Industrial Hemp

Turkey: 9,000-Year-Old Hemp Fabric Found


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Archaeological excavations in Turkey have revealed a 9,000-year-old hemp-linen fabric in the ground at the site of a burned house. The fabric was wrapped around the skeleton of a baby.

The dig, in the central Anatolian province of Konya at the settlement of Çatalhöyük, is being called one of the most important finds of 2013, reports the Hurriyet Daily News. More than 120 people from 22 countries worked on the excavations.

"The fire warmed up the ground and platforms of the building and created a kiln drying effect," said Professor Ian Hodder of Stanford University. "Therefore the pieces and this piece of cloth underground have been so far protected."

"Examinations in the laboratory show that this piece of cloth is linen weaved with hemp," Professor Hodder said. "This is a first in the world and one of the best preserved examples."

"This piece of linen, which is weaved very thin, most probably came from the eastern Mediterranean from the central Anatolia," Hodder said. "It is already known that obsidians and sea shells had been exchanged in long-distance trade in the Middle East during the Neolithic era. But this fabric may have revealed another side of the trade."

A report on the Çatalhöyük excavations is available at

Colorado: Farmers Search In Vain For Legal Hemp Seed


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One entrepreneur is warning that few Colorado farmers will plant hemp this spring if a federal ban on shipping hemp seeds across state lines and national borders isn't changed soon.

Hundreds of Colorado farmers have contacted her in recent months asking where to get hemp seeds for the coming season, said Barbara Filippone, whose Glenwood Springs-based company, EnvironTextiles, imports and sells hemp and other natural fibers, reports Nelson Harvey at the Aspen Daily News.

"I have a notebook with contacts for at least 100 interested farmers, and three to five more calling me every day," Filippone said.

Filippone said she recently heard from an eastern Colorado farmer who got a mysterious shoebox full of seeds in the mail from someone called "The Hemp Stork" who didn't list a return address. The farmer planted some of the seeds, Filippone said, before realizing it was illegal to ship hemp.

"He was terrified," Filipone said, adding that the seeds probably came from a hemp activist "who was not considering things like federal regulations, federal subsidies or crop insurance."

Sourcing hemp seeds from inside the state is next to impossible, since only one Colorado farmer, Ryan Loflin of Springfield, harvested a major hemp crop last year. Under federal law, which regards hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance just like marijuana, shipping unsterilized hemp seeds in from other states or countries is illegal.

Australia: New Plastic Means Almost Anything Can Be Made From Hemp


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Today's plastics are made from petroleum, which means we are polluting the atmosphere and putting products that cannot biodegrade into our environment. But Zeoform, a new company based in Australia has created a new kind of plastic made only from water and cellulose taken from hemp plants -- meaning the plastic is not only eco-friendly but biodegradable.

The company's patented process converts the cellulose fibers found in hemp into a super-strong, high tech molding material capable of being formed into 100 percent nontoxic and biodegradable products, reports Joe Martino at Collective Evolution.

The company hopes to expand its patented technology and start offering manufacturing licenses to larger facilities around the world. Switching over from non-sustainable and toxic forms of plastic to Zeoform plastic can be done with existing infrastructure, according to the company.

The company says their product relies only upon the natural process of hydrogen bonding that takes place when cellulose fibers are mixed with water. No glue or other bonding material is necessary, because the bond already created is so strong.

The final material can be turned into almost anything, and can be cut, routed, machined, drilled, screwed, nailed and glued in the same way wood can be. It can also be colored and finished however product manufacturers would like.

U.S.: Farm Bill Passes House With Hemp Research Intact


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Farm Bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday morning by a vote of 251 to 166, including the hemp provision. "This is a big first step towards allowing American farmers to once again grow industrial hemp," according to

The hemp provision was originally introduced as an amendment to the Farm Bill by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), all three of whom represent states which have legalized industrial hemp. The provision allows universities and state agriculture departments to grow hemp for academic or agricultural research purposes, but applies only to states where industrial hemp farming has already been legalized under state law.

"By including language easing restrictions on industrial hemp in states where it is legal, Congress sends an important message that we are ready to examine hemp in a more appropriate way," Rep. Blumenauer said on Monday.

"Vote Hemp was pleased with the bipartisan support for the amendment and worked with key Republican and Democratic offices in both the House and Senate to ensure the amendment was included in the conference report, which passed the House on Thursday. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) reportedly worked to keep and strengthen the hemp provision in the Farm Bill.

U.S.: Farm Bill Allows States And Universities To Grow Hemp For Research


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Hemp cultivation for research purposes by colleges, universities and state agriculture departments is allowed in the new Farm Bill, according to a report released Monday night by the U.S. Senate and House conference committee on the bill.

