Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Category: News

Hemp Bedding offers Animals a Cleaner & Healthier Home

As a horse owner, one of the most tedious jobs is cleaning out the stable. In a matter of hours, the stable can reek from the straw bedding that’s used…

As a horse owner, one of the most tedious jobs is cleaning out the stable. In a matter of hours, the stable can reek from the straw bedding that’s used as the horses’ home (and bathroom). For the owners and their animals, this is not just a matter of “bad smell”. If the cleaning isn’t done diligently, these odors and the resulting dust could expose them to ammonia and other respiratory issues.

If you’ve ever owned a pet hamster, you can relate to this as well. You set up the hamster’s home by laying down woodchips or straws, only to find out how quickly it turns nasty. It was probably one of the more annoying parts of owning and taking care of one.

Animal bedding is needed for a wide range of animals, ranging from horses, chickens, to even snakes. Traditionally, pine and straw have been the popular materials used for these beddings. But a startup is now offering a superior alternative.

Old Dominion Hemp, an animal bedding startup based out of Virginia, is looking to improve the quality of bedding materials by using hemp. Simply put, hemp offers a much more absorbent, longer lasting, and more sustainable bedding than straw or pine.

Old Dominion Hemp Logo

Hi Marty. Excited to learn more about Old Dominion Hemp! Could you tell us a bit about the company? What do you guys do and where are you based out of?

Marty Phipps: Old Dominion Hemp specializes in hemp bedding for equine (horse) and small animals. We started the company with the goal to show the public, specifically farmers, that industrial hemp has many agricultural uses. Our company was founded in Charlottesville, Virginia, where we’re located less than 5 miles from the home of Thomas Jefferson – who we like to call the Founding Father of Hemp.

We now serve customers nationwide. Recently, we’ve gotten a lot of interest from states such as Minnesota, Indiana, Colorado, and we’re even looking to send a package over to Alaska.

Specifically, what animals require this type of bedding?

MP: We currently serve animals such as horses, chickens, lambs, ducks, peacocks, mice, cats, snakes. Any animal that requires bedding will benefit from this material.

Using hemp as animal bedding is a novel application for many of us. Could you tell us a bit more of what advantages hemp brings as a bedding material?

MP: The benefits of hemp bedding are seemingly endless. Hemp is extremely absorbent as it can hold 4X its own weight, and lasts much longer than pine or straw bedding. Hemp bedding is very low dust, which is great for horses with respiratory issues. It also reduces odor better than straw or wood shavings. This is great for chicken owners, who often incur ammonia from the chicken scat. Hemp bedding is very economical for the farmers, as it lasts longer and reduces the products loss to waste. This, in turn, saves the consumer money. Lastly, hemp bedding is completely biodegradable, where as, pine can have a high acidity and “burn” fields, Hemp naturally decomposes into the earth. Our clients are actually mixing their hemp manure with seed and returning it to their fields.

Old Dominion Hemp Hurds

Hemp Hurds

What part of the hemp plant is used?

MP: We use hemp hurds for our bedding. Hemp hurds are the soft inner core of the hemp plant. It works great as bedding material as it is highly absorbent and rich in cellulose and has great thermal and acoustic properties.

And do you get your hemp supply from the US?

MP: We currently have to import our materials from Europe. However, with the movement that many states are making towards industrial hemp, we forecast using domestic supply by the end of 2018. Some states may even see 2017 as a possibility to use their domestic supply for hemp applications.

I hope that day comes soon! So how did you get started with ODH?

MP: We have been in business for about a year now. The drive behind starting Old Dominion Hemp was from losing our family land. That land had been in our family for over 100 years. The land could have been saved, maybe if we had another agricultural crop, such as hemp. We could have offset of the economic pressures coming from major entities that drive down the prices of other cash crops to the floor. These circumstances are destroying the inner fabric of our nation – the rural farmers.

Could you tell us how you got involved with hemp in the beginning?

MP: I’d say there’s a few reasons. First, I became a hemp activist through the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition. That was where I was introduced to the movement by Jason Amatucci about 3–4 years ago. I was able to meet the leaders of the hemp industry and got to learn a lot about hemp. Eventually, I purchased our first pallet of hemp bedding, which we used to conduct a 7 month Research & Development and Proof of Concept testing by donating our hemp bedding to places such as The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Virginia Piedmont Search and Rescue Mounted division, and other local horse and chicken farmers.

Old Dominion Hemp Bedding

Personally, I became a believer in hemp when I started giving hemp-derived CBD oil to alleviate pain and joint stiffness for my dog, Sadie. She had bone cancer in her leg and was told that she would only have weeks to live. My belief is that the CBD helped her, as she lived another full year, and she finally lost the battle to cancer in January.

How have your customers taken to using the hemp bedding material?

“Bedding longevity, cleanliness and earth friendly qualities are things the consumers are looking for and hemp bedding offers that solution”

MP: The response has been unbelievable and we were blown away by the immediate responses. Bedding longevity, cleanliness and earth friendly qualities are things the consumers are looking for and hemp bedding offers that solution. This helped us even sponsor a show horse called Wisteria at the Dressage at Lexington event.

What have been some of the bigger challenges during the past year?

MP: Pricing has been the biggest issue. The up-front cost is more, however the longevity and labor reducing qualities of the product make it competitive against pine or straw. The longevity of this product is far greater than anything on the market. As more customers experience the benefits of this crop, we foresee that more owners will make the switch.

Basically, we are working with customers across the whole spectrum. We go to events that cater to all the different types of demographics, from local chicken swaps to high end horse shows. Ultimately, we want to make this an affordable product for anyone that has animal that needs bedding.

When you look 5-10 years down the road, what is your vision for Old Dominion Hemp?

MP: Our vision is to provide the consumer with high quality hemp products with a focus in agricultural needs, such as, hemp animal bedding. We want to show farmers, if they grow hemp, there is a market to sell hemp. Ultimately, we want United States farmers to be allowed to grow hemp, period.

We are hoping that as the applications of this crop grows, it will allow farmers to cultivate this crop. Old Dominion Hemp is here to bring the best bedding possible to the market and to let farmers know that there is an end game to the monotony in farming. It is coming in the form of industrial hemp.

