Welcome Doug Fine (DougFine.com) (Twitter) and Host Philip Munger (ProgressiveAlaska) (Twitter)

Hemp Bound: Dispatches From The Front Lines Of The Next Agricultural Evolution

Three of Doug Fine’s four books address aspects of agriculture. Farewell My Subaru introduces us to his Funky Butte Ranch in rural New Mexico, where he begins to learn to ranch and farm, to power his life with renewable energy, waste oil and homegrown food. Too High to Fail followed the odyssey of a cannabis plant to be used for a medical marijuana patient, from cloning to ingestion.

Hemp Bound introduces us to the renewed interest in industrial hemp agriculture, at the moment of its rebirth. In the author’s note at the beginning of the book, Fine celebrates recent passage of hemp-friendly legislation:

Hemp cultivation is about to become legal (and shortly thereafter, big) again in the United States. It started to happen while I was about halfway done with this book.

I’m just not used to winning big, important societal battles outright. It’s an astonishing no-brainer. And it directly affects my life.

The author looks at the many uses of this robust and important plant as a product for fabric, cordage, silage, edible seed and oil, fuel and even building material. Hemp was an important agricultural product in the American colonies and the USA before being banned in the 1930s, as the war on alcohol infrastructure morphed into the war on drugs bureaucracy that we remain shackled by. Briefly, during World War II, hemp agriculture was legalized and subsidized to further the American war efforts. Here is a WWII propaganda film on hemp cultivation:

Doug Fine’s enthusiasm about his books’ subject matter has always been contagious to me. He really believes in the importance of this agricultural commodity:

Turns out your Deadhead roommate was right. Sort of. It isn’t so much that hemp, useful as we’re about to see it is, will automatically save humanity. It’s that the worldwide industrial cannabis industry can play a major role in our species’ long-shot sustainable resource search and climate stabilization project. For that to happen, the plant must be exploited domestically in ways upon which the marketplace smiles. No pressure: We fail? We just go extinct. The Earth’ll be fine.

Hemp hands us a ninth-inning comeback opportunity. At the same time that it stimulates community-based economic growth on the producer side (and not a little bit, if a farm community is serious about implementing some of the ideas we’re about to discuss), large scale re-adaptation of one of humanity’s longest-utilized plants will provide sustainable energy, regionally produced food, and digital age industrial materials on the consumer end.

My favorite chapter of the book is titled “Grow Your Next House (or Factory or High-Rise or Office or School)”. Fine examines hemp as a building material. He visits North Dakota and Manitoba, two adjoining entities, comparing the vitality of the Canadian hemp industry to the frustration American farmers fell just miles to the south. “Hempcrete” is the name of the basic hemp-based plastic building material.

Hempcrete is inexpensive compared to concrete. It is a far better insulator. And – astoundingly – it eats carbon right out of the atmosphere. You read that right:

Okay, that emboldened me to ask about these carbon-negative claims. “The house eats carbon?” I asked. “Just cleans the atmosphere when you’re sitting in the living room doing a jigsaw puzzle with the fam?”

“It does,” Flavall said in a tone I’d describe as calm confidence. “First off, it’s 80 percent more energy-efficient than a regular build- ing—it costs twenty-five cents a square foot per month to heat and cool—which is a testament to the quality of hemp as a thermodynamic insulator. But in addition, the lime feeds on carbon dioxide as it [the lime] hardens over the course of years. It wants to go back to rock so it absorbs carbon from the air while making the house stronger. That house is going to last hundreds of years.”

“What about the houseplants?”

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t the houseplants need carbon dioxide?” I asked. “Does the lime steal it from them? People want to have houseplants.”

“The houseplants are fine,” Flavall assured me. “They just provide another carbon sink.”

Fine goes on to look at building projects and manufacturers in New Zealand and the UK. I’m not sure what the best use of hemp will be, once the barriers to research, development and true marketing in the USA finally come tumbling down over the next couple of years, but hempcrete and other building material possibilities strike me as an incredibly wide open field. Doug Fine:

Construction, in other words, is going to be the first domestic hemp fiber breakout market. Steve Levine, CFO of the Hemp Industries Association trade group and a fellow who’s been selling hemp products in the United States since 1997, said he has little doubt that hempcrete will be the first dual-cropping sector to explode.

