Another reason to legalize hemp

Hemcrete - a revulutionary building technology made from help

Hemcrete - a revulutionary building technology made from help

There have been a number of stories in the media the past few months about the many uses of marijuana’s cousin, hemp, and their potential for revenue.  Yet lawmakers have ignored the positive side of what this has to offer.

Now a hemp-based product in Europe   Tradical® Hemcrete®– is trying to make it’s way to the US and its high value warrants serious consideration.

Hemcrete, made by U.K.-based Lhoist Group, is a bio-composite, thermal walling building material made from hemp, lime and water.  And this new technology is carbon neutral, making it an ideal substitute for traditional concrete.

Versatile, sustainable, good looking, environmentally-friendly and 100% Hemcrete 1recyclable, Hemcrete has an amazing array of applications – from roof insulation to wall construction to flooring.  Among its many benefits, its waterproof, fireproof, insulates well, does not rot [when used above ground] and is completely recyclable. It can even be used as fertilizer when demolished!

This revolutionary product has been popular in Europe for years. BUT this species of hemp is currently illegal in the U.S., so finding a market here is going to be tough.

Perhaps if there’s enough money to be made from it, pressure on politicians will turn the tide, forcing them to revisit the issue.

Regardless, it’s so profitable overseas that Hemp Technologies, one of the biggest manufacturers of hemp products in the UK, is actively recruiting as many new growers as it can.

So instead of making it illegal, perhaps its time for hemp to take its rightful place as a viable, versatile, cash cow again here in the U.S. What do you think?

Congress Faces a Reversal on Hemp

In an amazing move, a federal bill will be introduced this week to eliminate restrictions to growing industrial hemp.

For only the 3rd time since the government banned hemp farming, U.S. Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) have circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to garner support for their Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009. The bill is identical to its predecessor, HR 1009, introduced in 2007 to the 110th Congress.

“Hemp is a versatile, environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown here for over 50 years,” says Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra, “because of a politicized interpretation of the nation’s drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Steenstra added that many U.S. companies currently “have no choice but to import hemp materials valued at $360 million in annual retail sales.”

Hemp currently grows wild across the country, a reminder of centuries of hemp farming.  Hemp clothing is manufactured around the world by respected companies such as Patagonia, Bono’s Edun and Giorgio Armani.

Key national organizations support a policy change by the federal government. These include the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

States are weighing in as well. Sixteen have passed pro-hemp legislation, and eight (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to hemp production or research.

North Dakota has gone a step further, issuing state licenses to farmers for the past 2 years.  The new bill, if passed, would allow states to regulate the growing and processing of hemp.

“The DEA has taken the Controlled Substances Act’s antiquated definition of marijuana out of context and used it as an excuse to ban industrial hemp farming,” says Steenstra.

“The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 ,” he said, “will (allow) farmers to continue raising industrial hemp just as they always had.”

As hemp has no psychotropic properties like it’s controversial cousin, there has been a continually growing movement to legalize this versatile crop. Perhaps under Obama’s tenure, commonsense will again prevail.