This is an interesting take on a tabacco issue that turns to the core issues with HEMP.  Ron Paul is an avid hemp supporter and a very well spoken individual.

Original posted at

Moving towards tobacco prohibition

by Ron Paul

Last week, another bill was passed and signed into law that takes more of our freedoms and violates the Constitution of the United States.  It was, of course, done for the sake of the children, and in the name of the health of the citizenry.  It's always the case that when your liberty is seized, it is seized for your own good.  Such is the condescension of Washington.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will give sweeping new powers over tobacco to the FDA.  It will require everyone engaged in manufacturing, preparing, compounding, or processing tobacco to register with the FDA and be subjected to FDA inspections, which is yet another violation of the Fourth Amendment.  It violates the First Amendment by allowing the FDA to restrict tobacco advertising in multiple ways, as well as an outright ban on advertising any cigarettes as light, mild or low-tar.  The FDA will have the power of pre-market reviews of all new tobacco products, and will impose new user fees, meaning taxes, on manufacturers and importers of tobacco products.  It will even regulate the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.

My objections to the bill are not an endorsement of tobacco.  As a physician I understand the adverse health effects of this bad habit.  And that is exactly how smoking should be treated - as a bad habit and a personal choice.  The way to combat poor choices is through education and information.  Other than ensuring that tobacco companies do not engage in force or fraud to market their products, the federal government needs to stay out of the health habits of free people.  Regulations for children should be at the state level.  Unfortunately, government is using its already overly intrusive financial and regulatory roles in healthcare to establish a justifiable interest in intervening in your personal lifestyle choices as well.  We all need to anticipate the level of health freedom that will remain once government manages all health care in this country.

Actions in Congress such as this tobacco bill are especially disconcerting after we thought we were beginning to see some progress in drawing down the wrong-headed and failed war on drugs.  A majority of Americans now think marijuana should be legal, taxed and regulated, according to a recent Zogby poll and over 70 percent are in favor of allowing medicinal use of marijuana.  Bills like this take us down exactly the wrong path.  Instead of gaining more freedom with marijuana, we are moving closer to prohibiting tobacco.  Our prisons are already bursting with non-violent drug offenders.  How long will it be before a black market in tobacco fills the prisons with non-violent cigarette smokers?

Hemp and tobacco were staple crops for our founding fathers when our country was new.  It is baffling to see how far removed from real freedom this country has become since then.  Hemp, even for industrial uses, of which there are many, is illegal to grow at all.  Now tobacco will have more layers of bureaucracy and interference piled on top of it.  In this economy it is extremely upsetting to see this additional squeeze put on an entire industry.   One has to wonder how many smaller farmers will be forced out of business because of this bill.


And just when you think people have forgotten 

CNBC article - nicely done

Us, I guess, welcome to our new project,  A place to come and share, learn and get connected to others interested in furthering industrial hemp use in the United States and world over.

News-Hemp House

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originally posted at

Hemp House by Catherine Deshayes

A unique energy efficient house made from hemp, designed by Archial Architects, has been unveiled at the BRE Innovation Park which showcases the future of low carbon and sustainable buildings...

The three bedroom Renewable House, which costs £75,000 to build not including ground works or utilities, uses renewable materials to deliver a well designed, yet low cost, affordable home. 

The external walls are constructed from a revolutionary sustainable material called Hemcrete, provided by manufacturer Lime Technology, made from hemp plants grown and harvested in the UK and lime based binder.

Hemp is one of the fastest growing biomasses and is often used in paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, health food and fuel.

It is estimated The Renewable House's carbon footprint will be around 20 tonnes lower than a traditional brick and block house. The hemp absorbs around five tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during its rapid growth period, which then becomes locked into the fabric of the building, making the thermal Hemp-Line walling solution 'carbon negative'.

The Renewable House meets level 4 of the Government's Code for Sustainable Homes - a national standard that measures the sustainability of homes against a set of design categories such as energy consumption and building materials. The Government's target was for all homes from 2016 to be built against Code Level 3 standards.

The Renewable House can be used in several configurations; detached, semi-detached and terraced, with little alteration to the basic design. Archial's modular system, which uses a timber frame and prefabricated panels that are assembled on site, reduce the time needed for onsite construction.

