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November 17, 2009 – Investing adequately in agriculture can lead to permanent structural transformation and hunger alleviation in Africa. Not only is the food system a major employer of the poor, but it also generates the capital and demand for expansion in non-agricultural sectors.

Consider the large scale growing of Hemp. The US Hemp food sales are experiencing an annual growth rate of 50% according to the US industry research group SPINS. China whose trade GDP quadrupled in 20 years exports Hemp that is grown on its 800,000 acres. Think of how much more Africa could grow.

Hemp is a crop that is multi-beneficial, and a strong step to creating productive, healthy and even prosperous conditions in Africa. Hemp has up to 25 000 potential uses. It is a high plant protein source and can be pressed into nutritious oil essential for our immune system and clearing the arteries of cholesterol and plaque.The oil from hemp seed can be sprouted (Malted) or ground and baked into cake, bread, and casseroles.

Hemp is an environmentally sustainable, economically viable “ancient wonder crop”. Farmers around the world grow it without the use of pesticides or herbicides. Hemp is earth’s number-one biomass resource. Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol, or Gasoline at a cost comparable to petroleum. It can produce 10 times more methanol than corn. The use of hemp fuel does not contribute to global Warming.

One acre of hemp can produce as much usable fiber as four acres of trees or two acres of cotton. Trees may take several years to grow, while hemp can be cultivated in as little as 100 Days and can yield much more paper than tree.

Until 1883, from 75-90% of all paper in the world was made with cannabis hemp fiber. Hemp paper is longer lasting than wood pulp, stronger, acid-free, and chlorine free.

Hemp can as well be a textile solution for Africa as it is softer, warmer, more absorbent and has three times the tensile strength. About 70-90% of all rope, twine, and Cordage was made from hemp until 1937. Hemp withstands heat, mildew, insects, and is not damaged by light. Oil paintings on Hemp and/or flax canvas have stayed in fine condition. Hemp fiber has strong, rot resistant carpeting potential eliminating the allergic reactions associated with new synthetic carpeting.

An acre of full Grown hemp plants can sustainably provide from four to 50 or even 100 times the cellulose found in cornstalks, or sugar cane (the planet’s next highest annual cellulose plants). One acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees, making hemp a perfect material to replace trees, for pressed board, particle board, and concrete construction molds.

Heating and compressing plant fibers can create practical, inexpensive, fire-resistant construction materials with excellent thermal and sound insulating Qualities. These strong plant fiber materials could replace dry wall and wood paneling.

William B. Coned of Condi’s Redwood Lumber,Inc., in conjunction with Washington State University (1991-1993) demonstrated the superior strength, flexibility, and economy of hemp composite. Archeologists have found a bridge in the South of France from the Merovingian period (500-751 A.D.) built with this process.

Hemp is a wonder plant that Africa should consider growing as a strategy to create wealth for the continent.

Please also see:
Can Hemp Products Save the World?
Canada – Hemp Bringing Highs to Farmers’ Lows

November 7, 2009 – “Flax is so injurious to our lands, and so scanty produce, that I have never attempted (using) it. Hemp, on the other hand, is abundantly productive and will grow forever onhempsketchpaper1 the same spot.” –
Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, Journal Entry of December 29, 1815

A reaction to the loss of the world’s rainforests is an attempt to find alternate sources of fiber for paper – to replace wood fiber. One pro hemp group that some call the “industrial hemp movement” would have you believe hemp fiber is the answer to deforestation.

Some hemp supporters legitimately want to use hemp for manufactured products including paper. Others may be pursuing the agenda of legalizing Cannabis sativa C. Linnaeus for medicinal and recreational uses and are using the “alternative use” issue as an end-run to legalization.

Another name for this plant is marijuana.

The History of Hemp Fiber

The Chinese used hemp for paper as far back as 8,000 BC. Ancient documents have been retrieved that were totally hemp based. This is certainly a testament to the ability of hemp fiber to withstand the destructive nature of time.

Herodotus writes that Thracians used both the wild and cultivated fiber for cloth. He marveled at the garments made from hemp and compared it to linen. He also wrote about the purification rites associated with “vapor-baths” and breathing smoldering smoke from moist hemp seed.

Hemp’s by-product is tetrahydracannabinol (THC) and is a psychoactive chemical generally absorbed through the respiratory system or digestive tract with a significant effect on perception and cognitive abilities.

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were advocates of Cannabis fiber and recommended their fellow countrymen to use the plant for lamp oil and fabric for uniforms and clothing. Jefferson found its cloth a rival to cotton, at much less cost and he used it to clothe his farm hands. George Washington was said to be more familiar with the plant as a drug.

The last legal hemp crop was harvested in 1957 due to competitive industrial product shifts and a restrictive U.S. Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Today, in many countries, it is illegal to grow hemp without a government permit – and the permits are nearly impossible to get.

The Industrial Hemp Movement

There is now a worldwide revival of value-added hemp products as an alternative material for building, food products, health and beauty aids, fabrics, car fuel, and paper. It does not seem to be catching on as the Worlds demand for industrial hemp fiber is not increasing.

The Argument For Hemp Paper…

Dave Seber, in an interview for High Times magazine, indicated that being in the “lumber business for almost 15 years now…I have watched the forests being taken out here.” Seber has been a redwood logger and president of C&S Lumber, an R&D organization in Oregon dedicated to finding replacement fibers for wood.

“As I see it,” Seber says “we’ve got 10 to 20 years, tops, before the entire ecosystem, as we know it, will collapse because of what they are doing in these forests.” He goes on to suggest that the “environmental threat” to forests will worsen if no alternate fiber to wood is found. And, as you probably guessed, he thinks hemp is the answer.

Edit: This prediction was made in 1997.

Carol Moran heads a company called Living Tree Paper Company in Eugene, Oregon. She, according to an article in ENN Online, is convinced that hemp can “single-handedly stop worldwide deforestation.” Her company’s magazine is even printed on non-tree hemp paper.

Mary Kane, publisher of HempWorld, a quarterly journal of the hemp movement says that “eventually the DEA will be forced to relinquish the ban on hemp farming. It’s a plant that can provide alternatives to anything synthetic.” She further states that “hemp can save the world but we have to give it a chance.”

Hemp advocates argue that hemp fiber is more durable than wood and can be recycled more frequently than tree fiber. Hemp produces a highly nutritious seed crop that can be of comparable value to the fiber crop. Agriculturally grown hemp would fit well with natural forests and tree plantations.

The Argument Against Hemp Paper…

Detractors of the annual agricultural production of hemp fiber are just as vocal against growing hemp fiber. They contend that hemp farming is very demanding on the environment and would negate any possible benefits ascribed to it. Hemp fiber would be cost prohibitive when compared to silvicultural production of wood fiber.

Any annual crop demands a period of establishment and reestablishment, during which the site has to be intensely cultivated and treated for weeds and pests. This has to be repeated until the crop is properly established and done on an annual basis for crops like flax, wheat, cotton, or hemp. Most tree species, even if grown on a fast rotation, would mean less site disturbance and have much less need for chemicals; Trees are more forgiving of site preparation, chemical support, and revisits after planting.

Large areas of cultivated fields would be necessary. This would, in itself, mean clearing land of trees and would comprise the best land in terms of fertility and topography. Irrigation would become necessary in some areas for best production. Tending hemp would be expensive and compete for land and other resources.

Dr. Patrick Moore writing on the subject on his web site Greenspirit indicates that “at least twice as much nutrient must be available in an easily assimilable form as will finally be removed from the soil by the leaf-free harvest”. Hemp is a nutrient sponge. Crop rotation and the added expense of stripping leaves and flowers would be the desired method of nutrient replacement. All this adds to increased disturbance of the site, the addition of either manure crops or chemical nutrients, and an increase in per acre expense.

