Economic Stimulus? Think HEMP!


Last night’s vice-presidential debate had me thinking quite a bit this morning. Almost all of the topics, in some way or other, had to do with money. Defense – money. Economy – money. Taxes – money. Medicare – money. Health – money. Social Security – money. Employment/unemployment – money.

And by now you are wondering, “Where is she going with this?”

I’ll tell you. The United States’ economy is not at it’s healthiest point right now. People are hurting. Businesses are hurting. Some American farmers are hurting. Unemployment is at an unacceptable level. Fossil fuel energy is HIGH. Now, I must also remind you that everything is energy, money is energy. Energy fluctuates. Everything fluctuates, up and down, never in a steady, static line.

I came across several articles stating that greener businesses are growing at a faster percentage rate than the actual economy growth. Here are a few examples of some ‘green’ business types: bicycles, thrift and re-purposing stores, electric/hybrid cars (some which use hemp panels), wind/solar energy, and green construction (both industrial and residential).

BUT, like I stated above, green businesses are GROWING. What does this growth mean? Jobs. Income. Security. Economic growth. And…environmental conscience.

Below is an excerpt from one of the articles I read:

 

  • Greener industries grow faster than the overall economy. For every percentage-point increase in an industry’s green intensity, annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher. Future projections suggest continued job growth from green intensity.
  • States with greater green intensity generally fared better in the economic downturn.
  • Green jobs are accessible to workers without a college degree. For every 1 percentage-point increase in green intensity in a given industry, there was a corresponding 0.28 percentage-point increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.
  • Manufacturing plays a strong role in the green economy. The sector accounts for 20.4 percent of all green jobs despite representing only 10.8 percent of total private employment. Furthermore, the green industries within the manufacturing sector are projected to grow 25 percent faster than the overall sector.

Much of the current discussion about green jobs focuses on the renewable-energy industry and thus overlooks how pervasive green jobs are throughout the economy. In truth, the utility sector accounts for just three percent of total private green jobs, and even within that sector, the water and sewage industry accounts for over four times the number of green jobs as renewable energy.  Occupations such as garbage collectors, sewage workers, construction workers, household-appliance manufacturers and bus drivers are as integral to the green economy as solar-panel installers or wind-turbine manufacturers.

“Transitioning to a greener and more sustainable economy is good for the environment, but it also helps promote stronger economic growth and opportunity,” said Pollack.  “And the seeds of this transformation are planted throughout the economy, oftentimes in unexpected places.”  (enewspf.com)

“Seeds.”  Did you see that? And you KNOW which direction I am taking that – HEMP!

Hemp is one of the GREENEST products on the planet. It is carbon negative. It’s growing season is approximately 4 months. It can be used to manufacture ANY product that is also made with carbon-based fossil fuels. Hemp can also be used in construction – interior, exterior, foundation to roof. It is biodegradable, cleans the air, heals the soil, uses less water than cotton or other crops, doesn’t need fertilizer or pesticides, and can be grown ABUNDANTLY in many climates. Not only that, it’s nutritional value makes it an important food crop.

Hemp can put our farmers to work. (See also American Farmland Trust.) Hemp, being a GREEN resource, can help our economy grow faster, put manufacturers to work, and start the process to heal our planet from the damage done by pulling fossil fuels out of the ground.

My vote is for HEMP!

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Hemp Habitats – Homes of the Future?


Hemp homes, while not mainstream yet, are the cutting edge of green building and living. Hemp, one of the strongest and most durable fibers on the planet, is being used for foundations, walls, roofing, insulation, and indoor textiles and installations.

Hemcrete is made with hemp hurds  and lime, and is stronger, lighter, and more flexible than concrete. It is used for foundations and wall structures, and is a carbon-negative substitute for traditional concrete.

Buildings account for 38% of the CO2 emissions in the U.S., according to the U.S. Green Building Council and demand for carbon neutral and/or zero-footprint buildings is at an all-time high.” (Inhabitat.com)

Hempboard is a fiber board made with hemp hurds. It can be used for walls, cabinetry, doors, shelves, furniture, and flooring.

Hemp insulation comes in many forms – mat and roll, spun and loosely compacted hemp fiber insulation, and hemcrete.

Hemp roof tiles can come in several shapes and sizes.

In all of the above applications, hemp is the perfect choice  because it is:

Water resistant

Insect resistant

Mold resistant

Rodent repellent

In some applications, the products are fire-resistant and,

In all applications the hemp is an excellent insulator and of course, helps to keep the air in the home clean.