“If I were a venture capitalist with ten million in play, I’d invest in building materials,” he said. “Once there are processing plants Stateside, once Kentucky and Southern California are growing industrial cannabis, the battle is mostly won and we’ll see exponential growth.”

Other important sections of the book are on Canadian research into hemp as a replacement in vehicles for petroleum-based plastics, hemp-based biofuels, hemp as a replacement for coal, hemp research subsidization by foreign governments, and the vast differences between other countries’ governments support of hemp as opposed to our incredibly stupid regulation of it (at least up until very recently). He looks into Big Ag’s interest in hemp, already doing research before the Feds started to change course earlier this year.

As in his other books, Doug Fine has a gift for showing the individuality and personality of those he encounters or interviews. His portrait of David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s (whose peppermint soap has been on our bathtub shelf since the 1960s!) is worth the price of the book:

The thirty-eight-year-old Bronner, when I emailed him a few follow-up questions to a recent phone call, was in Washington State fighting GMOs. He’s also led a legal charge against greenwashing body care companies that dangerously call their products “natural.” Not only that, Bronner is an American agricultural patriot. Eager to reduce the twenty tons of Canadian hemp seed oil the company imports annually, Bronner told me in February 2013 that the company is “financing a project to collect and develop cultivars for American latitudes and soil.” Six months later, as we’ll see in a little while, I visited that project.

If all that weren’t enough, the reason Bronner added hemp to the family recipe in 1999 was pure performance: “It makes a better emol- lient,” he told me. “Less skin-drying.” At the same time the hemp went in, caramel coloring, in Bronner’s view the sole unnecessary ingredient in the soap, went out. This was, in the end, an artisan soap maker improving the generations-old family product. As a before-and-after patron who washes my kids in the stuff, I can attest that the hemp version is demonstrably superior. You no longer need to dilute it before using it on children’s skin. The point is, Bronner didn’t add hemp as a political gesture. He added it as a customer service move.

Please join me in welcoming author Doug Fine back to the Firedoglake Book Salon.

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

96 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Doug Fine, Hemp Bound: Dispatches From The Front Lines Of The Next Agricultural Evolution”

BevW June 1st, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Doug, ET, Welcome back to the Lake.

ET, thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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dakine01 June 1st, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon Doug and welcome back to Firedoglake this afternoon. Good afternoon Phil!

Doug, I have not read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but do you think the Medical Marijuana movement and overall legalization movement help or hinder the move for hemp production?

Why do you think there is so much resistance to hemp production given the historical uses over they years?

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Thanks, Bev. I’m really glad to welcome you back here, Doug. You write, at the start of the book that a delay in printing allowed you to add material about the changing poetical climate – not just in states like Kentucky and Colorado – but at the Federal level, with Congress coming much further than Ron Paul and Barney Frank were able to six years ago. You wrote:

It’s not an exaggeration to say that in humanity’s eight-thousand- year relationship with the hemp plant, this past year has been the most impactful one since the first Paleolithic hunter with blistered feet noticed that hemp’s fibers made a stronger sandal than the leading brand. We saw Kentucky’s passage of hemp (also called
industrial cannabis) legislation and the Colorado legislature’s near-unanimous approval of commercial hemp cultivation in time for the 2014 planting season1 (making ten states that have in some form allowed cultivation, including North Dakota and Vermont).

Most important, the U.S. Congress, as I send this book to my publisher, is also poised to re-legalize domestic hemp cultivation without the necessity of federal approval for the first time since 1937.2 The federal drug war is the last impediment to U.S. farm- ers and entrepreneurs benefiting from what we’ll see is already a half-billion-dollar hemp industry in Canada.

What has changed in the weeks since you wrote that?

Elliott June 1st, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Good Afternoon!

Welcome Back

You are just the person to promote hemp

What’s the most surprising thing you found it used for?

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Thanks for that and great to be back on FDL. To answer the second question first, I don’t think there is any more resistance. Congress passed an amendment last prohibiting federal law enforcement agencies from stopping the import of hemp seeds. We the people have one this one.

On your first question, overall cannabis legalization has surprised everyone by helping hemp. One clear example was the fact that hemp was included in Colorado’s Amendment 64 (that legalized all cannabis including, explicitly, hemp), and now Colorado has a head start over the rest of the nation in the resurrection of our once world-leading hemp industry.

CTuttle June 1st, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Aloha, Doug and Philip…! I loved the book, Doug, it is an engaging and quick read…!