What Old Dominion Hemp Offers

Thanks for sharing your story with our readers Marty! How could our readers help with your mission?

MP: The number 1 priority for hemp is for the plant to be taken off the Schedule 1 Controlled Substances Act. This will be done when the Industrial Hemp Farming Act is passed, which is still sadly stuck in congress. I would encourage everyone to call or write to your local representatives and senators. After reading about businesses like ours, tell them about the useful applications that hemp has that could benefit our economy and environment.

6 Comments on Hemp Bedding offers Animals a Cleaner & Healthier Home

It’s Time To Separate Hemp From Marijuana

It’s time to end the stigma around the the world’s most useful plant. Hemp is not marijuana. In fact, before the 20th century, the distinction between the two was quite…

It’s time to end the stigma around the the world’s most useful plant.

Hemp is not marijuana. In fact, before the 20th century, the distinction between the two was quite clear. Hemp was widely used for purposes of food, clothing, and paper. During times of war, hemp was even considered an essential resource, as it was the source of the strongest ropes and sails.

Yet, all of that changed in the 1930s. Political winds shifted against cannabis and somehow hemp got grouped into the mix. Reviewing why this happened, we come to learn that confusion between the two plants was intentionally contrived by our industry and political leaders at the time. Sadly, their corrupt motives led to an innocent plant’s slow demise and prohibition that still continues today.


Although hemp has been part of human history for over 10,000 years, it started getting controversially mixed up with its psychoactive cousin in the early 1900s. With synthetic plastic, tree paper, and petroleum oil industries growing in popularity, political winds turned against hemp.

The origin of this controversy in the US can be traced back to 1930, when the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was founded. Originally, the Bureau focused its attention on opium and cocaine, dismissing any concerns about cannabis. However, by 1932, attention soon turned to cannabis and the FBN commissioner launched a 5 year crusade to pass a bill that would restrict both marijuana and hemp.

Harry Anslinger fought to prohibit hemp

Harry Anslinger

Nobody can be sure why Harry Anslinger, the FBN commissioner, was fighting so obsessively against cannabis (nor why he included hemp, instead of just marijuana, in the bill). Psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) was relatively obscure in the public eye and hemp was still a domestic crop at the time. It’s hard to even find any records of public issues regarding marijuana, so much so that when Anslinger was trying to generate public sympathy around this bill, the FBN often received letters stating “Your article was the first time I ever heard of marihuana”.

Considering the public sentiment at the time, we can assume that marijuana (and the larger cannabis family) was not even remotely a national or public concern. What we do know is that Anslinger was the nephew-in-law to Secretary of Treasure Andrew Mellon, a banker who was financing the growing petro-chemical dynasty of the Du Ponts. It was later to be found that Mellon had personally created Ansligner’s position.

Eventually, Anslinger prevailed in his crusade. His continued lobbying efforts led to the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, which levied taxes on all cannabis including hemp.

marihuana tax act of 1937

This raised plenty of protests at the time. The National Oil Seed Institute pointed out “The seed of [hemp] is used in all the Oriental nations and also in a part of Russia as food. It is grown in their fields and used as oatmeals. Millions of people everyday are using hemp seed as food. They have been doing that for many generations, especially in periods of famine.” Farmers, hemp paper companies, hemp chemical corporations all raised their objections of the heavy tax that would cripple their company and industry. Yet, to no avail, the bill was passed by fall of 1937.

Hemp’s misfortunes didn’t end there. The full out prohibition of hemp finally came in 1970, when president Richard Nixon declared “War on Drugs”. Somehow, hemp ended up getting included as a Schedule 1 Drug – they claimed it as dangerous as heroin and LSD!


Nobody can deny that the popularity and demand of marijuana is exponentially bigger than hemp as of today. Marijuana organizations such as NORML are much bigger and better organized than that any of the hemp organizations. So as the movement for marijuana legalization grew, hemp activists tended to tag along. In a sense, this also facilitated in opening doors for hemp.

But this also came with a side effect. The general public continued to perceive hemp as the same thing as marijuana – or just as some bastard child of psychoactive cannabis.

To make matters worse, many cannabis groups also started to use the term “hemp” in their brand names and marketing. Let’s take two of the biggest cannabis festivals in the US: Seattle’s HempFest and San Francisco’s HempCon Festival.

hemp festivals in the US that are actually marijuana focused

Both these festivals are geared mainly towards medical, psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”). So when the general public sees the billboards for these events or reads a promotional ad online, it’s easy for them to think “Hemp = Marijuana”. So in the eyes of the general public, where marijuana still carries a negative stigma, hemp is one and the same.


hemp vs marijuana

hemp vs marijuana

The distinction between hemp and marijuana can be made in multiple ways. At the end of the day, all these reasons show that hemp cannot be grown with or near marijuana, nor can it be used in similar ways.

  • Chemical makeup

  • The main difference between the two is in its chemical composition, specifically in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the chemical responsible marijuana’s psychological effects.

    An average batch of marijuana contains anywhere from 5–20% THC content. Some premium marijuana can have up to 25-30% THC. Hemp, on the other hand, has a max THC level of 0.3%, essentially making it impossible to feel any psychoactive effect or get a “high”. This threshold is heavily regulated in countries that allow the cultivation and production of hemp. Hemp also typically has high cannabidiol (CBD) content that acts as THC’s antagonist, essentially making the minimal amount of THC useless.

  • Cultivation Environment

  • The environment in which hemp and marijuana are grown is strikingly different. Hemp is grown closely together (as close as 4 inches apart) and are typically grown in large multi-acre plots. It can also grow in variety of climates and its growth cycle is 108-120 days.

    Unlike hemp, marijuana requires a carefully controlled, warm, and humid atmosphere for proper growth. Its growth cycle only 60-90 days. Medical cannabis also cannot be grown too close to each other. They are typically grown 6 feet apart.

    If, somehow, marijuana grows among (or close to) a hemp field, the hemp’s pollen would immediately ruin the marijuana crop, diluting marijuana’s psychoactivity.

