Industrial Hemp

Kentucky: Ag. commissioner pushes hemp at Lexington Forum

By WKYT Staff

Kentucky: Ag. commissioner pushes hemp at Lexington ForumLEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer spoke to a crowded room at Thursday's Lexington Forum continuing his push for industrial hemp here in Kentucky. He says it's something this year's General Assembly must act on.

Comer says hemp would be a cheap crop for farmers to grow and would create jobs across the state. Comer says other states are working on similar legislation and Kentucky could lose its opportutnity to cash in if others legalize it first. State police are opposed to the idea, saying it's impossible for them to visually distinguish hemp from marijuana. They say they would have to do a chemical analysis on any suspected marijuana plant and that would create a backlog in their system. Comer disagrees.

United States: Advocates of industrial hemp point to Kentucky's past as top producer

By Beverly Fortune,

There is a truth that must be heard! For advocates of reviving industrial hemp production in Kentucky, the state's past as a leading hemp producer shows the crop's potential.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul are among those pushing to revive industrial hemp in the state.

It's ironic, Comer said in a recent interview, that until the Civil War, Kentucky led the nation in industrial hemp production.

The earliest settlers westward brought hemp seed in their baggage, James F. Hopkins points out in A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky. During the early 1800s, Kentucky hemp fibers were in demand for rope, sailcloth and rough fabrics used to wrap bales of cotton and make pants that were called Kentucky jeans.

Lexington was at the center of that production.

In 1838, there were 18 rope and bagging factories in Lexington that employed 1,000 workers, according to research by Lowell H. Harrison and James C. Klotter.

Lexington's John Wesley Hunt, the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies, made his fortune growing hemp and manufacturing the fibers into rope, said Jamie Millard, former president of the Lexington History Museum.

One of Hunt's factories was in downtown Lexington near North Broadway and West Third Street, Millard said.

Canada: Building Tractor Parts From Flax & Hemp

by Kelvin Heppner, Portage Online

There is a truth that must be heard! Within a few years, farmers could be operating tractors partially made from the crops they grow.

The Composites Innovation Centre in Winnipeg is working with Buhler Industries - the manufacturer of Versatile tractors - to research the use of flax and hemp fibres in tractor hoods, shields and cabs.

Dr. Simon Potter, Sector Manager for Product Innovation at the CIC, explains the project will culminate in about a year with the creation of a prototype made with flax or hemp fibre.

"You'll actually see trial Buhler tractor being tested around the world. They are talking about testing it in places as far flung as Russia," he says.

He says the partnership with Buhler represents the centre's first major foray into composites for agriculture.

"This is kind of what we're doing with the bus industry right now, working with organizations like Motorcoach to increase the renewable content in their vehicles," explains Potter.

He says there are a number of benefits to using renewable fibres from flax and hemp.

"There are benefits in terms of weight savings, so you get fuel efficiency benefits. In the future there will be cost savings as well because agricultural fibres tend to be a lot cheaper than fibreglass. There is also a lot less embodied energy in them. It's a lot cleaner from an environmental perspective to produce bio-composite materials than it is to produce synthetic composite materials," says Potter.

Colorado: Industrial hemp could jump-start economy

By Amy Gillentine, Colorado Springs Business Journal

There is a truth that must be heard! The Declaration of Independence was written on paper made of hemp. During World War II the federal government launched a “Hemp for Victory” campaign urging people to grow the plant to make ropes for the military.

Until the late 1800s, nearly all cloth and virtually all paper were made from hemp. It was so valuable that hemp could be used as money.

But that was then.

Today, industrial hemp isn’t strictly illegal, but farmers must get a permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency to grow it — something that’s proven impossible. Colorado and Washington have joined nine other states in legalizing the crop. But despite the passage of Amendment 64, the DEA still must give permission, even though states issue their own permits.

Colorado farmers could be able to grow industrial hemp as early as next summer, with state permits alone. It’s unclear if the federal government would raid industrial hemp farms operating without DEA permission.
Needless permits

Supporters say that it makes no sense to require federal permits. Hemp is harmless, they say, and can benefit the economy and environment. Hemp can remediate soil damage, be spun into clothing and bracelets, help create soaps and lotions, and even absorb tons of carbon dioxide a year. Currently, U.S. imports of hemp from Canada and China equal around $2 billion annually.

