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The gentlemen from Kentucky rise to speak for hemp

By Paul Danish April 5, 2018

When U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) announced last week that he was going to introduce a bill to legalize industrial hemp, there was a sudden collective intake of breath among the nation’s journos, the likes of which hadn’t been heard since the last 4/20 celebration at CU Boulder.

Rand Paul, Kentucky’s other GOP Senator, will be joining McConnell as an original co-sponsor of the bill.

McConnell said his bill would “finally legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances.”

He added that he was “optimistic that industrial hemp can become sometime in the future what tobacco was in Kentucky’s past.”

The journos’ surprise stemmed from the fact that the only two demographics in the country that still oppose the legalization of marijuana are Republicans and geezers.

But hemp and U.S. Senators from Kentucky go back a long way. All the way back to Henry Clay.

Clay grew hemp on his estate, Ashland, and was a leader in introducing the crop to the state, importing seeds from Asia.

In 1810, he favored legislation requiring the U.S. Navy to use domestically grown hemp for its rigging. And in 1828, he favored a tariff bill, known as the Tariff of Abominations in the Southern states, that imposed a $60-a-ton duty on imported hemp ($1,100 or $2,400 in today’s dollars, depending on how inflation is calculated).

During the 19th and first part of the 20th century, Kentucky was the country’s major hemp-producing state.

In the 19th century, hemp was mostly grown for fiber. It was used for ship’s sails — the word canvas derives from cannabis –— and lines (or ropes, as land lubbers would say). It was also used for clothing; a lot of the home-made clothing called homespun was made from hemp (as opposed to flax or cotton).

But as a fabric, hemp took a major hit from the invention of the cotton gin, which made the production of cotton fiber more economical.

The extraction of fiber from hemp stalks required them to be dried in the sun and then beaten to break the cellulose inner cores, or hurds, and loosen the fibers from them. Henry Clay had more than 50 slaves to do the job.

(Hemp did benefit from “King Cotton” in one surprising way; hemp cordage was used to bind cotton bales.)

The hemp equivalent of the cotton gin, dubbed the decorticator, wasn’t developed until the 20th century.

Just about the time hemp seemed poised to take off as a major 20th century crop — a 1937 issue of Popular Mechanics described a number of major uses and called it a “New Billion Dollar Crop” — the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed, and hemp became collateral damage from reefer madness. The war on drugs ensued and Cretans finally succeeded in declaring it a controlled substance and outlawing its production outright in 1970.

But it’s hard to keep a good plant down. In 2014, McConnell, with an eye toward resurrecting Kentucky’s hemp industry evidently, attached a rider to the Farm Bill that shielded state industrial hemp research programs from federal meddling.

It was the same year Colorado’s re-legalization of marijuana – and hemp – kicked in. Today 80 percent of U.S. hemp production, while tiny, occurs in Kentucky and Colorado.

Hemp producers usually make a point of saying that you absolutely, positively can’t get high from the hemp they grow. If so, it’s because they’re using strains that have been deliberately bred to have absolutely, positively no THC in them. Other than that, there is absolutely, positively no biological difference between marijuana and hemp.

The difference lies in how they are grown. Hemp plants are grown close together like grass. That way they’ll grow up tall and stringy. Marijuana is planted with the plants further apart, so they can bush out and produce more flowers (or buds as we call ’em). But the individual hemp plants will still produce flowers at the top.

Henry Clay’s hemp would probably get you high, but not very high, just like any pre-1970 hemp crop before the THC was bred out.

Speaking of Henry Clay, hemp is again being grown at Ashland, his estate.

Last October, the Kentucky Hempsters, an advocacy group, held their second annual “hemp-infused” fundraising dinner there, which featured a five-course meal with each dish incorporating hemp foods (sans THC, alas) and show-casing the hemp plant’s edible side.

Chef Jeremy Ashby’s Dinner Menu

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Research: The Industrial Revolution Left Psychological Scars That Can Still Be Seen Today

March 26, 2018

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The Industrial Revolution, which brought together large-scale coal-based industries like mining, steel, pottery, and textiles, helped create the foundation of modern society and wealth. At the same time, the early industrial economies that formed in this era were also associated with brutal working and living conditions. Our research, recently accepted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, shows that areas where coal was king may still be feeling the effects.