  • Applications & Benefits

  • In its application, hemp and marijuana serve completely different purposes. Marijuana, as it is widely known, is used for medicinal or recreational purposes. Hemp is used in variety of other applications that marijuana couldn’t possibly be used in. These include healthy food, beauty skin products, clothing, paper, and other everyday products. Overall, hemp is known to have over 25,000 possible applications.

hemp vs marijuana comparison table


People may agree or disagree with the stance that hemp is clearly different from marijuana. However, one fact that we can all agree on is that it is ludicrous that hemp was prohibited in the first place – a completely non-psychoactive plant being categorized in the same group as ecstasy and heroin.

But sadly, it has. What’s done is done.

We can’t change the past, but we can definitely change the future. We can help realize all of hemp’s full potential in the modern world by rebranding it for the useful plant that it is.

Hemp’s reputation has been stained and the negative stigma that surrounds “cannabis” will take many years (or even generations) to disappear. I hold nothing against marijuana, and strongly believe that its full legalization will come in the near future. However, by distancing hemp from marijuana and by having marijuana brands stop using “hemp” in their marketing, we will be able to revive hemp in the public eye for all its useful everyday or industrial applications.

And who knows, maybe that will help the negative stigma around marijuana to disappear quicker too.

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Building hemp homes in Alaska could save millions in heating cost

***A few months back, we had shared the story of John Patterson, who is paving the way of building environmentally-friendly hemp homes from Colorado. Today, we got the opportunity to…

***A few months back, we had shared the story of John Patterson, who is paving the way of building environmentally-friendly hemp homes from Colorado. Today, we got the opportunity to chat with another pioneer in the hemp building industry, Jack Bennett. Through NUNAworks, Jack is developing hemp homes in Alaska.***

An average household in Alaska spends more than $500 per month in heating cost during the winter months.

Alaska during winter months

Fairbanks, Alaska’s temperature averages below 0°F during the winter months, with the record low hitting -66°F

With most houses still being heated with diesel, it costs $7-$10 per gallon to heat a home. Jack Bennett and his startup NUNAWorks is looking to fix this unsustainable and inefficient practice through hemp. For Jack, building homes out of hemp in Alaska offers more than just sustainability benefits. It has an immediate impact of helping the livelihoods of rural Alaskan residents.

Houses built out of hempcrete offers much higher insulation that traditional homes, which would help reduce the energy costs by 50–70% annually for families.

To understand NUNAWork’s mission and background, we started our discussion with how it all got started.

Let’s start from the beginning. What was your background before getting involved in hemp?

Jack Bennett: I was working with the non-profit Community Works West in the Bay Area helping to raise awareness about the impact violence and mass incarceration have on communities. We worked specifically on how these situations impact children and create the same cycle of violence. The Community Works program, Project WHAT!, was able to raise $2 million for funding to help support these kids.

That’s a pretty amazing initiative. So how did you get from the Bay Area up to Alaska?

JB: I’m originally from Fairbanks, Alaska. Military service brought my folks up here in the early 70s. I grew up in a Korean Noodle Restaurant in Fairbanks. I then left for San Francisco for several years studying at Cisco Networking Academy, practicing self-care techniques and working in social justice. I then decided to come back up to Alaska with my partner and was looking for new inspiration when I ran into hemp and hemp homes. My goal has always been to bring sustainable restorative practices to construction in our communities.

What got you interested in hemp?

JB: I found out about hemp through the national publication of the North Carolina Hemp Home. The architect wanted to build an allergy free home based on the synthetic sensitivities his baby daughter had. She couldn’t be around typical synthetic home materials as it caused severe health problems. For me, this made complete sense! As an advocate of organic foods, clean water, and natural healing remedies, it made sense that we should build using all natural material. This is good for both the people and planet.

Tell me a bit about your vision with hemp and hempcrete?

JB: I am living in the vision. Since last fall, my crew has experimented with hemp insulation material before we started building with it. We read every book on hempcrete and consulted with hemp builders from all over the world. We learned from case studies of failures with hemp walls. Through all this, we have created a Portland Cement replacement with our lime based Hemp-Bond Mix that is locally sourced.

Portland Cement creates 40 billion tons of carbon waste. Our Hemp Bond Mix has zero carbon footprint that is stronger than cement, impervious to water, has a longer life cycle, self-leveling, and does not have to be cooked. Our aim is to continue to develop these indigenous technologies tailored for rural Alaska to give it away to a community that has funding to start a pilot home in the village.

There’s a real need for this in Alaska as we are impacted by high cost of energy. It costs an average of $7-$10 a gallon to heat a home with diesel. This impacts average household income by around 50%. With our lime-based hemp insulation material, families could save up to 70% of their heating bills.

What is the policy for hemp in Alaska? Are there any pilots or research going on?

JB: There’s an Alaskan Senate Bill for the commercialization of Alaskan hemp. They actually took out the “research” clause, and are aiming to get to full commercialization. Last year, the senator that led that bill was awarded one of his bills (but not this one). According to his aide, it looks likely that this bill will pass in 2017.

Will hemp be popular in Alaska?

JB: From my discussion with folks here, the older generation are aware of it, but not so much with the younger generation. Most people are not aware of hemp having all these industry applications.

I actually just attended a city hall in Homer this past week, where the governor was having a Q&A. I actually got a chance to stand and present my case about hemp. I also brought some samples with me that I passed around to show what hemp shiv looks like. The crowd was amazed at the potential of this plant.

Jack Bennett with Alaska Governor Bill Walker

Jack Bennett with Alaska Governor Bill Walker

What did the governor have to say about it?

JB: The governor didn’t have as much to say at the time, but it seemed like he was genuinely interested. But the mayor did ask if I could come back and do a presentation to the city council at a future date.

Is hemp suitable to grow in Alaska?

JB: From what I’ve learned, hemp was grown in Alaska in 1963. A state agronomist had a partnership with University of Wisconsin to test out hemp in the delta region of Alaska during the summer months. They were testing to see if hemp would grow during the long days in Alaska. It worked, so it’s been proven that hemp can grow in this state.

I’d like to dig a bit more deeper into the details about the hemp home. So how does a hemp home actually work? Does it look and feel the same as other homes?

JB: When you ask someone who’s been in a hemp home, they’ll tell you that they notice the difference right away. It smells better and you just feel better.

Hemp is a replacement for drywall, OSB plywood, fiberglass insulation, polyurethane foam replacement. I found that 55% of the world’s energy consumption is construction-waste related. Hemp homes have zero construction waste. So by building hemp homes, we’re doing our part to reduce your carbon footprint.