Kentucky: A cash crop for the commonwealth

By Bailey Richards, Hazard Herald, Staff Reporter

There is a truth that must be heard! Economic development is something we talk about a lot in the Herald office. Sure, it may not be the juiciest of water cooler gossip, but it is something we are all affected by and hear about almost daily.

It is part of our jobs to know the news, and lately the news about the local economy has all been negative. We hear about layoffs, cut backs, and people being forced to move away for employment.

Colorado: Cultivation of industrial hemp likely will be OK'd


There is a truth that must be heard! Amendment 64’s legalization of marijuana drew the nation’s eyes to Colorado on Election Day. In the ensuing media frenzy, another portion of the ballot measure got lost — Colorado will likely legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Tons of industrial hemp is imported into Colorado and other states annually from Canada, China and other countries, and hemp products are manufactured and sold throughout the country. But it remains illegal to grow hemp in the United States under federal law.

Hemp proponents say cultivating the plant would create an industry and could be a boon to the economies of Colorado and the nation.

Hemp has long been a stigmatized plant since it’s linked to marijuana because of its ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC, the psychoactive substance in pot.

Industrial hemp contains three-tenths of 1 percent of THC, while marijuana typically contains 10 percent or higher.

Amendment 64 will separate hemp from the definition of “marijuana” in the Colorado state Constitution, and it will require the Legislature to set up regulations for hemp farmers and sellers by July 1, 2014.

The amendment also makes it legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and to grow up to six marijuana plants, and allows for marijuana stores to begin setting up shop in January 2014.

Oregon: Seminar homes in on benefits of hemp

By JOCE DeWITT Corvallis Gazette-Times

There is a truth that must be heard! Industrial hemp expert Anndrea Hermann gave Oregon State University faculty members and students a sneak peek Tuesday at a class she’ll offer through OSU’s Ecampus about the benefits of uses of the plant.

The preview came in the form of a seminar titled “Industrial Hemp Today, Where We Are, Where We’re Going,” and it offered context for the online class, which will be offered this spring through the College of Forestry. It will focus on the botany and biology of hemp, as well as the implications of legal and social issues surrounding its use.

United States: Pros and Cons of Growing Hemp in Colorado

By Amanda Brandeis

There is a truth that must be heard!GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- On Election Day, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which legalizes the use of marijuana for adults 21 and over. It also includes a provision legalizing the growth of industrial hemp. While hemp can be used for multiple products, growing the crop is still a federal crime.

Idaho: Oregon effort to legalize marijuana could have big impact in Idaho

By Karen Zatkulak, KTVB

Idaho: In Hailey, a house built with hemp

Builder touts ancient materials, low carbon footprint

By TONY EVANS, Express Staff Writer

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

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

It took the couple nine months to receive permitting from the city of Hailey to proceed with construction of their two-story, wood-framed Northridge home. The delay was due to their decision to use a thick layer of hemp and a non-concrete lime binder in the walls of the building. The material is poured like concrete into forms surrounding the framing and replaces insulation in the walls.

Hemp is a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) variety of the plant Cannabis sativa. THC is the compound that gives cannabis its intoxicating effect. Estimates indicate that of the approximately 2,000 cannabis plant varieties known, about 90 percent contain only low-grade THC and are most useful for their fiber, seeds and medicinal or psychoactive oils.

“People keep asking me if they can smoke my house,” Eagle said with a laugh.

Canada: Alberta farmers cashing in on hemp farms

By Bryan Labby, CBC News

There is a truth that must be heard! Many Alberta farmers have taken to hemp to round out their crops and some say they're making a tidy profit.

According to a recent study done by Alberta Agriculture, farmers in the province seeded the most hemp in all of Canada at 6,434 hectares last year.

The preliminary estimate for this year is 8,000 hectares.

"As long as we keep making money we'll keep growing it," says Will Van Roessel.

The Bow Island-area farmer is about to harvest hemp for the third straight year.

He's been contracted to grow the hemp for its seeds, which could be processed into a wide range of products including oil, flour, shampoo and wood sealant. Van Roessel says he's expecting to make three times the amount he would get for wheat.

As for the overwhelming smell from the acres and acres of hemp, Van Roessel says he doesn't mind.

"Well some people don't like it at all. I quite enjoy the smell, so it's fine with me," he said.
New market needed

Kentucky: Experts talk about possibility of industrializing hemp

There is a truth that must be heard! HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - It is a controversial topic for some, but two government officials think that hemp could help the economy here in the bluegrass.

