Having a blog about Industrial Hemp

As the semester wraps up I must report on how my blogging experience has gone thus far. I must say I have enjoyed being able to share, what I find to be, such exciting information. And believe me, I still have much more to share!

After the long weeks I must give a shoutout to my one follower, and thanks to all who have read and followed along. It seems my Prohibition: Part 2 was the most viewed post, tied also with Its as simple as corn flakes and whiskey. I got the most views on the day of October 18,2016, and am excited to report I reached two countries! My blog has been viewed in the United States along with in Sweden, how exciting.

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So we had a couple slow weeks… There is no doubt the biggest referrer to my blog site was my Twitter account. I created one and followed many hemp and marijuana related accounts. The interactive aspect allowed me to retweet their tweets so they would notice and follow my account. From there I would occasionally slide in a tweet promoting my blog posts in between retweets, I believe this is where I got the most traffic for my blog.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my blogging experience, I remain passionate about hemp and hope I can continue to share with the people in my community and beyond! There’s a video from Youtube that pretty much catches us up on everything we have covered so far, if you’d like to take a couple minutes it provides a good summary of industial hemp and why its so awesome.

I’ve been searching all semester, seeking out hemp products that were accessible to students just like me. Here are some of my favorite finds so far, although there will be many more to come still!

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Here’s the link to get a beanie just like mine, and if anyone wants to buy me a wallet I’d be overjoyed because thats definitely my next purchase. -> HEMPYS.COM

 

Some of my favorite new finds!

Just incase you missed it.. November 8th

I must start of by welcoming several states that have recently made moves into the Marijuana industry within the last couple weeks. On November 8th, four states voted in favor of legalizing recreation marijuana use, sale and consumption; these states being California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts. Federal law plays a huge role in the cannabis market but still this is a huge step in the right direction. This is because in states like California this also decriminalizes hemp and creates opportunities for people to begin cultivation. These legal changes within these states have multiple effects to the people who live in them. It firstly allows decriminalization of use, while access becomes more wide-spread, meantime this industry will also be creating tons of jobs.

In Hemp Bound, guest Roger Ford  was the first corporate member if the Kentucky Hemp growers Cooperative Association trade group and describes the process perfectly. “We finance and build plants in rural areas- producing to scale as needed locally, and in the process create rural jobs”. He explains his plans for the industrial hemp are almost an exact replication of the early petroleum market model, and its ultimate end goal is without a doubt “rural economic development through sustainable energy production”. This gives states that have current legal status for hemp a huge advantage, Fine even claims Kentucky has the potential to be the Silicon Valley of industrial hemp.

People need to realize hemp can be used alongside other current materials, or even eventually replace them in aim of a healthier planet. Federal regulations make it hard on business owners, even if they comply with all of their states regulations. One area this hits particularly hard is the banking sector. But don’t be fooled, this does not stop money from coming into, or out of the hemp industry. The industry is seeking out venture capitalists to make bold moves to help jump-start the industry. Business owners are also eager to work with state and local governments as much as possible, knowing the tax revenue their trade provides can make dealings dually beneficial. There are several good documentaries on Netflix, such as The Union or Culture High that show the ins-and-outs of the industry and its daily struggles as it continues to mature and grow.

Keep in mind,  people who are steering this industry plan to run it just like any other business. There is a undeniable demand from consumers, and even a larger global need for sustainable energy. Hemp can provide a compliment if not replacement to so many current players, we just need to shift the game a little bit. Just because all of our money the past couple decades has been put towards biomass and extraction, doesn’t mean we need to continue to pour into it.

My Aunt told me something once that I will likely never forget. “Don’t sh*t where you eat”. In my opinion, this is the vice we face today. Do we encourage our government to try new things despite the costs? Or do we stick with what we know makes money, and ignore its inevitable consequences? In my opinion the federal government needs to step up and aim projects towards long-term and sustainable efforts, rather than just collecting the cash upfront.

The slow progression of legalization keeps enthusiasts like me hopeful, and again I highly encourage you all to do as much personal research as possible. Get informed, get involved; be a positive influence in your community and in this world we all must share. There are ways to get active all around your community, I promise you that. If you live in the Austin area like me, checkout the Texas Hemp Campaign, I bet they had stuff going on just below your nose.