Did you know that France is building 2 million houses out of hemp this year? Hemp usage in construction is projected to increase by 80% by 2020.

Wow, I had no idea. That’s amazing. So in the long run, how do you think this will benefit Alaska?

JB: This is about sustainability and the local economy. This solution will allow us to build energy efficient, allergy free, affordable homes. If we’re able to grow our own hemp, the hemp farming will also help cut high freight costs and bring countless industries to Alaska.

Currently, what are your biggest challenges and obstacles?

JB: The freight cost of bringing hemp to Alaska. Since hemp farming is still in prohibition here, I have to import it until a bill passes.

What stage is NUNAWorks in? What’s the goal of 2016?

JB: We are working to build a model of the hemp home to show people what hempcrete can do. We were actually developing this sustainable home before I even found out about hemp. After doing more research, we decided to add hempcrete into our vision. So now the first floor will be made out of rammed earth and the second floor will be made out of hempcrete. We’re envisioning a home that will be completely sustainable, even the energy source (solar and water).

Construction of hemp home in Alaska

The timeline of this model home is before the end of 2016. We don’t have that much time, but we’re hoping to get the structural and exterior work done before the winter comes. This will allow us to work on the interior during the cold months.

How can our readers help?

JB: The primary goal is to raise awareness of hemp. Here’s some ways you can start adopting more hemp:

  1. Start to slowly convert to wearing hemp clothes.
  2. Experiment with hemp seeds by trying it on your salad dressings, yogurt, smoothies.
  3. Start your own micro green business working with local chefs or packaging micro greens for store fronts.
  4. Start your own hemp building project in your community such as a hemp shed.

If you’re going to build with the hemp, start practicing with your shiv and binder. Every climate is different of how much ratio you have to use. It’s not just something you can watch on YouTube. Also, consider making the investment to engage in a hempcrete workshop.

Thanks so much for your time today Jack. Best of luck and I’m excited to hear more about your model home as it finishes up.

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Cannabis Hemp Car looks to reverse Climate Change

  Ministry of Hemp talks with Bruce Michael Dietzen, founder of Renew Sports Cars – the startup that created the Cannabis Car.   We sat down with Bruce to learn…


Ministry of Hemp talks with Bruce Michael Dietzen, founder of Renew Sports Cars – the startup that created the Cannabis Car.


Bruce Michael Dietzen with his Cannabis Hemp Car
We sat down with Bruce to learn how he transitioned from being a National Sales Manager at Dell to starting a car company that could fundamentally change the landscape of the transportation industry.

But first, here is a bit of history. The original Hemp Car was introduced by Henry Ford back in 1941. This car was made from hemp, soy, flax wheat straw and ramie, and powered by hemp fuel made from the agricultural waste. Henry Ford was a hemp farmer, just like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and he was inspired to create the car not out of a concern about the environment, but to help struggling American farmers. Through this effort, Ford inadvertently almost paved the way for sustainable, carbon neutral cars. Yet, his discovery laid hidden for over 75 years.

Bruce talks about “Renew-ing” Ford’s vision and the benefits which hemp-based vehicles will bring.

Let’s start from the beginning. How did you first get introduced to hemp?

Bruce Dietzen: It was quite by accident actually. I had already begun the process of designing a car inspired by numerous European race cars from the 1950s. Back in those days, while American designers thought rocket ships were sexy, Europeans designers thought the only thing that was sexy was the voluptuous curves of a woman. In my humble opinion, they were right then, and that design maxim still holds true today. So I was simply designing a sexy car.

So what happened then?


“I knew I had to follow in Henry Ford’s footsteps.”


BD: That’s when someone told me “If you want something beyond just sexy and truly world changing, check out what Henry Ford did with his hemp car.” So I did. As it turns out, Ford spent 12 years, from 1929 to 1941, planning to make and fuel all future Ford Motor vehicles from plants like cannabis hemp.

henry ford built hemp car in 1941

He actually made a car with hemp?

BD: Yes. To draw a comparison, Henry Ford was the Steve Jobs of his day. He was always thinking years ahead. So I was compelled to look into his supposed hemp car in depth. And with some help from my new found friend Brandon Pitcher of Hemp Circle Industries and his network of analysts, we calculated just how green Henry Ford’s prototype hemp car really. Frankly, we were shocked with what we found.

What did you find?

BD: Henry Ford had discovered how to make cars from hemp that were four times greener than today’s electric vehicles, almost 75 years ago. That’s when I knew I had to follow in Henry Ford’s footsteps.

Four times greener? Most people assume that electric cars are the ultimate green solution. How is that possible?

BD: A Union of Concerned Scientists study recently concluded that the Lifetime Carbon Footprint (LCF) of today’s electric vehicles are about half that of gasoline cars. Unfortunately, they forgot to factor in that electric vehicles need a second set of lithium ion batteries in order to reach today’s average Vehicle Miles Traveled of 227,200 miles. Once, you factor a second set of batteries in, electric vehicles have an Lifetime Carbon Footprint that’s 66% of gas cars.

How does Henry Ford’s Hemp Car stack up against that?

BD: By making every component he possibly could from carbon negative plants like hemp, Ford offset the other carbon positive components. As a result, he effectively negated the CO2 generated during the manufacturing process which is usually about 23% of an internal combustion vehicle’s Life Carbon Footprint. He then fueled his car with cellulosic ethanol made from hemp remnants, which today is considered a second generation biofuel and 86% greener than gasoline. So the math was simple from there. Electric vehicles s have a footprint that’s 66% of gas cars, while Ford’s hemp car had a footprint that was 14% of gas cars. That’s a pretty big difference.

4.7 times greener. I get it. So what are the implications?

BD: Electric Vehicles aren’t going to save the planet but Ford’s vision could. The world’s fleet of cars and trucks is projected to increase by 2.5 times by 2050. Just to hold steady with the total CO2 they generate today, 100% of cars would have to be electric (of which only 50% are projected), and their footprint would have to drop from 66% of gas cars to 40%. That’s not going to be easy considering that the aluminum, lithium and petro-plastics used to make electric vehicles are intensely carbon positive, and the electricity used to charge electric vehicles will still be highly fossil fuel dependent for decades to come due to increased demand for more electricity.