In countries like the UK and the U.S. that industrialized early, coal now plays only a minor role in the economy. For example, in the U.S. today, the entire coal industry employs about 53,000 people, with only about 11,000 of those working in extraction. Coal production and consumption have also declined markedly. Yet prior research has found that in the areas of the U.S. and UK where coal still is a major industry, it affects local populations in a profound way. For example, people who live in areas with active coal mining today often experience greater risk of mental and physical health issues, such as depression, anxiety, COPD, and asthma, than people in other regions. Research also shows that besides the occupational health risks that miners face, these regions pose increased population-wide health risks due to pollution and economic hardship.

Today, millions of people live in such regions that once brought together large-scale coal-based industries, for example in the old industrial north of the UK and the so-called Rust Belt in the U.S. Given that these historical industries had dominated the economic and social life of these regions for such a long time, we wanted to explore whether they continue to influence the people currently living there. Our research suggests that the massive industrialization of the 19th and 20th centuries had long-term psychosocial effects that continue to shape the well-being, health, and behaviors of millions of people in these regions today.

Our study, an interdisciplinary collaboration between psychologists, historians, and economic geographers, examined whether people in former industrial regions in the U.K. and the U.S. demonstrated more markers of “psychological adversity” (i.e., higher neuroticism, lower conscientiousness, lower aspects of extraversion, lower life satisfaction, and lower life expectancy) than people in other regions. To reach back to the Industrial Revolution, we had to examine different sources of unique historical data on regional industry structure — one source, for example, was baptism records from 1813-1820 that stated the occupation of the father. We were able to determine the share of employment in large-scale coal-based industries, such as coal mining, and in steam-powered manufacturing industries that used coal as fuel, such as pottery, textile production, and metal manufacturing. This was our measure for the historical concentration of large-scale, coal-powered industries in a region.

We also used existing online surveys to collect personality trait data from 381,916 current residents of England and Wales and 3,457,270 residents living in the U.S., looking at which regions had more people reporting so-called unhappy personality traits: higher neuroticism (characterized by greater emotional instability, worrying, anger), lower conscientiousness (less self-control and self-management), and lower extraversion (less sociable, outgoing, and fun-oriented). These have been tied to lesser psychological well-being and poorer health behaviors. We also studied life satisfaction and life expectancy across regions.

Our research shows that a region’s historical industries leave a lasting imprint on the local psychology, which remains even when those industries are no longer dominant or have almost completely disappeared. We found that in regions like Blaenau Gwent in the UK and the Rust Belt in the U.S., people reported more unhappy personality traits, lower life satisfaction, and lower life expectancy than otherwise similar regions where these industries did not dominate (think Sussex and Dorset in the non-industrial South of England and regions in the American West). For example, in the UK, neuroticism was 33% higher, conscientiousness 26% lower, and life satisfaction 29% lower in these areas compared with the rest of the country. This effect was robust even when controlling for other historical factors that might have affected the well-being of regions, such as historical energy supply, education, wealth, geology, population density, and climate.

To come to more causal conclusions, we needed to determine that a region’s industrial history is what caused residents to have these personality traits today, rather than regions with a certain personality structure attracting large-scale industries during the Industrial Revolution. We employed an instrumental variable analysis, using the natural location of coalfields in the year 1700. The early industrial centers often emerged near coalfields because coal was expensive to transport and plants were mostly powered by steam engines that required large amounts of cheap coal. Even among these industrial centers — which are likely to have emerged owing to their proximity to coal, and not to any pre-existing personality trends — we observed lower well-being and more adverse personality traits, consistent with idea that a region’s industrial history affects its personality structure.

Since the historical industries appear to exert long-term psychological effects, our next task was understanding the mechanisms driving this. We’ve long known that work and living conditions were bad in old industrial centers — the daily work in the plants and mines was often highly repetitive, stressful, and exhausting, not to mention dangerous, and child labor was very common. We also know from psychological and sociological studies that specific work characteristics, such as a lack of autonomy and complexity at work, can shape the personality of workers in a negative way, for instance by lowering intellectual flexibility and personal initiative. Adam Smith had even argued in 1776 that the division of labor, resulting in highly-specialized and repetitive work tasks, comes with detrimental psychosocial effects for the workers.