The last little kink in the use of hemp for fiber is a significant concern called cost. According to Austrialia’s NAFI and Heike Von Der Lancken, “hemp pulp costs $2,500 per ton as compared to $400 per ton for typical bleached wood pulp.” This would create the need for another farm subsidy to make costs match. By Steve Nix. Source.

October 25th, 2009 – The hemp plant can be used in thousands of different products, including large-scale things such as houses and cars. Hemp is also able to be made into smaller goods asglobalwarmingwell, from health products to paints.

An extremely important goal that hemp must be applied to immediately is the reversal of global warming. Upon first hearing such a statement, it may seem ridiculous that one thing could solve a world problem. However, utilizing hemp on a massive scale could indeed achieve this objective.

To understand how hemp can stop global warming, you need to understand how climate change is occurring. Greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, build up in the atmosphere. This high concentration of gas traps heat inside the Earth, leading to a general increase in temperature.

The negative effects of the advanced stages of global warming would be devastating and destructive. We cannot afford to wait; we must act now to counter these horrible consequences.

When you are young, you learn that for plants to grow, they must photosynthesize. This involves taking CO2 from the air and converting it to oxygen. The nature of the hemp plant enables it to absorb incredible amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, much more than all other plants.

Hemp can not only absorb carbon dioxide, but it puts much of it into the soil. This not only permanently removes it from the atmosphere, but it enhances the soil. Few other plants actually leave the soil healthier after they have grown, rather than depleting it.

Not only is hemp effective at reversing global warming through its growth, but the processing of it into products is “green” as well. Hemp is especially efficient when it comes to paper. Essentially no chemicals are required, unlike the many toxic ones that are necessary for tree paper.

It is stunning to realize how amazing hemp is, yet it is still illegal. Is the human race really trying to kill itself? That is what it appears, being we have a truly miraculous resource almost literally right at our feet, and instead of embracing it, we destroy it. What kind of policy is that?

October 8, 2009 – If Hemp was discovered today it would be hailed a miracle for mankind as there are so many environmentally friendly products the plant and its byproducts can provide. If consumers want to contribute to a better planet, they need look no further than to choose products made with hemp. This post explores the huge potential impact of hemp – if only it were legal for farmers to grow and process in the United States.

Hunger and Starvation

The world is going through great suffering at present, with millions of people starving and millions more struggling to cope with the high cost of living. Most of these problems can be traced back to agriculturehunger and oil. Current unnatural farming methods require large amounts of money to be spent on pesticides and herbicides, making farming practices economically and environmentally unsustainable.

At the same time, the world’s population is increasing and the global community is desperate for a solution to meet the food requirements of all countries. Fortunately, there is a solution available – Hemp. Growing the hemp plant and using it to create thousands of products ranging from food, textiles, building materials, plastics etc. is a highly sustainable way to address hunger and a myriad of economic and social issues our world currently faces. (A more comprehensive discussion of this potential can be found here: Hemp: Africa’s Solution to Hunger and Poverty )

70 Years of Propaganda

The media portrayal of marijuana and drugs is largely responsible for the negative perception of hemp, Picture 37but most people fail to realize that commercial hemp is actually unfit for use as an intoxicant. THC, the active ingredient of regular cannabis responsible for producing the ‘high’ effect in drug users, is typically found in quantities of up to 20% or more. Industrial hemp on the other hand, generally contains less than 0.3% THC content, which is not enough to cause any physical or psychological effects. Smoking industrial hemp to get high is akin to trying to get drunk from non-alcoholic beer.

Hemp has a lengthy history of being a productive crop, even in the USA. Early presidents Washington and Jefferson used to grow the crop personally, and during a few different periods Americans were actually legally bound to grow hemp. The US government even produced a short movie in 1942 entitled Hemp for Victory to help encourage farmers to grow hemp.

Big Business Bans Hemp

Hemp was effectively banned with the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, but a chronic oil and material shortage during the Second World War meant the government desperately needed hemp again. It was1232477-TaxStamp re-legalized in 1942 and promoted with the Hemp for Victory movie. The original ban was at the request of big industry and after the shortages subsided it didn’t take long before they once again made sure that hemp wasn’t able to compete with their business interests.

The problem is that hemp is a naturally occurring solution to many of the world’s problems, and therefore can’t be patented and controlled by individuals. DuPont was one of the main companies behind the ban of hemp, which they pushed for shortly after patenting a nylon rope made from synthetic petrochemicals. In addition to the petrochemical industries, it also threatened the cotton, oil and timber industries, who formed an alliance to make sure hemp was outlawed.

Simply the Best

As well as being one of the earliest known domesticated plants, hemp is one of the fastest growing bio-masses known. The bark of the stalk contains possibly the longest natural soft fibers in the world. John+Deere+-+Hemp+FarmingThese two properties provide tremendous advantages over other crops in terms of practicality and uses.

Hemp is also very environmentally friendly. It grows well in a number of different soil types and climates, and is naturally resilient to weeds and pests. Some farmers even use it as a natural weed suppressor. The use of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides and are widely unnecessary, with the plant rarely being attacked and strong enough to ward off the few pests which are attracted to it. They don’t call it ‘Weed’ without a reason, as it is able to grow strong like a weed without any assistance.

Wide Variety of Uses

The practical uses for hemp never seem to end, ranging from replacements for many of our current energy, clothing and building material sources to more simple uses such as fishing bait, cooking products and paints.

Food

Hemp seeds are possibly the most easily digestible source of complete proteins; contain high levels of Picture 39dietary fiber and B-vitamins, as well as containing all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids in the most appropriate ratios for human consumption. Their profile is so complete that if a human was to eat one thing for the rest of their life, they would live the longest on hemp seeds. Since they can be eaten raw, ground, sprouted or made into milk; hemp seeds can be used as a replacement for flour, butter, protein powder, milk and ice-cream. By the way, the seed is not psychoactive and will not act as a drug.

Fuel and Plastics

Biofuels such as biodiesel can be produced from the oil in hemp seeds and stalks. The fermentation of the whole plant can also produce alcohol fuel. Hemp can produce ten times more methanol than is possible from corn and seems an ideal substitute for the massive amounts corn crops around the world planted to provide fuel for vehicles. The hemp fibers are perfect for producing plastic moulded products, rather than relying on oil for their production. They are also well suited for the creation of biodegradable plastic products.

Construction

Similar to the way ancient cultures added straw to clay to reinforce bricks, hemp fibers added to hemp_house_lm190609concrete increase tensile strength, as well as reducing shrinkage and cracking. It can also be mixed with gypsum to produce light panels, or lime to make plaster. A combination mixture can be used for foundations, walls and ceilings, which is lighter than cement and has better sound and heat insulating properties. There has even been a ceramic tile equivalent produced. The quality of building materials is such that whole houses have been made based on hemp fiber.

Insulation

The actual building structure is not the only thing that can benefit from hemp’s insulating properties. semi-rigid-hemp-insulation-panel-140000The production of thermal insulation products is one of the most important sectors of the hemp industry. Hemp hurds are perfect to use due to their high silica content, and can be mixed with lime to produce a material which can be blown into areas requiring insulation. Since it is naturally renewable, it is better for the environment and can help to reduce heating costs for existing households.

Textiles

Hemp is a major competitor to the cotton industry. It produces 250% more fibers than cotton and hempconversedoesn’t require the same cocktail of chemicals cotton needs to grow successfully. It is said that around half of the world’s pesticides are used on cotton crops. Hemp is also far stronger, durable, absorbent, insulative and resistant to UV light and mold than cotton. Although it is generally coarse, advancements in processing have enabled a softening of hemp fibers to a comfortable level. Apart from shoes and clothing, hemp can also be used to produce coarse textiles such as upholstery and carpets.