By contrast, let’s envision today’s existing cars and trucks running on a biofuel that’s compatible with today’s liquid fuel infrastructure. Something like cellulosic Biobutanol. This is not only possible to do with minor modifications to existing engines, but the entire infrastructure required to produce these types of fuels right here in the States would cost less than the cost to build the F35 fighter jet. And the amount of CO2 which our vehicles add to the environment would be cut by 87% within a decade.

That’s quite a contrast. But you believe we could take a step beyond that right? Your vehicles could actually help reverse climate change?


“It’s now possible to create carbon negative fuels which are 100% compatible with the gas powered cars on the road today.”


BD: Yes. Again, by using agricultural waste, apparently it’s now possible to create carbon negative fuels which are 100% compatible with the gas powered cars on the road today. This type of fuel is carbon negative because it yields a byproduct called biochar which gets plowed back into agricultural soils. So some of the CO2 which plants pull out of the environment gets recycled, and some of it gets buried or “sequestered.” Using these types of fuels, we can actually help reverse climate change with every mile we travel.

And the agricultural waste from hemp plants can be used to make carbon negative fuels?

BD: Yes, as well as any other type of agricultural waste or yard trimmings.

You were a National Sales Manager at Dell, effectively retired, and had moved to Florida. You could’ve just kicked back and enjoyed retirement. What motivated you to launch this startup?

BD: I didn’t want to look back at the end of my life on this little blue ball and think “Wow, I sold a lot of computers.” I saw an opportunity to help save the planet and I took it.

Why use hemp in particular?


“Body panels and chassis components made from hemp are lighter weight than steel or metal, and are are far more dent resistant than steel. Every bit of plastic, carpeting and upholstery in a car can be made of hemp.”


BD: For car production, nothing beats hemp. Body panels and chassis components made from hemp are lighter weight than steel or metal, and are are far more dent resistant than steel. Every bit of plastic, carpeting and upholstery in a car can be made of hemp. So as I mentioned earlier, all of these components, when made from carbon negative hemp instead of carbon positive materials can reduce the lifetime carbon footprint of cars by up to 23%.

There are other plants we could use of course, but hemp grows faster than just about any other plant that can be used to make products. It needs far less fertilizer, insecticides and water. Its yield is higher and it’s actually good for the soil. It not only produces some of the strongest fiber in nature, but also produces very nutritious seeds as well as something called Cannabidiol which is being used to treat dozens of illnesses from Epilepsy to Alzheimers to Cancer. It’s the most versatile and beneficial planet on Earth.

So Henry Ford made the original hemp car back in 1941, but it never commercialized. Why do you think it never did?

BD: Oh it would have. And we all would likely be driving Cannabis Cars today if it weren’t for World War II. Ford had been working on his cannabis car for 12 years. In his mind, all vehicles would be made and fueled by plants in the future. But only months after debuting his car, President FDR, who was on a mission to “War Time Mobilize” the country, visited Ford in Dearborn and convinced him to stop making cars and make bombers instead. So for the duration of the war, that’s exactly what Ford did. During that period, Mr. Ford suffered several strokes, and then passed away shortly after the war ended. Several years later, his hemp prototype was destroyed for some undocumented reason, and Henry Ford’s greatest achievement was nearly lost to history.

It’s a fascinating story. In fact, we plan to make an episode in an upcoming Docu-series that does just that. So here’s the bottom line. Ford helped win the war, but he could have saved the planet.

So, do you think Henry Ford’s vision will ever come to fruition?

BD: Absolutely. In my humble opinion, we have no other choice than to adopt his vision and ‘War Time Mobilize’ once again. Because the war against climate change is the going to be the most important war humanity has ever faced.


“We have no other choice than to adopt his vision.”


Climatologists are now saying that we need to take dramatic measures beyond simply banning fossil fuels. We need to be actively sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere. One of the most effective ways that we will hopefully be doing this in the near future is by making our durable goods, our vehicles and our fuels from carbon negative plants like hemp.

Do you think a car like this can become commercially viable? If so, what do you envision the price point to be?

Cannabis Hemp Car in Dallas TX
BD: Certainly. At an entry level price of $40,000 we already have a car that’s only a little more expensive than the average boring-mobile. And the high end, 640 hp version of the car is roughly half the price of exotic cars with comparable power to weight ratios.

What do you see as the biggest challenge/obstacle to get to that vision?

BD: The biggest challenge right now is financing individual car purchases. We get a lot of interest in the car, but most folks don’t have 40 thousand in cash. So we need to sell the first 20 cars or so for cash, establishing a value for these cars in the market. At that point, the financing companies will be more willing to finance or lease these vehicles.

This is one of those innovations that could truly change the fundamental landscape of the transportation/auto industry. How could the public support you?

BD: Folks can not only support Renew Sports Cars, but all the emerging companies making hemp products. Simply googling ‘hemp’ and buying hemp products can help grow the hemp industry. Every time they buy a hemp product, they not only support hemp related businesses, but they help save the planet.

We’d love to learn more about the Cannabis car you built.

BD: The best way to do that I suppose is to visit the Renew Sports Cars web site.

So, what’s next for you & Renew Sports Cars?

BD: The next thing we plan to do is build a few high performance versions of this car. One may be electric, and another one will have a 640 horsepower internal combustion engine capable of running on either gas or even 100% second and third generation biofuels. At roughly 2,900 pounds, it will have a power to weight ratio comparable to supercars in the half million dollar range, at less than half the price. I’m hoping that is going to get us on the cover of Car and Driver. I’d like to see that!

Cannabis hemp Car Documentary
The other thing I’m working on is a Docu-series with Diana Oliver who produced Hempsters, Plant the Seed. It’s called Hempsters, Cannabis Car and we’ll be traveling across the country investigating if all of these stories we keep hearing about cannabis being used to save lives and save the planet are really true…in a car made of cannabis hemp!

Thanks for your time today Bruce. We love the work you’re doing for hemp and look forward to seeing many more hemp cars in the future!

