Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Victory for hemp field in Kentucky

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The image above is of  Kirstin Bohnert, Katie Moyer and Alyssa Faith Erickson of the KY Hempsters, checking out the hemp in a Kentucky hemp field; Minawear is the site that hosted the petition to make hemp legal a few years ago. We still need signatures so if anyone cares, go to www.minawear.com and check out the About Us page and there you go!

Friday, July 10, 2015

New York Times article on Hemp 7 July 2015

STUYVESANT, N.Y. — It started with Hurricane Katrina: the flooded houses in New Orleans festering with mold, many uninhabitable to this day. Then came the earthquake in Haiti: thousands dead, crushed by homes that should have been their sanctuaries.
James Savage, then a Wall Street analyst living on Central Park West, grew disturbed about the conditions he saw on television and in the newspapers.
“There has to be something better we can do than this,” he recalled thinking last week as he sat at the kitchen table inside his new home here on a cliff overlooking the Hudson River 120 miles north of New York City.
The solution he has come up with is not some space-age polymer or recycled composite but a material that has been in use for millenniums, though it is more often demonized than venerated on these shores.
“Who knew hemp would be the answer to what we were looking for?” said Mr. Savage, who started a company to create building materials derived from cannabis.
Now that the forbidden plant is enjoying mainstream acceptance, Mr. Savage is hoping to put hemp to use not in joints but between joists. His first project has been his own 1850s farmhouse, though he says he believes hemp-based building materials can transform both agriculture and construction throughout New York.
Hemp chips, from the balsalike interior of the cannabis plant. CreditPreston Schlebusch for The New York Times
While cannabis has had a long history as a fiber used in ropes, sails and paper products — Presidents Washington and Jefferson both grew it — Mr. Savage is among a small number of entrepreneurs who have instead turned to a novel application known as hempcrete.
Hempcrete is made using the woody, balsalike interior of the Cannabis sativa plant (the fiber for textiles comes from the outer portion of the stalk) combined with lime and water. Though it lacks the structural stability its name might suggest, hempcrete does provide natural insulation that is airtight yet breathable and flexible. It is free from toxins, impervious to mold and pests, and virtually fireproof.
“I know, I know, everyone talks about our buildings going up in smoke, but the joke is on them,” Mr. Savage said. In England, some insurers actually provide a discount for hempcrete because of its durability.
And because the material is grown rather than mined, like traditional cement, or manufactured, like fiberglass, it gives new meaning to green building. Mr. Savage envisions a “hemp basket” stretching across New York’s rugged farmlands supplying locally sourced insulation throughout the Northeast.
What hemp is not, as advocates constantly remind people, is a drug.
“You could smoke a telephone pole’s worth of our stuff and still not get high,” said Ken Anderson, whose company, Original Green Distribution, based in Minneapolis, makes a hempcrete marketed as Hempstone.
The strain of plant grown for hempcrete contains no more than 0.3 percent of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. That is compared with 5 to 10 percent found in the hallucinogenic and medicinal varieties.
Bagged hemp chips in Mr. Savage's basement. CreditPreston Schlebusch for The New York Times
“It’s like the difference between a wolf and a poodle,” Mr. Savage said. “Same species, totally different animal.” Even so, both strains were outlawed starting in the 1930s.