Paper

The United States Constitution was drafted on hemp paper. uc06330Hemp can produce more than four times the dry weight of fiber in comparison to the average forest on the same size land. Additionally, trees will take approximately twenty years to regrow, where hemp can reach maturity in around four months. Apart from being far more practical to produce paper in terms of growth times and production levels, hemp paper is of a far superior quality to tree paper. Wood pulp paper may be lucky to last 50 years, whereas hemp pulp paper has been known to last centuries or even millennia. It can also be recycled many more times than traditional paper.

Personal Care Products

Hempseed oil has a wide variety of uses, especially in the personal care product range. It is widely used in creams as a moisturizing agent and is excellent for skin care. It is also present in a number of leading brand’s lotions, moisturizers, lip balms and perfumes. Bathroom products containing hemp are also popular, with soaps, shampoos and bubble baths being sold having a hemp component.

Motor vehicles

Today, many car parts are manufactured using hemp products. Their history dates back to 1941, where Henry Ford produced a car with a plastic body which was made from approximately 70% hemp fibers. picture-10Although the idea came about partly due to a steel shortage, tremendous benefits were revealed. The car could withstand blows ten times greater than steel without denting. It was so powerful that Ford used to swing an axe at the vehicle to show it would not be damaged. Unfortunately, the Marijuana Tax Act made production unviable and although some car parts are produced today, the full potential of hemp cars has never been realized.

THE PERFECT SOLUTION

Never has a more perfect solution been available to solve so many of the world’s problems. But the sad fact is that unless we rise up as a people and demand a change, we are unlikely to ever see the full benefits of hemp around the globe. This is because there are so many well established interest groups in the many sectors of the economy where hemp can provide benefit – interest groups who do not want to see it succeed. The potential benefits to mankind though are just too large to ignore – and we must work together to see that hemp is once again returned to a revered status in our economy.

Source.<

Please also see:
Hemp: Africa’s Solution to Hunger and Poverty
Canada – Hemp Bringing Highs to Farmers’ Lows

October 3, 2009 – by Hana Haatainen Caye – Do you know what happens when you smoke hemp? Not a whole lot. You may end up with a cough or a headache, but you certainly won’t end up with a high. Surprised? Most people are hempbecause they mistakenly think hemp is the same thing as marijuana. It’s not; even though they are both members of the plant species cannabis sativa and bear an uncanny resemblance. Actually, the psychoactive properties in marijuana come from the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) found in the flower of the plant. While the THC values in marijuana are about 15% – 20%, they’re only standardized at about 0.3% in industrial hemp.

So what’s all the hype with hemp? It’s actually an eco-friendly renewable resource that is once again warranting attention in the United States (although it’s not legal to commercially grow here). Hemp is an excellent alternative to cotton when it comes to clothing, as hemp is more resilient and water-resistant, offers better breathe-ability, and is, quite simply, softer and warmer. With the look of linen and the feel of flannel, it’s no wonder clothing made of hemp is gaining in popularity.

But clothing isn’t the only thing hemp is used for. Consider these facts:

* When used for building material, hemp is known to be better than wood in terms of quality and strength, as well as being less expensive
* Paper made from hemp can be recycled up to 7 times, versus only 4 times for paper made from wood pulp
* Hemp has 10 times less toxicity than salt and is as biodegradable as sugar
* When used to make bio-diesel fuel, it emits 80% less carbon dioxide and close to 100% less sulfur dioxide
* It boasts a production rate of up to 10 tons per acre every 4 months
* It matures in about 100 days versus the 50 – 100 years for a tree to mature
* Hemp crops are heat, cold, mildew, pest, light, drought and rot resistant
* There are far less chemicals used to produce fabric made of hemp than of cotton and other fibers
* The woody stalks, or hurds, of the hemp plant are used for a variety of products, including: paper, plastics, animal bedding and more efficient and cleaner burning fuels, such as ethanol and methane
* The plant fibers are perfect for clothing, canvas, paper, textiles and rope, as well as replacements for heavier toxic fibers and building materials generally made with recycled plastic and fiber

One of the most beneficial parts of the hemp plant comes from the seed which contains many nutrients for both human and animal consumption. The hemp seed consists of

* Calcium
* Magnesium
* Phosphorus
* Potassium
* Vitamin A
* Protein (25%)
* Insoluble fiber (15%)
* Carbohydrates (30%)

It also is the absolute best vegetable source of essential fatty acids, with 55% Omega 3 linoleic acid and 25% Omega 6 linoleic acid, as well as gama linoleic acid.

Hemp seeds can be used in baking or cooking, crushed or whole. Hempseed oil is the principle product derived from the seed and has many uses from nutrition to cosmetics to paints and varnishes.

The multiple uses of the hemp plant, coupled with its eco-friendly properties, makes it the perfect crop choice for farmers across America. So why are we not seeing this invaluable plant being harvested from coast to coast?

Well, not to sound cynical, but you’d have to ask a politician about this. After all, it’s the powers-that-be that enforce the law that makes industrial hemp production in the U.S. illegal. But it wasn’t always this way.

Up until 1883, nearly 90% of all paper in this country was made with hemp rather than wood pulp. Four million pounds of hemp seed was sold in the States in 1937, and up until that year, almost 90% of all rope and twine was manufactured from the hemp plant. Then there’s the car Henry Ford built in 1941, made from a hemp and wheat straw plastic. However, the popularity of hemp and its abundance seemed to be cutting into the potential profits of men like William Randolph Hearst and Pierre DuPont, who collaborated and succeeded in making hemp an illegal crop in the U.S. in 1937. What did they have to gain? Well, Hearst held interests in multiple lumber mills and personally owned huge forests. DuPont used petroleum to manufacture synthetic fuels and fibers, such as rayon, nylon and a variety of plastics. The versatility of hemp wasn’t welcome in their world.

Seventy-plus years later, what have we learned? Well, we’ve experienced an energy crisis, polluted our air and waterways, found that chemicals in synthetics can be a danger to our health, endangered our wildlife species with the destruction of the forests, created holes in our ozone layer, etc., etc.

Could this have been avoided? Possibly. Researchers estimate the if just 6% of the continental United States would be planted with hemp crops, this would provide for ALL our national energy needs. Is this factual? I don’t know. But it certainly should be worth investigating. So why is our government sitting on its hands on this one? Is it that there are too many Hearsts and DuPonts out there blocking the way for real change?

I don’t know about you, but this makes me angry. When I think about the possibility that we could have fuel with far less toxic emissions, affordable clothing that wouldn’t be chemically treated, healthy alternative sources of essential fatty acids, etc. I just want to schedule a meeting with the higher ups and ask them why it isn’t happening. They talk the talk of independence from foreign oil, but when given a sensible alternative, they turn a deaf ear. Angry…you bet I am. And frustrated with the stupidity and ignorance of people who continue to think it should be illegal, because they refuse to differentiate between hemp and marijuana. Source.

September 27, 2009 – Society may be moving away from paper dependency, but we’re not there yet. Forty-two per cent of the world’s industrial wood harvest goes to the production of paper, and 87 per cent of that paper is used by industrialized western nations like the United States and Canada. And despite its pristine appearance, paper is anything but clean.

The process industrial paper makers use to turn wood pulp into paper has been shown to result in a number of harmful chemical by-products such as carbon monoxide, ammonia, nitrogen oxide, mercury, nitrates, methanol, benzene, chloroform, and dioxins. Despite its negative side effects wood paper is the only game in town these days, but it wasn’t always that way.

Back in the day hemp paper was a popular and widely used alternative to wood paper. Many of the founding documents of the United States are printed on hemp: two drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Hemp paper doesn’t require bleaching, lasts longer and is more durable than its wood-based brother. So why didn’t it catch on?

