Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Category: Hemp News

Largest NoCo Hemp Expo Ever Outgrows Loveland, Colorado

On April 6 and 7, thousands of people flocked to the Ranch Events Center in rural Loveland, Colorado, for the fifth and largest ever annual NoCo Hemp Expo. The sold-out event featured a crowd of 6,000 people in attendance over the two days, according to a press release issued by the event organizers.

Interest in hemp and CBD is growing faster than ever, and the crowds at the NoCo Hemp Expo prove it.

On April 6 and 7, thousands of people flocked to the Ranch Events Center in rural Loveland, Colorado, for the fifth and largest ever annual NoCo Hemp Expo. The sold-out event featured a crowd of 6,000 people in attendance over the two days, according to a press release issued by the event organizers.

The NoCo Hemp Expo outgrew its currrent location in Loveland, Colorado

6,000 people attended the NoCo Hemp Expo over two days, overflowing the space at the Ranch Events Center in Loveland, Colorado. Next year’s event will take place in Denver. (Ministry of Hemp)

With almost 1,500 more people than in 2017 and 150 vendors, the NoCo Hemp Expo has gotten so large that organizers will move it to Denver next year. Vendors ranged from the best of hemp fashion to innovative foods infused with CBD oil, as well as new offerings for hemp farmers.

“The interest level for this plant and all that it can do was overwhelming,” said NoCo Hemp Expo co-founder Morris Beegle.

Ministry of Hemp attended the NoCo Hemp Expo this year, conducting interviews with some of the top figures in the hemp industry, and sampling new products for review. We’ll have much more in upcoming weeks, but below is a short synopsis.

NOCO HEMP EXPO REVEALS EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE FUTURE OF HEMP & CBD

The Expo took place at a virtual “crossroads” for industrial hemp in the United States. Enabled by provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp growers in 19 states produced over 25,000 acres of hemp last year. However, the industry is still plagued by government interference over issues like water rights and the DEA’s interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act as it pertains to CBD.

The Noco Hemp Expo featured hemp goods from around the world.

Hemp products from around the world on display at HempToday’s “global village” booth at the NoCo Hemp Expo. (Ministry of Hemp)

Many attendees, whether hemp advocates, vendors, or representatives of nonprofits, felt that these hurdles could soon be removed, leading to explosive growth for hemp in the U.S. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which was just introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell, could fully legalize hemp, and the industry seems ready to take advantage of this change should it occur in 2018.

“This is really the beginning of a strong new movement,” declared Arran Stephens, co-founder of Nature’s Path Foods and one of the NoCo Hemp Expo’s keynote speakers.

U.S. HEMP IS TAKING OFF LIKE A JETPACK

At the culmination of the NoCo Hemp Expo’s second day, Apollo Flight Labs launched a jetpack for a brief flight around the Ranch Event Center, sponsored by Willpower Products, makers of a new CBD-infused protein powder.

The NoCo Hemp Expo featured parents' guides to educating kids about hemp & cannabis

Kris Morwood, co-author of the Hana Hemp and Callie Cannabis parents’ guidebooks, poses with one of her books at the NoCo Hemp Expo. (Ministry of Hemp)

At the expo, Ministry of Hemp met diverse members of the hemp industry. We interviewed the creators of the Callie and Friends series of parents guides to hemp and cannabis, and representatives of Sana Packaging, creators of sustainable packaging that aims to replace disposable, single use paper and plastic with hemp. We took in panels on indigenous use of hemp and the development of hemp fashion. We even sampled Hempway Foods vegan hemp veggie burgers and queso and Steepfuze CBD-infused coffee.

In all, industrial hemp feels like a jetpack, ready to blast off, if we just can remove the final legal barriers to its success.

Be sure to LIKE the Ministry of Hemp on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter to see up all our upcoming coverage from the NoCo Hemp Expo.

 

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Mitch McConnell Wants To Legalize Hemp With New Farming Bill

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, wants to fully legalize hemp. Though the text of McConnell’s bill is not yet available, the goal is to remove agricultural hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, preventing government agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration from interfering with hemp growers or vendors of hemp products like CBD oil.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, one of America’s most powerful politicians, wants to fully legalize hemp.

McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, announced the proposed hemp legalization legislation at a press conference on Monday, March 26.

“Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future.” – Senator Mitch McConnell

Though the text of the bill is not yet available, the goal is to remove agricultural hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, preventing government agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration from interfering with hemp growers or vendors of hemp products like CBD oil. The “Hemp Farming Act of 2018,” which is expected to be introduced in early April, could complete the process of re-legalizing hemp which began under the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Basically, it tells everyone in the world that the U.S. is open for business with hemp,” said Brian Furnish, a hemp grower from Kentucky and president of theUS Hemp Roundtable.

Mitch McConnell hemp bill would remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act

A U.S. Senate Committee meeting room. Sen. Mitch McConnell announced the “Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which would remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and make it an agricultural commodity.

Furnish said that hemp would be treated like any other “agricultural commodity” under this new law, with each state’s agriculture department able to regulate growers as they see fit.

Furnish and the Roundtable have made passing a bill like this the major focus of their political lobbying. He and many other hemp advocates hope that McConnell’s “Hemp Farming Act of 2018” will succeed where previous efforts have failed.

“I have been pushing for two years for this day,” Furnish told us on Monday.

NEW HEMP LEGISLATION NEEDED TO FREE HEMP FROM DEA INTERFERENCE

“The devil’s always in the details, right?” said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp when we asked him about the announcement. “They haven’t released the language of the bill yet and, as I understand it, there’s still some conversations going on about little details.”

He’s hopeful though. “From everything I’ve heard, it sounds like it’s going to be a good bill.”

While it’s hard to judge the potential impact of legislation before it’s even introduced, the need for a legal change is clear. An amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill legalized hemp for research purposes, allowing each state to set the terms of that research program. Hemp advocates argue that the farm bill is broadly written enough to include market research, including sales of hemp products like CBD oil, the popular supplement used to alleviate symptoms of chronic pain, epilepsy, and a host of other conditions.

But government agencies like the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration have attacked the legality of CBD oil, primarily by arguing it remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. Despite the Farm Bill and legal recreational or medical programs in numerous states, the DEA argues that all forms of the cannabis plant remain illegal at the federal level. The CSA classifies cannabis and hemp as harmful drugs with no medical benefits or safe use, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. The result of the conflict has been lawsuits and sometimes police raids on vendors.

A hemp transplant ready to be planted. New legislation is needed to fully support the U.S. hemp industry. That’s where Sen. Mitch McConnell comes in.

Additionally, the 2014 Farm Bill is set to expire in 2019, and while it’s expected to be renewed sometime this year, it’s another sign that a permanent solution is needed.

That’s where Mitch McConnell and his Hemp Farming Act come in. According to Furnish, McConnell’s bill would completely remove hemp from the CSA. He said the bill is expected to include “hemp and all of hemp’s byproducts” including CBD oil, as long as all products and hemp crops remain under the 0.3 percent THC limit set under the Farm Bill.

MITCH MCCONNELL BELIEVES HEMP IS ‘AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR FUTURE’

Hemp is supported enthusiastically by lawmakers from both parties. Mitch McConnell’s announcement of the Hemp Farming Act is evidence that even top Republicans want to see hemp growing from coast to coast.

“Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future,” Senator McConnell said in a press release.

