cream. Coconut milk is high in calories, plant based saturated fat and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). These fats are much easier for the body to digest that animal based fats. Coconut milk is also high in lauric acid, which may help your body fight off viruses.

    Rice milk can be made from white rice or brown rice. Both versions are easy to digest, high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Rice milk has a watery texture and a very mild taste. Some people prefer vanilla flavored rice milk for the added flavor.

    Oat milk has a moderate amount of calories and is high in fiber. It is naturally sweet and only slightly thinner in texture than low fat cow’s milk.

    Hemp milk is a nutrition powerhouse. It is a great source of protein, folic acid, potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, E, B-12 and D. In addition, hemp milk is rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are the good fats your body uses for health skin, hair and eyes. On top of it, hemp milk has no cholesterol. The taste of hemp milk may take a bit to get used to. It has a slightly nutty, but bitter flavor. The vanilla flavored hemp milks, however, have a much more pleasant taste.

    Marijuana, hemp initiative cleared in Sacramento

    By David Hood

    A half-million signatures are needed to qualify measure for 2014 election.

    WASHINGTON – Marijuana and hemp advocates in California will get another chance to legalize marijuana use in its various forms if a Northern California group can ramp up enough support to put it on next year's ballot.
    California Secretary of State Debra Bowen said last week that the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014 has until Feb. 24 to gather just over 500,000 signatures from registered voters to approve it for a final vote in November of next year.
    Article Tab: California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced last week that the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014 has until Feb. 24 to gather just over 500,000 signatures from registered voters to approve it for a final vote in November.
    California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced last week that the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014 has until Feb. 24 to gather just over 500,000 signatures from registered voters to approve it for a final vote in November.

    Top 5 provisions in the measure

    • Decriminalizes marijuana and hemp use
    Requires state to license and tax commercial sales
    Limits testing for employment or insurance purposes
    Requires case-by-case review of convicted persons charged with nonviolent crimes involving marijuana
    Bars state or local aid to enforcement of federal marijuana laws

    Majority supports legalization

    A total of 52 percent of 1,703 adult Californians surveyed said marijuana use should be legalized. This is the first time support has been over 50 percent since the PPIC poll started in 1998. In the same poll, released in September, 60 percent of 1,102 likely voters surveyed said they favor legalization:
    Democrats 64%
    Independents 60%
    Republicans 45%
    The poll's margin of
    error: 3.7 percent.
    Source: Public Policy
    Institute of California.

    Crop of the Future?

    By Joel Hersch

    California legalizes industrial hemp, setting the stage for hemp production should it become legal on the federal level