Declaration of Independence
declaration_of-independence

At first the reason was a practical one. When the Industrial Revolution took the Western world by storm, people built machines to make larger amounts of paper faster, to meet with the growing demand brought on by the spread of literacy. Hemp, however, proved too much for the first machines. Its fibers were too tough. And so wood pulp based paper became the golden standard.
People didn’t give up on hemp, though. In the early 1920s and ‘30s mechanization was getting more sophisticated and industrial hemp paper production looked like a viable option. Hemp, being a highly renewable resource and relatively easy to grow, had the potential to revolutionize the paper industry (among others). Deforestation could be slowed and many of the harmful chemicals used in the making of paper could be done away with.

But by this time there was a whole industry based around the use and production of wood pulp paper. People had become rich off wood and they wanted to keep the money coming, people like William Randolph Hearst.

Hearst owned a large number of newspapers in the United States. He also owned large tracts of forest and paper mills. Using his newspapers Hearst launched a massive smear campaign against hemp. He published any number of articles with headlines like, “Marihuana Makes Fiends of Boys in 30 Days,” and “Hasheesh Goads Users to Blood Lust.” His articles actually popularized the term Marihuana. Many of the articles published in Hearst’s papers would later be used as evidence against hemp in the mid-1930s when the U.S. government held hearings to consider whether the plant and its relatives should become controlled substances.

In 1937 after various hearings on numerous levels of government, the U.S. adopted the Marihuana Act. This act didn’t criminalize the possession or cultivation of hemp, but it might as well have. A tax was levied on anyone who dealt commercially with hemp (by this time Hearst’s campaign had proved so successful that cannabis and hemp were considered practically the same thing) and strict rules surrounded its production.

Farmers were required to pay $1 a year to register as growers but could be subject to a fine of $2000 or five years in prison if they inadvertently violated the conditions of the Act—for instance should any plant in their crop test above the allowed level of THC (the average income at the time was about $500 a year). Those who chose to pay the tax were required to register their names and place of business with the tax collector who was then obliged to give out that information to anyone who wanted it provided they paid the fee ($1 for every 100 names). Those who wanted to import hemp were charged $1 per ounce of hemp they wished to buy, and were charged a fine of $100 per ounce if found in possession without paying the tax.

As a result most farmers were either too poor or too afraid of the consequences to attempt commercial hemp production and the cost of trying to import hemp into the eager U.S. market became prohibitively high. The technology that would have allowed the large-scale production of hemp paper withered for lack of opportunity, wood pulp kept its monopoly on the paper industry and Hearst continued to make money. The laws that Hearst encouraged with his media blitz are still in place today in the U.S., though in a slightly different form. Source.

September 23, 2009 – Anyone who believes that the hemp industry is best left to the half-baked stoners of the world should spend a few hours talking textiles with Ken Barker. Five minutes intorhds20-100 the conversation it becomes clear that this guy is onto something big, and he knows exactly what he is doing.

Barker recently served as head of apparel at Adidas North America in Portland. Before that he held executive positions with Adidas and Levi Strauss in Canada. He knows how hard it is for apparel companies to meet the rising demand for clothing from earth-friendly sources. When he was with Adidas he entertained proposals to make fabric from soy, bamboo, even seaweed. None of them made as much sense as hemp, the plant that once served as the backbone of U.S. industry before it was banned in the 1930s.

Barker and another former Adidas executive, David Howitt (a brain behind the success of Oregon Chai), run an investment firm in Northwest Portland called the Meriwether Group. They have two hemp companies in their portfolio. Living Harvest, which makes hemp milk, is one of the fastest growing companies in Oregon. Naturally Advanced Technologies, the company Barker has run since 2006, recently raised more than $900,000 and plans to get its product to market within six months.

You know you’re talking to an entrepreneur when you ask how close they got to running out of money and you get a grin and a nod. “We took it down to under $200,000 just 30 days ago,” says Barker. “But once we were able to announce that we had some global players signed on as partners, we went out and raised a quick million dollars. That’s enough to take it to commercial production.”

NAT’s partnerships with the decidedly non-hippy powerhouses Hanes and Georgia Pacific offer hints about the company’s plans. The goal is the no-nonsense, low-cost, mass production of industrial hemp, initially for the apparel and pulp industries and eventually for natural plastics and biofuels. The company has trademarked a fiber technology called Crailar that Barker hopes to build into the next big apparel ingredient in the tradition of Lycra and Gore-Tex, but plant-based and organic.

The idea isn’t to replace the mountains of petroleum-based polyester used by Nike and Adidas, or the fields of pesticide-covered cotton gobbled up by Hanes and Levi Strauss, but rather to introduce Crailar into the existing system of textile manufacturing, as an option for manufacturers interested in going green. Thus the partnership with Hanes and textile researchers at North Carolina State.

The same general principle applies to the pulp industry, which is in deep trouble these days and could use some fresh ideas. Think paper towels and napkins without the stumps. The fact that Georgia Pacific has signed on suggests that the potential is there.

Barker calls hemp a “super-crop.” There is no disputing that hemp is a proven performer that grows like a weed without pesticides. It is also illegal, at the federal level, although Oregon recently became the seventh state to vote to legalize it at the statewide level. Barker argues that harvesting hemp locally would make sense, but in the meantime he says it is easy to import from Canada.

The potential for hemp has been there for decades — make that centuries. What has been missing in modern times (in addition to intelligent federal policy) is a team with the experience and expertise to take hemp production to the next competitive level. Barker and his partners could end up doing just that. If his plans come to fruition, they could breathe new life into the nation’s suffering pulp and textiles industries and offer a new option in the search for viable biofuels. All of which would build nicely on Oregon’s strengths in the apparel industry and in the business of going green. By Ben Jacklet. Source.

August 27, 2009 – People have used marijuana since before the beginning of recorded history. It is known to have been used thousands of years before the birth of Christ and NORML_Remember_Prohibition_its use was legal for the vast majority of that time. It was legal in the United States until the early 1900’s, when a campaign of lies and propaganda brought about its prohibition. Recently many prominent people, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo have advocated the legalization of marijuana, or at the very least having a national discussion on that possibility.

Many people have come to realize that if marijuana were legalized, regulated, and taxed many of the problems caused by its prohibition could be erased, and tens of billions in revenue could be generated. Thousands die yearly in accidents or due to health related problems resulting from the use of alcohol, yet it is legal, and it should be. It is the responsibilty of those who choose to use it to do so responsibly. Shouldn’t the same common sense rules apply to marijuana?

This is the first article in a series which will expose the truth behind the passage of our nation’s foolish laws governing the use of marijuana, the harm those laws cause, and why it should be legalized. In this article I’m going to look at the reasons marijuana was outlawed in the U.S. One might imagine that solid scientific evidence was used, or that factual accounts of criminal activity attributed to its use and a legitimate concern for public safety may have compelled our government to criminalize marijuana. Not so. In fact much of the so called evidence that was used had no basis whatsoever in fact. Racist propaganda was used to stir up anger. Incompetent and corrupt politicians and government officials spurred by greed, the prospect of personal gain, and the hope of career advancement were a major force behind the movement to ban its use, possession and cultivation. Horrible tales of ruthless violence, including brutal murders and vicious gang rapes were totally fabricated in order to frighten the public and gain support for anti-marijuana laws.

The first marijuana law in America was passed more than 150 years before we declared our independence, but it wasn’t intended to restrict marijuana. In 1619 a law was enacted at the Jamestown Colony in Virginia that actually required farmers to grow Indian hempseed. Over the next 200 years there were several laws passed making its cultivation mandatory. In fact between 1763 and 1767 you could be jailed in Virginia for not growing it.

Of course it was not being grown just so early settlers could get high. Hemp had many uses at the time. It was used for rope, clothing, and food, among other things. The census of 1850 showed there were more than 8,000 hemp plantations in the country that grew a minimum of 2,000 acres of the plant.