Other studies have shown how work characteristics of parents, such as self-direction and conformity at work, get “transmitted” to their children via parenting practices and a socialization of values and norms that leads them to mirror these characteristics. For example, highly repetitive, exhausting, and low-autonomy work can affect the values of workers, in that they put less value on intellectual virtues and critical thinking, and these values then often get transmitted to the children of these workers as well. In addition to these socialization mechanisms, we also know that personality has a genetic basis, which may help certain traits persist across generations.

Finally, we also know that personality is shaped by local institutions such as schools, local attitudes, and social standards. For example we know that school students’ attitudes about unhealthy behaviors and alcohol are influenced by their friends’ and neighbors’ attitudes about these issues. So it’s possible that even people who moved to old industrial regions, versus those whose families had always been there, would be affected by prevailing personality traits and values.

We speculated that migration patterns would contribute to industrialization affecting future personality traits. There are a couple reasons to think this: First, during the Industrial Revolution there might have been a certain “genetic founder effect” at play — that is, the massive influx of a specific personality type into the emerging and quickly growing industrial centers. For the U.K., there are historical analyses arguing that the emerging industrial centers were mainly populated by people from neighboring rural areas who had suffered economic and psychological hardship, such as major famines in Ireland. Such a massive influx might have established an initial level of psychological adversity in these industrial regions during the Industrial Revolution, which would affect and shape the personality structure of subsequent generations in these regions.

Second, people with happier personalities might move away from these regions, which could boost the concentration of unhappy personality traits there today. We found support for this in our data. When we compared people who grew up and stayed in old coal regions with people who grew up there but later left, we found that those who left scored lower in neuroticism and higher in conscientiousness and in aspects of extraversion.

In sum, the effect of the Industrial Revolution seems to be more toxic and far-reaching than previously thought. While massive industrialization brought unprecedented technological and economic progress, it also left a psychological legacy that continues to shape the personality traits and well-being of people currently in these regions. Regional personality, which can provide a sense of local identity and pride, can still reflect the historical hardships and difficult work and living conditions of past generations. Without a strong orchestrated effort to improve economic circumstances and people’s well-being and health in these regions, this legacy is likely to persist.

This research should remind us that the dominance of a certain industry or type of work can have unexpected, long-term effects on the personality structure of regions — and these can be felt long after they change.

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Mitch McConnell wants hemp removed from controlled substance list

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP)The U.S. Senate’s top leader wants to bring hemp production back into the mainstream by removing it from the list of controlled substances.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he’ll introduce legislation to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.

The Republican made the announcement in his home state of Kentucky, which has been at the forefront of hemp’s comeback.

Growing hemp without a federal permit has long been banned due to its classification as a controlled substance related to marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but hemp has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.

Hemp got a limited reprieve with the 2014 federal Farm Bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp projects for research and development. So far, more than 30 states have authorized hemp research.

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Indiana House votes to allow Hoosier farmers to grow cannabis plants with low THC

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The Indiana House voted unanimously Wednesday for a bill that would allow Hoosier farmers to grow industrial hemp — marijuana’s low-THC cousin.

Under Rep. Jim Lucas’ House Bill 1137, acres of the green leafy plants could be intermingled with rows of corn across family farms in Indiana. Currently only researchers at institutions are allowed to grow the plant, and are unable to do so for commercial purposes. Only Purdue University researchers are growing the product in the state.

The provision could see some push back in the Senate, or from individuals like Attorney General Curtis Hill, who has been outspoken against marijuana legalization.

The Indiana House and Senate appear to be on the same page when it comes to legalizing cannabidiol, a product derived from hemp. However, permitting the growth and manufacturing of hemp would take its legalization a step further.

Many senators were already reluctant to vote for a bill last year that legalized CBD oil for epileptic patients. That measure passed by a 36-13, compared to the unanimous vote in the House.

► More: Holcomb: Indiana stores can continue to sell CBD oil while lawmakers work on fix to law

► More: Indiana takes small step toward legalizing medical marijuana as House votes to study issue

Proponents say House BIll 1137 is a “jobs bill” and could lead to economic growth, while opponents worry about the legality of growing a plant with some similar properties to marijuana.

“Everything I’ve seen says industrial hemp is probably a harmless crop,” Senate leader David Long said. “I have no problem with that, I’m just not sure the federal government issue isn’t still holding us back.”

The federal 2014 farm bill allows states to permit the growth of industrial hemp for research purposes. Kentucky already has a broad industrial hemp pilot program, similar to the pilot program Indiana would begin with this piece of legislation.