    Hemp advocate Richard Dash, owner of the Dash Hemp Santa Cruz retail store, is quick to point out the irony in the federal government's longstanding ban on the cultivation of industrialized hemp.
    The DEA, he explains, associates hemp directly with marijuana despite its non-psychoactive properties, while the sale of bagels with poppy seeds—the base source of opium—is perfectly legal.
    “You're more likely to fail a drug test eating poppy seed bagels than by eating hemp seeds, which are delicious on mashed potatoes, salads, cereals and everything, really,” says Dash, who also sits on the board of directors for the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). “So why not close down Einstein [Bros] Bagels?”
    While the federal government continues to hold the cultivation of hemp to a criminal standard, 10 states, including Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia, have passed their own legislation making it legal. This will help farmers prepare for hemp licensing and authorize universities to grow the plant for research.
    On Friday, Sept. 27, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 566—the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which was authored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).
    “With the signing of this bill, California is poised to grow industrial hemp when the federal government gives states the green light,” Leno said in a Sept. 27 press statement.
    The law primes the state's farmers to cultivate industrial hemp for the sale of seed, oil and fiber to manufacturers and businesses that currently rely entirely on international imports from countries like Canada, China, and nations in Europe.
    The plants can be made into thousands of products, including wax, resin, rope, cloth, construction materials, printing paper, and biofuel.
    In defiance of the federal ban, one farmer in Colorado, where marijuana was legalized last year, planted 55 acres of hemp last spring. He harvested his crop on Sept. 23.
    Steve Levine, who is CFO for the HIA and on the board of directors, says advocates anticipate that, in light of some states' legalization of medical marijuana, the federal government will soon declassify hemp as a Schedule 1 drug.
    “This [bill] is a small step, but it is a victory and it is going in the right direction,” Levine says.
    news1-2The U.S. retail market for hemp goods is around $500 million annually. Clothes, like those sold at Dash Hemp Santa Cruz (pictured), are among the myriad products that can be made from hemp.He hopes California will be growing hemp by next spring.
    If farmers chose to plant the crop prior to federal legalization, they run the risk of having federal agents come in, destroy their harvest and take their land, Levine says.
    Normally, cannabis cultivated for industrialized hemp has less than 1 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. By contrast, the average THC content in marijuana reached 10 percent in 2009, according to the National Institutes of Health.
    “There's not enough THC in [hemp] to do anything except give you a headache if you smoke it," Levine says.
    Hemp is the only crop that's illegal to grow at the federal level, yet legal for Americans to import from the more than 30 nations that export it, according to Leno's press release.
    Dash says hemp, which can grow in a wide range of climates, would be a very viable crop for Central California.
    He says farmers, who are constantly negotiating their irrigation expenses, would likely be drawn to industrialized hemp, which requires less water and fewer agricultural inputs than most other crops, and has deep tap roots that leave the soil in good condition for the next crop cycle.
    “Most farm bureaus are interested in the crop, but they're not likely going to risk it [with the federal government],” says Levine. “[When they can] agricultural groups will jump on board.”
    MaryLou Nicoletti, the Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner, says that she is not aware of any significant interest by local farmers to grow hemp, but also that the discussion hasn't been on the table due to its illegality.
    “It hasn't been a legally viable option up until this point,” she says. “[But] our climate is certainly suitable for hemp's cousin, marijuana, so I don't see why it wouldn't be suitable for industrial hemp.”
    If water and other production costs were significantly lower and the value of the product was more than the fruits and vegetables many farmers are already cultivating, then the hemp option would definitely be on the table, she says.
    “Water costs are always an issue,” Nicoletti says.
    The DEA outlaws hemp because of its zero tolerance policy toward marijuana. One reason they give is concern that hemp farmers could easily disguise cannabis cultivated for marijuana in their fields.
    However, there’s a problem with this logic, says Dash: marijuana and hemp cannot be grown in close proximity to one another. The cross pollination between the two—a non-drug strain and drug strain—decreases the potency of the THC.
    “Is there a market for lousy pot in California?” Dash asks rhetorically. “No.”
    He says marijuana farmers do not support industrialized hemp cultivation because they would all have to move indoors if a hemp field appears nearby.
    “It dilutes what they're doing,” he says.
    The pollen from a hemp cultivation site can travel anywhere from five to 20 miles, says Bryce Berryessa, who is on the board of directors for the Association for Standardized Cannabis (ASC) and owns a consulting company called Sustainable Agricultural Services.
    “Any cannabis [marijuana] farm in close proximity to a hemp farm—there definitely could be a lot of issues,” he says.
    However, Berryessa notes that, locally, outdoor marijuana grows are most suitable in the Santa Cruz Mountains, while a hemp farm would make the most sense on lower land such as Watsonville, Modesto or Fresno.
    Anndrea Hermann, owner of The Ridge International Cannabis Consulting and president of the HIA, calls this conflict “the natural cannabis cultural clash.”
    Hermann, who was born in Missouri but holds dual citizenship in Canada, where she lives, says the marijuana-hemp proximity issue is a real problem in Canada, where there are about 50,000 acres of hemp growing.
    Hermann says that between January and July this year, Canada exported $22.3 million in hemp goods to the United States, which almost accounts for Canada's entire market. Their remaining exports to all other countries totaled less than $800,000.
    Levine says the U.S. retail market for hemp is about $500 million annually, with organic foods and body care goods making up about 50 percent. However, he says, the market has grown rapidly in recent years, primarily in California.
    Dash speculates that the majority of domestic industrialized hemp production would go into construction.
    Levine says federal legalization of industrialized hemp cultivation would be great news for the economy.
    “To make the natural analogy,” he says, “once it's legal, it'll be like a seed that can grow. It has the freedom to be watered with money, venture capitalism; banks will want to get in; people will want to make investments. We'll need processing plants; companies will want to borrow money to open up retail stores and manufacturing operations. It'll change the whole climate.”