Archial Architects were commissioned by The Linford Group to design the energy efficient home as part of The Renewable House project that not only exceeds the Government's Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH), but also offers an ideal solution to today's affordable housing requirement.

The Renewable House is being delivered by the National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) with funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The house is being Project Managed by contractor The Linford Group who are managing the design development and construction, working with design partners Archial Architects.

Matthew Richardson, Associate at the Archial Group's Bournemouth division said, "We were delighted to have the opportunity to use our experience in sustainable design to meet the challenge set by The Linford Group. The result has delivered a highly green housing concept that exceeds the Government's home efficiency target and is both affordable and comfortable. I hope this design will become the benchmark for sustainable and affordable homes of the future."

The house's performance will be monitored over a three year period in order to establish evidence of the performance characteristics and the sustainability profile of the renewable building materials. It is anticipated the development will demonstrate that low costs and renewable building methods are compatible and together they provide a viable method of delivering sustainable, affordable homes.

The Renewable House is a unique housing project built on the BRE Innovation Park in Watford, which also exhibits other near zero-carbon demonstration properties and has attracted over 30,000 visitors so far including HRH Prince of Wales.

 Source: The Archial Group

Another fun story... Up where it is legal to grow they are making great strides in the technology surrounding industrial hemp

Original story posted here

Hemp cars? The marijuana mobile might not be far off

Calgary firm working on prototype
By David Finlayson, Edmonton Journal

This incredible read by Dara Colwell was postedat alternet here. I tried and tried to just grab a quote or two but failed miserably. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this so much I borrowed it.

Hemp Is Not Pot: It's the Economic Stimulus and Green Jobs Solution We Need 

While Uncle Sam's scramble for new revenue sources has recently kicked up the marijuana debate -- to legalize and tax, or not? -- hemp's feasibility as a stimulus plan has received less airtime.

But with a North American market that exceeds $300 million in annual retail sales and continued rising demand, industrial hemp could generate thousands of sustainable new jobs, helping America to get back on track.

"We're in the midst of a dark economic transition, but I believe hemp is an important facet and has tremendous economic potential," says Patrick Goggin, a board member on the California Council for Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp-farming advocacy group. "Economically and environmentally, industrial hemp is an important part of the sustainability pie."

With 25,000 known applications from paper, clothing and food products -- which, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal this January, is the fastest growing new food category in North America -- to construction and automotive materials, hemp could be just the crop to jump-start America's green economy.

But growing hemp remains illegal in the U.S. The Drug Enforcement Administration has lumped the low-THC plant together with its psychoactive cousin, marijuana, making America the planet's only industrialized nation to ban hemp production. We can import it from Canada, which legalized it in 1997. But we can't grow it.

"It's a missed opportunity," says Goggin, who campaigned for California farmers to grow industrial hemp two years ago, although the bill was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, citing the measure conflicted with federal law.

Considering California's position as an agricultural giant -- agriculture nets $36.6 billion dollars a year, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture -- Goggin's assessment is an understatement. Especially if extended nationwide.

"Jobs require capital investment, which isn't easy to come by at the moment, and we need hemp-processing facilities, because the infrastructure here went to seed. But this is a profitable crop, and the California farming community supports it."

Just how profitable? According to Chris Conrad, a respected authority on cannabis and industrial hemp and who authored Hemp for Health and Hemp, Lifeline to the Future, the industry would be regionally sustainable, reviving the local economy wherever it was grown.

"Hemp will create jobs in some of the hardest-hit sectors of the country -- rural agriculture, equipment manufacturing, transportable processing equipment and crews -- and the products could serve and develop the same community where the hemp is farmed: building ecological new homes, producing value-added and finished products, marketing and so forth," he writes in an e-mail from Amsterdam, where he is doing research. "Add to that all the secondary jobs -- restaurants, health care, food products, community-support networks, schools, etc., that will serve the workers. The Midwestern U.S. and the more remote parts of California and other states would see a surge of income, growth, jobs and consumer goods."

In America, industrial hemp has long been associated with marijuana, although the plants are different breeds of Cannabis sativa, just as poodles and Irish setters are different breeds of dog.