Any why, do you ask, are hemp homes carbon negative? The growing and harvesting of the hemp plants lock up a larger amount of carbon dioxide (cleaning the air and environment)  than the lime binder used in the hemcrete production.

Farming hemp in the U.S. and building more hemp structures would be valuable – both economically AND environmentally.

It’s Hemp History Week!


Yes, it’s that time of the year – when we celebrate the history of the wonderful plant we know as hemp.

This is the third annual Hemp History Week, and this week is dedicated to education, awareness, health and wellness, and the  movement to let our farmers grow hemp again – which would benefit (of course) the farmers, our economy, our health, and our environment.

So, to kick off Hemp History Week, here is a 10,000 year timeline that showcases the history of hemp!

8000 B.C. – Hemp textiles are crafted in Asia and Europe.

3700 or 2700 B.C. – It is said that the first medical text, Pen Ts’ao, was written – which showcased the medicinal properties of hemp.

1500 B.C. – Scythians were harvesters of hemp. Scythia was located in Eurasia; it is said that the Scythians were the people who invented the scythe.

500 B.C. – During his 6-year travels and path to enlightenment, Buddha survived by eating hempseed.

450 B.C. – Herodotus records that the Scythians are making fine linens from hemp (at this time it is believed that he was writing about the Scythians living near Persia).

300 B.C. – Carthage and Rome fight for commercial and political power over the spice and hemp trade routes in the Mediterranean.

100 B.C. – China makes hemp paper.

100 A.D. – Pliny the Younger, a Roman official and historian and  writes a manual about the uses of hemp and how to grow and harvest hemp.

600 A.D. – Hemp fiber is popular and used widely by Germans, Franks, and the Vikings.

700 A.D. – Muslims adopted the Chinese process of making hemp paper.

850 A.D. – Africa saw its first paper mill built in Egypt.

(from this point onward, until around the 1800s, it was common to make paper from hemp).

1492 A.D. – Hemp sails, ropes, and caulking are used on the ships Columbus used to sail to America.

1545 A.D. – Hemp agriculture makes its way to Chile and other parts of South America.

1564 A.D. – King Philip of Spain follows the lead of Queen Elizabeth, and orders Cannabis to be grown throughout his empire, from modern-day Argentina to Oregon. Here is a bit of interesting history: The Spanish Empire included the West Coast of the United States, including Oregon, Washington, and parts of British Columbia, Canada, and down to South America.

16th and 17th centuries – Cannabis is a widespread commerce for the Dutch.

1619 A.D. – Virginia makes hemp cultivation mandatory.

1630 A.D. – Hemp used as currency throughout the American colonies.

1776 A.D. – The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper.

1791 A.D. – George Washington encourages domestic hemp industries; Thomas Jefferson urges farmers to replace tobacco with hemp, calling hemp a ‘necessity’.

1800’s – Australia survives 2 famines by eating hempseeds and hemp leaves.

1850’s – Petrochemicals are processed and toxic processes are used to manufacture wood pulp and paper.

1930’s and 1940’s – New machines are constructed to process hemp hurds and fiber, for use in textiles, paper, and fuel. Henry Ford built a hemp car, powered with hemp fuel, grown with hemp on his own farm. Popular Mechanics magazine (1938) touted hemp as the new ‘Billion Dollar Crop’. Unfortunately, it did not happen. Hemp was a threat to those who had investments in timber, oil, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. There was rampant propaganda against hemp; hemp farming was subsequently outlawed (illegal to farm hemp without the proper permits from the DEA.

1943 – Hemp For Victory – the government allows hemp farming to aid in the war effort and creates a film showing the uses of hemp.  After the war, hemp was banned again.

1998 – The Canadian government legalizes commercial farming of industrial hemp.  U.S. imports hempseed and hempseed oil (mainly from Canada and China).

2004 – Ninth Circuit Court decision in Hemp Industries Association vs. DEA permanently protects sales of hemp foods and body care products in the U.S.

2005 – A bill is introduced in the U.S. Congress for the first time to allow states to regulate hemp farming, but to date no committee hearing or floor vote has taken place.

2007 – The first hemp licenses in over 50 years are granted to two North Dakota farmers.

2010 – HIA uncovers diaries and photographs of the USDA’s Chief Botanist Lyster Dewey, who grew 5 varieties of hemp on the current site of the Pentagon. Rep. Ron Paul makes Congressional statement in support of Hemp History Week.

As you can see, hemp has had a rich history on our planet for 10,000 years. No other plant has had such a beneficial, commercial, economical, environmental, and, of course, political impact…than hemp.