Under Kentucky law, farmers can apply for a permit to grow and manufacturer industrial hemp and sell it for various products, such as CBD oil, hemp seed oil and fiber for car manufacturing.

The farm bill permits “marketing research” but also says hemp shouldn’t be grown “for the purpose of general commercial activity.”

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture says its program follows federal law, but others in the industry aren’t so sure.

“There’s been no research that I’ve seen directly,” said Janna Beckerman, a Purdue professor who studies hemp. “It’s sort of a big wink: ‘Oh yea we’re doing research.'”

Indiana would face the same legal question if this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law.

The passage of the law could also be another step towards marijuana legalization, in the eyes of some social conservatives. Already the Indiana House unanimously passed a resolution to study medical marijuana, a unprecedented move for the GOP-led chamber.

The average Hoosier would be unable to differentiate between industrial hemp or marijuana, Beckerman said. Both are leafy and green and both can have a potent smell.

Industrial hemp, however, can’t get users high.

She also said someone could easily hide a marijuana plant in a field of hemp.

Despite legal concerns, Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture has pegged its program as a success. In 2017, Kentucky handlers grew 3,200 acres of hemp in 74 counties. 

“Because of the research conducted by our growers, processors, and universities, I am more optimistic than ever that we can put industrial hemp on a path to widespread commercialization once Congress removes it from the federal list of controlled substances,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in a press release.

Hemp experts say the product could have the same potential in Indiana, once farmers figure out how to properly grow the product.

Indiana is already seen as an agriculture leader and is one of the top 10 agriculture producing states.

“In the long term I think it’s something that will allow our agriculture base to diversify and that’s always a good thing,” Beckerman said. “I think there’s a possibility of different industries developing from this.”

For example FlexForm Technologies, an Elkhart company, manufacturers mats and panel products. Currently the company has to import hemp. That could change if Indiana farmers start growing the product.

Another company, Healthy Hoosier Oil, could use the cold press seed processing they already use to make sunflower seed oil, on hemp seeds to create a food-grade oil.

CBD oil manufacturers could also start using in-state hemp to make their products.

Another issue lawmakers and lobbyist acknowledge they’ll have to solve is educating the public enough to understand the difference between the two plants.

“Industrial hemp has been misaligned with marijuana for the past 70 years or so,” said Justin Swanson, representing Indiana Hemp Industries Association. “It’s time for Indiana’s actions and policies to reflect the fact that industrial hemp is not marijuana and allow the reemerging market to thrive in Indiana once again.”  CONTINUE READING…

Call IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange at (317) 432-9270. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange.

Kentucky Congressman Champions Deregulation of Industrial Hemp

1/7/2018 |

Chris Clayton

A freshman Kentucky congressmen, and member of the House Agriculture Committee, attended the American Farm Bureau Federation convention on Sunday to promote his new legislation to deregulate industrial hemp nationally.

Rep. James Comer, a Republican representing Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District, was the state’s agricultural commissioner from 2012 to 2016 before being elected to Congress. During his time as ag commissioner, the state passed a bill to set up a regulatory framework to make industrial hemp a reality.

“That was six years ago. Today, Kentucky is the leading industrial-hemp producing state in the nation and 20 other states have passed similar legislation.”

Comer’s bill would reclassify industrial hemp from a controlled substance to an agricultural crop. The bill would make it clear it is not a drug and Comer said he does not support legalization of marijuana.

“I’m trying to differentiate between marijuana and hemp,” he said.

Hemp generally has less than .3% of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical compound that creates the high in marijuana, which generally has 15% or more THC. That difference is “It is a crop that has a lot of potential, not just for farmers, but for manufacturing,” Comer said.

Hemp can still produce Cannabidiol (CBD) oil that Comer said can be a solution in managing pain, and possibly help address the country’s opioid crisis. CBD oil can treat pain in a non-addictive manner, he said.

“I think hemp has a very bright future, but we have to get the federal government off the backs of producers and give the private sector confidence that this is an agricultural crop and something worth investing in, not something they have to worry about some overzealous DEA agent or Department of Justice coming in and seizing their assets because they do not know the difference between hemp and marijuana.”

Beyond CBD oil, Comer said there is a Louisville company making fiber, as well as a fiber foam that is going into at least some automobile production. Comer said other auto manufacturers want to research further uses for auto interiors as well. There are also companies using hemp to produce animal feed and bedding, he said.