It was the early 1900’s before marijuana began to be seen as a problem. California was the first state to pass a law outlawing the “preparations of marijuana, or loco weed.” At the time there was tension near the Mexican border due to the revolution in that country. Violence as a result of the revolution sometimes spilled over the border. Many people in the American west were also angry that large farms were using cheap Mexican labor which hurt smaller farms. The fact that many Mexicans smoked marijuana was used to help pass the law in California, not based on facts or science, but on the anti-Mexican sentiment that existed among many people at the time. The law was intended more to target Mexicans than to protect the public from marijuana’s “harmful” effects.

At around the same time Utah also outlawed marijuana. According to Charles Whitebread, a Professor of Law at the University of Southern California Law School, Mormons returned to Salt Lake City from Mexico with marijuana in 1910. Church leaders were not at all happy with its use by members of the Mormon Church. Whitebread speculates that may be one of the reasons Utah outlawed marijuana, althought some members of the Mormon community dispute his theory.

Several other states used the racial prejudice towards Mexicans to help pass laws against marijuana. Wyoming was first in 1915, followed by Texas in 1919, Iowa, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Arkansas in 1923, and Nebraska and Montana in 1927. In Texas a State Senator promoted the outlawing of marijuana by saying, “All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff is what makes them crazy.” The Butte Montana Standard quoted a Montana lawmaker’s statement on the floor of the Montana Legislature: “When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff… he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico, so he starts out to execute all his political enemies.”

In the eastern states racist statements were also used to turn public sentiment in favor of making marijuana illegal. It was said by one newspaper editorialist to “influence black men to actually look into the eyes of white men, and look twice at white women.” Oh, the travesty!

In the 1931 New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, Dr. A. E. Fossier wrote that “Under the influence of hashish those fanatics would madly rush at their enemies, and ruthlessly massacre every one within their grasp.” Within a very short time, marijuana started to be linked to insanely violent behavior.

In 1930 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was established as a new division of the Treasury Department. Harry J. Anslinger was named as its first director. Anslinger’s ambition rather than facts was behind his campaign to outlaw marijuana. He saw it as an issue that could be seized upon to further his own career. Anslinger knew he could create a national crisis by using racism and claims of brutally violent crimes to draw national attention to the “horrific problems” caused by using marijuana.

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US,” said Anslinger, “and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.” This wasn’t Anslinger’s only completely ludicrous statement. He also claimed that “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.” If you do a little research into Anslinger you will find many such ridiculous statements.

As late as 1961 Anslinger spoke about his efforts to outlaw marijuana, and still used propaganda and completely false stories to justify them:

“Much of the most irrational juvenile violence and that has written a new chapter of shame and tragedy is traceable directly to this hemp intoxication. A gang of boys tear the clothes from two school girls and rape the screaming girls, one boy after the other. A sixteen-year-old kills his entire family of five in Florida, a man in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger on the road; in Colorado a husband tries to shoot his wife, kills her grandmother instead and then kills himself. Every one of these crimes had been proceeded by the smoking of one or more marijuana “reefers.” As the marijuana situation grew worse, I knew action had to be taken to get the proper legislation passed. By 1937 under my direction, the Bureau launched two important steps. First, a legislative plan to seek from Congress a new law that would place marijuana and its distribution directly under federal control. Second, on radio and at major forums, such that presented annually by the New York Herald Tribune, I told the story of this evil weed of the fields and river beds and roadsides. I wrote articles for magazines; our agents gave hundreds of lectures to parents, educators, social and civic leaders. In network broadcasts I reported on the growing list of crimes, including murder and rape. I described the nature of marijuana and its close kinship to hashish. I continued to hammer at the facts. I believe we did a thorough job, for the public was alerted and the laws to protect them were passed, both nationally and at the state level. We also brought under control the wild growing marijuana in this country. Working with local authorities, we cleaned up hundreds of acres of marijuana and we uprooted plants sprouting along the roadsides.”

Randolf Hearst, owner of chain of newspapers, also campaigned against marijuana. While Anslinger’s motive was ambition, Hearst’s was profit and bigotry. It is fairly well known that Hearst held strong anti-Mexican views. This was probably due to his loss of more than 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa during the Mexican revolution. He had also invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and wanted to stop the development of hemp paper. Spreading terrible lies about Mexicans, and claiming marijuana caused extreme acts of violence sold newspapers. That not only made him money, but helped insure that hemp production would be halted.

Some of Hearst’s newspapers made ridiculous claims about marijuana. One column in the San Francisco Examiner said that “Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days, Hashish goads users to bloodlust. By the tons it is coming into this country, the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….”

Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that the claims made by Anslinger and Hearst are far more dangerous than marijuana could ever be. Such statements themselves encourage racist views and could have easily incited acts of violence against blacks and Mexicans. Since it is impossible to overdose on marijuana, and not a single death has ever been cited as the medical cause of any person’s death, there is one absolute and undeniable certainty. More violence has been caused, and more lives have been destroyed by the campaign against marijuana, and the laws that came about as a result of it, than by the drug itself.

If you want to point to the crime and violence surrounding the drug trade in America, you can trace it all right back to the beginning of the war on marijuana that was started during the first half of the 20th century by dishonest politicians, corrupt government officials, and the greed and racism of figures in the corporate world.

I will publish part two of this article within the next few days. By Darren Pope. Source.

August 6, 2009 – Quick: What single plant can you use to build, insulate, and heat a house; help build and run cars; turn into the finest textiles; use to make tortillas, cheese, veggie burgers, perfumes, skin creams, and suntan lotions – and also to get stoned?feat_2

The answer is none. But if you leave out the stoned part, you’re talking about hemp, the non-smokable variety of cannabis sativa, botanical cousin of the cannabis that gets you high. It’s currently grown legally in 30 industrial nations, has a history that dates back to the earliest days of man, was touted by George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, was probably used to make the first American flag, and – if given the chance – might help bring Texas farmers out of troubled times.

Unfortunately, industrial hemp’s association with pot has made it illegal to produce here in the United States for the last seven decades, forcing U.S. manufacturers to import it from China, Eastern Europe, and Canada. For a while during the 1990s it was illegal to import it any form but finished textiles. And even that was suspect under Bill Clinton’s drug czar, retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who, in trying to ban hemp importation, once famously announced to a group of high-ranking Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs officials that “kids are boiling down their hemp shirts and mixing the essence with alcohol to make marijuana.”

That would be a pretty wacky comment coming from anyone, but to have national policy hinge on such impossible wrong-headedness set back hemp’s future in this country a long way.

Nobody’s using that rhetoric now, but the unease persists in many places, including at the Texas Farm Bureau. Spokesman Gene Hall told Fort Worth Weekly that while “hemp has Picture 6come up as a possible agricultural crop for Texas, it’s been a controversial subject.” Hall said that neither the Texas Farm Bureau, a nonprofit organization of farmers, ranchers, and rural families, nor the National Farm Bureau have supported industrial hemp as an ag crop “because there are concerns with the farm bureau supporting the raising of a crop that could be used for illicit drug use.”

But times are changing, even in Texas, and not everyone sees it the way Hall and the Farm Bureau do. This week, Oregon became the 16th state to pass some form of industrial hemp legislation, in hopes of making it possible for farmers to grow, own, and sell the nonsmokable but otherwise highly useful forms of hemp, the kinds with very low quantities of THC, the chemical in pot that gets you high.

State laws can’t trump the federal statute, which currently lists cannabis sativa as a controlled substance and prevent its cultivation. But U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a Libertarian-leaning Republican from Lake Jackson, Texas, is trying to change that. He’s filed a bill to require the federal government to respect state laws on industrial hemp production. Paul has tried and failed at this before, and even he thinks the bill isn’t likely to pass this time either. But he’s gaining some support among his fellow House members and hoping for a friendlier attitude in the White House.