While hemp contains minute levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana (compare 0.3 percent or less in Canadian industrial hemp versus 3-20 percent for medical marijuana), to get high you'd have to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole.

Still, the historical hysteria caused by federal anti-marijuana campaigns of the 1930s, which warned that marijuana caused insanity, lust, addiction, violence and crime, have had a long-term impact on its distant relative.

Doomed by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which in effect criminalized cannabis and levied high taxes on medical marijuana and industrial hemp, hemp cultivation wasn't technically disallowed.

However, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the DEA's predecessor, said its agents couldn't differentiate between industrial hemp and marijuana, a stance the DEA maintains today, so fewer farmers were willing to grow it. The exception came during World War II, when the armed forces experienced a severe fiber shortage and the government launched an aggressive campaign to grow hemp.

But after the war, hemp production faded away, and the last legal crop was harvested in 1957. Marijuana's propaganda-fuelled history, one filled with lurid stories, one-sided information, slander and corporate profiteerism, is too lengthy to address here, but hemp has never managed to remain unscathed.

Considering today's economic crisis and the combined threats of peak oil and global warming, there is increasing pressure to move toward sustainable resources before everything goes up in smoke. If there was any time to revisit hemp, it's now.

"Industrial hemp is the best gift a farmer could have. It's the ideal alternative crop," says Gale Glenn, on the board of the North American Industrial Hemp Council. Glenn, now retired, owned and managed a 300-acre Kentucky farm producing burley tobacco, and she immediately launches into hemp's benefits: It's environmentally friendly, requiring no pesticides or herbicides, it's the perfect rotation crop because it detoxifies and regenerates the soil, and it's low labor.

"You just plant the seed, close the farm gate and four months later, cut it and bale it," she says.

And there's more. As a food, hemp is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids; the plant's cellulose level, roughly three times that of wood, creates paper that yields four times as much pulp as trees; hemp is an ideal raw material for plant-based plastics, used to make everything from diapers to dashboards.

In fact, Germany's DaimlerChrysler Corp. has equipped its Mercedes-Benz C-class vehicles with natural-fiber-reinforced materials, including hemp, for years. Even Henry Ford himself manufactured a car from hemp-based plastic in 1941, archival footage of which can be found on YouTube, and the car ran on clean-burning hemp-based ethanol fuel.

This leads to the most compelling argument for hemp: fuel. Hemp seeds are ideal for making ethanol, the cleanest-burning liquid bio-alternative to gasoline, and when grown as an energy crop, hemp actually offsets carbon emissions because it absorbs more carbon dioxide than any other plant.

As the world rapidly depletes its reserves of petroleum, America needs to create a renewable, homegrown energy source to become energy independent. Luckily, unlike petrol, hemp is renewable, unless we run out of soil.

"As a farmer, it's frustrating not being able to grow this incredible crop," says Glenn. But if Glenn did try to grow it, the American government would consider her a felon guilty of trafficking, and she would face a fine of up to $4 million and a prison sentence of 5 to 40 years. Because no matter how low its THC content, hemp is still considered a Schedule I substance, grouped alongside heroin.

It's exactly this war-on-drugs logic that has kept serious discussion of hemp off the table.

"I've met with senators over the last 13 years, and I've been to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) four times, and I'm always amazed by what they tell us -- that industrial hemp is by far one of the most superior fibers known to man, but since it's a green plant with a five-point leaf, you'll never grow it in America," says Bud Sholts chairman of the the North American Industrial Hemp Council and former economist for Wisconsin's State Department of Agriculture.

Sholts' research into sustainable agriculture convinced him of industrial hemp's value, and he has been lobbying for it ever since. "We're overlooking something huge."

Luckily, farmers are practical folk whose pragmatism ensures their survival, and they have championed industrial hemp, which they see as a potential economic boon, by pushing for it through their state legislatures, where it has become a bipartisan issue.

To date, 28 states have introduced hemp legislation, including Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Maryland, North Dakota, New Mexico, Virgina, Vermont and West Virginia. Fifteen have passed it, and seven have legalized hemp production, according to Vote Hemp.

