High on Hemp

  High on Hemp

Posted by CN Staff on April 21, 2004 at 08:38:15 PT
By Buck Wolf 

Even if you "Just Say No" to drugs, you've probably crossed state lines many times with large amounts of hemp. And if you haven't, no doubt one day you will. Hemp, a member of the cannabis family of plants, is related to marijuana and illegal to grow in the United States. Nevertheless, hemp is everywhere — in clothing, cosmetics and even in the door panels of more than a million Ford, Chrysler and General Motors cars.
Advocates call hemp a miracle crop. It can be blended to make an array of textiles, from carpeting to finely woven Armani suits. It can be heat-treated to form fiberglass-like building materials and car parts. It can be eaten, or it can be put in a car engine as a replacement for petroleum. You can shop for hemp salad dressing, hemp skin cream and hemp toilet paper. Then you can carry the goodies home in a hemp grocery bag, and laugh about it over a hemp beer. Apparently, industrial hemp is good for practically everything but getting high. This form of cannabis has only the slightest amount of THC — the illegal mind-bending substance in marijuana. Nevertheless, hemp is still having trouble shaking its shady image. That's why hemp farming is banned in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act, even though it's legal in Western Europe, Canada and Asia. America was once a hemp-producing country. It was farmed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The paper upon which the Declaration of Independence was drafted and the rags Betsy Ross used to sew the first flag were made of hemp. But hemp's heyday came to an end after World War II, when the government began crackdowns on marijuana. Hemp can still be legally imported, and Americans purchase about $25 million of this product annually for use in clothing, food and industrial goods. Now, with Earth Day, comes the renewed call to lift the ban on this versatile, eco-friendly crop, which we may one day put in our both our mouths and our gas tanks. Hemp advocates say that's more than a pipe dream, so let's see what they're so high about.A Smokin' Ride: A car that's made of hemp and runs on hemp seems like the idea of someone who has watched one too many Cheech and Chong movies — and not America's most famous auto manufacturer, Henry Ford. Yet the man behind the Model T was a big believer in bio-diesel fuels. Ford's hemp mobile, devised in the late 1920s, consisted of a steel chassis with fiber and plastics made from hemp resin. Two years ago, Kellie and Grayson Sigler of Virginia honored Ford's vision of a petroleum-free car when they crossed North America in their HempCar — a modified Mercedes station wagon that trekked 13,000 miles burning this whacky weed. The good news: The HempCar got 27 miles a gallon. The bad news: Hemp fuel presently costs about $50 a gallon. Nevertheless, the Siglers say hemp fuel burns clean, and nobody compared the exhaust fumes to a big fat joint. Even if you don't have hemp in your gas tank, you might have it on your chassis. The University of Toronto is experimenting with superheated hemp to make biodegradable car bumpers that are lightweight and tough, helping to make a bad trip better. Junkie Food: Hemp baker Lynn Gordon says the only thing that's addictive about her Healthy Hemp Sprouted Bread is "the great taste." Two years ago, the Drug Enforcement Administration tried to crack down on the growing market for hemp-based food, which now includes a hemp breakfast cereal, hemp waffle mix and — if you still have the munchies — "hempzel" pretzels. Now, you can expect an explosion of more hemp products, thanks to a federal appeals court in San Francisco. Judges recognized that hempseed in products like Gordon's bread have no more danger than poppy seeds, which contain trace amounts of opium but pose no harm to bagel lovers. Hemp tastes similar to pine nuts. The nutritional value is said to be the real selling point. Advocates tout the plant's seeds and oil as a miracle nutrient, high in vitamins B and E, rich in essential fatty acids and packed with protein. Now, we can talk about the health benefits of such new products as Heavenly Hemp Tortilla Chips, HempNut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, and Cheddar HempNut Cheese Alternative. High Fashion: As a force in fashion, hemp long ago beat the granola off its image. Giorgio Armani has featured hemp in his Emporio Armani collections. Other designers have followed suit. There's even an all-natural, eco-friendly hemp thong. "You'd be surprised how well they sell," says George Bates of Shirt Magic in Lewiston, Calif. "This is for the woman who has one eye on the environment and the other eye on impressing her boyfriend." The Body Shop and Earthly Body are among the cosmetic sellers that hail hemp's high concentration of fatty acids for dry lips, skin and hair. Julia Roberts told British reporters last year that she favors Alterna's Hemp Seed Straightening Balm. Seedy Joints: If you're really trying to make a statement, check into the HempWorld hotel in Amsterdam, where there's hemp in the doormat, the bedsheets, the bathroom shower curtain, the restaurant's house wine and the coffee. Another seedy joint: California's Compassion Flower Inn, which calls itself the world's first "bed, bud and breakfast." Guests are greeted at the entrance with a cannabis-leaf mosaic and can learn about the wondrous weed in the hotel's hemp library. The Compassionate Flower celebrates all forms of cannabis. Guests can even light up a joint, if they have a note from their doctor. "We're a safe haven for the use of medicinal marijuana," says innkeeper Andrea Tischler, who has a prescription for medicinal marijuana. "Hemp and marijuana get confused so much, but mostly by people who don't smoke marijuana," Tischler says. "I wonder what it is that's distorting their senses and if we can ban that." Note: America’s Most Controversial Crop May One Day Fill Supermarkets and Fuel Automobiles.Buck Wolf: buck.n.wolf abcnews.comSource: (U.S. Web)Author: Buck WolfPublished: April 21, 2004Copyright: 2004 ABC News Internet VenturesWebsite: Car Hemp Links Flower Inn Pictures Hemp Archives