“We’re trying to utilize every part of the plant and I feel Kentucky has proven there is huge demand for hemp products,” Comer said.

Comer said his bill has House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., as a co-sponsor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also is going to introduce a companion bill in the Senate. McConnell had language in the last farm bill to help commercialize the crop in the state.

Comer said he will likely look to move his legislation through the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as Judiciary, but he said it is possible the bill might be included in the upcoming farm bill. Comer added, however, that at least some members of the House Agriculture Committee are leery of dealing with a hemp-legalization bill.

“The Ag Committee really is not as crazy about this as some of the other committees,” Comer said. “They hear hemp and they get scared.”

Comer’s bill comes, however, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeks to potentially reinstate more prosecutorial authority over marijuana even as more states are legalizing the drug. That could blur the lines in the debate about hemp as well.

The American Farm Bureau Federation also has endorsed the bill and the growth of industrial hemp as an agricultural industry.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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Kentucky Producers: Federal Rollback of Marijuana Enforcement Won’t Affect Hemp

By Nicole Erwin 44 minutes ago

Kentucky’s industrial hemp research program is on a trajectory for growth with highest number of approved applicants this year.  Hemp’s association with Marijuana however, remains a  hurdle for producers.

In a recent breakout session at the American Farm Bureau National Convention in Nashville hemp supporters discussed legislation to remove the crop from the DEA’s schedule one substance list.  Hemp is only legal in states with certified industrial hemp pilot programs like Kentucky. The federal government currently classifies hemp as an illegal substance due to its similarities to marijuana.

West Kentucky hemp processor Katie Moyer says Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to rescind the ‘Cole memo,’ which reflects a passive federal policy on the enforcement of cannabis laws, won’t affect hemp or the proposed Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017.

“Jeff Sessions seems to be acting pretty much of his own accord. It doesn’t seem like there’s a big appetite in D.C. for doing the things that Sessions is doing.” Moyer said.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has said the 2014 Farm Bill gives clear authority to conduct an Industrial Hemp pilot program, regardless of Marijuana enforcement. Moyer said what could happen in the 2018 Farm Bill remains uncertain.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has approved more than 12,000 acres for growers to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes in 2018.  The 225 approved participants must pass background checks and consent to inspections. Last year, participants planted the highest number of acres in recent history at more than 3,200 acres.

Kentucky Congressmen have filed federal legislation to ease restrictions on hemp; including the most filling by Congressman Andy Barr. H.R. 4711 which asks for protections for institutions that provide financial services to hemp businesses.

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Ryan Quarles

@RyanQuarlesKY

Section 7606 of 2014 Farm Bill gives clear authority to conduct an Industrial Hemp pilot program! Just approved 12,000+ acres for 2018. https://twitter.com/jimhigdon/status/950191461701701632 …

8:46 PM – Jan 7, 2018

Lab Testing Reveals Enviro Textile’s Hemp Fabric Stops the Spread of Staph Bacteria

PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

June 19th, 2013


Glenwood Springs, CO

Lab Testing Reveals EnviroTextile’s Hemp Fabric Stops the Spread of Staph Bacteria

Hemp Marches Towards Military and Health Care Applications

Rampant staph infections continue to cost lives unnecessarily.  One powerful weapon to fight this scourge is being successfully deployed by China’s military: industrial hemp.  Staph is spread by direct contact and by touching items that are contaminated such as towels, sheets, privacy curtains, and clothing.  As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, “It is estimated that each year 2 million Americans become infected during hospital stays, and at least 90,000 of them die.  MRSA (an antibiotic resistant strain of staph) is a leading cause of hospital-borne infections.”  One of the most important recent discoveries is hemp’s ability to kill surface bacteria, while cotton, polyester, and polyethylene allow it to remain on their surfaces for up to months at a time.

Unknown to many, hemp fabrics exist in today’s market that can replace each of these transmission prone hospital items.  Technological improvements for hemp textile development began in the early 90s when EnviroTextile’s lead textile engineer, Barbara Filippone, began working with hemp in China.  To date, the company has over 100 hemp and hemp blended fabrics available to suit any traditional fabric application.  In addition to staph resistance, other tests show hemp fabrics superior resistance to UV and infrared wavelengths, providing multiple applications for military use.