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Hemp offers sustainable solutions to our earth-killing practices

With global warming causing more droughts and weather irregularities across the globe, hemp offers a viable long-term sustainable solution to replace many of our current earth-damaging practices Hemp, the non-psychoactive…

With global warming causing more droughts and weather irregularities across the globe, hemp offers a viable long-term sustainable solution to replace many of our current earth-damaging practices

hemp farming offers sustainable solutions

Hemp, the non-psychoactive strains of the Cannabis family, was once one of the most ubiquitous plants in the world. First found around 8,000 BCE in central Asia, hemp spread across multiple continents through the ages and was a fundamental part of the agricultural revolution. Throughout several civilizations, hemp was used for food, textiles, oil, and industrial purposes. Yet, after getting confused with marijuana in the 1900s, hemp was soon outlawed and forgotten. Many of its benefits were lost in the modern world.

Popular Mechanics published an article back in 1941 with findings that hemp “can be used to produce more than 25,000 products”. In several other countries, hemp has continued to be used for food, textiles, and even in construction to build houses that are more energy efficient than regular buildings.

popular mechanics hemp billion dollar crop

Hemp can help our Farmers and the Planet

The best part of hemp is that its applications are completely eco-friendly and sustainable.

Farmers can actually restore the health of their farmland by planting hemp as it eliminates the need to use agrochemicals such as herbicides or pesticides. Since hemp grows so densely and its roots are so deep, it kills off weeds naturally.

Planting hemp can offer an alternative solution to many of our current practices that are damaging this planet. With a growing cycle of only 4–6 months, hemp is a more sustainable option than trees for paper. Anything you can make out of fossil fuel, you can make out of hemp. This includes energy, plastic, or any other petroleum based products.

hemp's diverse applications

Hemp has too many applications for us to ignore, especially as we fight an uphill battle against climate change. Bringing hemp back could be key to our sustainability efforts in preserving our soil and natural resources. Developing different applications of hemp and spreading it to the mainstream will help increase the supply of hemp and jumpstart a shift to a healthier society.

It’s time for us to take another look at hemp

We encourage you to learn more about the benefits and uses of hemp by getting involved with hemp events in your city. This is a fantastic way to meet hemp enthusiasts in your community, while helping to grow hemp awareness.

You can also support the hemp movement by writing to your legislators. Ask them to support the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to legalize hemp allow our farmers to grow this crop. Zev Paiss, the founder of the National Hemp Association, claims “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act could be the largest jobs bill that Congress can pass in 2016”.

Help us get the American agriculture back on track.

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Building Green Houses Through Hemp – Tiny Hemp Houses

Ministry of Hemp sits down with John Patterson, educational director at Hemp Solutions and founder of Tiny Hemp Houses to learn about building green through hemp Tiny Hemp Houses is…

Ministry of Hemp sits down with John Patterson, educational director at Hemp Solutions and founder of Tiny Hemp Houses to learn about building green through hemp

John Patterson Hemp

Tiny Hemp Houses is changing the game in how we build houses.

Rather than using the dry walls, synthetic paint, and other hazardous materials, John Patterson uses a mixture of hemp, called hempcrete, which is completely natural and sustainable. To help raise awareness of what hemp can do for us in construction and industrial applications, Tiny Hemp Houses offers hemp building classes and education opportunities on hempcrete to the general public.

This week, we got the opportunity to chat with John to learn about his passion for hemp and to get an overview on hempcrete and its benefits.

Hi John, thanks for taking the time. To kick it off, could you share your background and your role in the hemp community today?

John Patterson: I’ve been a carpenter most of my life and have always looked for better ways to build houses. I especially was always looking to try to build more eco-friendly and “green” – but I had a hard time finding a commodity that was actually green and compatible for construction.

That was almost 4–5 years ago. I then started doing online research and looked at various ingredients like straws. That’s when I came across a hemp building class and jumped at the opportunity. I haven’t turned back since. After learning how it works, I started running hemp workshops, helped people build hemp houses, and also educated them on hempcrete.

hemp house

Six months ago, I even joined up with Hemp Solutions as an Education Director.

How did you first get introduced to hemp and what inspired your passion for it?

JP: My earliest memory of hemp was back when I was 8 years old. My uncle had a 5 acre farm, where there was a small batch of hemp field. I can recall this because there’s a picture of me near that field. I loved going out there as it was a taste of farm life for us.

But one day, we got to my uncle’s farm and there were like 9 cop cars. They were burning the hemp field. They claimed that it was marijuana, but I knew even at that young age that it wasn’t a drug that was growing on the farm.

This left a lasting impression on me and I think that’s why I got so interested when I learned about that hemp building class. Before then, I never knew that you could use hemp for construction or anything like that.

“We really need to stop digging for resources and start growing them above ground.”

My passion for hemp continues to grow because of its potential. The building material industry is huge and applications of hemp are growing. For example, at Hemp Solutions, we are developing a water filtration system with hemp.

There are so many things that the world needs and we really need to stop digging for resources and start growing them above ground.

Hempcrete is still a foreign concept for the general public – could you provide us an overview of what it is and how it works?

“Hempcrete can be a sustainable replacement for dry walls, insulation, exterior boardings, house wraps, and paint.”

JP: Hempcrete, unlike what its name implies, is actually not a replacement for concrete.

Hempcrete is the mix of the inner part of the hemp plant – called “hurd” – and a lime based binder. It is used for thermal wall system and can be a sustainable replacement for dry walls, insulation, exterior boardings, house wraps, and paint.


So how it actually works is when you’re building a house, you still have to use concrete to lay the foundation and build up the framework. But then, with hemp lime binding, you wrap the frame with our mix and it creates a wall that replaces all the other components that I mentioned before.

What’s great about hempcrete is that you can use it for your floor, wall, and even your ceiling. It works great as a thermal insulator and allows you to live in a healthy environment.

Do you think that the US is behind other industrialized countries in hemp research and development? How do you see that affecting us?

JP: Most definitely – Europe has been using hemp and lime based binders for at least 20 years. It’s now a much more accepted material over there and they’ve done a lot of testing. They make hundreds of buildings a year whereas the United States has only built about ten structures total.

But I don’t think that should discourage us. We can catch up because there’s proof of concept and things we can borrow from Europe. I’ve been invited to teach hemp building classes in Poland and many cities in the United States. Hemp building experts from around the globe are willing to teach us what they’ve learned in the hemp industry. Europeans are realizing that hemp will soon take off in the US – and they know that when US gets interested in something, a lot of demand and innovation occurs.