Mr. Savage hardly looks the part of a hemp evangelist. He favors polos to tie-dye T-shirts and drives an Audi sedan.
“Did I smoke grass when I was young?” he said, standing beside a poster for the original Woodstock concert. “Sure, I did, but it wasn’t like I was looking for a way to make money off hemp. It just happened to be the thing with all the attributes we were looking for in a building material.”
He came upon hempcrete through a simple Internet search.
The material was developed in the 1980s in France, though it has roots going back centuries not only to homes as far away as Japan but also to Merovingian bridges in ancient Gaul.
Hempcrete has since caught on across Europe, where hemp cultivation was never criminalized. Hundreds of buildings now use hempcrete, including a seven-story office tower in France, a Marks and Spencer department store in the United Kingdom, and even a home built by Prince Charles.
Though the illicit aspects of hemp may have held it back in this country, marijuana’s growing popularity could finally be helping hemp’s spread. “Some people thought hemp might help get marijuana accepted, but it’s going the other way around,” said Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association. “I don’t think you’d see quite the same excitement if we were building with flax or jute.”
The chips are mixed with lime and turned into a paste that is dried to make hempcrete insulation.CreditPreston Schlebusch for The New York Times
Yet federal regulators remain dubious, with virtually no domestic hemp production. It is legal to use it, but generally not to grow it. The farm bill passed last year began to allow for hemp-farming pilot projects, and while New York and Connecticut have both begun programs, no crops have been planted. At the moment, all raw material must be imported, and last year Canada alone shipped $600 million of hemp to American businesses.
A bigger hurdle may be getting hemp-lined homes past building inspectors.
“If you show them two-by-fours filled with fiberglass, they know what they’re dealing with,” said Tim Callahan, an architect in Asheville, N.C., “but you mention hemp, and they scratch their heads.” He has worked on about a dozen hempcrete structures, including what is thought to be the first home in this country to use hempcrete, built in 2010.
Yet hempcrete presents its own issues, particularly the need for thicker insulation than traditional materials.
Even in Brooklyn, where it would seem a natural fit, hempcrete has been a tough sell for Gennaro Brooks-Church, a contractor who specializes in green building. “When a client is spending $2 million on a brownstone and sinking in another $1.5 million on renovations, you’ll be hard pressed to get them to sacrifice even an inch of space,” he said.
For his part, Mr. Savage was never able to bring his product to Haiti — he blames Haitian fears of United States law enforcement — and an effort in Mali failed because of a 2012 coup. Around that time, the first marijuana decriminalization laws began to pass in the United States, so he turned his focus closer to home.
To foster wider acceptability, Mr. Savage and his three-year-old business, Green Bui lt, which he runs out of his hemp-lined home office, is working toward developing a panelized system. Akin to drywall, it would be easier to market and install than poured hempcrete, he said. And, combining housing trends, he is developing a 400-square-foot “tiny house” made up of two or three circular, shippable hempcrete modules.
His only project so far has been turning his red brick farmhouse into a hempcrete laboratory, where many of the walls have been insulated with it, eliminating his need for air-conditioning.
Mr. Savage said his hemp rooms even smell different, though not the way most people might expect. “It has a freshness to it,” he said.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hemp seed destroyed in Chicago/bad news for Kentucky hemp growers