Hemp fabric was tested against two bacteria strains, Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) and Klebsiella Pneumoniae (pneumonia).  The fabric tested was a hemp blend, 60% hemp and 40% rayon.  The staph test sample was already 98.5% bacteria free during the first measurement of the testing, while the pneumonia fabric sample was 65.1% bacteria free.  These results, even prior to the tests completion, clearly display the fabrics unique capability at killing bacteria and reducing their spread.  This is especially imperative for healthcare facilities. 

For infrared testing, the same hemp blend was analyzed resulting in a test result of 0.893, or nearly 90% resistant.  Different blended fabrics have the potential to increase the percentage of this initial test, especially fabrics with a higher percentage of hemp.  Many of hemp’s applications will benefit our military, and EnviroTextile’s hemp fabrics have recently been approved by the USDA as Federally Preferred for Procurement under their BioPreferred Program. 

Thirty one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and 19 have passed pro-hemp legislation.  The potential for military and national adoption of hemp appears to be moving forward expeditiously considering a decade’s long ban.  As science continues to “rediscover” the benefits of hemp for society, the solution is emerging from the fog of prohibition.  Hemp is no longer an ancient fiber and it is well on its way to be the future of fabric. 

EnviroTextiles is woman-owned industrial hemp and natural fiber manufacturing company with their headquarters in Glenwood Springs, CO, and is the largest manufacturer/importer of hemp and natural fiber textiles and products in the United States. EnviroTextiles proudly sells their products in the U.S. and to over 70 countries worldwide.  The company presently has their presence in the US, China, and Mexico, and focuses on natural fiber resources and economic development in regions with commodity levels of various natural fibers.

References:

  1. Survival of Enterococci and Staphylococci on Hospital Fabrics and Plastic – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC86187/
  2. San Francisco Chronicle, “HEALTH / High staph infection rates in hospitals stun public health officials / New study reports lethal drug-resistant bacteria widespread” – http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/HEALTH-High-staph-infection-rates-in-hospitals-2554708.php

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UofL’s ‘energy crops’ harvested for research

ky hemp

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov, 1, 2017) – Someday, a 3-D printed medical implant made from hemp oil may save your life, or a hemp-based biofuel may power your vehicle.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg of possible outcomes of work being done at the University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, where on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 students and staff harvested “energy crops” planted near the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

2017 marked the second year that hemp and kenaf, an African fiber plant, were planted near Phoenix House, the Conn Center’s solar-powered administrative office building. The plants were an unusual site along the Eastern Parkway overpass, where they were sown in May and were the background of many a selfie.

The plants, both highly suitable to Kentucky’s growing conditions, are part of the Conn Center’s research into biofuels and biomass conversions. The UofL crop was one of eight at Kentucky colleges and universities grown as part of the state’s pilot program into field-scale industrial hemp, but the only one that will be used for energy research.

Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species of marijuana. However it doesn’t contain high levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana that causes the marijuana high. Both hemp and marijuana are classified as Schedule 1 drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, and are illegal to produce in the United States.

In Kentucky, only those who are part of a Department of Agriculture research program into field-scale industrial hemp production may grow hemp. More than 3,200 acres of industrial hemp was grown in Kentucky in 2017, the department said.

The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

The UofL crop expanded this year to a total area of just over one tenth of an acre, said Andrew Marsh, assistant director of the Conn Center.

The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

Marsh planted the seeds in three plantings beginning in May. He had help from groundskeepers from Physical Plant and researchers from the University of Kentucky’s industrial hemp program.

After cutting down the plants, Marsh and students bundled and transported them to the Conn Center’s Science & Innovation Garage for Manufacturing Advancement, where they will dry.

“Once dried, the Conn Center’s Biofuels & Biomass Conversion group, led by Jagannadh Satyavolu, and faculty from chemical engineering, such as Noppadon Sathitsuksanoh, will work with the biomass,” Marsh said.

Marsh said the center plans to expand the crop in 2018 and hopes to improve soil quality to ensure the plants do well in their urban environment.

Nick Marsh

Nick Marsh

“In 2016 and 2017, the tendencies of different seed types to prosper in our climate and soil conditions over those that do not have become apparent,” Marsh said. “So far, we have been growing in unconditioned ‘urban clay,’ not farm soils. This year gave a better look at the nutrient deficiencies, so 2018 will include soil-conditioning strategies. There are hemp varieties that we grew that just didn’t do very well with our mix of soil, available nutrient and water, but others did great. We’ll be diversifying our seed types next year too, looking for greater yield with minimal soil modifications. This was our first full season of growing, and the results are pretty good for both kenaf and hemp.”

