High on Hemp!

High on Hemp!
Posted by FoM on December 31, 1998 at 17:11:32 PT
Happy New Year!
Strong, versatile, and pesticide-free, this all-natural fiber has its fans!Here's a risky business plan: Open a retail store based on a plant theme in the most exclusive shopping district in Boston. Think you can survive? 
Newbury Street's The Hempest has. For three years, the boutique has thrived selling clothing, accessories, and beauty products made of hemp (that environmentally friendly plant that is a cousin of marijuana). What's the store's cachet? Like a lot of things in fashion, it has a nuance of naughtiness. ''Every single day, people come in to ask if they can smoke the clothing,'' says co-owner Mitch Rosenfield. (The answer is no.) ''People ask me if we sell marijuana. It's the biggest joke when it happens. I usually ask them if they have any.''Shake your head if you want. But sometimes double takes and over-the-top ideas are what it takes to survive in the fashion world. Consider Abercrombie & Fitch's sexy (and very successful) ad campaign. Or the imaginary characters in Calvin Klein's cK one commercials, whom consumers are encouraged to e-mail. The Hempest is Boston's example of pushing the envelope. It stands out because - amid world-class salons like Chanel and Giorgio Armani - it thumbs its nose, boldly selling hemp rolling papers, hemp greeting cards (with giant green leaves on the cover), and some popular hemp lollipops that are flavored (supposedly) to taste like pot. The store also sells women's and men's clothing, including hemp skirts, dresses, pants, and shoes, along with accessories like hemp backpacks, coin purses, and hats. There are also hemp skin creams and shampoos, lip balms and, believe it or not, baking flour. The offbeat concept is appealing to consumers for a number of reasons. Some frequent the shop as a political statement. ''I don't think they should arrest [marijuana] drug users. A lot of legal drugs are more lethal,'' says Peter Wetherbee, a regular shopper. ''I do believe in voting with my dollars,'' he says. Other folks appreciate the fact that hemp material doesn't have pesticides in it. ''I went through this massive spiritual revolution when I dropped out of school,'' says Kelly Reed of Boston, who owns three hemp sweaters, several skirts and dresses, pants, shoes, hats, socks, coin purses, and jewelry. ''I became a vegetarian. I had to have veggie shoes. I had to have hemp. Hemp supports us. We should support it. So many pesticides are used with cotton,'' she says. Some people favor hemp because it's fashionable. ''My friends told me about it,'' says Colin Allen of Wellesley, who owns hemp pants and enjoys hemp lollipops. ''It's great.''Hemp has been used widely in fashion for a few years now. Giorgio Armani had it in his Emporio Armani collections over the last several years. The Body Shop introduced a line of hemp skin-care products in May. And actor Woody Harrelson has promoted hemp extensively, wearing hemp Armani tuxedos to the Golden Globe Awards and the Academy Awards last year. What is hemp exactly? It's an herb grown for the strong fiber in its stem. Some sailcloth and rope are made out of it, and it has a long seafaring history. (Warehouses at the old Charlestown Navy Yard routinely made hemp into rope in the 1800s.) And, as a large part of its modern cachet, marijuana comes from the leaves and flowers of a particular strain of hemp. Supporters like hemp because it's a versatile and hearty plant. Almost every part of the plant can be used (to make paper, fiber, fuel, medicine, plastic, and particleboard, among other things), and there's that matter of not requiring pesticides to survive, says Rosenfield. Surprisingly, hemp can be made to look like fine linen, not the rough burlap you might expect. Though it can be imported readily enough for industrial use, it's illegal to grow hemp in the United States. To be sure, industrial hemp does not have the psychoactive elements of its relative, marijuana. ''You can smoke a field of this stuff and you're not going to get high,'' says Rosenfield. But that hasn't stopped some anti-marijuana activists from protesting. Adidas America received numerous complaints after introducing a hemp sneaker. ''There were so many critics writing to say `How dare you make a shoe out of marijuana,''' says John Fread, a company spokesman. ''We had to explain to people that the Navy has been using commercial hemp for years because it's so strong.''Fread said that Adidas discontinued the shoe last year, but not because of the complaints. ''Sales just dwindled,'' he says. Rosenfield, who founded his store in 1995 with friends Jon Napoli and Leah Johnson, says they've had no protests. Instead, he says, ''People always come in here and want to tell me the story of how they got busted one time.''
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Comment #2 posted by ian on October 20, 1999 at 06:55:21 PT
i want a spliff with marley
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Comment #1 posted by MARVIN MOTA on January 07, 1999 at 09:13:24 PT:
deseo que me envien algunas fotos y que tambien tengan algunos dibujos que me transporten a otra dimension
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