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:05 pm

I would like to remind or inform readers of this salon today that Firedoglake needs your financial support to continue – among a host of things – these book salons. Please donate today, even if it is very little. Everything helps.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:08 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 3

Let’s start with what’s changed in the past few days. After Customs officials seized, at the request of DEA officials, Italian hemp seed that Kentucky State Ag officials planned to use in accordance with federal law, Congress banned such seizures as part of the DEA’s funding bill. The big leap forward was this Feb’s Farm Bill, which brought back hemp for research purposes. Next up is S.359, which puts hemp where it belongs: back unfder the USDA and our of the Controlled Substances Act.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I just cleaned the house this morning, listening to another one of the talks you have given on the book. Mostly ammonia and scrubbing, but also Dr. Bonner’s hemp-based soap on a sponge.

CTuttle June 1st, 2014 at 2:08 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 5

Late Friday nite, the House actually passed a bill barring the DEA from going after the Medical Weed Pharmacies…! ;-)

dakine01 June 1st, 2014 at 2:09 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 5

As a technical note, there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the comment number and commenter name being replied to and makes it easier for folks to follow the conversation.

Note: some browsers do not like to let the Reply function correctly it is pressed after a hard page refresh but before the page completes loading

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:09 pm
In response to Elliott @ 4

Anything plastic can do hemp can do better (performance wise) cheaper, and in a manner kinder to the planet and thus our future. So aerospace components, 3-d printing, construction: hemp wins. Also diapers (versus cotton).

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:09 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 9

Whoo hoo! Works great, don’t it?

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:10 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 6

Gracias! I hope a lot of universities will use it as an all-class read: as you say, not too heavy to carry or read, and on a timely and important topic that college students will find cool and relevant in their lives.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:10 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 8

Here’s the lawsuit Doug is referring to:

May 16, 2014 – Kentucky’s lawsuit to force the federal government to release 250 pounds of seized industrial hemp seeds was heard in U.S. District Court in Louisville Friday. Without ruling on the merits of the case, Senior Judge John G. Heyburn scheduled a hearing set for next Wednesday, May 21.

Based on U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration assurances that applying for a controlled substance import permit will not create any restrictions on planting industrial hemp research plots in the state, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is applying for an import permit.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is going ahead with both the court case and the import permit because he considers it urgent to get the seed planted immediately. As stated in Kentucky’s lawsuit seeking release of the seeds, it is important to plant Kentucky’s research plots by June 1 at the very latest because “every day that passes without the pilot programs being initiated is likely to reduce the probability of a viable industrial hemp crop being produced.”

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:11 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 10

That too. Per my previous book, Too High to Fail’s prediction that the War on Cannabis will be over within five years.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:13 pm

And here’s a story out of Colorado from April:

April 23, 2014 – In a further step forward for industrial hemp, the Colorado Senate voted 35-0 Wednesday to approve an expanded program for growing industrial hemp in the state. The bill now moves to the Colorado House for what is expected to be swift approval there.

The revised legislation removes two previous restrictions which had placed a 10-acre limit for registered individual hemp growers and required plots to be outdoors.

The amended bill also removes the requirement that growers must sign up by May 1 each year, instead simply requiring registration with the Colorado Department of Agriculture “prior to planting.”

To differentiate industrial hemp from its psychoactive cousin marijuana, the Colorado legislation specifies that industrial hemp is “a plant of the genus cannabis and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent on a dry weight basis.”

CTuttle June 1st, 2014 at 2:15 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 12

Speaking of 3D printing, I think that they’re the latest tech revolution and hemp pellets are the perfect material to craft all our needs and wants…! ;-)

Edit: In our own home shops/garages…!

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:15 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 16

It looks like our Alaska voters’ initiative on legalizing recreational cannabis has about a 50%-50% chance. A far better written bio than last time. Unfortunately, a longtime friend, Deborah Williams, is heading up the efforts to defeat it. She is an effective grassroots (no pun intended) organizer.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:16 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 17

Colorado’s agriculture department, per state regulations approved earlier this year, approved commercial (not just research) cultivation permits totaling at least 1,600 acres this season. Hemp is once again growing in American soil. And Colorado officials were smart to do it: Canadian farmers are profiting to the tune of $300 per acre for hemp (they grow it in Canada for the oil, which is a nutritive superfood). This is three to ten times more than farmers make for the GMO cycle corn, wheat soy crops.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:17 pm