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The “King of Seeds”

The hemp plant has a unique versatility, that opens up endless market possibilities. What many believe to be the most prominent method of extracting value from this plant is through its seeds. Hemp has been called “King of Seeds” or Shaah-daaneh, by The Persian people for over four millennia. If you’ve been reading along with Hemp Bound then you know our friend Farhoud Delijani, whom as a child grew up native to Iran. He tells Fine, that hemp seeds were his favorite farsi snack growing up as a kid and was a common on-the-go snack; like for on the way to soccer practice for example. “Pop ’em in by the handful, shells on. Yum, it was just really tasty.”

So not all of us want to get our fatty acids by crunching on seeds but just in case you do, I I would recommend toasting them first, or even trying out a fun recipe from the web.  I’ve never tried the seeds themselves but I have tried multiple hemp oil edible products. According to the North American Industrial Hemp Council, there are a couple steps that show how these seeds are taken and turned into various products.

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The hemp seed has become widely accessible and even seemingly trendy, as it was featured on SHAPE. A quick understanding hemp seeds was provided,

“These little seeds give you the complete nutritional power of hemp with their blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, high fiber content, and quality amino acid profile. Hemp seeds are also high in magnesium, a mineral that helps with relaxation, blood sugar control, blood pressure, and potentially osteoporosis, and that is generally low in women.”

The article assures readers that eating hemp has nothing to do with passing a drug test, and actually had astounding health benefits! Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods is the obvious leader in the hemp seed game, as their HempHearts are making recipes across the internet. The hemp seed can be consumed whole or be turned into the number of products listed above. Next week we will dive deeper into hemp oil specifically.

Time to play catch-up

Well if you are from Austin, as I am, you most likely know of a newly buzzing local spot (or should I say spots now) called Blenders & Bowls. They have the tastiest variety of fruity and naturally fueling snacks, and this time I saw something I had never noticed before. unnamed.jpg

I had the option to get hemp milk, hemp granola, and hemp seeds all added in as options and oh my goodness I tried them all and they were amazing! I highly recommend testing out one of my favorites places to grab a healthy snack if you are ever in the area. Here is the before picture of my blender bowl that was drained of all its endless fruit and happiness inside shortly thereafter. Try not to drool.

The point is, that hemp is already merging into several markets and very few Americans seem aware, let alone are willing and ready to jump in just yet. The truth is the industrial hemp industry is already on its way up, and America with the current legal implications that stand, is falling farther and farther behind. Although this industry is still in its infancy, it can already to be seen undoubtedly profitable in at least three sound markets around the world. America sadly has yet to come to the hemp side and is not a competitor in any hemp markets.

The kinks are still being worked out throughout the processes, but these countries see it’s outstanding value and are wasting no time. Doug Fine clarifies for us that “In Canada it’s seed oil, in China it’s textiles, and in Europe its construction(and other industrial markets).” This Hemp market, while still working through several growing pains let alone international regulations, our neighbors were still able to extract around a half billion dollars from us. That estimate is from buying Canadian hemp products alone, and even that number rises annually at about 20%.

Canada being our close neighbor is quickly mocked as call tree-hugging socialists, but I think they might be on to something our American greed has made us blind too. Sadly some researcher say America is about two decades behind others as far as hemp research. Canada has been conducting government-sponsored research for Industrial hemp since 1994. By 1998 they ramped up the crop, and just look how the market has taken off from there!

Next time we will look more into everyday hemp products that may have been hiding in front of our faces the whole time! One of the most popular like I had mentioned was the hemp seed! It seems to be a new craze in the health world and I have attached a short and sweet article from the Marijuana Times that may tell you a little more about this superfood taking over our super markets! Like I mentioned I tried them for the first time in my blender bowl and they were crunchy and delicious, and I felt super energized after! If your’e into a healthy diet definitely a super-food I recommend checking out.

It’s as simple as corn flakes and whiskey

Let me be very clear, I am informing you first and foremost on industrial hemp.

However, I think to clear up some confusion we also need to take a look at its close cousin in order to get a better understanding. It is very frustrating to me and many others enthusiasts out there that these materials do not contain their own separate legal definitions according to the federal government. For a quick and easy read check out a health blog from Heather Pierce talking about the two distinct elements we are extracting from these plants. She does a great job of highlighting the key points in the differences in uses of the product that is used in marijuana, which is THC, and in the CBD that is taken from hemp.