Hemp – A Cash Crop For Medicine, Food, And Shelter


The 1938 Edition of Popular Mechanics called hemp The New Billion Dollar Crop. (You can see the article here: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/popmech1.htm)

Unfortunately, the Billion Dollar Crop was not meant to be. Randolph Hearst’s newspapers depended on wood (he owned several sawmills) and his investments in timber would be threatened. DuPont’s chemicals were also a factor, in that they were used with the wood pulp to create the paper. Hemp was a threat to timber, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and oil.

What exactly is a cash crop? A cash crop is a crop grown for direct sale, as opposed to being grown for the farmer’s use (livestock feed, etc.). Before prohibition, hemp WAS  a cash crop. Hemp was used for food, textiles, fuel, medicine, and housing. It was also used as money. People could pay their taxes with hemp!

Hemp can produce ten times the methanol as corn. Crop rotation is not necessary, as the hemp enriches the soil on its own. It does not need pesticides or herbicides.

Up until the 20th century, hemp WAS the largest cash crop in America.

Today there is a movement to get BACK to hemp. Hemp farming is legal in several states, but getting the permits from the DEA is next to impossible. Farmers WANT to grow hemp. With over 50,000 products that can be produce from hemp, it IS the perfect choice.

Hemp fibers are the longest and strongest in the plant kingdom. Hemp fabric lasts longer than cotton and is less chemical and water intensive.

Hempseeds and hempseed oil are an excellent nutrition source, with the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids, easily digestible proteins, and other nutrients needed for optimum health.

Hemp fuel is safe and clean.

Hemp used in construction means cleaner, stronger structures – and structures made from hemp are carbon neutral; in some cases they are carbon negative.

Hemp fabric and clothing are becoming more popular; hemp foods are found in health food stores, food co-ops, and some grocery stores.

Hemp plastics and automobile components are becoming more popular as well.

Most of the hemp imported into the U.S. comes from Canada and China. New figures show that the U.S. spends more than $300,000,000 per year on hemp products – both finished products and raw hemp.

In Kentucky, lawmakers are promoting hemp as a cash crop.

Willie Nelson, in the following video, explains why hemp farming should be restored to the U.S.

The hemp market is GLOBAL. Imagine if the U.S. could put farmers to work, growing cash crops of hemp, and having the ability to be a SUPPLIER of hemp world-wide. It truly WOULD be a billion dollar crop.

Summer Is On The Way, Time To Protect Your Skin With Hempseed Oil


Summer will be upon us soon, and now is the time to get ready to protect our skin from heat, sun, sand and salt (if you are a beach person) and air conditioning.

Hempseed oil contains two fatty acids in particular that are excellent for skin care. Hempseed oil contains 60-70% lineolic (LA) and 15-25%  linolenic (LNA). It also has carotene and vitamin E (both are antioxidants).  The LA and LNA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) contain phospholipids – organic compounds that are building blocks of cell membranes.  Phospholipids are very similar to the natural lipids found in the skin, and help combat dryness and keep moisture in the cells.

The carotene and vitamin E help protect the skin from sun damage and aid in cellular healing.

Hempseed oil has natural properties that block UV rays, but do NOT block absorption of vitamin D.

When choosing hempseed oil-based sunblock, make sure it does NOT contain parabens.  Parabens are chemicals that are used as preservatives. Some are natural, most are man-made. Some studies have suggested that parabens cause cancer. Parabens are also endocrine distruptors, because they mimic estrogen.

“The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their report “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Agents of Subtle Change?” reported that the chemical preservatives called parabens—methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates)—displayed estrogenic activity in several tests. This means that these chemicals mimic your body´s own hormones and can have endocrine-disrupting action when they are rubbed into your body or washed down the drain into your drinking water. These disruptors interfere with your body´s endocrine system: your hypothalamus, your ovaries, your thyroid—virtually every system in your body. The EPA also stated that “continual introduction of these benzoates (parabens) into sewage treatment systems and directly to recreational waters from the skin leads to the question of risk to aquatic organisms.” Scientists in Europe found other endocrine-disrupting body care chemicals in the bodies of fish that humans are eating, and in human breast milk.

Dr. Elizabeth Smith has written that “It is a known medical fact that estrogen stimulates breast cancer” and that “anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose.” (www.terressentials.com)

Hemp – One Of The Most Healthy Recyclable Substances Around


Hemp has long been known to be a clean, renewable resource. It can be grown with little to no fertilizer and pesticides; in fact, it has natural pesticides. It enriches and heals the soil it is grown in, cleans the air, and reduces pollution. It has some of the longest, strongest natural fibers known to man.  Around 50,000 products can me made from hemp.