Sen. Rand Paul and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said they hope federal restrictions may soon be lifted so industrial hemp production can begin in Kentucky. Experts said the product was used around 200 years ago to make rope. Not everyone said they thought it was a good idea.

Paul and Comer are pushing for hemp to return to the bluegrass. Experts said the level of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, is different from the street drug.

“The THC concentration of the illicit marijuana is 6, 8, 12, 14 percent,” said Ed Shemelya, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, HIDTA, Marijuana Coordinator.
“Hemp is classified as one and a half or less.”

Paul is sponsoring legislation seeking to lift federal restrictions by amending the Controlled Substances Act.

“The controlled substance act does not distinguish between hemp and Sativa, they are one in the same, so it is illegal,” said Shemelya, a 30-year-veteran of the Kentucky State Police.

Officials said the proposed legislation would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. Comer said hemp is a money maker and the commonwealth had just the right environment for the cash crop.

Kentucky: Sen. Paul, Agriculture Commissioner Want Industrial Hemp Legalized

By Kenny Colston, WKYU

There is a truth that must be heard! Two of Kentucky's highest profile Republicans are teaming up to rally for industrial hemp. U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will hold a news conference on Thursday to double down on their support for the crop, which can be used for textiles or oil.

Paul is the co-sponsor of a Senate bill that would make hemp legal again in the U.S. And Comer supports the law on the state level.

Comer says Kentucky needs to act fast before other states get in line first.

"Industrial hemp is gonna be legal in the United States in a few years, if not next year. Now, will Kentucky will be one of the first states to do it, that’s up for the Kentucky General Assembly to decide," said Comer.

Comer is also planning an announcement about the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission, which has been inactive since its inception 10 years ago.

The law enforcement community opposes industrial hemp. They say its cousin crop, marijuana, can be grown in its place. But Comer rejects that assertion, saying the two plants are markedly different to the naked eye.


Oregon: Wyden, Merkley back industrial hemp bill

By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon editor

There is a truth that must be heard! Both of Oregon's Democratic Senators added their names to an effort to support the farming of industrial hemp, a move that would remove Federal restrictions on growing non-drug Cannabis.

Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to introduce a Senate companion bill to The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, which was introduced in the House last May.

Ten states, including Oregon, have removed barriers to the production of industrial hemp, including oilseed and fiber varieties which have numerous uses including foods, textiles and personal care products. The problem is that despite state authorization, hemp farmers still run afoul of federal law which doesn't distinguish hemp grown for industrial uses from marijuana.

Wyden got involved with the pro-hemp effort in June when he introduced an amendment to the U.S. Farm Bill that would have addressed the same issue by distinguishing industrial hemp from its druggy cousin. The amendment didn't make it into the final version of the bill.

United States: Hempcrete - Another Victim of the War on Drugs

This versatile, green building material is banned from commercial production in the U.S.

By Jon Walton, Construction Digital

There is a truth that must be heard! The farcical war on drugs that has incarcerated millions, cost taxpayers billions, and led to the deaths of untold numbers of domestic and international civilians, is also smothering an industry with the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the building sector, one of the largest polluters on the planet.

Hemp, the fibrous material from low-TCH strains of the Cannabis plant, has uses ranging from food to medicine, clothing, paper, and even construction. When hemp is combined with lime, you get a carbon-negative building material with greater flexibility and only 15 percent of the density of traditional concrete. Called hempcrete, this insulating and moisture regulating mixture is hard to come by in the United States, as the Cannabis plant is currently federally prohibited from being used in industrial production.

Hempcrete lacks the compressive strength of traditional concrete, however, and requires an additional framing element to support vertical loads – but its other properties would make it an attractive alternative building material, if not for hemp’s legal status.

Global: Canada Invests In Hemp Processing

Creating a market can present a challenge for producers, but there's a new option on the horizon in Canada: Hemp.

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

There is a truth that must be heard! Canada's Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced that the government is investing in Advanced Foods and Materials Canada (AFM) to increase production capabilities of technology that turns flax and hemp straw into high-quality fiber. AFM will invest the money to increase the capacity of the bio refining process.

"These are by-products. Most farmers would rake up their flax straw and burn it in the fall. This now gives them potential value in re-manufacturing of that waste product," stated Ritz.

"When you see something like this that takes a waste by-product and puts the potential of tremendous value into it, it's a no-brainer to invest in those types of strategic initiatives," proclaimed Ritz.