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I will admit these plants do have a lot in common. Both of these substances are taken from the seed of the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant originated in Central Asia and has successfully been grown on every continent, except Antarctica. The plant is split between males and females, and its branches are covered in thick (hand-like) leaf fans. Cannabis has a four to six month growing cycle and at maturity can reach anywhere between two to twelve feet tall. In my personal opinion both have a lot to offer our society but today were trying to single out hemp, or sometimes called Industrial Cannabis.

As according to Doug Fine, “Hemp includes all varieties of the Cannabis genus that contain negligible amounts of THC (a component of the cannabis plant that can be intoxicating when heated)”. By negligible amounts, he is technically speaking of >1% THC. There is so little THC in hemp that smoking the plant will not have any psychoactive effects, and there have not been any cases of anyone ever mistaking the two. To give you a better idea incase you missed Hempsters, in the video they joke by saying you would likely die from smoke inhalation before you ever even feel a buzz.

In the Hempsters movie they also talk about what seems to be legislations biggest platform: that these different cultivations could not be differentiated from the air in order to be regulated. I believe the terms they used were something along the lines of comparing a hayfield to a garden. This is where Canada laughs hysterically in the background at us. Because this is in fact where the two take on their unmistakably separate forms.

The garden, referring to marijuana, must be planted individually and far apart to harvest in order for a handler to be able to go in between and collect all the buds. Hemp, representing the hayfield, is grown so close together there is no light that can be seen through its branches. This requires large fields and open areas, often placed in blind-site in order to encourage government cooperation.

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Hemp can be grown and used for several health benefits as well as industrial purposes that we will get into later on. While marijuana is typically used medicinally and recreationally by inhalation, ingestion, or something of the sorts. There is no mistaking the two, countries across the world are managing just fine.

If you are in fact anti-marijuana, I hope you can see the light in being pro-hemp. In fact, the interpolation of hemp to marijuana even ruins the marijuana! So anyone trying to grow good quality smoking marijuana must stay far far away from industrial hemp complexes. That subdues the argument that farmers might try to pull one over on the government by growing marijuana with a hemp license; he would have a terribly quality marijuana product and court case awaiting him. Getting out clear separate definitions of these two types of cannabis plant can help everyone, I believe.

People need to know in order to make informed decisions. And if you were voting for anti-hemp laws thinking you were going to keep your neighborhood kids drug-free, you were sadly and unfortunately misinformed. If our federal government bans hemp from being grown during this cannabis prohibition, why did it not ban corn during the alcohol prohibition? For there is no simpler case in point than corn. You feed your family corn flakes every morning, yet you lock your whiskey up in the cabinet to hide from the kids. That is precisely how different the uses of the cannabis plant are, and even a good example of how harmful OR NOT they can me.

Just two short years ago Obama signed into law the FARRM BILL of 2013, which is the most recent federal legislation cast on the subject. VoteHemp.com helps summarize the act by stating it “defines industrial hemp as distinct and authorizes institutions of higher education or State departments of agriculture in states where hemp is legal to grow hemp for research or agricultural pilot programs”.

As this did loosen hemp legislation a tiny bit, we still have a long way to go. And if your rolling your eyes at Obama because he said smoking it was “kinda the point”, it looks like him along with another president knew the plant had much more to offer our country. Back in 1994, President Bill Clinton included hemp among the “essential agricultural products that should be stocked for defense preparedness purposes”. Our government is slowly inching towards the right direction and I believe it is their job to properly inform their citizens on the reality in this country and across the world. However, we live in a crazy time and the best way to find something out is to go out there and figure it out for yourself! I encourage all of my readers to check out the links I attach as well as maybe doing a little digging on their own.

Next time we will look at some of hemps already booming markets, and why America needs to hurry up and hop on the bandwagon.

Prohibition: Part 2

I think its fair to say that hemp played a huge factor in us winning WW2. The Kentucky farmers were called to collect all their seeds in order for them to be sent to be cultivated in other parts of the country. Hemp gave birth to an industry that helped propel American workers through war times. It even gave Kentucky it’s first millionaire, John Wesley Hunt. He lived in Lexington and wove hemp into rope!