These changing attitudes are a sign of the success of the research programs launched by the Farm Bill, and Kentucky is one of the leaders in the country’s budding new hemp industry. The state harvested 3,100 acres of hemp in 2017, according to Vote Hemp’s data, but Furnish says that’s just the beginning.

“I think in Kentucky we can go from 5,000 production acres in 2017 to 100,000 by the end of the next 7 or 8 years,” he said.

Ministry of Hemp will continue to monitor this story as the full text of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s “Hemp Farming Act” is released.

 

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Indiana CBD Law Ends Police Raids On Vendors & Months Of Legal Confusion

A new Indiana CBD law makes the supplement legal for all residents without a prescription, ending months of confusion and police raids caused by a previour bill. The new law could also serve as a model for other states looking to address the legality and purity of CBD oil supplements.

A new Indiana CBD law makes the supplement legal for all residents without a prescription, ending months of confusion. It could also serve as a model for other states looking to address the legality and purity of CBD oil.

Last year, Indiana state police interpreted a state law designed to help people with epilepsy access CBD as a mandate to raid vendors who were selling it for other purposes. While CBD is known to relieve symptoms of severe epilepsy, its benefits are numerous and its popularity is growing fast nationwide. Legislators insisted they’d never intended to spur a police crackdown, necessitating the new bill which was signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday.

Now, “any consumer in Indiana by state law can consume hemp products with CBD without any repercussions,” said Brian Furnish, a hemp farmer from Kentucky and the president of the US Hemp Roundtable. Furnish served as a consultant to several Indiana legislators and their staff during the process of writing and passing the bill to legalize CBD.

a new Indiana CBD law makes CBD available to everyone without a prescription

Though the 2014 Farm Bill legalized hemp research and hemp products like CBD oil, the DEA and other federal and state agencies have challenged the supplement’s legality, necessitating the new Indiana CBD law.

While many experts insist that CBD is already legal under the terms of the 2014 Farm Bill, some government agencies have disagreed, leaving the supplement in a gray area. The Indiana CBD law, which is the first in the country like it, also imposes new labeling requirements on CBD which could help consumers make more informed purchases.

FLAWED EPILEPSY LAW LED TO POLICE RAIDS AND CONSUMER ANXIETY

Over the summer, police raided 57 stores across Indiana, seizing over 3,000 products from a variety of vendors from smoke shops to natural food stores, according to a September 2017 investigation by The Indianapolis Star. The Star’s investigation also revealed that the Indiana State Excise Police were using the epilepsy law as their justification for the raids.

It soon became clear that further legislation was necessary, especially after the state attorney general wrote an opinion agreeing that the supplement was illegal under federal law, despite many hemp advocates and lawyers arguments to the contrary.

The 2014 Farm Bill made industrial hemp legal again in the U.S. as part of state research programs. Lawyers for the hemp industry have argued that its language is broad enough to include market research, such as sales of hemp-based products like CBD. Other legal precedents protect the legality of hemp foods. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration insists that CBD remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, leading to a recent, ongoing lawsuit by the hemp industry. There have also been a handful of police seizures of CBD products in other states.

While CBD users haven’t faced legal repercussions, consumers in Indiana were understandably anxious about being able to access this beneficial supplement and the raids were extremely costly for vendors. Fortunately, the Governor halted police seizures of CBD once it became clear the legislature intended to address the matter.

HEMP EXPERTS HELP POLICYMAKERS CRAFT NEW INDIANA CBD LAW

An 8th-generation tobacco farmer who has watched the tobacco industry disappear, Brian Furnish helped lobby for both the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill and the hemp research laws in his home state of Kentucky.

“Hemp has allowed us to stay on the farm and its allowed a lot of farmers to stay on the farm, and it’ll continue to do so in all of the agricultural states I hope can get to grow it eventually,” he told us.

Furnish was originally invited to testify to the state senate about his experience as a farmer in support of a bill to legalize hemp growing, which he expects will pass in a future session of the Indiana General Assembly. However, he soon found himself called upon to talk to lawmakers about CBD as well.

Lawmakers at the Indiana General Assembly consulted with hemp experts to craft the new Indiana CBD law

Legislators in both houses of Indiana’s General Assembly consulted with hemp experts like Brian Furnish to help create the new Indiana CBD law.

“I met the Governor’s office, his legislative staff. I met the Senate staff, I met the House staff, and they started commenting and asking a lot of questions about what they should do and shouldn’t do.”

After consulting with experts like Furnish, the result was Senate Enrolled Act 52, a remarkably progressive bill which allows essentially unrestricted access to CBD for residents. After some debate, the final bill doesn’t explicitly legalize CBD manufacture in the state, but a future hemp growing bill could address this.

INDIANA’S CBD LABELING REQUIREMENTS COULD PROTECT CONSUMERS & FARMERS

The Indiana CBD law also imposes new labeling requirements. Every CBD product sold in Indiana stores will be required to have a QR code linking to detailed information about the product’s strength, purity and origins.

According to another IndyStar report, some in the industry called the labeling requirements an undue burden. Furnish had a different opinion. Stressing that he was speaking only as an individual hemp farmer (rather than in his role as president of the Hemp Roundtable), he suggested the requirements will make consumers safer and encourage them to purchase CBD made from U.S-grown hemp.

“A QR code helps protect the American farmer and it highlights the American farmer.” Furnish grows hemp for Ananda Hemp, whose products are “fully traceable from seed to shelf.”

Hemp Harvest. New Indiana CBD law should promote sales of CBD in Indiana.

A farmer harvests hemp with a tractor under a cloudy sky. Clear labeling of CBD products, as required under the new Indiana CBD law, would protect consumers and U.S. hemp farmers.

As an unregulated supplement, the CBD industry has been plagued by low quality CBD products. Reputable vendors already offer third-party lab results and clear information about the purity and strength of their products, so Furnish believes the new requirements will be relatively easy to comply with.

FURNISH: INDIANA CBD LAW WILL MAKE THE STATE A LEADER IN CBD SALES

While CBD sales may have dipped in Indiana during the months of uncertainty, Furnish expects explosive growth in the future.

“Indiana will be the number one CBD selling state in the United States probably pretty soon for most companies,” he said.

Not only will consumers feel confident about the safety of the products they’re buying, but the media coverage likely led many to educate themselves about CBD.

“People start seeing that CBD is in the news and hemp is in the news and it’s not marijuana and it creates an educational process that we couldn’t possibly spend enough money to pay for, and it’s happening for free.”

While the US Hemp Roundtable hopes to assist other states where police have raided CBD vendors, he hopes that won’t be necessary for long. Furnish suggested that Indiana’s CBD law could be a model for other states to adopt, just as Kentucky’s agriculture laws can guide states that are considering hemp growing programs.

“I just think hemp’s the crop of the future especially for farmers in my area of the country,” Furnish concluded.

 

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Texas Hemp & Garden Show Educates Austin & SXSW Visitors About Hemp

The Texas hemp industry is booming despite the obstacles faced by Lone Star State entrepreneurs. That’s the message of the Texas Hemp and Garden Show, which took place in March in Austin, Texas, near the heart of the popular SXSW festival and not far from the capitol building.

The Texas hemp industry is booming despite the obstacles faced by Lone Star State entrepreneurs.

That’s the message of the Texas Hemp and Garden Show, which took place on March 13 and 14 in Austin, Texas, at a downtown nightclub near the heart of the popular SXSW festival and not far from the capitol building.

