By Steve Elliott
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is taking his pitch for industrial hemp to auto manufacturers on Thursday.
Comer is attending AutoConnect, a trade conference in Nashville, where executives from Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda and other manufacturers will be attending, reports Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The commissioner of agriculture hopes to tell the execs about using hemp, which he said contains "longer, stronger, lighter and greener" fibers than the products currently used in the auto manufacturing process.
"It has been my goal to make the pitch for Kentucky-grown industrial hemp to automobile manufacturers," Comer said. "Now the opportunity is here and I believe this could be a win-win: a win for Kentucky farmers and a win for an industry working hard to find a more environmentally sound manufacturing process."
Some automakers in Europe are already using hemp as a biodegradable, sustainable material in parts such as dashboards, interior panels, and soundproofing.
Comer said Kentucky farmers might plant hemp next year despite an advisory letter issued last month by state Attorney General Jack Conway saying that farmers who do so "will expose themselves to potential criminal liability and the possible seizure of property by federal or state law enforcement agencies."
By Steve Elliott
Staff members have been instructed to begin the process of writing rules for the development of the long-banned industrial hemp crop in Kentucky, according to a news release from the state Department of Agriculture.
The state's industrial hemp commission is calling on GOP Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul to write a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice to "make Kentucky's intentions known," reports Jonathan Meador at WFPL.
Paul and Comer are hoping for clarity from the feds on the current legality of growing a hemp crop in Kentucky. The issue remains murky in the wake of a a DOJ memo released last month by Deputy Attorney General James Cole. According to that August 30 memo, the federal government "will respect" state marijuana laws, which advocates believe includes the legalization of industrial hemp production.
Sen. Paul intends "to be a part of correspondence with the Department of Justice," according to a spokesperson, and he "supports the work of the Hemp Commission and supports Commissioner Comer's efforts to move forward with the reintroduction of industrial hemp in Kentucky."
By Steve Elliott
The BMW i3, a new all-electric car which debuted on Monday, weights just 2,700 pounds, 800 pounds less than the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. BMW achieved this by using a variety of low-weight materials --including plenty of hemp in the interior -- to maximize fuel efficiency and driving range.
Weight is essential, reports TruthonPot.com, because the i3 depends on a 22-kilowatt lithium-ion battery for fuel; the battery is so heavy it contributes about 20 percent of the vehicle's mass. Like many BMWs before it, the i3 features door panels made of hemp; mixed with plastic, hemp helps lower the weight of each panel by about 10 percent.
Hemp fibers, left exposed, also form a design element of the car's interior, reports Bloomberg. Designer Benoit Jacob says the use of natural materials like hemp and kenaf (a plant in the hibiscus family) makes the i3's interior feel like "a small loft on wheels."
BMW has tested and used natural hemp fiber since the 1990s, when government pressure to use recyclables forced European manufacturers to build greener vehicles.
Starting with trunk liners and airbag components, BMW expanded into making door panels from hemp. Hemp panels were used in all of BMW's 5 Series models by 2006; many other European luxury carmakers, including Mercedes Benz and Audi, now also use hemp in one form or another.
Set to launch next year, the BMW i8, an electric hybrid supercar, will also include hemp components.
By D. Paul Stanford, CRRH, Executive Director
Marijuana prohibition is really about suppressing hemp fuel and hemp fiber from competition with capital intensive, environmentally-harmful, mostly synthetic alternatives. This simple oil lamp demonstrates why they made up the 'marijuana' myth to stop competition to petrochemical fuels. We don't need to fight wars for petroleum because we can replace petroleum with hemp seed oil for fuel, plastics and most everything else. Marijuana prohibition is really about money, power and the further centralization of economic and political control. It is really about social and economic justice.
Presented by The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF) and our affiliated political committee the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH).
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By David Krough and AP
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Marijuana advocates are gearing up to legalize the drug for recreational use in Oregon with a new measure poised to go on the November ballot.
According to their website, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act would "legalize the sale, possession and personal private cultivation of marijuana." It would also set aside two percent of profits from cannabis sales for commissions that promote industrial hemp biodiesel, fiber, protein and oil.
Growers and sellers would need a state license and could only sell in cannabis-only stores.
Oregon became the second state to pass a marijuana law in 1998, following California. There are nearly 24,000 patients with medical marijuana cards in Oregon. Only state residents can obtain the card after registering as a patient in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program with a qualifying debilitating medical condition diagnosed by a doctor.
Organizers will start collecting signatures Saturday.
Kyndall Mason with the DemocracyResources.com organization was working with the National Organization for Reform of Mairjuana Laws (NORML) and Oregon groups to gather signatures starting Saturday.
"Oregon has a long history of laws that conflict with federal law, that includes the Death with Dignity Act," Mason said. "The feds have (recently) given states more autonomy, specifically regarding medical marijuana laws," she said.