An article by Gregory Hale in the Courier Journal (Kentucky) tells the sad tale of the destruction of hemp seed as it entered the United States:

A year after Kentucky's agriculture department went to court to get hemp seed released for its research programs, a German exporter's failure to obtain the proper paperwork apparently will lead to the destruction of more than three tons of seed sitting in Chicago.
"That's not what we want, but, unfortunately, that's the situation where we're at," said Adam Watson, the coordinator of industrial hemp programs for the Kentucky ag department. "Snafus happen. ... It's not that we think there was any bad actor involved, but there apparently were mistakes involved."
The paperwork problem will reduce or eliminate the seed for almost a fourth of this year's research projects allowed under the 2014 Farm Bill that sets out federal agriculture policy. Since most of these projects are smaller in nature, the impact on Kentucky's hemp acreage is closer to 5 percent of the crop, Watson said.
The department doesn't directly obtain seed, which is a business transaction between growers and suppliers, but Watson said the department is considering taking a more active role in the future after the problem this year.
Seed for last year's first crop initially was held up over drug law issues, which resulted in a brief court battle, but this year's issue is the result of a German exporter's failure to get a routine agricultural paper called a Phytosanitary Certificate. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website, the certificate is used to track "the inspection of agricultural products and certifies compliance with plant health standards of importing countries."
"It's not anything special to industrial hemp or even seeds, period," Watson said. The certificate "is very common within the agriculture industry whether you're importing or exporting. It ensures that you don't have plant diseases, animal diseases, noxious weeds, insects, things like that, entering or exiting countries."
The Kentucky department became aware of the problem in late May, Watson said. The USDA already granted an extension to produce the paperwork but, apparently, Germany wouldn't issue the certificate after the fact when the seed already had been shipped to the United States, Watson said.
Watson said the Kentucky agriculture department believes that the USDA and customs officials have done their best to help, "but they're bound by regulations." He said the Drug Enforcement Administration permits that were the issue last year weren't a problem this year.
The amount of seed stuck in Chicago is about 6,600 pounds, which would result in about 100 field acres, Watson said. In all, the Kentucky hemp crop this year is planned to be about 1,700 acres in 38 projects. The seed shipment would serve nine projects.
While some growers won't have this variety of hemp desired for fiber "by and large the impact on the entire program as a whole is very minimal," Watson said. He said the department is looking at finding other sources of seeds for growers who might have none now because of the issue.
Another USDA extension is being sought, Watson said, but it's questionable whether the problem can be fixed even if the extension is granted. The options for federal regulators are destroying the shipment or sending it back — an alternative where the costs likely would outweigh the benefits, Watson said, particularly because the growing season for hemp already is well underway and because of the additional shipping costs.
A USDA spokeswoman was not prepared Thursday to comment on the status of the shipment.
Going forward, Watson said the department is considering being more involved in acquiring seeds and moving up the deadline for proposing hemp projects to the department to give more time for seed, the supply of which is limited according to some reports, to be obtained more easily. The department received 326 applications this year.
"This is the one shipment that didn't make it here this season," Watson said, noting that plants already are out of the ground from other shipments. "We regret that this happened, but the program as a whole is still moving forward."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hemp now blocked by drug addicts in Oregon

Just after posting the other day about a hemp planting in Kentucky, this news came in re Oregon, which, sadly, has the ironic fact that it is now the medical marijuana farmers who are an impediment to industrial hemp. How many of the medical marijuana users are for real? And how many are selfish drug addicts? Who might be the real reason hemp is still illegal in most states, rather than the government.

Industrial hemp is off to a slow start, and the Oregon Legislature may throw up more hurdles, but growers are optimistic.

Cliff Thomason’s goal is to be growing 10,000 acres of industrial hemp in five years. But right now he’s dealing with opposition from medical marijuana growers and Oregon legislators.
Thomason is among the first growers licensed by the state to raise hemp, which lacks the THC levels that gets pot smokers high but is valued because it can be used to make a wide variety of food, health and fiber products.
Thomason’s Oregon Hemp Co. has grow operations in Murphy and near Grants Pass, in Southwest Oregon, and he is negotiating to sharecrop space on an organic farm near Scio, in the Willamette Valley.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture has issued 13 hemp licenses, but it’s unclear how many growers have a crop in the ground this summer.
Thomason said growers are hampered by infrastructure and political problems. First, it’s difficult to obtain seed, although Thomason said he has seed from China, Lithuania, Slovakia and Germany. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said.
The Oregon Legislature is another matter. Medical marijuana growers in Southern Oregon believe pollen from industrial hemp will contaminate their potent pot and reduce THC levels. A bill in the Legislature would force a 5-mile separation between hemp and pot growers.
Hemp growers say that would essentially prohibit them from growing, because so many pot plots fill the area.
Thomason said he’s trying to be a good neighbor by keeping pollen-bearing male hemp plants in greenhouses and transplanting only females outdoors.
“I keep saying that with responsible farming practices, it will regulate itself,” he said.
Thomason described himself as “truly an accidental farmer” who was asked to help find seed and land for the hemp industry because of his real estate background.
“When I did, we formed a company to move the project forward,” he said.
He said his plants are growing rapidly and are intended for the medical market. The German seeds seem to do the best, perhaps because its climate is similar to Oregon’s, he said.
The other licenses issued so far are:
27B Stroke6 Farm, Corvallis; American Hemp Seed Genetics, Salem; Cannalive Organics, Yamhill County; Central Coast Enterprises, Seal Rock; Genesis Media Works, Baker County; Hemp for Victory Gardens, Wilsonville; Hughes Farms LLC, Bend; Integrative Health Source, Corvallis; Mark McKay Farms, St. Paul; Oregon Agriculture Food and Rural Consortium, Eagle Point; Went to Seed LLC., Bend; and Wildhorse Creek Hacienda, Adams.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hemp to be sown in Kentucky legally