2018 marked the Hemp and Garden Show’s second year, and there were about a dozen different vendors or organizations represented when I dropped in on the second day. Activists helped passersby fill out voter registration cards on the sidewalk, a DJ spun tunes from a small stage outside, and inside a succession of experts spoke about topics ranging from agriculture to the war on drugs. At night, musicians took over for the speakers including a surprise appearance from rapper Lil’ Flip.

“To get the vendors from other states that have legal programs interested in showcasing here in Austin was very exciting,” said Mónica Enriquez, one of the organizers of the event.

Enriquez saw the Texas Hemp and Garden Show as an opportunity to educate locals about this beneficial but misunderstood plant while simultaneously bringing national attention to the state’s burgeoning hemp industry. While Texas hasn’t yet legalized industrial hemp, there are signs of slow progress for cannabis in the region.

‘WE’RE GOING TO BE THE BEST STATE’: A FUTURE FOR TEXAS HEMP

“A lot of people are surprised that Texas does have a medical marijuana program in effect,” explained Enriquez. “Once upon a time, Gov. Greg Abbott said that would never happen under his tenure so that’s already a very promising sign of some change for us.”

the Texas hemp industry faces opposition, but also increasing support at the Texas Capitol

The Texas Capitol building in Austin. The Texas hemp industry is growing despite legal barriers, and there are signs of a slow but positive change in state policy toward cannabis as a whole.

Under the current program in Texas, a very limited number of patients with severe epilepsy are able to access low-THC CBD oil made from cannabis grown in the state, but there’s already talk of expanding the program to include more residents.

While hemp research is legal nationwide under the 2014 Farm Bill, the law left it up to each individual state to create a legal hemp program, something Texas has resisted so far. Enriquez credits groups like the Texas MAMMAs (Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism) with changing attitudes for the better. Another group working on legalization, and one which had a booth at the Hemp and Garden Show, is Foundation For An Informed Texas, which is focusing on educating rural parts of the state about the benefits of cannabis.

The Texas legislature won’t meet again until early 2019, giving advocates like Enriquez time to build a groundswell of support for changing Texas hemp law.

“With the legal program there, we’re not going to be the last state, and hopefully we’re going to be the best state,” she said.

“We’re very hopeful for Texas and obviously if federal law changes than our battle is won.”

TEXAS HEMP AND GARDEN SHOW CREATES EDUCATION & NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

Along with her husband, Enriquez started Lazy Daze Counterculture, an Austin smoke shop that soon expanded to multiple locations around the country. This led the pair to found Texas Green Rusht to help entrepreneurs and other Texas hemp advocates and professionals network and support each other through shared challenges.

“There’s a lot of different issues that come up running a business in this industry even though our business has nothing to do with touching the plant,” she said.

This in turn led to the creation of the Hemp and Garden Show to capitalize on the massive influx of attention and visitors SXSW brings to Austin. “We really wanted to show what Texas has to offer the rest of the country when it comes to this industry.”

One highlight of the show was a panel of Texas veterans advocating for access to medical marijuana. “That was a very exciting panel, my father’s a veteran and the veteran issue is very important, for us to provide that service to those who have served us.”

In addition to several different CBD brands and a pretzel vendor (they were delicious!), the show also featured a booth representing Dr. Bronners and their Hemp History Week organization.

Another unique vendor was Colorado Hemp Honey, which offered CBD oil infused honey in a variety of flavors. I grabbed a jar of the ginger flavor and hope to review it in the future here on Ministry of Hemp.

“It really was like a ‘Field of Dreams’ experience — if you build it they will come — and we were really excited that other people were excited about what we were doing,” Enriquez told me.

If the enthusiastic response to the Hemp and Garden show is any indication, then hemp has a bright future in Texas.

 

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Hemp As Medicine | A History of Hemp As Medicine Since Ancient China

Hemp has been helping people heal for millennia. Like with many plants, we can’t be sure when people first began experimenting with hemp for medicinal purposes, but the first recorded use of hemp as medicine goes back to ancient China.

Hemp has been helping people heal for millennia.

Like with many plants, we can’t be sure when people first began experimenting with hemp for medicinal purposes. That said, Carl Sagan believed hemp was likely one of the first crops cultivated.

Most plants are used first in folk remedies. These aren’t necessarily written down for a long time, passing down via oral traditions. There is a good chance that hemp was used medicinally long before the effects were recorded.

One thing to keep in mind as you read this is that there isn’t necessarily a lot of distinction between hemp and marijuana in historical texts. What is clear, though, is the long history of using hemp for multiple purposes, researching its effectiveness on a variety of symptoms and maladies. While we’ve lost a lot of this knowledge due to research restrictions and the passage of time, we are finally beginning to reclaim and rediscover new things about hemp every day.

HEMP AS MEDICINE IN ANCIENT TIMES

Ancient China is where we first encounter medicinal use of hemp. From around 6000 BCE on, hemp was used in tools, clothing, shoes, and food.

It wasn’t until 2737 BCE that there is written evidence of hemp as medicine. Emperor Shen-Nung developed topical hemp oils and teas to aid in pain relief. He wrote his findings in the first editions of the Pen Ts’ao Ching. Later on, other pharmacopoeias would list the medicinal effects of flowers, leaves, and seeds of the cannabis plant. Hua Tuo was the first person on record to use cannabis as an anesthetic in the second century. He notes that this plant can also aid in the treatment of blood clots, tapeworms, and hair loss.

hemp as medicine in ancient times

Hemp has likely been used as a natural herbal medicine since very ancient times. The first written use of hemp as medicine comes from ancient China.

The Romans had a long history of hemp use. Circa 77 AD, Pliny the Elder noted how helpful hemp was for the extraction of insects from ears and for pain relief. However, he made sure to note excessive use can negatively affect sexual performance. Around the same time, Disocorides wrote a pharmacopeia listing the medical benefits of hemp. These include assisting with ear pain, stomach-related issues, and burns. By 200 AD, Galen mentions again the ability of hemp to relieve pain, but notes that it can cause stomach pain, headaches, and dehydration.

Cannabis use was popular among many people in Middle Eastern regions, especially due to the prohibition on alcohol from Islam. With the abundance of the plant, it’s no surprise that physicians knew hemp well. They were aware of and noted the many benefits of the plant — it was found to be anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, anti-emetic, anti-epileptic, diuretic, and more.

These are far from the only regions known to utilize hemp plants medicinally. In India, the Atharvaveda lists hemp as a sacred grass. They’ve used pastes, drinks, and parts of the plant both medicinally and recreationally for centuries. Hemp has been found buried with Ancient Greeks. Egyptians wrote about using hemp in an eyewash in the Ramesseum III Papyri. Later writing would highlight both pain relief and inflammation.

Across regions and history, one thing seems clear — hemp was being used for pain relief.

THE HISTORY OF HEMP MEDICINE IN THE WESTERN WORLD

Hemp spread across the world through travel and use as fibers. Across Europe, hemp was used to treat tumors and coughs — as well as recreationally. By the sixteenth century, hemp was one of the main crops grown in England. In 1533, Henry VIII commanded farmers to grow hemp or face a fine. During this century, physicians Garcia de Orta and Li Shih-Chen discovered new uses for the plant — to improve appetite and as an antibiotic, respectively.