Among different hemp applications, what makes most sense for the US to develop?

JP: Some hemp strains grow better in certain areas compared to others. If you’re harvesting for seed, Canada is a good climate for that. Southern climates are better for the stalks. Colorado seems to be doing well growing hemp for CBD applications.

The United States is a big place, so I think we can focus on different applications for different regions. It’ll also be up to where the demand comes from. The market will create the demand for the farmers. We have to form the market for more farmers to grow hemp and for more processors to be put in place to process the hemp.

Before we have a market, there’s no reason for the farmers to grow it.

“It’ll be up to the ingenuity of the people in the industry to utilize hemp- how can industrial hemp be good replacements for currently used components?”

Where I think the opportunities lay in the US is by growing good stalk strain and hurd. But it’ll be up to the ingenuity of the people in the industry to utilize these supplies – how can industrial hemp be good replacements for currently used components?

How has the hemp landscape in the US changed while you’ve been involved?

JP: When you look at the NoCo Hemp Expo, you can tell how much the landscape has changed in the three years its been around. Just by observing the venue and professionalism, you can tell how much the industry has grown.

It was much smaller in the first year – it was hosted at a large bar. Last year, we saw many new companies displaying about hemp. This year – year 3 – there were bigger companies, more investments, fancier brochures and better marketing. You can tell that more people are noticing hemp. Real businesspeople and farmers are taking hemp seriously.

More investors are interested in hemp, are more aware of it, and are making decisions to put money into hemp. In previous years, they might have been said “What a great idea, but can I make any money with it?”

Now, they are actually seeing the numbers coming out of Canada, Europe, and even Colorado.

How do you see the hemp industry continuing to change in the near future? What is your biggest concern?

JP: It does hamper the enthusiasm since hemp is not federally legalized. We need the national movement. If we drag our feet too long and over-regulate, people won’t be interested in hemp.

When the government states it as a drug, people will be turned off. Until the ban is lifted, we’ll only have small cottage farmers growing hemp. The big guys won’t get in it until they see more momentum. People don’t want to lose their farms and go to jail.

I agree that the timeline of deregulation is probably the biggest risk for hemp’s future in the US. But on the flip side, what excites you the most?

JP: I’m extremely excited that we’ve had the momentum that we’ve had. With all the attention we’re gaining, it’ll soon be like trying to stop a freight train . I’m excited to see the positive movement continuing to grow to help lift the federal ban.

I also am excited for the higher tech applications of hemp. I expect to see more usage in transportation, like bodies of cars. As I mentioned before, we are looking into a water filtration system – using hemp as a way to filter water using bio based technologies.

It’s exciting how many companies and industries are already interested in the use of hemp even before it’s legalized. The people are ready for it. People need to be pissed off that we’ve been lied to about one of the most useful plants in the world.

What type of impact do you want to make for hemp?

“We want to educate people towards a more bio-based economy and let people know what is really affecting their health – what they eat, where they live, and even their communities.”

JP: Our education mission is not only to un-do what was done to hemp, but to enlighten people to all of the great uses that we can develop to change the way we live. We have a lot of work to do still. When I travel to places outside of Colorado, a lot of places are unaware of hemp’s many uses and what it can do for their local economy.

My goal is to let people know they have options for their resources – industrial hemp is one of them. We want to educate people towards a more bio-based economy and let people know what is really affecting their health – what they eat, where they live (homes) and their communities.

Thanks for all your great insights today. Are there any final comments you’d like to leave behind with our readers?

JP: I would encourage everyone to learn more about how hemp building works and the impact that it could make in our community. I have a hemp building workshop coming up in May that I’d like to share with everyone. Check out the flyer and come learn more about hemp building!

Hempcrete information flyer John Patterson

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Hemp vs Cotton: How Cotton is killing the earth

Cotton has become the de facto source for materials ranging from apparel, bags, sheets, towels, and pretty much most other household fabric. Approximately half of all textiles are made of…

Cotton has become the de facto source for materials ranging from apparel, bags, sheets, towels, and pretty much most other household fabric. Approximately half of all textiles are made of cotton.

Yet, we don’t hear much about the impact cotton makes to our environment.

cotton vs hemp

Here are some quick facts:

  • Cotton is the largest user of water among all agricultural commodities
  • It can take 2,700 liters to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt
  • Cotton cultivation severely degrades soil quality. In the past 70 years, cotton production has depleted and degraded the soil in many areas
  • Cotton farming uses 25% of the world’s pesticides and consumes 7% of all fertilizers
  • Runoff of pesticides, fertilizers, and minerals from cotton fields contaminates rivers, lakes, wetlands, and underground aquifers
  • These pollutants affect biodiversity and have caused species extinction throughout the world

Considering this reality,the World Wild Life contends that current cotton production methods are environmentally unsustainable — ultimately undermining the industry’s ability to maintain future production.

So what can we do about it?

It’s unlikely that we’ll stop wearing cotton shirts tomorrow. We can’t just start boycotting cotton products – what would we wear if it wasn’t for cotton? Yet, we can start building the foundation that could provide us with an alternative to cotton. Yes, we probably won’t ever be able to “get rid of” cotton, but we can at least reduce its production level to a sustainable amount. And what better alternative is there than hemp.

“I believe that hemp is going to be the fiber of choice in both the home furnishing and fashion industries” – Calvin Klein

Hemp offers us a viable, affordable, and sustainable option to moving away from cotton:

  • Hemp uses 50% less water than cotton to produce
  • It does not require any agrochemicals such as pesticides or fertilizers
  • Hemp actually helps improve soil condition and stabilization thanks to its long, fast-growing taproots
  • Hemp’s wide climatic adaptation and fast-growing foot-long roots allow it to thrive in drought-damaged soil
  • Hemp offers 8X the tensile strength and 4X the durability of cotton

When more consumers, textile manufacturers, and apparel brands become aware of hemp, it will become a viable alternative to cotton. Many pioneers of the clothing industry have already predicted this, including Calvin Klein saying, “I believe that hemp is going to be the fiber of choice in both the home furnishing and fashion industries”.

