It hasn't gotten the attention of medical marijuana, but a growing number of states have passed laws authorizing the growth of hemp and are attempting to get the federal government to make it legal nationwide.
By Tim Johnson and Adam Silverman, USA TODAY
Hemp can be cultivated for fiber or oilseed, and it is used to make thousands of products worldwide, including clothing and auto parts. From 1999 through last year, 17 states have enacted measures that would either permit controlled cultivation or authorize research of industrial hemp, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Colorado was the most recent to authorize research in 2010. Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia have passed laws authorizing cultivation, according to NORML.
Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same species of plant, Cannabis Sativa. Industrial hemp has lower THC content, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.
The federal government classifies all cannabis plants as marijuana and places strict controls on the cultivation of hemp. Industrial hemp was an American staple in colonial times. The output peaked during World War II.
By Jordan Grummer, Times Record
The leader of Arkansans for Compassionate Care said his group is hoping to gain more support in Sebastian County for a proposed measure that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state.
In April, the organization was given until July 6, 2012, to collect 62,507 signatures from registered voters to qualify the proposal — The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act — for the November 2012 general election ballot. So far, about 16,000 signatures have been gathered, but less than 1,000 of those have come from voters in Sebastian County, said ACC spokesman Ryan Denham on Wednesday during a meeting at Sweet Bay Coffee, 3400 Rogers Ave.
The meeting was for people interested in volunteering to gather signatures for the initiative that would make Arkansas the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana, but it only attracted two people not affiliated with the group. Denham remained optimistic about the movement in the Fort Smith area despite the lack of attendance. He said the meeting was only made official about three days ago, and more attention has been placed, so far, on places like Little Rock, Jonesboro and the northwest Arkansas region, where support has "been strong."
The meeting was also at 3 p.m. on a business day, he added.
By Steve Elliott Toke of the Town/Special to The Silver Tour
What if I told you there is a secret weapon that, if understood and utilized by the cannabis reform community, could fairly quickly and very decisively decide the issue of marijuana legalization once and for all?
Everybody knows that cannabis legalization is very, very near the tipping point in the United States. Even the folks at Gallup, not exactly known for wild-eyed political statements, said this month after examining their latest poll results -- which showed that a record-high 50 percent of Americans support legalization -- that "If this current trend on legalizing marijuana continues, pressure may build to bring the nation's laws into compliance with the people's wishes."
Drilling down into the results of that same Gallup poll reveals our potential secret weapon for marijuana legalization.
Support for legalizing cannabis is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62 percent approval among those 18 to 29, down to only 31 percent among those 65 and older.
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. develops renewable and environmentally sustainable biomass resources from flax, hemp and other bast fibers.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT) announced that it has entered into a short-term Crailar Flax fiber development agreement with Carhartt to support evaluation of processing Crailar Flax fiber in premium grade work wear.
Established in 1889 and based in Dearborn, Michigan, Carhartt is a global work wear brand with a heritage of developing rugged apparel for workers on and off the job.
"Carhartt aligns perfectly with our current portfolio and we are excited to add them to our growing mix of partner brands," said Ken Barker, CEO of Naturally Advanced Technologies.
"Our testing to-date has demonstrated significant qualities that will be beneficial to the work wear market, including increased tensile strength, reduced shrinkage and high dye uptake that can reduce chemical usage," Barker continued.
"Perhaps most important is Crailar's ability to wick moisture, which provides Carhartt with a performance advantage by ensuring consumers stay cooler in hot summer months. We look forward to demonstrating this during our development period with Carhartt," explained Barker
Ben Deci, FOX40 News
It's the next big salvo in the push to legalize pot; petition takers are out now, getting signatures for an initiative to appear on next November's ballot.
The people who wrote this initiative say they are against minors and motorists using pot, and people at work too. But they also say you have to make one type of marijuana legal for everyone.
"The fact is if you smoked a bail there just isn't any possibility of a psycho-active effect," said Steve Kubby, one of those who drafted the ballot initiative.
By Michael Holder, Hillingdon Times
A HILLINGDON pensioner is living with his family in a new environmentally-friendly 'hemp home' for people with disabilities.
The house in Mulberry Crescent, West Drayton, was built with Hemcrete, a blend of a lime-based binding and hemp that absorbs CO2 during the manufacturing process.
It has water-heating solar panels, extensive insulation and emits 100% less CO2 than a standard building.
Father-of-four Sharif Omar, 37, who lives in the house with his 79-year-old disabled father, said: "It has changed my life - my whole family is very happy here."
"We worked with Hillingdon Council to make the access better for my father and he can use the garden and other rooms now."
To date, 47 new bespoke borough homes have been created, including several bungalows for people with disabilities.
Cllr Philip Corthorne, cabinet member for social care health and housing, said: "Not only does it use cutting-edge materials and processes to create an environmentally friendly property, it also looks at the specific needs of the resident - something that will ultimately empower them to live as independently as possible."
The project is part of a programme launched by the council in 2008 to redevelop derelict and under-used spaces, previously targeted by vandals, into affordable housing.
The Michigan Industrial Hemp Education and Marketing project, also known as MIHEMP is a Michigan nonprofit corporation working to expand Industrial Hemp as a natural resource for industrial and private enterprise in the State of Michigan.