The hemp amendment in the Farm Bill was written by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado), reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. All three Congressmen represent states where industrial hemp production is already legal under state law.

The inclusion of the industrial hemp amendment in the Farm Bill is a "bright spot in an otherwise disappointing bill," Rep. Blumenauer said late on Monday. The bill, which cuts about $8 billion from the food stamp program over the next decade, is expected to be voted on by the U.S. House and Senate on Wednesday.

"Oregonians have made it clear that they believe industrial hemp should be treated as an agricultural commodity, not a drug," Blumenauer said in an email to The Oregonian. "By including language easing restrictions on industrial hemp in states where it is legal, Congress sends an important message that we are ready to examine hemp in a more appropriate way."

The amendment allows colleges, universities and state agriculture programs to cultivate hemp for research and pilot projects; it does not, however, protect individual farmers who grow the crop.

Oregon: Preparation Begins for Industrial Hemp to be Sown in Spring 2014


By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

After a panel of appointed experts can appease federal officials with a set of rules, Oregon farmers may sow a crop of industrial hemp next spring. The committee of agricultural experts and state officials has been selected by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and will come together in December to establish proper procedures for hemp cultivation in Oregon.

"The committee hopes to set up a program that will meet what the federal government calls a ‘robust’ standard," according to Jim Cramer, a market and certification official at the Department of Agriculture. "The goal is to do so in time for planting."

In 2009, Senate Bill 676, spearheaded by Oregon State Senator Floyd Prozanski, was passed by the Oregon legislature and then-Governor Theodore Kulongoski signed the historic bill into law. Since the passage, Oregon farmers have been hesitant to begin growing due to fear that they’d be prosecuted by the Drug Enforcement Administration for possession of a schedule I controlled substance.

In recent months, hemp’s legal status gained momentum. The federal justice department said it won’t prosecute cases in states such as Washington and Colorado that legalize and regulate marijuana.

Tennessee: Lawmaker Drafting Bill To Re-Legalize Hemp


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Tennessee lawmaker wants to bring hemp farming back to the Volunteer State, and he's drafting a bill that would do exactly that. State Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) said the key to success is educating his colleagues about the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana -- and the economic benefits to farmers.

Hemp is used in the manufacture of plastics, insulation, and paper. Hemp seeds are used to supplement protein and omega 3-6-9 essential fatty acids, report Heidi Hall and Adam Tamburin at The Tennessean. Hemp clothes, shoes and purses sell briskly. But growing hemp is illegal in the United States, because lawmakers wrote the marijuana laws to include even low-THC varieties of industrial hemp.

"Their biggest fear is that, if they support hemp, people will think they support marijuana," Sen. Niceley said. "That's a cousin of hemp, but cornbread is a cousin of moonshine."

Republican Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol remains unconvinced. He also bemoans the federal hoops to jump through, with marijuana considered a Schedule I controlled substance, and he claimed farmers in his district are "not clamoring" for it.

Oregon: Officials Say Industrial Hemp Production Rules Will Be Ready By Spring


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Officials in the Oregon Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said their goal is to have rules for the production of industrial hemp in place by planting time next spring.

The department has gathered a group of policy experts and agriculture officials, including Jim Cramer, director of market access and certification programs at the Department of Agriculture, and Russ Karow, who leads Oregon State University's soil and crop science program, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. The group has scheduled its first meeting, in December, to write "robust" rules for hemp production.

Oregon is one of seven states which allows the production of industrial hemp, a non-intoxicating variety of cannabis grown for its fiber and seeds. Oregon officials so far haven't implemented the 2009 law, saying they planned to wait until the federal government changed its marijuana laws, which don't differentiate between hemp and marijuana.

Canada: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods Passes Food Safety and Quality Recertification


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods on Wednesday announced that its facility, located in Winnipeg, "aced" the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standards Recertification. According to Manitoba Harvest, it is the world's largest hemp food manufacturer, growing, making and selling their own hemp foods.

The company improved a full "grade" from their first certification last year, according to chief executive officer and cofounder Mike Fata. "Improving our BRC Certification standing to 'A-Grade' showcases our commitment to continuous improvement -- especially when it comes to food safety and quality," Fata said.

"If a school had a hemp production program we'd already have our Ph.D.," Fata said. "Receiving a top grade in our recertification validates our team's commitment to quality."

BRC Certification is considered the world's leading food safety and quality certification program, and is used by suppliers in more than 100 countries.