The state’s hemp research program is looking into whether hemp can once again become an economic driver in the state, where it was once grown primarily for making rope.

Satyavolu, the center’s leader for biofuels and biomass conversion, along with assistant chemical engineering professor Sathitsuksanoh and students, are studying whether hurd, the innor core of the hemp plant stem, has potential for use in fuels, chemicals and polymers. Hurd is a byproduct after the outer fibers of the hemp are removed.

The Conn Center research is specifically focused on:

  • Converting hemp into high value, functionalized carbons that can be used as catalyst supports and energy storage media
  • Transforming hemp seed oil into biocompatible resins for 3-D printed medical implants
  • Extracting sugars from hemp to convert into diesel additives and other chemicals

In collaboration with the state, UofL established the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering in 2009. The center leads research that increases homegrown energy sources to meet the national need while reducing energy consumption and dependence on foreign oil. The center promotes partnerships among Kentucky’s colleges and universities, private industries and non-profit organizations to actively pursue federally and privately funded R&D resources dedicated to renewable energy solutions.

Researchers at the Conn Center are studying advanced energy materials manufacturing; solar energy conversion; renewable energy storage; biofuels/biomass conversions; and energy efficiency and conservation.

Mahendra Sunkara is director of the center, named in honor of Henry “Hank” and Rebecca Conn, who pledged $20 million for its formation. Hank Conn is a UofL alumnus who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Speed School and also an MBA from the College of Business.

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Hemp Inc. planted hundreds of acres of industrial hemp and high CBD hemp in North Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon…

Hemp, Inc. (OTC: HEMP) recently announced that it built the largest commercial industrial hemp processing facility in North America, and the company that intends to “make America hemp again” is now in full operation at its 70,000 square foot facility in Spring Hope, North Carolina.

In addition, August 17 marked the official launch of Hemp Inc.’s NuAxon Tech CO2 Supercritical Extractor. David Schmitt, COO of Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC, said “Hemp, Inc. is now in position to be a fully integrated high quality [cannabidiol] CBD manufacturer,” in a release.

Opening the facility took over three years, plus millions of dollars spent on purchasing, disassembling, transporting, reassembling, rebuilding, refurbishing, beta testing and debugging.

Putting their new extractor to work is a significant step forward in the company’s ability to clone, grow, cultivate and process high CBD plants, with market prices on their side, Schmitt said.

“It basically all boils down to supply and demand. Today, market prices are somewhere in the ballpark of $20,000 per kilo and we have large amounts growing,” said Schmitt.

Hemp Inc. planted hundreds of acres of industrial hemp and high CBD hemp in North Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon. The CBD oil industry is expected to reach 1 billion by 2020.

Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. CMW Media/Christian Rodas

Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. said he intends to create infrastructure for a robust hemp industry by creating a business model of industrial and processing, education, farming, and extraction of CBD oil, so that people can start their own small family hemp farms.

“CBD is the fastest growing sector of the entire medical marijuana and hemp industry,” he said. He said he wants to support anyone who wants a start in the industry on the different technologies available for CO2 extraction, which allows the production of cannabinoid hemp oil.

Hemp, Inc. CEO Bruce Perlowin examines a hemp plant at a North Carolina farm. CMW Media/Christian Rodas

North Carolina Farmer Tony Finch grows hemp at his family farm. CMW Media/Christian Rodas

Perlowin invited President Donald Trump’s task force for Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America to see the new hemp facility, saying “President Trump’s Task Force or any member thereof should really visit Hemp, Inc.’s facility in Spring Hope, North Carolina.”

The small family farm, once a staple of the American landscape, is fast disappearing – and Perlowin hopes to change that. He imagines a model family farm is situated on 5 acres and consists of a cloning room, a greenhouse, and 5,000 hemp plants.

“By showing farmers how to grow high CBD hemp plants, operate a greenhouse and turn a barn into a cloning room to earn $500,000 a year, the small family farm can reappear in the American landscape. After all, the original small family farms in America were able to survive economically by growing hemp as their main cash crop and the first five presidents of the United States were all hemp farmers. Our infrastructure is 100 percent aligned with what the President today, is trying to accomplish with this Task Force.”