The Michigan Industrial Hemp Education and Marketing Project (MIHEMP) has started a fund raising campaign in order to raise money to apply for a permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to grow industrial hemp. The Michigan Industrial Hemp Education and Marketing Project (MIHEMP), led by Executive Director Everett Swift announced that they have started a fund raising campaign in order to raise money to apply for a permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to grow industrial hemp. "It will take a lot of money," says Swift, "the permit fee is $3,000 and we will need additional funds for the project." Swift goes on to say, "Any Michigan farmer wanting to grow this crop is burdened with a hefty fee and our goal is to help this needed industry to get underway."
Canada is investing in innovation that will help develop new bio-composites derived from hemp fibers.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
SASKATCHEWAN - Members of Parliament have pledged funding for the Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) to study hemp fibers with the goal of making composites that perform better than fiberglass and plastic.
"Finding new and innovative uses for our flax and hemp will greatly benefit farmers and the economy in Western Canada," said MP Bruinooge. "This investment will enable farmers to adapt their growth and harvesting regimes to optimize fibre performance, increasing the demand for their crops and resulting in increased profitability."
The investment through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) is designed to study the sub-molecular structure of hemp fibers.
"This exciting collaboration between the CIC and our world-class Canadian synchrotron facility will provide our local and national biomass industries with a key competitive edge in a growing international marketplace," says CIC Manager of Product Innovation Simon Potter. "The information we generate with the Canadian Light Source will support the high penetration of agricultural fibers into building materials and composites for automotive and aerospace products."
(CBS News) - Never before have more Americans believed legalizing marijuana was the right course for the country.
In a new Gallup poll, 50 percent of respondents in a nationwide survey said they believed it was time to make pot legal. About 46 percent came out against it.
Support for legalizing marijuana tended to be stronger among younger, more liberal groups, according to Gallup. Legalization received 62 approval among those aged 18 to 29, but got only 31 percent approval among those 65 and older. Liberals were twice as likely as conservatives to favor legalizing marijuana.
In a release, Gallup writes: "When Gallup first asked about legalizing marijuana, in 1969, 12 percent of Americans favored it, while 84 percent were opposed. Support remained in the mid-20s in Gallup measures from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, but has crept up since, passing 30 percent in 2000 and 40 percent in 2009 before reaching the 50 percent level in this year's Oct. 6-9 annual Crime survey."
If the steady climb in public support for marijuana legalization continues at its current pace, politicians will soon have to address the laws that fly in the face of that movement in opinion.
The transatlantic cable, completed in August 1858, was the beginning of instantaneous communication, and hemp was there.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Our country has a history of growth and progress, from Pony Express letter to the iPhone call. Through the agricultural age to the industrial and straight into the technological age. Our citizens changing over time as new discoveries about our capabilities are made, we have gotten better at so many things, and yet continue to struggle in others.
The doctor group questions the medical value of pot and acknowledges some health risk from its use but urges it be regulated like alcohol. A law enforcement official harshly criticizes the new stance.
By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
The state's largest doctor group is calling for legalization of marijuana, even as it pronounces cannabis to be of questionable medical value.
Trustees of the California Medical Assn., which represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, adopted the position at their annual meeting in Anaheim late Friday. It is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization of the drug, according to a group spokeswoman, who said the larger membership was notified Saturday.
Dr. Donald Lyman, the Sacramento physician who wrote the group's new policy, attributed the shift to growing frustration over California's medical marijuana law, which permits cannabis use with a doctor's recommendation. That, he said, has created an untenable situation for physicians: deciding whether to give patients a substance that is illegal under federal law.
"It's an uncomfortable position for doctors," he said. "It is an open question whether cannabis is useful or not. That question can only be answered once it is legalized and more research is done. Then, and only then, can we know what it is useful for."
By Tim Johnson, Burlington Free Press
Vermont supporters of hemp received a boost Tuesday when U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., signed on as a co-sponsor of The Industrial Hemp Farming Act.
That measure, introduced five months ago in the House by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, would remove federal restrictions on the cultivation of hemp, a crop Paul calls a non-drug variety of cannabis grown for oilseed and fiber. Hemp and other varieties of cannabis are now classified as marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and cultivation of hemp in the United States is effectively banned, requiring a special permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Hemp is used to make a variety of products, including clothing, drinks, skin butters and auto parts. Virtually all the hemp used in products sold in the U.S. is grown in more than 30 other countries, including China and Canada. Unlike marijuana, according to the pro-hemp lobby, industrial hemp has a psychoactive content so low that it won't produce a high if smoked.
Vermont is one of nine states that has enacted legislation that would permit controlled hemp cultivation or research -- contingent on federal authorization, which the Paul bill would provide.
by Mike Wynn, The Courier-Journal
By Aaron Borton, Special to The Courier-Journal
By Tom Washington, Moscow News
Hemp could be back on the landscape as part of a $315 million project. "We have already assessed the costs, they stand at approximately 10 billion rubles," Viktor Ivanov, head of the Federal Drug Control Service, told Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
The State Anti-drug Committee will decide on Wednesday whether to allow the planting of hemp, currently prohibited in Russia. The country is currently one of the world's biggest importers of hemp fibers and oil.
He added that the funds could be raised "without cutting other important [budget] expenditures."
Russia is estimated to have at least 1 million hectares of illegal cannabis, planted mainly on the fringes of the country, in the Far East and Black Sea region. About 2,000 hectares are used to grow hemp.
The Federal Drug Control Service earlier said that a revival of hemp's industrial usage will help "to create new jobs and reduce social tensions in the regions, which are abundant with illegal wild cannabis."