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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 21, 2004 at 19:30:34 PT

We have a small amount of good land. After reading this article it just reminds me of how growing hemp could help us and others. If we could grow hemp and just sell it for horse bedding at specialty shows where they buy bedding rather then bring their own along because of space limitations we could make a little money rather then leaving the land in basically meadow grass that we must mow frequently. I hope before too long that this modest dream will be able to become a reality for us and anyone else who has an idea of how to use hemp.
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on April 21, 2004 at 19:13:46 PT

the real savings should be part of the debate
how does one calculate the savings of growing Hemp for paper.
 does the saving of the forest equate to the cost of the price of the paper. or should you use a higher amount for the use of the wood as furniture or building materials. in any case the state or country that can grow Hemp once or twice a year and use that instead of cutting forests saves big time in money and for the environment
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Comment #3 posted by ekim on April 21, 2004 at 15:26:01 PT

Kerry should be talking about this we need JOBS
hey Virg show this to the farmers in Carolina that are reading the writing on the wall on tobacco. Norml has a list of all the States that have passed Hemp bills. I hope Kerry will do some research on this issue as China is making billions on there Hemp. As to the paper issue I will bet that if some checking was done on the thousands of Tons of cardboard coming into this country as packaging we would find Hemp in it.
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Comment #2 posted by Virgil on April 21, 2004 at 09:08:30 PT

Almost the perfect article
David Allen Coe sang a song called "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" where he has to add mom, trucks, trains, and prisons to make the perfect country song. It is my belief that mentioning Jack Herer draws a hemp article closer to perfection. There is one amazing product that I hope we hear some testimony on this summer. It is the insect repellant that uses hemp that is claimed to be better than that dangerous chemical, DEET, now used in insect repellants- Maybe they should mention prisons.It will be interesting to see what China does with paper as they have an active program of hemp research. The common quote says hemp grows 4 times more fiber per acre than trees. The other big deal is that it does not use sulfuric acid in the production and discharge. A person would think that hemp paper would dominate the market and that it could come like turning a switch when hemp eventually falls below wood pulp paper in price.The announcement a few days ago that Shell Oil overstated its reserves brings the issue of peak oil to mind. At some point the world will see a decline in production that only shrinks as the last pools of oil are depleted. Even if peak oil rises some in the next few years to match a demand for energy that has no forseeable peak as world population grows, the price will increase and the decline cannot be that far away.As many people are out of work, I am for undertaking a work program to build windmills with funds to come from a bloated military budget designed for world domination. Windmills made of hemp of course.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 21, 2004 at 08:42:20 PT

What a Fantastic Article
Perfect for Earth Day too!
Save The Planet For Another Day
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