Washington State University Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory
By Conor Devitt, The Daily Evergreen
A bill is currently in the State Legislature that, if passed, would require WSU to research the possible effectiveness of growing industrial hemp in the state of Washington.
Senate Bill 5222 would require WSU to study the “feasibility and desirability of industrial hemp production.” The goal of the bill is to see whether or not hemp could be a successful agricultural product in Washington state.
“I’ve been thinking about doing a hemp bill for some time,” said Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, one of the bill’s sponsors. “With I-502 passed I thought it would be a good time to work on hemp legislation.”
The university would not be growing hemp but rather studying its effect in other states and countries, said Chris Mulick, director of state relations for WSU.
If the bill passes, researchers at the university will do an agricultural and economic analysis of the effects hemp has had other places and predict what its level of success would be in Washington.
“It’s not just a matter of the merits of this product, but how it would be compared to the rest of the industry,” Mulick said.
According to the bill, industrial hemp includes all parts of the cannabis sativa plant as long as the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content is less than 0.3 percent.
THC is the principle psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Oregon Hemp History, Connecting the Past to the Future
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
In the early 1990's, C & S Specialty Builder's Supply (namely Bill Conde, Dave Seber, Barry Davis, and Tim Pate) in Harrisburg, Oregon, imported regulated bales of hemp and began working on a medium density fiberboard (MDF). The evolution of hemp MDF as a viable building supply option began when Bill Conde of C & S took their hemp fiber research and ideas to Paul Maulberg, the head of Washington State University's Wood Engineering Laboratory.
Conde explains in a 2005 Mycotopia blog, "We asked if [Maulberg] would consider trying some hemp fiber to make some experimental hemp MDF, and his reply was, 'You bet, hemp is the King Cong of fiber. I would love a chance to work with some."
Excitedly, Conde and team began the process working with Maulberg on creation and testing of the hemp MDF. It was soon discovered how strong the hemp fiber truly was, as the full-length hemp fibers jammed both of the processing machines and brought things to a standstill. The process for breaking down the fibers was redesigned and restarted with ultimate success.