To receive BRC Certification, Manitoba Harvest underwent a voluntary audit by a third-party certification body that ensures the production, packaging, storage and distribution of safe food and consumer products. The annual certification is meant to reassure retailers and consumers of the capability and competence of Manitoba Harvest's facility, and therefore the integrity of its products.

Celebrating their 15th year in business, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods offers products like hemp hearts (raw shelled hemp seeds) and Hemp Pro 70 (hemp protein concentrate).

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Kentucky: Agriculture Commissioner To Pitch Hemp To Auto Executives


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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."

Colorado: First Hemp Harvest In Half A Century Begins


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

America's first legal hemp harvest in more than half a century began this month in Colorado.

Amendment 64, approved by voters last November, didn't just legalize small amounts of marijuana for adults -- it also cleared the way for industrial hemp production. Farmer Ryan Loflin wasted no time; he planted 55 acres of hemp this past spring, reports Melanie Asmar at Westword.

Hemp advocates from across the United States came to watch last week as Loflin and his crew harvested the first plants by hand. "It felt very historic," said advocate Lynda Parker.

"We think that, obviously, this is a symbolic first hemp harvest," said Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). Steenstra predicted that farmers in other states will soon follow Loflin's lead.

Since the federal government doesn't distinguish between marijuana and hemp -- classifying both as a Schedule I controlled substance -- when the federal Department of Justice recently indicated it wouldn't sue to stop state marijuana legalization, Steenstra said that policy should apply to hemp, as well.

The night before the ceremonial September 23 harvest, Loflin hosted a dinner at his farm, featuring hemp-based foods. It was attended by Colorado hemp advocates, as well as national advocates from the Hemp Industries Association, Vote Hemp, and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.

California: Governor Brown Signs Bill Legalizing Hemp Farming Under State Law


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 566, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, legalizing hemp farming under state law.

Introduced by state Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 566 ensures that California is prepared to begin registering hemp farmers once the federal government gives states the green light, according to hemp advocacy organization Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), an industry trade group.

The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act will establish a framework for farming the oilseed and fiber varieties of the plant, which are used in a myriad of everyday consumer products, including food, body care, clothing, paper, auto parts, composites, building materials, and biofuels.

Enforcement and oversight of hemp production would be handled in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and country agricultural commissioners, as is done with other farm crops.

Kentucky: Hemp Production Moves Closer To Reality


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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."

U.S.: Vote Hemp Holds Briefing With Massie, Polis To Discuss State vs. Federal Laws on Hemp


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vote Hemp on Tuesday held an 11 a.m. briefing and press conference on the recent policy change at the U.S. Department of Justice honoring state laws regarding marijuana production. Members of the press heard directly from Rep. Thomas Massie, Rep. Jared Polis, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer and others on the opportunity for industrial hemp farming and whether further legislative clarification is necessary in light of the Justice Department's ruling.

Also discussed was the hemp farming amendment to the House Farm Bill, an update on the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, H.R. 525 and S. 359, the current market for and agricultural benefits of industrial hemp.

Nine states have enacted laws regulating hemp production, and 10 others have urged Congress to remove federal barriers to it. Industrial hemp, a non-drug crop, is already a $500 million-plus industry in the U.S., representing more than 4,000 jobs.

Commissioner Comer is leading the charge to move forward with hemp production in Kentucky, and it is his position that the Justice Department's ruling must honor state law in all states where the Legislature has established a responsible administrative framework to license hemp producers.

Kentucky: Hemp Farming Can Move Ahead Under New DOJ Policy, Ag Commissioner Says


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said on Friday this week's policy change by the U.S. Department of Justice, under which the DOJ agreed to defer any lawsuits against states which legalize recreational marijuana, also clears the way for farmers to begin growing industrial hemp in the Bluegrass State.

The DOJ announced the new policy on Thursday, allowing states to legalize and regulate the cultivation, sales and use of marijuana as long as the changes protect children and prevent cannabis from entering the black market, reports the Courier-Journal.

Comer called the federal policy reversal a "major victory" for Kentucky farmers; he had spearheaded a hemp bill through this year's session of the Legislature. Officials indicated hemp cultivation could begin within a year.

Hemp, like marijuana, is a variety of the cannabis plant, but industrial hemp is grown for the fiber in its stalks and for the nutritional oil in its seeds, which contain a favorable ratio of the essential fatty acids (EFAs), Omega 3-6-9. Federal law, however, treats hemp the same as marijuana.

"It's about time," Comer said. "Two years ago, the Obama administration would not even discuss the legalization of industrial hemp. But through a bipartisan coalition of Kentucky leaders, we forced their hand."

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