By the seventeenth century, hemp had made it to North America. It was grown in Jamestown and other colonies for use in clothing, building materials, and sails. In 1619, the Virginia Assembly passed a familiar law mandating each farmer to grow hemp. Similar laws would be passed in Massachusetts and Connecticut, with the plant being accepted as legal tender in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

During this time, Robert Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy” recommends hemp use to improve and treat mental health disorders. In the eighteenth century, two additional pharmacopoeias listed hemp’s many medicinal properties. “The New England Dispensatory” and “Edinburgh New Dispensatory” list hemp as a treatment for pain and skin inflammation, and cough respectively.

Despite hemp’s listing in many medical texts, one man is often credited as the main person to popularize the plant in the West — W.B. O’Shaughnessy. As an surgeon and professor at the Medical College of Calcutta in the 1800s, the Irish O’Shaughnessy was conducting experiments about cannabis indica on animals, children, and adults. He noted the analgesic effects in addition to its ability to relax muscles. Patients with rheumatic diseases, cholera, tetanus, and hydrophobia were all treated with hemp under his care. While it wasn’t necessarily a true treatment for some of these conditions, O’Shaughnessy noted it offered hope and removed some of the negative emotional effects of illness.

Just before the Civil War, the third edition of the U,S. pharmacopeia lists hemp extract. The U.S. Dispensatory does as well, adding medical cannabis. It was known to be intoxicating, yes, but also pain relieving and sleep inducing. Hemp was recommended for a variety of health issues from neuralgia and convulsions to depression and gout. At the end of the nineteenth century, Dr. JR Reynolds’ research showed improvement in tics, migraines, asthma, and dysmenorrhea.

historic pharmacy in Cuba

A historic Colonial-era pharmacy in Cuba. Western countries frequently used hemp as medicine, and extracts of cannabis were found in the standard doctor’s pharmacopeia.

At the turn of the century, hemp’s use medicinally declined thanks to the introduction of opiates and the development of the syringe. Still, medications like Chlorodyne — a cannabis and morphine combination to treat stomach issues — grew in popularity. On top of that, folk remedies and snake oil cures often included cannabis in addition to other drugs and medications.

When the war on drugs began, cannabis was prohibited, leaving patients using it for medical reasons often out of luck. In the 1970s, extracts and synthetic cannabis drugs were developed to help treat nausea associated with chemotherapy use for cancer and autoimmune conditions. Others were used to treat glaucoma as well. During this decade, the U.S. saw the beginnings of medical marijuana legalization ideals in places like New Orleans and New Mexico. While these programs helped patients with glaucoma, cancer, and other conditions, they were often short-lived due to DEA restrictions.

It wasn’t until 1996 that California would legalize medical marijuana for a number of conditions including HIV/AIDS and cancer. Arizona followed quickly. By the early 2000s, Canada legalized MMJ as well. Although research on hemp, cannabis, and marijuana is incredibly restricted in many places, the last decade has seen an increase in medications using these plants. One great example is Nabiximols (or Sativex), a THC/CBD spray used to help ease multiple sclerosis symptoms.

REEFER MADNESS AND THE WAR ON DRUGS

The twentieth century quickly saw changes in attitude towards cannabis, from intrigued to fearful. The Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 began to crack down on cannabis use by imposing restrictions on foreign and interstate traffic. Down the line, this law would also create the FDA. By 1913, California and other states began to prohibit the use of cannabis, often targeting Mexican immigrants in raids use the 1906 act.

The 1914 Harrison Act and the media — like the infamous film “Reefer Madness” — helped to turn much of the public against cannabis. The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act classified hemp and marijuana as the same thing, something that still creates roadblocks today. By this time, marijuana was banned in over twenty states. During World War II, though, regulation of these laws was lessened to aid in the production of hemp materials for the war effort.

By 1970, hemp and marijuana cultivation was banned under the Controlled Substances Act. States could allow cultivation of industrial hemp but, like dispensaries in weed-legal states today, farms could be raided by the DEA. Cannabis was labeled as a Schedule 1 drug, which has heavily restricted research over the last nearly fifty years.

REDISCOVERING HEMP AS A MEDICINE: CBD OIL & BEYOND

Because of the intense limitations posed by the war on drugs, research on cannabis has been conducted at only a few universities across the United States. There are strict rules on who can conduct the research, which funding they can use, and even what forms of cannabis are studied. Successful studies include the effects of cannabis on spinal cord injury pain, HIV neuropathy, MS spasticity, and sleep.

A row of vials of CBD oil, a nutritional extract made from hemp. Only in recent years has science begun to rediscover the benefits of medicinal hemp and cannabis.

In 2014, President Obama signed the Farm Bill which helped eliminate some of the issues around growing hemp so that, currently, 30 states allow industrial hemp cultivation. That number looks to be growing, too.

This is a great thing for people who rely on CBD to treat their health issues. CBD research has been going on for over two decades. It’s been shown to have incredible effects on seizures, pain, anxiety, inflammation, insomnia, fibromyalgia, cancer, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, and more. There are currently studies being done on CBD’s effects on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, and MS.

Unfortunately for people living with chronic conditions, past and current restrictions on hemp research mean a delay in relief of their symptoms. We have lost a lot of knowledge and information about hemp’s medicinal properties over the years. Many have missed out on the potential benefits hemp could bring them due to restrictions, laws, and stigma.

The good news, though, is that we are starting to rediscover this data and improve our knowledge about hemp’s medical properties.

 

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Eradicating Cannabis In Kansas: A Lost History Of Hemp Uncovered

Many people don’t know that hemp was studied at great length in agriculturally-based states like Kansas. What better location to research crops than one of the largest remaining prairie ecosystems in the world?

Many people know government agencies and private companies influenced the prohibition of cannabis and industrial hemp.

However, something many do not know is that hemp was studied at great length in agriculturally-based states like Kansas. What better location to research crops than one of the largest remaining prairie ecosystems in the world?

Ironically, since Kansas was one of the last places to end hemp prohibition, what ultimately matters most was who funded and guided those studies that helped make it illegal in the first place. Historical information I recently uncovered shows that institutional proof exists about the importance of industrial hemp in Kansas, and why its reintroduction is crucial for numerous reasons.

Farmers care deeply about the environment and decisions are based on markets, therefore understanding these lessons of our past are more important now than ever.

For decades, America’s Heartland was a large contributor to the hemp industry. In fact, according to a state agriculture report, Kansas even ranked first in the U.S. for bushels per acre in 1863. But then, during the beginning of the war on drugs, hemp was banned along with psychoactive cannabis, a.k.a. marijuana.

cannabis in Kansas, a historic image

An illustration of a hemp grower in Kansas harvesting a crop, circa 1901.

Despite prohibition, hemp simply refused to disappear from the Kansas landscape. When I was young, my father told me he participated in a project studying eradication methods of wild hemp in Riley County while earning his biology degree at Kansas State University during the 1970s. After searching for the report on and off for years, I finally found the work my father participated in, along with two others in September of 2017.

UNCOVERING THE FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF HEMP IN KANSAS

While citations can be found on the internet, full versions are restricted except by going through thousand-dollar paywalls requiring login information. After a challenging process, complete with archivists looking through original documents in a vault and sending them electronically, within a couple weeks I had one of the only (if not the first) digitized copies of “Identifying and Controlling Wild Hemp (Marijuana).”

What I found was that these reports helped legitimize the “war on drugs,” which forced millions of people into incarceration, in addition to justifying the use of taxpayer dollars for entering farmers’ lands to eradicate a plant. These efforts however, were not based on thoroughly-vetted evidence. When looking closely, the research projects benefitted competing industries because they were directly funded by chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers. The authors also gave acknowledgements to the state’s Marijuana Control Steering Committee.