Some researchers believe hemp has many properties that make it perfect for sustainability.
Our Future Planet investigates.
Reasoned argument over the value of hemp can often be tricky to achieve, polarized between die hard hemp and cannabis enthusiasts and skeptics regarding the arguments as woolly shirted, hippy doctrine.
The reality, as usual, is nowhere near as aggressive. For a start, a few facts surrounding the material do seem to indicate its worth within a sustainable agenda.
It appears industrial hemp can provide many of the raw materials we need as a society to function. Myriad websites list the uses: hemp food, hemp oil, hemp plastics, hemp insulation, hemp concrete, hemp paper, and other hemp composites.
‘Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, producing about ten tons of dry product per acre per year,’ explains http://www.hemp.com/. This is a pretty crucial fact. In a climate facing water shortages and rising temperatures, speed of production for sustainable materials is going to become key.
By Fibre 2 Fashion Staff
Inky Mark, Member of Parliament for Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette, on behalf of the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification announced government support to help Plains Industrial Hemp Processing Ltd. strengthen economic opportunities in Gilbert Plains.
“This is one more way that our Government is investing in innovative projects that will open new market opportunities and boost the bottom line of our farmers,” said MP Inky Mark.
Under the project, Plains Industrial Hemp Processing Ltd. will build a hemp fibre processing plant. The facility will process up to 18,000 metric tonnes of hemp annually and generate new export markets for western Canadian value-added agricultural products. This first of its kind facility in Canada, will provide permanent job opportunities for the community as well as employment during construction of the plant.
Federal funding of $3,375,000 is being provided through the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan and $1,400,000 under the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Agri-Opportunities Program. Funding for the Agri-Opportunities project is subject to its meeting all eligibility requirements and the signing of a contribution agreement.
By Fiber for Fashion, Staff
From paper, cordage, furniture, and handicraft industries, uses of abaca (Musa textilis Nee) have extended to natural fiber-reinforced plastic composite material to replace some parts of cars.
Dr. Leslie Joy Lanticse-Diaz, chair, Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, University of the Philippines Diliman, shared this information with natural fiber stakeholders at the recently concluded National Conference on Natural Fibers held at Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City. The study conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Diaz aimed, among other things, to incorporate the natural fiber into plastic matrices for various applications.
Research results show that the fiber of abaca or Manila hemp displayed a tensile strength of up to 970 MPa, which means that 140,686 pounds per square inch of force is needed to break this fiber. Abaca fiber was also reported to reach a maximum of 3 meters that gives it the advantage of length. She explained that these were among the factors that made abaca fiber viable for automotive composites.
The researchers also concluded that weave construction and weave patterns are significant parameters to be optimized to ensure better control and consistency in the properties of the composite to be constructed with abaca as the natural fiber reinforcement.
By Krista Allan, News Writer
Alberta is going green, but not in the way some might think. Just outside the town of Vegreville, the Alberta Research Council is working to add hemp farming to Alberta’s list of lucrative industries.
The Vegreville nursery is home to the largest research and production facility of hemp in North America. Industrial hemp grown in Alberta can be used in a number of products ranging anywhere from textiles to fibreglass. Products made from hemp have less environmental impact than those made from glass or plastics, and in many cases are more energy efficient.
Jan Slaski, breeder and plant physiologist at the Vegreville facility, explained why this is the case.
“Bio composites produced from hemp are more environmentally friendly. Replacing glass fibre with bio-fibre produces a much lighter product. A lighter product means that your car, boat, or airplane is lighter and uses less fuel. High-end European car manufacturers, particularly German manufacturers, use bio-composites in their panels,” he said.
Historically, hemp has been grown in Canada for hundreds of years, but was banned in 1938 due to the associations hemp has with marijuana. This ban was later lifted in 1998. Industrial hemp, unlike marijuana, does not contain high levels of THC, the compound in marijuana that causes intoxication.
According to Slaski, Canada has very strict guidelines for hemp farmers.
By Aimee Pianosi, Canoe.ca
In a white cloud of pollen, 43 acres of hemp was harvested from Hartacre Farms last Tuesday. Herb Hart grew the crop in partnership with Performance Plants Inc. of Kingston, as part of a biofuels project for Lafarge Bath Cement plant, which is working on methods of reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.
According to Kevin Gellatly, director of biofuels business development and media relations for Performance Plants, this particular test plot faced some challenges.
“There were some tough conditions on the lower ground, it got rained out.” There were delays in planting, and then rain and more rain which soaked out some of the seeds.
Gellatly said they were hoping for four to five tonnes per acre, but final yield won’t be determined for a while.
Because it’s a test plot, the seed was provided to Hart, but he said the input costs for the entire season were much lower compared to corn, but similar to other crops. Based on soil tests at the beginning of the season, he added 100 pounds of potash, 25 pounds of 11-52-0 and 20 gallons of UAN. The test plot Hart used is a randomly-tiled field and he said “you can see the patterns of the tiles in the height of the plants.”