After the war, the government-funded cultivation efforts continued quietly but would eventually be washed out by anti-drug officials come the 70’s. Many farmers were confused why people were turning against a crop that had provided so much bounty. We should all know the middle of 20th century was an extremely controversial and hostile time in our countries history. There were extreme cultural movements, as well as changes made to and from our federal government. I urge you to do some of your own research to come to your own conclusions about the motivation and implementations of the so-called ‘War on Drugs’. I have my own opinions, as I may, and when you tack on the fact that the synthetic fibers and fabrics were skyrocketing at the time the intentions of our federal government seem fairly skewed.

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High Times Magazine November 2000

I hope to not get too political, so I will defer you to an eye-opening documentary I watched recently called
Hempsters: Plant the Seed
. It follows activists, including our favorite actor Woody Harrelson, as they travel to speak to farmers, politicians and businessmen about the issue of industrial hemp in this country.  I highly encourage everyone to watch this movie to better understand the demonization of the hemp plant and its negative effects to farmers and businesses. On the website you’ll find the Itunes link, I know there may be other options but I rented it for only $2.99. : )

 

 

In 1969 Leary v. United States, the federal authority was first challenged on the matter when the Marijuana Tax Act was deemed unconstitutional. They would respond the next year by replacing it with the Controlled Substance Act; This allowed federal drug policy to control the manufacturing, importation, possession, distribution and use of particular substances. It created 5 schedules based on safety, potential for abuse, medical purposes etc., ranking Marijuana (along with hemp sadly) as a schedule 1 controlled substance.

Where the Marihuana Tax Act made it nearly impossible to produce hemp, the 1970 Controlled Substance Act made it downright illegal. Industrial hemp was not distinguished from its smokable cousin, and was labeled by President Nixon as “public enemy number one”.

Wait one second!  We were talking about flags, and rope, and food! I never said anything about puff, puff ,pass. Its crazy to me now that such different varieties be banned under the same restrictions, when their uses are vastly different. In my opinion, the benefit of both uses of the plant are overlooked. However, in this case the government was definitely making a move against the people.

Next time we will try and clarify the difference between industrial hemp and the steady mary-jane you find out on the street. I believe this will open your eyes to see the injustice of preventing farmers from planting these seeds.

Again, I really hope you watch Hempsters, and enjoy! I’m currently testing out as many hemp products as my budget will allow and i’m super excited to share them with you guys!

History is on our side

“Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.”
-Thomas Jefferson

It’s undeniable that early American’s were huge hemp supporters.This included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and even good ol’ Betsy Ross made her first flag out of the plant’s fibers. In the Virginia settlements colonists were encouraged to cultivate industrial hemp and were even able to pay taxes with shares from their harvest. Hemp was a vital part of the American economy as well as the American armed forces.

In the 1840’s the U.S Navy had a crucial need for rope, which required the high-quality production of fiber strains that were too expensive to import. The federal government knew hemp rope could compete with the standard fibers, so they began hemp cultivation contests. Doug Fine gives us good illustration of this expansion in the book I had mentioned before, Hemp Bound. “Missionaries sent back Chinese hemp, farmers blended it with the more coarse European strains we already had, and the result was the finest hemp in the world…It’s generally called Kentucky hemp, but there were many named varieties with specific properties that were well known and marketed for more than half a century”.These government-run breeding programs continued until the 1930’s, where we will see is when everything changes.

There are different theories as to the true intention of the War on Drugs. Whether it be racial, economic, or even tied in to a huge wonderful conspiracy theory; my purpose is to provide facts, and I prefer not to dictate opinions on the matter. The facts are that there were societal and political movements, involving a 1936 film ‘Refer  Madness’, that began to build stigma against the cannabis plant for the first time. By 1937,the federal government passed the Marihuana Tax Act which placed industrial hemp under the umbrella of ‘marihuana’, and effectively prevented farmers from legally cultivating the stuff.

Ironic enough, a year after cannabis became illegal an infamous magazine of the time Popular Mechanics called hemp “the billion dollar crop”. Talk about confused; this is a clear example that the American market has always been well ahead of its legislature.

Once WW2 came upon us, the U.S. Navy once again found themselves desperate for rope seeing as the Japanese had cut-off our usual supply. Our government already knew what the solution was, so in 1942 the USDA promptly released an inspiring pro-hemp propaganda video called Hemp for Victory I’ve provided the link to watch it on Youtube, and here is a picture I found on the internet of a “special tax stamp” that was provided to farmers at the time.