Plus these studies originated from and referenced medical research, even though the intended purpose was agriculture-based. Much of the wording reflected what the aforementioned influencers wanted to categorize the plants as a single, weed-causing infestation that had to be eliminated (since embracing it would decrease their profits and those of other industries like cotton and wood paper).

These conflicts of interest in our country’s hemp history can no longer be ignored by environmentally-conscious farming communities. One of the most important and damaging of all findings claims a farmer could either practice deep plowing, which we know now is economically inefficient, and damaging to soil health. The only other option required farmers to use tons of chemicals “without disturbance of the soil profile.” The work also documented and even encouraged methods of eradicating “wild hemp” including harmful chemicals my father used that are known to cause fertility issues and even cancer, such as 2-4-D.

A final and crucial finding admits the varieties of cannabis that grow throughout Kansas are not only low in potency, but they do not fluctuate in cannabinoid content. This means authorities knew at the time of its ratification there was not an objective or scientific justification to outlaw hemp based on the sole argument that it was thought to be a drug — because of its agricultural origins, you simply could not use this hemp to get high.

An industrial hemp plant grows tall in a densely planted farmers’ field.

A FUTURE FOR CANNABIS IN KANSAS?

Thanks to modern genetics, it is becoming more commonly accepted that cannabis cultivated for medicinal or recreational purposes cannot be grown anywhere near industrial hemp, since cross-pollination is proven to always result in decreased potency. Variations between fiber and ‘drug’ types come in many forms, ranging from physical appearance and time of harvest, to expression of certain traits.

Taking into account limitations and biases during the early years of cannabis research, this data allows us to rediscover the importance of scientific integrity. Together we have the collective responsibility to identify and accept inconsistencies we find, and prevent the suppression of information that does not result in beneficial policies for our citizens or environment.

Farmers know industrial hemp grows well in many climates and requires fewer overall resources compared to other commodities like corn and soybean. Even as a rotational option to improve successive yields of other crops, hemp is proven to help in multiple aspects. Its cultivation promotes ways of regenerative and sustainable agriculture that are desperately needed, especially in places like Kansas after decades of depleting resources for irrigating water-intensive crops. Simultaneously, our soil and ecosystems need remediation from the damage of conventional farming practices.

Through embracing modern science to reduce harm and improve our environment, farmers are in a unique position to right the wrongs of the past. They can lead the way against unfounded restrictions, like the laws restricting hemp growing, that hold back progress for us all.

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Why The Hemp Industry Is Suing The DEA Over CBD Oil | HIA vs. DEA

Hemp businesses and consumers could soon be celebrating the end of the DEA’s attempts to prevent Americans from producing or selling cannabidiol (CBD) extracts, depending on the outcome of a new lawsuit. Dozens of members of Congress have expressed their support for legal CBD oil in a brief filed in the case.

Update 5/17/2018: A court dismissed the Hemp Industries Association lawsuit on a technicality. Check out our HIA vs. DEA update for more on what this means for the hemp industry.

Hemp businesses and consumers could soon be celebrating the end of the DEA’s attempts to prevent Americans from producing or selling cannabidiol (CBD) extracts.

On Dec 14, 2016, the DEA published a new rule establishing a new drug code for “marijuana extracts.” The rule states that extracts from the “genus cannabis” plant containing any cannabinoid “will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances.”

This rule poses a significant challenge to hemp producers and consumers in the U.S. who, up to now, have been legally producing and consuming CBD and hemp oil under the Agricultural Act of 2014.

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), along with other petitioners, has challenged this rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In addition, a group of lawmakers have declared their support for CBD, filing a document in the case insisting that Congress already made CBD legal, and that it remains legal, thanks to the Agricultural Act.

While consumers continue to freely access CBD oil, the DEA’s rule has cast a shadow over producers and vendors, and this lawsuit could go a long way towards easing their worries.

A hearing date is set for February 15, 2018 in San Francisco, though the case could last for months.

While consumers haven’t faced any reported legal threats so far, some hemp CBD shops in states with relatively strict controlled substance laws have seen their inventory seized by local law enforcement and their operations shut down.

“The industrial hemp industry has seen exponential growth across the United States since the passage of the Farm Bill in 2014, and this case represents the most significant challenge the U.S. hemp industry has seen to date,” Garrett Graff, an attorney for the petitioners, told Ministry of Hemp.

HIA vs. DEA gavel and scales of justice

A gavel with the scales of justice behind it. The HIA vs. DEA case could have long-lasting repercussions for the hemp industry and CBD consumers.

The outcome of this lawsuit could be crucial not just for the hemp industry, but also for the thousands of people who benefit from taking CBD.

WHY THE HIA VS. DEA LAWSUIT MATTERS TO HEMP PRODUCERS & CONSUMERS

The DEA’s long war on industrial hemp dates back decades, but Congress began in earnest to correct this situation about four years ago. The Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the 2014 Farm Bill,) created an exemption from the Controlled Substances Act by defining industrial hemp grown in an authorized research program as separate and distinct from marijuana.

Nevertheless, the DEA obstructed farmers from participating in hemp research programs, prompting a lawsuit from the state of Kentucky in 2014. Because of continued DEA obstruction of the Farm Bill, Congress was forced to pass a rider to the Omnibus Appropriations Bill in September of 2016. This rider provided that no funds may be spent by the federal government interfering in legitimate hemp research.

DOJ headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The headquarters of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. The DEA insists the CBD extracts made from hemp are illegal, despite the 2014 Farm Bill which made hemp growing and research legal in the U.S. on a limited basis (Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Sebmol, CC-BY-SA license).

Despite these two provisions of law, the DEA continues to assert publicly that CBD derived from hemp is a Schedule 1 controlled substance, sending a chill over potential hemp business investors. The case is important because the DEA’s overbroad treatment of virtually all CBD as a controlled substance has resulted in uncertainty in the blossoming hemp economy.

WHAT THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION GETS WRONG ABOUT CBD & HEMP

The federal Controlled Substance Act creates an exemption for the stalks and seeds of the cannabis plant as legal substances because they only contain traces of THC. Congress, in the 2014 Farm Bill, expanded this exemption of stalks and seeds to include all parts of the industrial hemp plant grown in an authorized research program, only requiring that hemp products contain 0.3 percent THC or less. But the DEA has not acknowledged this fact, as it continues to assert that any CBD extract — even one made from legal industrial hemp — is a controlled substance under federal law.

The petitioners made significant progress in the briefing stage of the case by forcing the DEA to admit that not all cannabinoids are controlled substances under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). The DEA now admits that the source of the CBD determines whether it falls under the CSA. If the source of the CBD is an exempt part of the plant (stalks and seeds), according to the DEA, then the CBD falls outside the CSA and is legal. What the petitioners argue is that the Farm Bill created an additional exemption for Farm Bill-produced hemp, which the DEA’s rule effectively wipes out. An agency cannot rewrite a law in this way, and petitioners seek a court order setting aside the rule on this basis (as well as others).

The DEA attempts to argue, without basis, that the exemption provided by the Farm Bill is a limited exemption only applying to hemp that is being grown or cultivated, and when the hemp leaves the field it magically becomes a controlled substance. This contradicts the plain language of the Farm Bill which protects research hemp “whether growing or not.” It also ignores Congress’s clear intent to grow hemp businesses in interstate commerce through marketing research involving hemp grown in research projects.