“I added no chemicals after planting and that’s one of the biggest savings right there,” he added.
One other positive impact of hemp is that it breaks the disease cycle of other crops, as it is added into a crop rotation, according to Gellatly.
By Tom Grace, Cooperstown Bureau
The Chenango County Board of Supervisors has voted to legalize the growing and processing of industrial hemp to help the county's struggling farmers.
The resolution, sponsored by the county's Planing and Economic Development Committee, was passed without opposition July 13. It has been sent to state legislators and is on the way to federal representatives, committee Chairwoman Linda Natoli of Norwich said Friday.
The measure reads, in part, ``Whereas Chenango County has a rich agricultural history and agriculture continues to play an important role in the county's economy," and ``Whereas the decline in agriculture in recent years provides the opportunity for alternative crops such as hemp, and ``Whereas industrial hemp is now cultivated in more than 30 countries, including Canada, France and Great Britain."
The measure goes on to note that "industrial hemp has no intoxicating properties and is genetically distinguishable from marijuana, and the U.S. "is the largest importer of hemp-based products in the world" in citing the benefits that could be had through local production.
Natoli said she pushed for the measure because she sees no reason that local farmers should not be allowed to grow the cash crop.
``When we began to study this, I didn't know much about hemp and didn't have a position on it, but the more I learned, the more convinced I became that our farmers should be allowed to grow it,'' she said.
It took a decade to prove that hemp could be soft as cotton. Now Naturally Advanced Technologies is starting to draw interest in its product from big players.
By Erik Siemers, Portland Business Journal
After nearly a decade of working to prove that burlap-like hemp can be as soft as cotton, Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. has caught the attention of some of the world’s biggest consumer brands.
Now it’s on the verge of generating revenue from its technology.
“The company is an eight-year overnight success,” said CEO Ken Barker.
The Portland, Oregon-based company this month announced a string of deals aimed at commercializing its Crailar Fiber Technology, which employs an enzyme treatment to make hemp and other organic fibers suitable for apparel and other uses.
The most notable is a joint development agreement with Hanesbrands Inc., which is among the world’s largest consumer apparel brands with $4.2 billion in sales last year.
Under the agreement, Naturally Advanced will retrofit existing Hanes dyeing equipment with the company’s enzyme process to study how its organic fibers can be entered into mainstream production.
If that phase is successful, the companies will work toward a marketing plan for Crailar in various Hanes categories and determine how it could be commercialized.
But whether hemp can rise above niche status to mainstream appeal will have a lot to do with cost.
By David Finlayson, Edmonton Journal
A car made of hemp may sound like someone's wacky fantasy, but it's as real as General Motors' bankruptcy.
Motive Industries in Calgary is building a vehicle using panels and other parts made of a hemp fibre material that's lighter and cheaper than glass fibre.
It's being put together to try to win the$10 millionXPrizecompetition for the car that gets 100 miles to the gallon and beats other green cars in a race.
And Motive will benefit from the $15 million Alberta Biomaterials Development Centre announced Thursday, says John Wolodko, polymers group leader at Alberta Research Council.
The structural components of the car, which will start trials in mid June, will still be made of more traditional materials, said Wolodko, whose team is helping with the Motive project.
Eventually more environmentally friendly fibres made of hemp and flax will replace glass fibre in cars and other manufacturing processes, he said.
"Some European car manufacturers are already using bio-materials."
The new centre, to be set up at ARC's agricultural research facility in Vegreville and at the University of Alberta, will also help Pildysh Technologies, which is developing portland cement blocks impregnated with bio-fibres that make them lighter and stronger.
Calgary-based Pildysh is a couple of years away from marketing a product, and vice-president Richard Bueble said the new centre should help speed the process.
By Barney DuBois, BiobasedNews.com
We're talking trillions of dollars. The world's apparel industry is one of the three necessities of life, remember? And we humans spend more for clothing than we do for anything else but the other two - which are food and shelter.
It wasn't long ago that we depended on large department stores plus neighborhood boutiques and shops - augmented by an occasional catalog order or lay-away purchase - to keep ourselves snappily attired for anything. This was interrupted by Wal-Mart, Target and the hundreds of specialty retailers whose brands we have memorized and forgotten. And now, the Internet is taking us to yet another level of confusion - and making lots of business for FedEx and UPS!
The term "green clothing" emerged somewhere during this massive retailing shift of the past decade, and the term's definition is yet being decided in the open market. Vogue magazine's latest issue underscores the importance of this debate, featuring the hottest new "green" styles (including an eco-bikini) worn by actress Cameron Diaz. The fashion mag's cover is even printed in green ink! But inside its pages are also the kinds of things you would expect - including a bachelorette party dress that requires $11,495 of your "green" and is about as recyclable as a can of motor oil.