Individually, there are plenty of Texas farmers who are happy to hear about a potential new cash crop.

“If you tell me that there is a crop out there that could earn $400 an acre” – which is what Canadian farmers can earn with hemp – “well, I would have no problem growing it,” said Ralph Snyder, a farmer in North Central Texas. “Farmers would be lined up to grow it.”

Dan Brown, a North Texas leader of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), figures hemp could thrive easily in Texas. “Remember that it’s one of the fastest, most aggressive- growing biomasses in the world,” he said. “It isn’t called a weed for nothing.”

Hemp wasn’t always a banned crop. In colonial America its cultivation was mandated by British law. Back then it was used to make ropes and sails for ships, in fine art canvas, in paint and varnishes, as lamp oil, to make paper, and in some foods.

But the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that effectively outlawed smoking cannabis also essentially outlawed industrial hemp. The act was passed after publisher William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers waged a protracted and vociferous campaign against “marijuana” – a term he introduced to the American public. He ran stories that suggested that white women who smoked it couldn’t resist the lure of “negroes,” that it would bring out the devil in people and could cause otherwise normal people to become violent to the point of murder. Hollywood jumped on the campaign, releasing films such as Reefer Madness and Marijuana, Assassin of Youth, which showed previously virtuous young women jumping out of windows and becoming prostitutes after their first exposure to the evil weed.

Some saw Hearst’s campaign as a disguise for his real purpose – the elimination of industrial hemp, which was just coming into its own as a major modern crop, thanks to new machinery that allowed the hemp to be harvested and cleaned mechanically, rather than by hand. In 1933, Popular Mechanics magazine called industrial hemp “a billion-dollar crop” and suggested that with mechanization it would be used in making more than 25,000 products, including plastics, nylon, and paper.Picture 8

At about the same time, Hearst had invested in millions of acres of trees for paper pulp, and Dupont, the chemical company, had just received patents for making nylon from coal and plastic from oil. Competition from hemp products might have cost both Hearst and Dupont genuine fortunes. According to Industrial Hemp Now, an organization working to legalize hemp, “As a model of deception and orchestrated media manipulation, the anti-hemp crusade constitutes one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetuated on the American people. Few public relations campaigns in history can match its success in eradicating competition while transforming citizens into unknowing pawns of big business.” Those claims have been echoed by dozens of others.

World War II changed the federal attitude temporarily. Cut off from vital natural-fiber supplies by the war, the federal government was forced to ask farmers to grow hemp to aid the war effort, even producing the film Hemp For Victory. Afterward, it was back to hemp-is-banned business as usual – except for the millions of leftover wild hemp plants that still grow along roads and highways throughout the Midwest and are the focus of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “marijuana” eradication efforts, despite the fact that none of the plants have the ability to get anyone high.

In 1970, the newly created DEA developed the Controlled Substances Schedule, which placed drugs in categories according to their medical value and propensity for being abused. Morphine and cocaine, for instance, are in Schedule 2 because they have medical value but are highly likely to be abused. Cannabis, including industrial hemp, was placed in Schedule 1, meaning it has no recognized medical value and is highly likely to be abused. It can’t, under any circumstances, be prescribed by doctors.

The DEA later made an exception for industrial hemp, but those wishing to grow it must have a DEA license. In the past 20 years they’ve given out only a small handful of permits, and the restrictions – including round-the-clock guards on trial plots, exorbitantly expensive fencing, and regular inspections at the licensee’s expense – make it impossible to actually grow anything profitably. Most farmers who have applied for a permit never even receive a response.

Some industrial hemp promoters see a glimmer of hope with the Obama administration in place. “Little birdies have told me that Obama is going to treat hemp as a state’s right, just as his administration is doing with medical marijuana,” said a hemp product manufacturer who asked not to be named. “And if that’s the case, then it’s ‘all systems go’ in a number of states.”

The Obama administration has made enforcement of laws against the medical uses of marijuana the lowest priority for the Department of Justice in states that have passed legislation allowing such use. Farmers in states with laws permitting industrial hemp production are hoping he’ll do at least that much for them. Still, until federal law is changed, farmers are going to be wary about turning over land to a crop that might get pulled out from under them.

Ron Paul, the Houston-area congressman, introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in April, which would require the federal government to respect state laws with regards to hemp production. The bill has 11 co-sponsors.

In introducing the proposal, he noted, “Federal law concedes the safety of industrial hemp by allowing it to be legally imported for use as food.” He also said that the United States is the “only industrialized nation that prohibits industrial hemp cultivation.” Stores in this country already sell hemp seeds, oil, and food products, he pointed out, as well as paper, cloth, cosmetics, and carpet containing hemp. It has been used as an alternative fuel for cars, he said, and, most recently, in the door frames of about 1.5 million cars.

Paul said Tuesday that he holds out little hope for his bill. “If we could bring it to the floor and discuss it and teach people what it is, well, I think it would be passed overwhelmingly,” he said. “But right now, unfortunately, you still have a lot of people who think it’s a drug. And as long as they’re that uninformed, they’re not going to see the real issue.”

Creating a viable hemp industry in this country would take more than legislation, of course. Public awareness of, and demand for, hemp products would have to grow considerably before enough quantities would be needed to make it a profitable crop for large numbers of farmers.

When his country began allowing the production of industrial hemp 10 years ago, said Canadian crop specialist Harry Brook, farmers initially misjudged the market and overproduced. “Our farmers began growing hemp for fiber, and unfortunately, we didn’t have the facilities in place to convert that to paper and textiles and such, and so essentially it was a bust.”Picture 9

But the farmers switched to growing it for seed, used to make oil and food products. “Now that’s where they found a market,” Brook said. “And now there’s talk about reviving the fiber industry because [hemp] grows so fast and tall and produces so much fiber. But that simply won’t get off the ground until someone decides to make the investment in the factories that can utilize it.”

In ideal conditions, he said, hemp can produce about 5 tons of dried biomass per acre in 100 days – considerably more than any other crop. And with its varied uses, its potential is unlimited.

Gordon Scheifele is a retired certified plant breeder with the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture who is currently researching hemp. The stumbling block right now, he said, is that there isn’t a single commercial processor in North America that can produce the fibers in sufficient quantities to sustain various industries.

“We know we can produce it in Canada. We already are [doing so],” he said. “But the next step requires vision, will, determination, and effort. That includes the capital to make it all go.”

In this country, groups such as Hemp Industries of America and VoteHemp.org estimate the current annual sales of hemp products in 2008 totalled about $360 million. Designers such as Donatella Versace, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein have produced everything from hemp-and-cotton-blend jersey knits to hemp-and-silk-blend clothing. Wal-Mart carries a line of hemp suntan lotion and skin creams; Whole Foods and Central Market carry several products from hemp bread and granola to frozen desserts. The Body Shop carries a line of skin-care products.

In San Marcos, Hemp Town Rock – The Hemp Store, has been operating since 1992. And near McKinney, DiaperCo.com sells a line of hemp diapers. But it’s all still just a drop in the bucket compared to what would happen if the crop were legalized.

“What’s being sold now and what can be sold when American farmers are given the green light to produce hemp are worlds apart,” said Oregon State Sen. Floyd Prozanski, who introduced that state’s industrial hemp bill. “We’ve got a hemp food company in Portland, Living Harvest, that currently has $20 million in annual revenues, but they project that in five years they will have revenues of over $100 million annually. That’s exponential growth. And imagine what it could be if they could get their raw products closer to their production sites instead of having to import their seed and oil from Canada? If you bring your prices down, and you’ve got a good product, well, sales climb.

“We’re at a stage now where a lot of the American public recognizes that we were hoodwinked by the DEA and others into demonizing industrial hemp,” he said.