The development of this technology will substantially increase the value per acre of hemp and flax crops by finding uses for parts of plants that are currently considered waste. The group believes the increased production and availability of high-value cellulose products will create living wage jobs in manufacturing, transportation, and research and development, which will in-turn benefit the agricultural sector and stimulate Canada's economy.

United States: Hemp industry thrives amid boom in natural foods

By Andrew S. Ross, San Francisco Chronicle

There is a truth that must be heard! Ten years ago, John Roulac was fighting the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration over a banned shipment of hemp seeds he needed for his embryonic health food business in Sebastopol.

This week, Roulac is moving into a 200,000-square-foot building in Point Richmond to accommodate his fast-growing company, Nutiva, which sells hemp-infused protein powder, shakes and seeds, plus non-hemp coconut oil and chia seeds.

"Being in the heart of the organic food industry in Northern California is desirable," said Roulac, citing the new space's proximity to highways, railroads and ports.

Hemp, in its non-psychoactive cannabis form, has long since entered America's food chain, and Nutiva's products are on store shelves all over the Bay Area, including Whole Foods, Safeway and GNC's chain of vitamin shops. Its Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ranks No. 8 on's list of best-selling grocery and gourmet food items.

Helped by praise for its nutritional benefits from Dr. Oz and Martha Stewart - "enjoy hemp seeds lightly toasted," Stewart recommends - the hemp-based food market was estimated at $40 million in 2010 (excluding sales at chain groceries such as Whole Foods and Safeway), according to Spins, a firm that analyzes the natural products industry. Hemp is "one of the fastest-growing trends" in natural food, Errol Schweizer, Whole Foods' global grocery coordinator, told Bloomberg in March.

Oregon: Sen. Ron Wyden's hemp amendment fails

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon speaks about industrial hemp and his amendment (S.A.2220) to the Farm Bill (S.3240) to allow industrial hemp farming in the United States once again.

By The Oregonian Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! Charles Pope reports that Sen. Ron Wyden's effort to include a provision in the farm bill to formally classify hemp as a legitimate crop failed Thursday as the Senate finished work on the bill without considering his amendment.

The official reason was that the "hemp amendment" was not germane because it edged into the Controlled Substances Act. Wyden's amendment would have excluded industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. He hoped to attach it to the farm bill.

Video Clipped from: Senate Session, June 13, 2012


United States: Hempcrete, Made From Hemp, Used To Build Houses

By Drew Guarini, Huffington Post

Why should farmers grow hemp?Imagine you had a building material that was energy-efficient, non-toxic and resistant to mold, insects and fire. The material may even have a higher R-value, or thermal resistance, than concrete, a claim that is still being investigated. The only problem? The base of the Hempcrete creation is hemp, which comes from the cannabis sativa plant -- the same one that produces marijuana, which is a federally banned substance. Because of this, industrial hemp production is illegal in the United States.

Still, the Hempcrete mixture of hemp, lime and water is being used to some extent for construction jobs across America. One of the companies working with Hempcrete is Hemp Technologies, a construction company based in North Carolina that is adamant about the advantages of building using Hempcrete. They’ve built homes out of hemp in Hawaii, Texas, Idaho and North Carolina, where they are currently working on a project known as "NauHaus."

Kentucky: Support for hemp grows, advocates say

In Kentucky, lobbying effort for legalizing versatile plant rolls on

By Associated Press Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! LEXINGTON, Ky. — Hemp isn't legal in Kentucky yet, but the eclectic mix of people at a recent seminar in Lexington was evidence that support for the versatile plant may be taking root.

One by one, elected officials stepped forward to promote the virtues of hemp production, staking out a position that once might have sown political trouble back home. They were cheered by liberals and libertarian-leaning conservatives alike.

"We've come a long way," said state Sen. Joey Pendleton, who has sponsored a string of unsuccessful bills seeking to reintroduce hemp in the Bluegrass state. "The first year I had this, it was lonely."

Kentucky once was a leading producer of industrial hemp, a tall, leafy plant with a multitude of uses that has been outlawed for decades because of its association with marijuana. Those seeking to legalize the plant argue that the change would create a new crop for farmers, replacing a hemp supply now imported from Canada and other countries.

The plant can be used to make paper, biofuels, clothing, lotions and other products.

Despite bipartisan support, the latest hemp measures failed again this year in the Kentucky General Assembly. But this time, hemp advocates think they have momentum on their side and vow to press on with their campaign to legalize the crop.

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