I was just asked by a friend in Canada about what the hemp movement is doing in the US. Lots of stories about medical marijuana, and that is going state-by-state - about 16 states now have legal cannabis for patients, with varying degrees in the quality of the administration. In 2012 Mina Hegaard - www.minawear.com - started a petition to the White House to make industrial hemp legal again, and soon afterwards the feds did just that, but allowing the states to set their own agenda.  So far only two states have made it legal, Colorado and Kentucky. And while a crop of 60 acres was sown in Colorado, in advance of it being legal, and in what may have been the catalyst for the lifting of the ban, there has been little mention of its cultivation elsewhere in the US.

Ironically, not 10 seconds after I replied to the Canute, I saw the following:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —Locust Grove, the 18th century home of the sister and brother-in-law of George Rogers Clark and William Clark, is growing industrial hemp.

The seeds were planted last week at the site by its gardener, Sarah Sutherland. Locust Grove says the crop was grown by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Locust Grove is participating in the hemp pilot program administered by the Kentucky Agriculture Department and plans a Hemp Festival on Aug. 9.

The festival will feature a Hemp Village, where products may be purchased, a Hemp Cafe with foods made from hemp oil and seeds, rope and paper-making demonstrations and a question-and-answer session with experts about the future of hemp in Kentucky. A World War II-era documentary, "Hemp for Victory," and a new film, "Bringing It Home," will be shown.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Captain Amsterdam in Vegas for medical trade show

Cannabis sativa medicine is getting a much better rap these days, and one Colorado company is even getting it certified kosher at the Orthodox Union in New York. Companies are even doing roadshows, such as Captain Amsterdam, which is  in Vegas today  to promote cannabis medicine, below are the details:

ASD Tradeshow the dates are March 1-4, 2015Las Vegas Convention Center   

Time is 9am-6pm everyday


Tyler Lacey
Captain Amsterdam(Operations Director)
619-866-3344 (Direct Line)
877-752-7362 Ext 106 (Office Line)
949-632-1069 (Cell Phone)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Letter to Texas paper about hemp in Texas

This is a letter published in the Victoria Advocate on 7 February, 2014, from Mina Hegaard, owner of Minawear, who lives in Victoria:

Editor, the Advocate:
I am a clothing designer here in Victoria, and the main material used in my clothing, Minawear Luxury Hemp Loungewear, is hemp and organic cotton. The reason I only design with hemp and organic cotton is that I believe our environment is in grave danger of becoming severely imbalanced by the overuse of chemicals, which affects humans on many levels - whether it be a rise in illnesses from water contamination or air and soil pollutants.
Unlike conventional cotton that requires one-third of a pound of chemicals per T-shirt, hemp is grown without the use of harmful chemicals, and that is profitable to farmers as well as beneficial to the health of the planet.
Hemp has more than 25,000 applications, including fuel, textiles, building materials, food, paper, batteries and more.
Texas recently introduced a HB 84 (R) to legalize hemp farming on the state level, while H.R. 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, was introduced by Representative Thomas Massie, of Kentucky, on Jan. 21 to allow American farmers to once again grow hemp to the extent that it is allowed under state laws.
Forty-two states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and twenty-eight have passed pro-hemp legislation as a resolution, hemp study bill or other.
In order to legalize growing industrial hemp, we need to first educate ourselves, and then take action. Please visit votehemp.com/write_congress.html and follow the links to find your legislators and send them email letters.
There are also many informative publications available including "Hemp For Victory," a book that my brother wrote about the uses, history, processes and financials of hemp. Woody Harrelson wrote the foreword, and I wrote the textile chapter. See link at minawear.com/shop/general/hemp-for-victory-by-kenyon-gibson.
Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself.
Mina Hegaard, Victoria