Lawrence Serbin, former national director for the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp and owner of Hemp Traders, a Los Angeles-based company, said this country is “really in a Catch-22” regarding hemp. “The reality is that hemp won’t become more popular in the U.S. until the price goes down, and the price won’t go down until it gets more popular. And the only way to make that price go down is to have us produce our own hemp.”

Serbin’s company sells a range of hemp products, from textiles to paper, but what he’s really concentrating on is fiberboard, which he makes from the hurds, the inner woody part of the hemp stalk left after the fiber has been removed. Typically, hurds are burned or left on the ground as mulch after harvest. He has to go to China to get them.

Beginning in 1999, he said, “We came in and collected the hurds and brought them to a factory and had them make up some medium-density fiberboards with it.” It’s taken him several years to come up with the product he’s just put on the market, a hemp fiberboard bound with a product derived from eucalyptus bark.

The advantage to his fiberboard, he said, is that it’s made without wood pulp and doesn’t use formaldehyde, a standard, inexpensive binder that is carcinogenic. The disadvantage is the price: His half-inch-thick, 4′-by-8′ boards go for about $28, nearly double what similar wood composite and particle boards go for in places like the Home Depot. His primary cost, he said, is transportation. The factory in China where part of the manufacturing takes place is far away from where the hemp is grown. And both hurds and boards are bulky, increasing the transit costs.

He hopes to solve part of the problem by building a factory next to the hemp fields in China, which he said could make his fiberboards “instantly competitive with regular wood boards.” If he could get the hurds from U.S. farmers, he said, he could sell his boards far more cheaply than what’s currently on the market.

Hemp boards, he said, could have “a huge impact on the housing market here in the U.S. … The effect on our forests would be immediate; new home prices would drop, and your house wouldn’t be full of formaldehyde.” He too is hoping that the Obama administration will tell federal law enforcement agencies to “leave it [hemp enforcement] to the states and then leave the states alone.”

Dave Seber, owner of Oregon’s Fibre Alternatives, believes industrial hemp is a “critical component” in saving both the economy and the environment in the United States.

“How are we going to stop carbon accumulation if we keep taking the trees down?” he asked. “We can’t, unless we grow hemp.” Hemp products, he said, could reduce the cost of building materials by 30 to 50 percent. “And that’s what we need to get the building industry, and therefore the economy, back on its feet.” He believes hemp could be used for furniture-quality boards. And he’s seen it used in Europe as a base for concrete, as a replacement for fiberglass insulation, and for plastics for everything from countertops to car parts.

Many countries in the European Union have begun levying fines on automakers and car sellers if their vehicles are not made of recyclable materials. That led European car Picture 10manufacturers to begin replacing traditional plastic parts with parts made from hemp, flax, and other natural fibers. In 2007 Lotus introduced its Hemp Eco Elise, a high-end car with a body largely made from hemp fiberglass and seats and other interior parts made largely from hemp/wool/flax materials.

“You’ve got to look at the big picture,” Seber said. “The food and textile industries, as well as paper and such, can definitely benefit from hemp products … but I think you have to look at the major industries if you really want to make the environmental and economic changes that this country and the whole world desperately need. Those are the housing industry, the biofuel industries, the plastics industries, and the automobile industries.”

Thus far, however, that potential revolution is passing Texas by.

Calls to a dozen legislators and agricultural committee members around Texas produced very little feedback and even less knowledge about hemp-based industries. A spokesman for State Rep. Charles Anderson of Waco, vice-chair of the Texas House Agriculture and Livestock Committee, said he’d never heard the issue discussed. The Texas Agricultural Policy Council didn’t respond to e-mail queries. Brian Black, assistant to the commissioner for the Texas Department of Agriculture, said, “I’ve not heard of any discussion of industrial hemp in the agriculture industry in Texas.” Calls to the office of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who sits on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry – three areas that would be affected by hemp production – were not returned.

Even a member of the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, who asked not to be named, laughed at the notion of hemp being grown in Texas. “We can’t even get Texas interested in organic food research, so I doubt very much you’re going to find many politicians in Texas willing to discuss hemp research. That’s just not how people think here.”

Right now, there seems to be only one real hemp store left in Texas, out of the healthy crop that flourished here in hippier-dippier times. Rose Phillips’ Hemp Town Rock is still going strong. When she opened the store in 1992, Phillips said, she sold only products made from hemp – clothing, food, paper, twines, and such.

“Unfortunately,” she said, “I’ve had to add other products over the years because hemp is just plain expensive, what with all of it having to be imported. Now if we could grow it here, that would be different. You bring the price down, and everybody would buy hemp because it’s such a nice material and so durable. But as it is, well, with the economy down, except for Christmastime I don’t put out a lot of my better hemp clothes.”

She still carries hemp purses, wallets, t-shirts, and other products but admits they aren’t enough by themselves to keep her in business.

“There’s a big market” for hemp products,” she said. “But most people would rather just order it from a web page that can sell it cheaper than I can, what with store overhead. And then every major chain store carries some hemp products, so a store like mine isn’t the only place to get those things anymore.”

One of the local online stores that sells a lot of hemp products is DiaperCo.com. Based in Anna, just north of McKinney, the cloth diaper company has nearly 50 hemp-blend products for sale. Jessica Land, a DiaperCo manager, said the products sell well. “A lot of what we sell are hemp inserts – hemp cloth that goes inside pouches in the diaper. And everybody loves them because the hemp is so absorbent.”

Her client base is interested in environmentally friendly, natural products that are reusable, she said. “And what fits that description better than hemp?”

Has she ever had any clients decide not to buy hemp because of its connection with marijuana? She laughed. “I’ve never heard anyone say that, but our client base is pretty well informed,” she said. “I imagine there would be some people who would think that, though.”

Even if federal law were changed to allow unimpeded hemp production, Scheifele said he’s not sure whether Texas would be a prime growing area.

“Hemp requires moisture. The rule of thumb is that wherever you can grow corn you can grow good hemp,” he said. (Texas now ranks 12th among U.S. states in corn production.) Hemp is drought resistant, though, and winter crops probably would work here, Scheifele said. Beyond that, if it became a legal crop, he said, researchers would develop strains adaptable to a wide variety of conditions. In Australia, he said, scientists report they have developed a more drought-tolerant variety.

Don Wirtshafter, a lawyer and pioneer in the hemp movement who spent years researching hemp varieties in southeast Asia, said he thinks he’s already got seed stock that would work well in much of Texas without irrigation. His stock, brought over from Asia some years ago, is being kept alive in Canada, waiting a change in hemp’s legal status in this country, before he can try test plots all over the state.

He pointed out that in China, hemp is relegated to poorer-quality farmland. “If you’re growing for seed, you definitely need good nutrition, good soil,” he said. “But if you’re growing for fiber you can grow it almost anywhere.”

Wirtshafter called it an “agricultural tragedy” that thousands of varieties of hemp seed were lost when laws outlawing hemp cultivation were passed in this country and copied by much of the world.

Brown, the assistant director of the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of NORML, said that growing industrial hemp in Texas is a no-brainer. “Look at East Texas. There’s plenty of moisture there. It’s ideally suited for hemp cultivation. But with some irrigation you could grow hemp anywhere in the state.”

He pointed to the arid landscape of northern Mexico, home to tens of thousands of acres of low-grade marijuana. “If you can grow marijuana in those near-desert conditions, you could certainly grow hemp in southern Texas,” he said. “And with the ethanol craze going on and our focus on growing our own fuel stocks, it would be entirely possible to grow industrial hemp in quantities to replace American dependence on foreign oil. Hemp produces more than twice the biomass per acre that corn does, so it would be a natural for fuel, and we could grow a lot of it on land not currently utilized for agriculture, rather than using good soil to grow corn for ethanol.”