Yet in cases like North Dakota, the DEA still insists that federal law trumps the state's and farmers need a DEA-granted license before growing. This is exactly what happened to David Monson and Wayne Hauge, two North Dakota farmers given state permission to grow but who have been waiting a while for their federal licenses -- in Monson's case, since 1997.

"Here we are in 2009, and it seems like we're still taking baby steps. We're a little closer, but I'm not making any predictions," says Monson, who also happens to be a Republican state representative.

Monson lives only 20 miles from the Canadian border, where fields of profitable industrial hemp have been growing since 1997, and he believes it's a simple case of "if they can grow it, why can't we?"

"The profit potential is there. Practically and economically, it makes sense to raise it," says Monson. "I truly believe as a farmer that hemp is good for farmers, it's good for the environment and it's good for state of North Dakota. And for that matter the whole nation."

As the law currently stands, to legalize hemp production, all the DEA has to do is remove hemp from its Schedule I drug list, a process that does not require a congressional vote.

Now that the Obama administration has announced an end to medical marijuana raids, hemp advocates are hopeful the move could open the door for hemp, because the president voted for a hemp bill while he was in the Illinois legislature.

The DEA follows the government's lead, and the government, which does not want to be seen as being soft on drugs, has been notoriously skittish tackling drug policy reform. If Obama told the DEA to move forward aggressively and issue all pending research, commercial and agronomic licenses, farmers like Monson could grow hemp tomorrow.

"Politically, I liken the situation to pulling bricks out of a dam," says Vote Hemp's Goggin. "There are now so many leaks, the dam's getting ready to burst. We're working hard for a shift in policy, but at the moment, Washington doesn't consider this a top issue."

While industrial-hemp advocates are becoming hopeful that policy change is in the winds, they caution that the industry still requires a massive, coordinated effort to develop.

"I'm hesitant overselling hemp and touting it like the magic beans that will save the economy or the planet," says Tom Murphy, national outreach coordinator for Vote Hemp. "Industrial hemp is an answer but not the answer. It has a great deal of potential -- but it doesn't have any potential if you can't grow it."

Conrad, who believes in American ingenuity to find creative solutions using hemp, says, "Only the scourge of prohibitionism can see to it that our economy and environment rot into sewage. It is up to the good, hard-working and honest people to end cannabis prohibition and start the process of rebuilding the planet and our global and regional economies."

The Australian

CANNABIS could soon be going up in buildings rather than going up in smoke.

The hemp plant is one of six identified by Department of Primary Industries (DPI) scientists in Queensland as a source of natural resin to reduce the building industry's reliance on resins produced from fossil fuels.

DPI project officer Dr Andries Potgieter said generating resins from renewable sources such as plant oils could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and result in a smaller carbon footprint.

Currently most resins and adhesives used in aerospace structures and in structural building materials are ultimately derived from crude oil.

Cannabis sativa, also known as marihuana or hemp, was very widely used in the past.

James Cook's Endeavour and ships of its era had all their sails and ropes made of hemp.

Industrial varieties, which have a negligible content of the active ingredient tetra hydra cannabinol (THC), are grown under licence in Queensland.

"The first step in the project was identifying which of the plant oil species are best suited to the Australian environment,'' Dr Potgieter said.

"Initially, we tested 13 plants for their suitability to Australian agronomic conditions and unsaturated oil content.

"We were able to narrow the selection down to eight species straight away due to the classification of some as weeds and their limited exposure to the Australian broad-acre cropping environment.

"We now have a final list of six plant species that show high potential for the extraction of oil for resin, and are currently not part of an existing oil production and refinery system.''

Research will continue into the suitability of hemp; Calendula officinalis (pot marigold), Camelina sativa (false flax); Pongamia pinnata (pongam tree); Lesquerella fendleri (desert mustard); and Crambe abyssinica (abyssinan mustard).

The joint project between DPI, the University of Southern Queensland and Loc Composites could to lead to the production of fibre composites which can be used in sustainable high technology building products used in, for example, the production of railway sleepers and small bridges, Dr Potgieter said.

The main challenge is to make it financially viable for farmers to grow crops for this purpose.