One of the many things I learned reading Hemp Bound was that the action of the lime in the hempcrete mix, as it cures, leaches CO2 from the air and sequesters it. That is almost startling.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:18 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 19

Go Alaska! We need states to keep legalizing a) to get federal legalization happening, b) for the public safety of our children, and c) to hurt organized crime. Oregon looks good for ’14 too, with a slew of states legalizing in ’16. We (the people) win.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:19 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 21

Hempcrete, which is the mixing of hemp fiber with lime or other natural, sustainable binders, also out performs pink fiberglass insulation.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:19 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 20

How quickly is Canada adding hemp acreage? Is there a really good Canadian hemp trade group web site that allows you to track how the industry is growing, innovating, maturing?

Elliott June 1st, 2014 at 2:22 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 12

oo I like this

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:24 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 24

Canada’s industry is growing 24% per year, according to the Canadian Industrial Hemp Association. Those blessed Canadians prophylactically banned GMO hemp when the re-started their own (now billion-dollar) industry in 1998. We should do the same, and then replacing amber waves of GMO grain with waving green hands of industrial hemp is win win, not just for food and industrial fiber uses, but for energy. And even an inevitable McHemp sandwich. It’s very important as consumers to buy organic hemp as, being a bridge crop with a short growing season, otherwise GMO crops and associated pesticides can be grown on the same land during the rest of the growing season. Canada, by the way, can’t keep up with U.S. market demand for hemp seed oil. In HEMP BOUND I speak with seed oil processors who can hardly wait to for American farmers start growing again.

greenwarrior June 1st, 2014 at 2:25 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 23

Are the hempcrete blocks like concrete blocks? Are you saying that hempcrete blocks insulate so well that fiberglass insulation isn’t needed? Or that you can make hempcrete blocks and also hempcrete insulation material?

Are hempcrete blocks lighter than concrete blocks?

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:26 pm

This info from the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance:

As with many new crops, there has been considerable fluctuation of production acreage. In 2003, over 2700 hectares (6700 acres) were grown across Canada , mostly concentrated on the Prairies. In 2013 there are 66,671 acres licensed for cultivation. Hemp has been grown with success from coast–to–coast.

How many acres of GMO corn are being currently grown in the USA, I wonder? Also, have there been any developments you’ve tracked since publication of any pushes for GMO hemp?

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:27 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 27

I’m sure Dug will reply too, but I think you will get a string of “Yesses.”

bigbrother June 1st, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Can you speak to hemp’s potential as a biofuel
Hemp is easy to grow without much bug enemies.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Doug,

You’ve had a comfortable writing style in all four of your books. This one, however, seems to have a level of description of the people you introduce in the chapters or in the embedded capsule bios that is complex and nuanced, yet lively. You’re getting to be a damn good writer. What’s next?

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:30 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 27

Hempcrete was first used for insulation (hence the study comparisons in R-Value documented in HEMP BOUND). But now it’s being used in different ratios for load bearing structures and even sound proofing. The British Marks and Spenser department store built a huge flagship store out of hempcrete because of its energy efficiency. Builders I interviewed say it mixes up ‘light and airy’, and requires a lot less energy on site than the materials that have been used for the past half century.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:31 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 31

World peace. Nonfiction: privacy in the surveillance era. Fiction: a man whose TBI gives him interesting powers. Film: a comedy, an adventure and a love story.

bigbrother June 1st, 2014 at 2:33 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 32

Hemp as biofuel? Please expand on that. It sequesters carbon for climate protection.

greenwarrior June 1st, 2014 at 2:33 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 32

That sounds supremely versatile. How does it respond to getting wet or damp? I seem to remember that being an issue with straw bale houses.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:34 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 30

In HEMP BOUND I take a hemp-powered biodiesel limo ride, but I believe the first and big energy use will be in the utility realm: biomass gasification as places like Feldheim, Germany are doing with their farm waste.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Here’s an example of what I meant in #31 above. Part of his capsule description of Don Wirtshafter, an Ohio hemp entrepreneur:

First, there was local history, which he’d researched heavily. “The first cash crop of any kind in my area was Joshua Wyatt, in 1727,” he told me. “He took twenty-seven bales of hemp up the Ohio River without a boat. He made rafts of it and sold it to the river boating industry for rope.