In fact, he said, traditionally independent Texas farmers could come to see hemp-growing as a right they’re being denied. “Texans don’t like their personal rights abridged,” he said. “And once they understand the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp, your average Texas farmer would probably demand the right to grow it.

Daniel Leshiker, who farms near Ralph Snyder in North Central Texas, agreed with Snyder that hemp sounds intriguing.

“We already need another crop, that’s for certain. I just planted 200 acres of sunflowers for their seed for the first time,” he said. “So while I don’t know much about hemp except they used to make rope with it, well, you tell me I could make money with it, and I’ll grow it. That’s what we are in the business to do.” By PETER GORMAN. Source.

July 15, 2009 – What is hemp? Hemp is of the most versatile natural resource in the world. Hemp can be used to make hundreds of useful items. In fact certain uses of it can be very useful and profitable to every American. Hemp can be used industrially and as a major food source. The question we have to ask is, why is it Illegal to grow but perfectly legal to consume? Before we can answer that question we must look at hemp’s history in the United States.Industrial+Hemp

Hemp’s history in the United States is a very frustrating one because you get the sense that we as a country had a very independent mindset. Hemp provided us with liberty until someone took it away from us. Hemp was second to tobacco as the crop to grow in early America. The demand for tobacco in England, kept the farmers busy with this cash crop. Most of the hemp crop in America was used at home in local commerce, much to the dismay of King George and the English navy. The first hemp laws in America were passed in 1619 and they were ‘must grow’ laws. If you were a farmer living in America and you didn’t grow hemp, you would be jailed or kicked out of the country as a non patriot. These first laws were put in place by the Colonist Government of Great Britain. In 1773 and again in 1776, (the year the Declaration of Independence was signed). American made their own must grow laws. At that time, it was one of the most widely used plants in the world. Cannabis hemp was legal tender (money) in most of America from 1631 until the early 1800s. Thomas Jefferson risked his life bring hemp seeds to America from overseas. Benjamin Franklin started the first paper mill in America and all of the paper was made out of hemp. Wars were fought over hemp and without it; America never would have won the Revolutionary war. Betsy Ross’s flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp; U.S. Government Archives. In the 1920’s during alcohol prohibition, almost every newspaper in the country was running ads for smoking hemp the only legal high left.

With hemp having a rich history in America; why was it outlawed to grow in America? Hemp was outlawed in 1937 because it threatened the corporate interests of William Randolph Hearst ­ and DuPont. They had to get rid of the competition. Hearst’s yellow journalism newspaper chain wrote scathing stories about “marijuana” a word he made up because he knew no one would believe them about hemp, which George Washington himself grew hemp. Popular Mechanics called hemp the New Billion Dollar Crop, because of printing and bindery lead time required for publication, this February 1938 article was actually prepared in the spring of 1937, when cannabis hemp was still legal to grow and was an incredibly fast-growing industry. Newsprint could now be produced far more cheaply than any other method, and one acre of hemp could produce as much newsprint as four acres of forest trees. Hearst owned vast timber acreage and competition from the hemp industry might have driven his paper manufacturing out of business. He stood to lose millions of dollars. DuPont stood to lose on two fronts. DuPont owned the patent for converting wood pulp into newsprint and supplied Hearst with the necessary chemicals. Secondly, in the 1930s DuPont was gearing up to introduce nylon and other man-made fibers, along with synthetic petrochemical oils, which they hoped would replace hemp see oil used in paints and other products. The decorticator meant that hemp fibers could be manufactured as fine as any man-made fibers. DuPont would lose untold millions of invested dollars, plus an estimated 80 percent of all future business, unless hemp was outlawed. DuPont’s financial backer was Mellon Bank, owned and chaired by Andrew Mellon. Andrew Mellon at the time was also Secretary of Treasury Department, which was in charge of drug taxes, i.e., prohibition. Harry Anslinger, commissioners of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which answered to the Treasury Department, was married to Andrew Mellon’s niece. Thus they had the power and the means. Anslinger’s lies about hemp were repeated endlessly in Hearst’s newspapers. Stories about marijuana, the killer weed from Mexico, instilled fear and completely misled the public that the weed was, in fact, just good old hemp. Cannabis hemp was not prohibited because it was dangerous. Indeed, for thousands of years it was the world’s largest agricultural crop used in thousands of products and enterprises, producing the majority of fiber, fabric, lighting oil, paper, incense, medicine and food. – No, cannabis hemp was prohibited to protect the Hearst and DuPont corporations from devastating competition, as well as appealing to the overt racism stirred up by Hearst’s yellow journalism.

Hemp has many uses that can be used to sell outside this country as a commodity. Popular Mechanics called hemp the New Billion Dollar Crop, cannabis hemp was still legal to grow and was an incredibly fast-growing industry. The hemp seed is not actually a seed but a fruit. They are extremely nutritious for human as well as animals. The seed is made up from 25% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 15% insoluble fiber. The hemp seed contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, and is our best vegetable source of the essential fatty acids, containing Omega 3 linolenic acid (55%) and Omega 6 linolenic acid (25%) in a near perfect ratio, and even containing the rare nutrient gamma linolenic acid. Essential fatty acids are necessary for maintaining healthy life and are found in few food sources such as fatty fish and flax oil. Hemp seeds are used whole or crushed to make cookies, burgers, porridge, cakes, casseroles or even roasted and eaten whole (sometimes with garlic or tahini seasoning). The hemp seed is used for hempseed oil for nutrition, soaps, cosmetics, paints, and etc. Natural fiber from the stalks is extremely durable. It can be used for all kinds of wonderful things. Textiles, clothing, canvas, rope, cordage, for archival grade paper, & composite fibers replacing heavier toxic fibers and building materials made with recycled plastic and fiber. This means there is reason to believe that you might in the future see a house that is completely constructed with hemp! Biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp. With over 30 million successful U.S. road miles hemp biodiesel could be the answer to our cry for cheaper fuel. We have spent the last century polluting our beautiful country with our petroleum based fuels that could have easily been replaced with fuels derived from hemp. Hemp stems are 80% hurds (pulp byproduct after the hemp fiber is removed from the plant). Hemp hurds are 77% cellulose a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics, and fibers. Biodiesel is the name for a variety of ester based oxygenated fuels made from hemp oil, other vegetable oils or animal fats. The concept of using vegetable oil as an engine fuel dates back to 1895 when Dr. Rudolf Diesel developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 using peanut oil as fuel. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine. It can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored. Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has a high flashpoint of about 300 F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 F. Biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp. Biodiesel is a proven fuel with over 30 million successful US road miles, and over 20 years of use in Europe. When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of hemp, popcorn or French fries. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel in the US to complete EPA Tier I Health Effects Testing under section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act, which provide the most thorough inventory of environmental and human health effects attributes that current technology will allow. Biodiesel is 11% oxygen by weight and contains no sulfur. The use of biodiesel can extend the life of diesel engines because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel, while fuel consumption, auto ignition, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel. The Congressional Budget Office, Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, and others have determined that biodiesel is the low cost alternative fuel option for fleets to meet requirements of the Energy Policy Act.

Hemp can become food paper cosmetics and fuel oil from one strong plant. No one has ever died from it no one has ever overdosed on it. Hemp is safe cheap to produce. Stop believing the scare tactics do your own research then contact your STATE government and make them legalize hemp. Make them understand that it will bring much needed revenue to your state and, much more needed jobs. These will be Jobs that will be in manufacturing and producing a commodity. All the solar and wind generators in the world producing free electricity along are not going to save the economy unless you are able to sell these good out side of the country. Perhaps use these goods to pay off our debt like our forefathers did bank in the 1700’s. FURTHERMORE, IT IS A TRULY GREEN INDUSTRY!!

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