28 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR CBD IN HIA VS DEA LAWSUIT

HIA vs. DEA lawsuit could ease worries of hemp farmers

A hemp farmer inspects his crop. The HIA vs. DEA lawsuit aims to end the uncertainty around the legal status of CBD extracts made from industrial hemp.

In fact, the 28 Senators and Representatives who crafted the hemp portion of the Farm Bill emphasize this very point in a recent and potentially very significant “amicus” brief filed in the case in support of the petitioners.

“It is truly remarkable that nearly thirty elected Members of Congress have taken the opportunity to prepare an amicus brief in this matter in support of the Petitioners,” Graff said. “Congress has spoken, yet again.”

These members of Congress assert that CBD and any product derived from Farm Bill hemp is legal, so long as it adheres to only one requirement: that the THC level be 0.3 percent or less as provided in the Farm Bill.

Further, the brief states that “Congress legalized … any commercial marketing of industrial hemp extracts and derivatives, so long as the products fell under the THC threshold level.”

A DAY OF RECKONING FOR THE HEMP INDUSTRY

Hemp industry attorneys representing the petitioners in the case are cautiously optimistic, especially after receiving Congressional support.

Graff told us, “Our clients, the HIA, RMH, and Centuria Foods, are truly humbled by this show of support from Congress concerning this critical matter.”

While consumers continue to freely access CBD oil, the DEA’s rule has cast a shadow over producers and vendors, and this lawsuit could go a long way towards easing their worries.

It would appear that February 15 will be a day of reckoning for the DEA in its quest to defy Congressional intent. Regardless of the outcome of this case, hemp farmers and businesses will continue to push for federal legislation fully legalizing commercial hemp production. But a favorable ruling would bring us much closer to that outcome.

 

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The Right & Wrong Way To Legalize Hemp In Kansas

It is hard to understand how Kansas, a land of beautiful prairies and the nation’s third highest number of agricultural acreage, is one of the last states to end prohibition of industrial hemp. But will farmers be shut out by the new legislation?

It is hard to understand how Kansas, a land of beautiful prairies and the nation’s third highest number of agricultural acreage, is one of the last states to end prohibition of industrial hemp.

Thirty-four states have now passed hemp legislation including New York state.

In fact, Governor Cuomo recently earmarked over $2.6 million for a hemp processing plant and seed certification program, and wants to make New York state a national leader in hemp production.

With China and Korea leading the world in hemp production, Russia now the world’s largest exporter of wheat and other nations increasing grain production, the U.S. is no longer the world’s only agricultural superpower. Hemp provides for over 50,000 products spanning across 10 different industries. My coalition, Kansans for Hemp, has conducted community forums across the state and continues to hear that farmers need the Kansas Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to allow hemp legalization bill HB 2182 to have a hearing, dropping any proposed legislation that leaves farmers out. Research was already conducted at Kansas State University during the 1970s, now it is up to Kansas lawmakers to not “research out the farmers” as some lawmakers have proposed.

WILL FARMERS GROW HEMP IN KANSAS? A TALE OF TWO HEMP BILLS

Given the low prices for wheat, corn and soybeans, Kansas farmers desperately need a more profitable alternative. Because of low prices, farmers have to increase yields per acre to break even or make a small profit. Increased supplies of grain put downward pressure on prices, and we have a vicious economic cycle that farmers cannot escape — unless they have the economic freedom to diversify commodities and grow a more profitable crop.

Hemp Field In Summer

A dense field of green bamboo-like industrial hemp stalks grows tall in the summer sunshine. Industrial hemp can be harvested for thousands of uses.

The people of America’s Heartland know good public policy is made through input from many stakeholders, so when introducing a new commodity offering as much opportunity as hemp does it makes sense why the number of those involved increases. In 2017, two hemp bills were introduced and as with most revenue-generating issues, there are now multiple influences attempting to guide the outcome.

One hemp bill (HB 2209) was introduced which only allows universities the ability to cultivate hemp for research purposes, it never had a hearing. The second bill (HB 2182) is closely modeled after laws in Tennessee and Kentucky. It was passed out of committee and passed the House floor by a vote of 103-18. The house bill was then sent to the Senate Ag committee, however the Chairman (Sen. Kerschen) chose not to deal with it because of how late it was in the session. The state lobbyist and Kansans for Hemp were told there would be a hearing in 2018.

The first day of 2018 session, Chairman Kerschen instead introduced a Senate version of HB 2209, titled SB 263. To be clear, both SB 263/HB 2209 are limited, watered down legislation that is in fact not in compliance with the 2014 Farm Bill, Sec 7606, the landmark federal legislation which re-legalized hemp in the U.S. HB 2209 also cuts out farmers completely as it leaves out crucial details of any licensing administration processes, and excludes other entities like technical and community colleges from doing research.

A source told us that there has been a pledge of money from the representative who introduced the House version, to help with the research (which seems unethical). Chairman Kerschen is ignoring HB 2182, including the 103 votes from the House, and held a two-day hearing on SB 263 which again is not what we have continuously heard that Kansas communities want or need.

KANSAS LAWMAKERS MUST STUDY OTHER STATES’ HEMP LAWS

Kansas needs to look no further than across the western border into Colorado to see there is room for all when it comes to this rapidly expanding industry.

Hemp Harvest

A farmer harvests hemp with a tractor under a cloudy sky. Legal hemp in Kansas must allow for growing by everyday farmers, not just academic institutions.

However, contrary to what some organizations claim additional, exclusive research is not necessary under the 2014 Farm Bill. Pilot programs which are open to farmers (like HB 2182 establishes) are approved under a state’s department of agriculture, and do not require oversight from any other agency, including law enforcement.

By contrast, bills like SB 263 completely take farmers out of the equation which will not only yield inaccurate or non-comprehensive research conclusions, but distrust will come from farmers who will continue to not be allowed to gain crucial experience necessary to understand best methods for propagating, cultivating, and harvesting industrial hemp.

Lawmakers could also look to the restrictive hemp laws in Virginia for an instructive example of what not to do. As reported in January by Marijuana Business Daily, laws in that state make it impossible to profit from hemp growing, and as a result interest in the crop has languished, with just 100 acres grown in 2017.

“We’re way behind the ball,” Virginia farmer Graham Redfern complained to Marijuana Business Daily’s Kristen Nichols.

LEGAL HEMP IN KANSAS OFFERS HOPE FOR FARMERS

With downward trends in markets, our rural and frontier communities need support now more than ever. Hemp is a perfect opportunity where they are willing to collaborate with the state and other entities on something that is new and exciting.

Research and production must be happening simultaneously, because how we move forward as contributing leaders is through both innovation and practical application. Kansans are known for dreaming big, but we cannot allow our own fears or the stories we tell ourselves guide decisions that negatively impact our children and grandchildren’s futures.

In 1863, Kansas was the number one producer in the nation of bushels per acre of industrial hemp. Now is the time to be courageous and give this legacy crop back to Kansas farmers, and help contribute to the nation’s largest developing industry. On February 1, 2018, SB 263 passed out of committee with amendments to the full Senate. It has yet to be determined if farmers will be included in a Kansas industrial hemp program.

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Hempcrete Homes Are Sustainable, Durable, And Healthier To Live in

Did you know there’s a building material that’s durable, sustainable, healthier for the occupants and even carbon negative?It’s called hempcrete, a composite made from fibers of the industrial hemp plant mixed with lime.