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The Origin of the Word ‘Marijuana’

Anna Wilcox

The word “marijuana” plays a controversial role in cannabis culture. Many well-known organizations such as Oakland’s Harborside Heath Center have publicly denounced “the M word” in favor of our favorite plant’s Latinate name, cannabis. Even Salon Magazine, a major press outlet outside of the cannabis industry, published an article titled “Is the word ‘Marijuana’ racist?” last year.

As mainstream culture becomes a little more herb-friendly, the terminology used by the industry is coming to center stage. But, why exactly does the term “marijuana” cause so much debate? Even worse, why has the word gained publicity as a racist term?

To save you from reading those lengthy history books or some boring academic articles, we’ve created this brief timeline to give you the low-down on “marijuana”’s rise to popularity in the United States. Here’s what you need to know:

The Mexican Revolution

1840-1900:

Prior to 1910, “marijuana” didn’t exist as a word in American culture. Rather, “cannabis” was used, most often in reference to medicines and remedies for common household ailments. In the early 1900s, what have now become pharmaceutical giants—Bristol-Meyer’s Squib and Eli Lilly—used to include cannabis and cannabis extracts in their medicines.

During this time, Americans (particularly elite Americans) were going through a hashish trend. Glamorized by literary celebrities such as Alexander Dumas, experimenting with cannabis products became a fad among those wealthy enough to afford imported goods.

1910:

Between the years of 1910 and 1920, over 890,000 Mexicans legally immigrated into the United States seeking refuge from the wreckage of civil war. Though cannabis had been a part of U.S. history since the country’s beginnings, the idea of smoking the plant recreationally was not as common as other forms of consumption. The idea of smoking cannabis entered mainstream American consciousness after the arrival of immigrants who brought the smoking habit with them.

1913:

The first bill criminalizing the cultivation of “locoweed” was passed in California. The bill was a major push from the Board of Pharmacy as a way to regulate opiates and psychoactive pharmaceuticals, and seemingly did not stem from the “reefer madness” or racialized understanding of “marijuana” that paved the way to full-on prohibition in the 1930s.

The Aftermath

1930s:

The Great Depression had just hit the United States, and Americans were searching for someone to blame. Due to the influx of immigrants (particularly in the South) and the rise of suggestive jazz music, many white Americans began to treat cannabis (and, arguably, the Blacks and Mexican immigrants who consumed it) as a foreign substance used to corrupt the minds and bodies of low-class individuals.

In the time just before the federal criminalization of the plant, 29 states independently banned the herb that came to be known as “marijuana.”

Harry Anslinger:

It would not be an overstatement to say that Harry Anslinger was one of the primary individuals responsible for creating the stigma surrounding cannabis. Hired as the first director of the recently created Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, Anslinger launched a vigilant campaign against cannabis that would hold steady for the three decades he remained in office.

A very outspoken man, Anslinger used the recent development of the movie theater to spread messages that racialized the plant for white audiences. In one documented incident, Anslinger testified before Congress, explaining:

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind… Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.”

In another statement, Anslinger articulated: “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

In retrospect, Anslinger’s efforts with the Bureau of Narcotics were the reason “marijuana” became a word known by Americans all over the country. When making public appearances and crafting propaganda films such as Reefer Madness, Anslinger specifically used the term “marijuana” when campaigning against the plant, adding to the development of the herb’s new “foreign” identity.

Cannabis was no longer the plant substance found in medicines and consumed unanimously by American’s all over the country.

1937:

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was the culmination of Anslinger’s work and the first step to all-out prohibition. The bill federally criminalized the cannabis plant in every U.S. state. In order to discourage the production of cannabis use, the Tax Act of 1937 placed a one dollar tax on anyone who sold or cultivated the cannabis plant.

On top of the tax itself, the bill mandated that all individuals comply with certain enforcement provisions. Violation of the provisions would result in imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Though the word “marijuana” is the most common name for cannabis in the United States today, its history is deeply steeped in race, politics, and a complicated cultural revolution. Some argue that using the word ignores a history of oppression against Mexican immigrants and African Americans, while others insist that the term has now lost its prejudiced bite. Regardless of whether or not you decide to use the word yourself, it’s impossible to deny the magnitude and racial implications of its introduction to the American lexicon.

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