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Zev Paiss – Founder of National Hemp Association

The National Hemp Association, founded in 2014, is dedicated to the re-birth of industrial hemp in America. Their mission is to help connect farmers, processors, manufactures, researchers, investors and policy…

The National Hemp Association, founded in 2014, is dedicated to the re-birth of industrial hemp in America. Their mission is to help connect farmers, processors, manufactures, researchers, investors and policy makers to accelerate the growth of this important industry in the US.

Zev Paiss profile

Zev Paiss

Zev is the Executive Director of NHA and was one of the core founders of the organization.

Hi, Zev. Thanks again for taking the time. I’ve been looking forward to learning more about your background and your work with NHA.

Zev Paiss: Thank you

What’s your background and how did you first learn about hemp?

ZP: I’ve been a sustainability educator and consultant for 30-35 years. I’ve worked in areas such as renewable energy, urban agriculture, alternative transportation, and healthy organic foods.

I first learned about hemp about 4-5 years ago, and was amazed at how it could provide a sustainable alternative for so many different products and industries. So when Colorado passed the bill that legalized hemp farming in 2012 (Colorado Amendment 64), I wanted to get involved in it.

I tracked down who was behind passing the legislation and found a loosely formed group of hemp experts. I then asked if they wanted form a formal association and offered to help form one since I had past experience working with various associations.

So in May 2014, we officially launched the Rocky Mountain Hemp Association, which was focused in Colorado. But after a couple months, we realized there was a vacuum at the national level, as we were getting calls and emails from all over the country. So we decided to take it a step further and changed our name to the National Hemp Association by the end of 2014.

National Hemp Association

What inspired your passion for hemp?

“I realized how many products could be made from hemp that weren’t being utilized today”

ZP: Before I really got into hemp, I was already aware of what it is and a couple of its applications. For example, I knew historically hemp was used for things such as rope, cordage, clothing. But, as I looked more into it, I realized how many products could be made from hemp that weren’t being utilized today. That’s when I realized I could get into this and help introduce this to many different industries.

What type of benefits do you see hemp bringing to our society?

“The Industrial Hemp Farming Act could be the largest jobs bill that Congress can pass in 2016”

ZP: When you look at other countries that have been using hemp for a while, hemp is just another crop that they can take advantage of and use in many different products. Canada is growing its hemp seeds and hemp oil products. China has used hemp fiber to build a textile industry. A lot of countries even use it internally as animal feed because it’s a great rotational crop and very nutritious for animals

Specifically in the US, hemp will provide more jobs for our farmers as a crop that’s profitable. Right now, many farmers are struggling to make money from traditional crops. Hemp will also help clean up our farmlands, as you don’t need to use pesticides or any other chemicals when planting hemp.

So when you look at these implications, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act could be the biggest bill that congress can pass to bring positive economical and environmental changes. This act will create jobs in multiple industries – from farming, manufacturing, to even retail.

There’s been articles recently mentioning how Tennessee farmers are giving up on hemp after giving it a try last year. What is your take on this?

There needs to be an understanding that we are still in a research and development phase with hemp. This crop was last harvested in the US back in mid 1900s, so there’s a lot of things we need to relearn. Farmers need to understand there is still a risk with planting hemp and we experienced this first-hand in Tennessee.

I’d say there were two main reasons why things didn’t turn out well in Tennessee. First is the delays caused by the DEA, which delayed the planting period by 1–2 months for the farmers.

Tennessee also experienced a ridiculous amount of rain last year. Hemp does not require a lot of water and that much water actually stunted the growth of the crop.

But if you look at other states like Kentucky or Colorado, they are increasing their cultivation this year and other states are starting to step in to pilot the crop as well.

How has the hemp landscape changed in the US while you’ve been involved?

ZP: It’s changed in several ways. One change is that there’s much higher activity at the state level and more people are pressuring state legislators to pass hemp laws. We’re going to hit more than 30 states that have passed some type of hemp law soon.

Although we’re not fully there yet, we’ve made steady progress at the federal level as well.

The other piece is on the research that’s going on. As more farmers plant hemp, there’s been more research to map the genome of various cultivars. People are researching what cultivar will grow best in Kentucky compared to Colorado, and comparing what grows well where.

There’s also research going on in the unexpected benefits of hemp, such as looking into its application in supercapacitors and as a replacement for graphene.

When you look at the retail side, there’s been a lot of hemp brands popping up. There are a huge number of very small companies entering this space and developing products in food, cosmetics, body products, apparel, etc. There’s a company here in Colorado called HempBox that sends samples of hemp products to consumers on a monthly basis. They have over 400 companies signed up to raise awareness of hemp brands.


HempBox delivers sample products to your door every month


How do you see hemp’s status continuing to change in the near future? What excites you most about hemp’s future?

“Anything you can make out of fossil fuel, you can make out of hemp”

ZP: I’m most excited about the potential use of industrial hemp as a replacement of fossil fuel. Anything you can make out of fossil fuel, you can make out of hemp. This includes energy, plastic, paper, and even construction materials like hempcrete and particle boards.

What is your biggest concern?

ZP: There’s always going to be a shadow hanging around hemp until it’s fully legalized at the federal level. Until we can pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, we’re going to have a lot of challenges moving forward because the DEA is going to continue to do what they do until we remove it from the Controlled Substances Act

What type of impact do you want to make for hemp? What type of legacy do you want to leave behind?

ZP: There’s 4 main goals that I have:

  1. To lead the passing of the legislation at the federal level
  2. Reenergize the farming community with a much more profitable crop
  3. Reduce dependence on fossil fuel
  4. Improve the health of America by promoting hemp products

If I can help achieve all this, I will die a happy man.

What kind of support do you need from the public to legalize hemp? How can normal citizens help?

ZP: Go to our website and write a letter to your legislator to ask them to please support the industrial hemp farming act. There is a campaign for Farmers to write letters too; they just need to customize the letter with their own details and ask that they be allowed to grow hemp.

The biggest help we can get is to donate to our federal campaign. It’s costing us over $20K dollars a month to support our Washington D.C. team and send hemp experts to testify before Congress.

Zev, this was truly insightful. Thank you for your time!

2 Comments on Zev Paiss – Founder of National Hemp Association

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