Did you know there’s a building material that’s durable, sustainable, healthier for the occupants and even carbon negative?

It’s called hempcrete, a composite made from fibers of the industrial hemp plant mixed with lime.

The United States is perfectly positioned for a hempcrete building boom. Interest in green building is growing as people seek out sustainable, low-cost alternatives to traditional buildings made from petrochemicals or dwindling natural resources like wood. At the same time, the stigma around hemp is disappearing as more learn about the plant’s benefits. Hempcrete has unique health benefits and, because it enables low cost, modular design, it could even be a part of the solution to America’s affordable housing crisis.

“It’s just an awesome material,” declared Greg Flavall, CEO of Hemp Technologies, a leading builder of hempcrete homes. “I’ve never seen anything like it and we have studied other materials like flax, corn stalks, linseed oil stalks, even wood, and hemp wins by far hands down.”

A pair of hands holding dried, shredded hemp shivs, which look a bit like wood chips. They are ready to be mixed with lime and water and formed into blocks.

In 2009, Hemp Technologies oversaw the first permitted hemp home build in North America, in North Carolina. However, hemp’s uncertain legal status sent Flavall to New Zealand, where the crop was legal to grow for use in building materials. He’s traveled the world helping create hempcrete structures ever since, working on everything from jungle cabanas to wine tasting rooms. Now that hemp is becoming popular in the U.S., demand for his services is skyrocketing here too.

We recently caught up with Flavall to learn more about why hempcrete is better than other green building materials, and to hear about one of his most recent projects, a home retrofit which could soon be part of an upcoming TV show on hempcrete homes.

HEMPCRETE IS HEALTHY, SUSTAINABLE AND AFFORDABLE TOO

Agricultural hemp is the close cousin of psychoactive cannabis or “marijuana” (the plant people consume to get high). While marijuana is prized for its flowery tops, hemp is grown for its tall, fibrous, leafy stalks which are a little bit similar to bamboo. Hempcrete is made from hemp shivs, which are the fibrous, woody core of those stalks, also known as the hurd. The shivs are chopped up into chips, which are mixed with water and a lime binder to form concrete-like stone slabs that have a pleasant, earthy appearance that many people find appealing.

Hemp is a more sustainable option than many other commonly grown crops, because it requires very few pesticides and can easily be grown in very dense plots. But the benefits don’t stop there, especially when it comes to hempcrete homes.

“We have seen, anecdotally, reductions in healthcare cost and absenteeism because of living in a hemp building,” Flavall said.

Like many aspects of hemp science, more research will be needed to prove how significant a health benefit hempcrete can have for its occupants, but Flavall’s claims make sense when you consider the many documented beneficial characteristics of the material. Much like the original hemp plant, hempcrete is known to be extremely pest resistant. It’s also extremely durable and fire resistant, which is especially important when Flavall builds in environments like New Zealand, where both rain and seismic tremors are extremely frequent.

“Hempcrete works so extremely well. It dries out, it continues to breathe, and it makes the indoor quality of living phenomenal.”

A close up of the surface of a hempcrete wall. The woody texture of the hemp shivs is still visible in the finished product, which many homebuilders find appealing. (Photo: Flickr / Jnzi’s Photos, CC-BY Creative Commons license)

As hempcrete dries, it absorbs the carbon dioxide produced by the occupants and grows harder, essentially turning to stone. Not only does this make the building stronger, but it makes hempcrete into a carbon-negative building material by leaving less of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere than is produced by building with it. Even in this form, hempcrete remains “breathable” — homes remain rain proof but permeable to gases and moisture are less prone to mold and better for the overall health of their occupants.

According to Flavall’s calculations, hempcrete buildings in the U.S. remain carbon neutral even though most of the hemp used in current building projects must be imported from overseas. It’s also a surprisingly affordable option: he said it meets or beats other common building materials in up-front costs when used properly, in addition to incredible savings on heating and cooling costs over the lifetime of the building.

“At the end of the day when you turn the key to move into your new home you’re at the same price as regular construction,” Flavall said.

MAKING FRIENDS WITH HEMPCRETE: HEMP HOME RETROFIT BECAME A ‘RELATIONSHIP BUILDER’ FOR PETERSEN FAMILY

“Our hempcrete project began with a passion for natural building,” Stacey Petersen told us.

Greg Flavall (left) with Stacey Petersen holding a wheelbarrow, during the hempcrete retrofit of the Petersen’s home in Missouri. Building with hempcrete was so easy, everyone could help out. (Photo: Facebook / HT Global Hemp House Build TV Series, used with permission).

After other sustainable building fans tipped her off to their work, Greg Flavall and Hemp Technologies led a major hempcrete retrofit of the Petersen family’s home, located in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, in December 2017.

The simplicity of working with hempcrete allowed everyone, even family friends, to participate in the building process.

“It’s not rocket science to build like this and it really brings people together,” Petersen recalled. “It was a relationship builder on top of having our house insulated with hempcrete.”

Stacey’s husband, Jon Petersen, is the Pastor of Ministries at Desperation Church In Liberty, Missouri, and their embrace of the hemp is another sign that the stigma around this misunderstood crop is disappearing. Not only are they already planning their next hemp project using leftover supplies (“a greenhouse or a mother-in-law cottage,” Petersen told us), but they also use CBD oil, an extract of industrial hemp, to ease symptoms of severe epilepsy in their 10-year old son, Jeriah.

A growing body of research suggests CBD oil helps kids with epilepsy, and that’s been true for Jeriah as well. While not a miracle cure — he still suffers from severe seizures that sometimes land him in the hospita l– the supplement seems to reduce the number of seizures. Perhaps even more importantly, Stacey Petersen believes it helped the family wean Jeriah off a potentially dangerous medication which was actually making his symptoms worse.

‘There’s one kid in Colorado who’s been trying to wean this drug for a year and a half, it’s so intense, and we were able to do it in about 2 months.”

The Petersens are continuing to use CBD as Jeriah explores other forms of treatment, and his illness also inspired their interest in hempcrete. Since Jeriah uses a wheelchair, the Petersens swapped their previous multi-story home for single-story 1960s house of about 2300 square feet.

“My son, obviously he has a lot of challenges so we need healthiest living environment possible for him,” Stacey Petersen said when I asked her about the appeal of hempcrete.

But she also told us she loves that hempcrete is fire and termite resistant, and requires very little upkeep. “Anything to make my life more simple I’m all about that!”

HEMPCRETE HOMES ON TV AND HEMPCRETE AFFORDABLE HOUSING: LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE

The retrofit of the Petersen’s new home was filmed for a prospective new TV series, “HT Global Hemp House Build,” currently being developed in a partnership between Flavall and Diana Oliver of Thunderbird Productions, producer of the Hempsters documentary series. The show is currently seeking sponsors, but they’ve already filmed multiple episodes including the one featuring the Petersens which will be cleverly titled “The Hempster and the Pastor.”

Poster for the upcoming TV show, “HT Global Hemp House Build TV Series,” from Hemp Technologies and Thunderbird Film & Entertainment Co..

Flavall and Oliver worked together on a pilot episode in 2011, along with Ervin Dargon of Mingo Video, but the sudden death of Flavall’s business partner, Dave Madera, from cancer, cut the initial phase of the project short. The first episode is dedicated to Madera.

Last year, with Flavall once again building with hempcrete in the U.S., they decided to revive the show.