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Courtesy of Salient Magazine website

 

Over 150,000 acres of industrial hemp would be cultivated by this project. Going into the twentieth century America begins to dominate as a global force. However, we can clearly see it struggles to understand the importance of this plant as an industrial source when competing with such vast markets. The farmers wanted the cultivation of hemp, the people needed these hemp products, yet this product would be stripped from the marketplace entirely. The legality of the issue will continue to be tossed around as we enter into the second round of prohibition later in the 19th century.

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Hemp comes to America

Hemp has been around long before America got here and will be a major step to establishing its future. The very first signs of hemp are from the Neolithic Era (10,200-2,000BC) in what is present day Asia. Traces of hemp fiber were found in pottery, and early forms of clothing and paper products. Which makes it one of the oldest known human cultivated crops. From Asia, hemp quickly spread to Europe where it uses expanded to cooking dishes. In 1545, the Spaniards brought hemp for the first time to the America’s. Although it would hitch a different ride to what we now know as the U.S. of A.

Whether your vote is cast in support or against of legalization, know that this country was built on hemp. Firstly, back in the 17th century hemp was used to make fabric for the sails and ropes of ships. So hemp LITERALLY brought those settlers here and would continue to provide for them and their new country. Jamestown,Virginia as well as many early settlements along the New England coast are known to have had successful hemp plantations. The states tried to encourage hemp cultivation during the 1700’s to help boost their local economies and decrease imports of hemp from other parts of the world. However the national economy, or lack there of,  was never able to get the industry to stick on a large-scale.

I bet you didn’t even know that the draft of the Declaration of Independence, the most important document in American history, was written on hemp paper. Or that our beloved national heroes George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams all owned land that grew hemp, and were huge advocates for a commercial hemp industry. We know that George Washington, this countries Forefather, wrote in his personal journal about the daily sowing of the seeds. Some say he even enjoyed smoking the flower recreationally, although there is no evidence in his journals that specifically suggests him growing for anything beyond industrial uses. Hemp is said to have been a huge contributor to the agricultural economy of the Antebellum period, and development of its fibers were encouraged as late as WW2.

 

picLOL. Just a little comic made by yours truly. George Washington really was a genius. If hemp was such a big part of American agriculture…what happened? That’s what were going to find out.

For more quick facts about hemp and its history check out the NAIHC website.

Hemp Bound

Hello! My name is Nicole.

I’ll start by explaining a little about myself, and why I have chosen a topic as such.

The American society is consumed with debate over the best solution to our critical resources problem, yet we see little actually being  done about the problem. Our manufacturing methods press on unaffected by the pollution, and  our elected leaders continue about unfazed by malnourishment or poverty. Facts and truth seem to be lost in the whirl of mass media and popular opinion. I knew there had to be other solutions out there, we were just missing it.

Like many of my peers, this impending doom seemed a little frustrating to me. I myself plan to live a sustainable lifestyle in the future so I have done quite a bit of personal research, and have found a passion in Industrial Hemp. I believe there is a lack of knowledge on hemp, and even a misconception due to its close relation to Marijuana. However the hemp plant has unique versatility, and has been used across the globe for thousands of years. The usage of hemp is undoubtedly a step in the direction of a cleaner and more efficient environment.

The purpose of this page is essentially to inform. For all the tree-huggers trying to save the world, the businessman or woman trying to scope out the next big bucks, or just the everyday person looking for some new super helpful products to try out. The United States is one of the few industrialized nation that does not currently allow the cultivation of hemp.. and that needs to change! I  will discuss the difference between marijuana and hemp, its uses and benefits, as long as current laws and legislations involving industrial hemp. I hope to provide better understanding, which I believe will lead to the acceptance and reform of current hemp standards and allow for the legalization of Industrial Hemp in the United States of America.

 

img_2183This book helped open my eyes to the world of hemp, Doug Fine does an amazing job explaining to the average person the comprehensive changes this plant will have on our world and economy. This is an awesome book that I recommend to all my readers wanting to learn more!

Also, I would like to direct you to the Hemp Industries Association website, because they met this past weekend in Denver, CO. They are the “forefront of the drive for fair and equal treatment of industrial hemp”, and a good source for information as well.