With landfills taking up more space, there are many who are turning to green/recyclable options. In some cities recycling is mandatory.

Paper made from wood pulp can be recycled. However, it can be recycled maximum of 3 times. Newspaper and office paper is often recycled into toilet paper – but before you start thinking that it is ‘green’ and ‘healthy’, let me share this with you. Toilet paper with recycled papers STILL contain chemicals used in the processing paper – chlorine, ammonia, lye.

After the 3 recycles of paper, it is then generally disposed of, and the chemicals, though the amounts may be small, are still put into the earth. Hemp paper, however, is clean, only needs hydrogen peroxide to bleach it if necessary, and is recyclable up to 8 times. After the recycling processes it can safely be disposed of because 1. there are not large amounts of chemicals in it and 2. it is so clean and would be considered a fertilizer.

Petroleum based plastics can be recycled, but again, they are so chemical intensive and toxic that they could actually be considered pollution. Hemp-based plastics can be recycled over and over again, and like paper, when they have finished their recycles they can be safely disposed of. Again, like hemp paper, hemp plastics will actually enrich the soil because they are biodegradable AND clean.

Petroleum-based plastics are biodegradable, “Now, the bad news: This degradation could be releasing harmful compounds such as bisphenol A (BPA into the ocean, according to research presented at the American Chemical Society meeting…” (discovermagazine.com) Hemp plastics do NOT contain BPA and are healthy for humans AND environment.

In the United States hemp paper and plastics are not part of the mainstream market, but they are continually growing in popularity as we realize the need to be more responsible about using and recycling HEALTHY alternatives, healthy for us AND the earth.

The White House (Kerlikowske’s) Response To Hemp Farming Petition: “Hemp Is Marijuana, Thus A Schedule 1 Controlled Substance” (Paraphrased)


 

Yes, that is what he said. Here are excerpts and my added responses.

The petition, “Allow Growing of Hemp,” sent to the White House, has received a reply. Gil Kerlikowske, former Seattle Police Chief and now “Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy” had this to say:

America’s farmers deserve our Nation’s help and support to ensure rural America’s prosperity and vitality. Federal law prohibits human consumption, distribution, and possession of Schedule I controlled substances. Hemp and marijuana are part of the same species of cannabis plant. While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, can contain THC, a Schedule I controlled substance. The Administration will continue looking for innovative ways to support farmers across the country while balancing the need to protect public health and safety.

First of all, hemp and marijuana are 2 different plants. The THC level in industrial hemp is less than 1%, sometimes even .03%. To try to extract the miniscule, almost non-existent amounts in industrial hemp would be so time consuming and extensive that it would not even be worth the effort.

What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana
When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects.

According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment. We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms. Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20’s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.

Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.” (Kerlikowske)

For years the government has done studies and research into the medicinal value of industrial hemp and marijuana, including the superb nutritional value of hemp and the multitude of products that can be processed from hemp.

“In the new study, which was published in the The Journal of The American Medical Association and financed by the National Institutes of Health, roughly 5,100 men and women in four cities – Oakland, Calif.; Chicago; Minneapolis; and Birmingham – were interviewed and given lung function tests repeatedly over 20 years. They were on average about age 25 at the start, and more than half smoked marijuana, cigarettes or both.

The researchers found that for moderate marijuana smokers, an exposure of up to seven “joint years” — with one joint-year equivalent to smoking 365 joints or filled pipes, or an average of one joint a day for seven years — did not worsen pulmonary function.” (nytimes.com)

As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem. We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

That is why the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities. Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we’ve seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We’re also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.

Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.

Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President’s approach to drug control to learn more.” (Kerlikowske)

So. Let’s get this straight. You, Mr. Kerlikowske, a government employee, are saying that Industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same. Yet you are a member of the same government that LEGALIZED and DEMANDED that farmers grow industrial hemp during WWII to aid in the war effort. You are a member of this United States Government that had its ROOTS in hemp cultivation, used as food, fiber, fuel, textiles, and, used to pay TAXES. Yes, hemp was the equivalent of American currency.  Our first presidents grew hemp, and knew the value of this wonderful, versatile plant. The government has studies and research proving the benefits of hemp and marijuana. You can’t deny that. It’s public knowledge.

Other countries that grow industrial hemp have no problem identifying the difference between hemp and marijuana. Two different plants – they look different and each must be grown in completely different ways. Yet, you, the government, sit back and (knowing the truth) continue to spout something different. That either makes you a really big fibber, or you really aren’t knowledgeable about hemp and marijuana. But, if the latter is the case, why in the HELL are you sitting in a seat that puts you in control of national government drug policies?