Oliver told us, “It’s a homeowners dream to lessen their carbon footprint and build a beautiful house to last generations that is mold, pest and fire retardant.”

The timing for a show like this seems perfect to Flavall, who said interest in hemp and hempcrete is booming. Even though he’s been legally building with hempcrete in the U.S. and elsewhere for almost a decade, he credits the current rising interest to the spread of marijuana legalization.

“I’m a Baby Boomer and I’m seeing a lot of those Baby Boomers coming back to me and saying ‘I guess now that it’s legal to smoke it’s legal to build with it.’”

Next, Flavall hopes to help tackle the affordable housing crisis in the U.S. by building add-on units to existing homes, made from hempcrete. “We have a lot of interest from people who have the ability to build an addition or retrofit their garage or put up a detached ‘granny flat.’”

Hemp can help “bring their mom and dad home, or bring the kids home, whichever it is, and create additional space with low impact.”

Between the growth of green building, and widespread interest in “tiny homes,” Flavall believes hempcrete has a big future in the United States.

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Top Hemp News Of 2017: US Moving Toward Hemp Legalization Despite Some Setbacks

2017 was an exciting year for supporters of hemp. The stigma surrounding this plant has continued to decrease as more and more people discover hemp’s almost limitless uses. While hemp…

2017 was an exciting year for supporters of hemp.

The stigma surrounding this plant has continued to decrease as more and more people discover hemp’s almost limitless uses. While hemp isn’t completely legal in the U.S. (yet), there’s growing bipartisan support in Congress, and at every level of our government, in support of full legalization.

And since we’re big fans of CBD oil, a healing supplement made from hemp, we were thrilled that more people learned about CBD and its many benefits. Global attitudes are changing too, with some of the most influential authorities on international drug policy also changing their tune about CBD in 2017.

It’s not all good news, of course: cannabis still has some powerful enemies, but overall this year gave us hope for hemp. Below, we’ll look at the highs and lows of hemp over the past 365 days.

THOUSANDS DISCOVER CBD OIL AS GROWING SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE SUPPORTS CBD’S BENEFITS

 

top hemp cbd news 2017
One of the most remarkable stories of 2017 was a study published in August by HelloMD and Brightfield Group which revealed that 42 percent of CBD users give up pharmaceutical drugs. Though it’s not a fully scientific, “double blind” style study (the 2,400 people who responded were drawn exclusively from the user base of HelloMD, a pro-cannabis website), it shows that many people are discovering that CBD helps them feel healthier.

That’s probably no surprise given the ever-growing mountain of scientific evidence supporting the use of CBD. An important study released in May by the New England Journal of Medicine gave new support to the idea that CBD can help kids with epilepsy:

The average number of seizures per month decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 in subjects receiving CBD, versus a reduction of just .8 in the control group who took the placebo. Additionally, about 43 percent of the subjects receiving CBD saw their seizures decrease by at least half. 5 percent actually became completely seizure free with CBD, compared with 0 of the controls.

Much more research into CBD oil’s benefits is needed, but over the past year we’ve looked at preliminary evidence that suggests it can help with chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, inflammation and joint pains (especially topical CBD), schizophrenia, and depression.

INTERNATIONAL AUTHORITIES RETHINK GLOBAL DRUG POLICY ON CBD

In April, the World Anti-Doping Authority ruled that athletes will be allowed to use CBD oil starting in 2018. Though they made the policy change in 2017, many sportswriters point to the choice by MMA fighter Nate Diaz to vape CBD oil after a bout in 2016 as a key influence in the change. UFC fighters will also face different rules when it comes to drug testing thanks to his act of defiance, and we expect more people — not just athletes — will be open to trying CBD as a result.

 

 

World Health Organization CBD

The main meeting room at the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva. (Image by Thorkild Tylleskar on Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA license)

Of even greater importance for the future of international drug policy, the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, a division of the World Health Organization, reported that CBD oil is safe and should remain completely legal. The ECDD, whose recommendations help determine which substances remain legal and illegal on worldwide, went even further by suggesting CBD oil deserves further scientific research because of its incredible potential:

“There is also evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions,” noted the ECCD. … The “diverse” range of conditions for which CBD has been considered by scientists as a possible treatment is “consistent with its neuroprotective, antiepileptic, hypoxia-ischemia [controlling the flow of oxygen], anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic [pain relieving], anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic and anti-tumor properties.”

Although the WHO still considers psychoactive cannabis to be a dangerous drug without medical benefits, we were pleased to see that the committee will be reevaluating other cannabinoids, and the plant as a whole next year.

DESPITE THAWING ATTITUDES TOWARD HEMP, STATE & FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STILL FIGHT AGAINST CBD

 

Indiana CBD Illegal
The WHO’s support for legal CBD oil puts the global community at odds with some elements in the U.S. government that continue to fight against the legalization of hemp and cannabis. In late 2016, in a move that many hemp experts consider absurd, the DEA declared that CBD oil illegal. Industry advocates insist that various Congressional bills and legal precedents make CBD legal to extract from hemp and sell, and they’re ready to go to court to keep it available if necessary.

In general, individual CBD consumers have not been affected by these legal challenges and even the DEA admits that individual CBD users should be safe from prosecution. However, there were a few unfortunate and costly crackdowns against CBD vendors.

Indiana State Excise Police seized CBD products from dozens of stores in the state over the summer. A detailed investigation by the Indianapolis Star revealed that a law meant to legalize CBD for people with epilepsy had provided police with an excuse to crack down on CBD vendors, even though the law (unlike a similar one that just went into effect in Texas) doesn’t provide patients with a clear way to legally buy CBD.

Although the Indiana Attorney General later insisted that CBD is illegal, other state officials (and their dogs) vowed to resist, with lawmakers promising to revisit the issue in an upcoming session of the Indiana General Assembly.

CANNABIS HAS INCREASING BIPARTISAN SUPPORT AMID US HEMP BOOM

More states began their own hemp programs in 2017, or expanded existing programs to great success. Vote Hemp reported that the U.S. grew 23,346 acres of hemp in 2017, a significant increase from 2016’s total of just 9,770 acres. This growth is just the beginning, with Wisconsin among the latest to jump on the hemp legalization bandwagon and states like Pennsylvania promising to significantly increase the number of acres allowed in 2018.

 

top hemp news 2017
Hemp returned to the U.S. in a big way in 2014 after decades of prohibition, with the passage of that year’s Farm Bill, which re-legalized the growth and sales of hemp for research purposes. With hemp appearing on more and more farms of all sizes since then, this once-controversial plant has increasing support in Congress, even among some of the most conservative lawmakers. While the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, a bill to completely legalize hemp in the U.S., stalled in 2017, the fact that it had enthusiastic sponsorship by both Republicans and Democrats suggests it’s only a matter of time. John Ryan of Ananda Hemp agreed with us when we asked him about the bill in August:

“Whether this bill gets passed or not this is a growing movement, this is an unstoppable movement. We will get this stuff done whether it’s this …  bill or not. This plant will be legalized.”

Attitudes are changing in individuals too. With every person who tries CBD or another hemp product, and with each state that legalizes recreational or medicinal marijuana, more people realize that what was once called a “demon weed” is actually a miraculous crop that can help humanity.

Despite some dark moments over the past year, it seems like they’re great things ahead for this plant. We hope you’ll join us in nurturing America’s love affair with hemp in 2018.

 

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