Industrial cannabis was so important to the Buckeye State by the nineteenth century, the sixty-two-year-old Wirtshafter said, that “Ohio State University’s trustees allowed tuition be paid in hemp.” In my own research, I found references to “broad expanses of well-shaped fields of hemp” from the 1820s and 1830s that were inspected and praised by U.S. hemp agents and sent to local processors. [emphases added]

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:36 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 35

In Canadian studies, hempcrete is proving mildew as well as cold resistant. Hawaii is studying it for termite resistance. But the real challenge, as documented in HEMP BOUND is going to be updating building codes to allow for biomaterials like hemp. Sigh. Bureaucracy.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:38 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 37

Thanks, brother. I do work hard at trying to have a good “at bat” with every project. As hard as raising human and goat kids allow.

spocko June 1st, 2014 at 2:39 pm

It’s very important as consumers to buy organic hemp as, being a bridge crop with a short growing season, otherwise GMO crops and associated pesticides can be grown on the same land during the rest of the growing season

Does Monsanto have GMO hemp seeds they want to sell? How will the sellers of non-organic chemicals want to beat down organic crops? What will they do legally and financially to attack organic hemp?

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Here’s another gem:

Back in the waiting American fields—the millions of ready-for-hemp acres in North Dakota, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin, Oregon, California, and Colorado, to name a few states with either significant historic harvests or modern hemp- friendly laws—the inability to capitalize domestically on these market forces is intolerably stifling.

With the tide turning their way, some farmers aren’t waiting. Coloradans explicitly legalized industrial cannabis farming in the same 2012 election that permitted adult social use of psychoactive cannabis. As many as two dozen farmers in the Rocky Mountain State planted hemp in the spring of 2013. One of them, fifth-gener- ation Colorado rancher Michael Bowman, told me he’s quite willing to be a test case, on the agricultural side and the legal side.

“We can eat it, wear it, and slather it on our bodies, but we can’t grow it?” posited Bowman, whose Aw shucks, I don’t know better than anyone else, I’m just tryin’ to do what’s right humility belies both his political savvy and his ranching know-how. “That’s inexcusable. It’s shameful. Do our federal drug squads really want to raid a longtime family rancher for growing the fiber the Declaration of Independence was drafted on?

greenwarrior June 1st, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Do you think TX will be dead last in approving industrial hemp? Or do you think the good old boys here will recognize it as good for bidness?

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:41 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 39

How is the family and the Funky Butte ranch doing? Also, could you talk about the Mother Earth News event you gave a workshop at yesterday in Puyallup, Washington?

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:44 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 42

That’s a good question. One thing Doug brings up in the book and in some of his lectures on this subject is how many libertarians and nominal conservatives are very enthusiastic about and supportive of bringing down the last barriers to full-scale industrial hemp industry and agriculture in the USA.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:44 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 42

Texas is actually looking good. I just did a HEMP BOUND event at Rice U’s Baker Institute and there’s the same lack of opposition to hemp (and all cannabis) in Texas as there is everywhere else. Notice no vocal opposition to last week’s hemp and medical cannabis advances in Congress. Plus Kinky Friedman is running of Ag Commish on a platform of cannabis and hemp.

greenwarrior June 1st, 2014 at 2:44 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 42

Are conditions in the south amenable to growing hemp? What kind of level of water does it use compared to other crops? That’s important here vis a vis the drought.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:45 pm
In response to spocko @ 40

No GMO hemp seeds yet but we must defend against it. BTW, if you look at Canada’s official ag pages, the farmer rec. on hemp under pesticides is “none needed.”

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:45 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 45

Plus Kinky Friedman is running of Ag Commish on a platform of cannabis and hemp.

LOL. Is Willy Nelson his campaign manager?

CTuttle June 1st, 2014 at 2:45 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 38

Sigh. Bureaucracy.

Hawaii County Council has repeatedly rebuffed our efforts to adopt sustainable materials(bamboo, hemp, etc) into our County Building Code, largely due to the pushback($) from the Contractors/Builders…! 8-(

greenwarrior June 1st, 2014 at 2:46 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 45

Kinky is forwarding the conversation. However, the Republican will win.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:47 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 43

All is lovely on the Funky Butte Ranch – milking goats and waiting for Monsoon season. Last year a 150,000 acre wildfire spurred a refugee bear to attack the herd, but all is excellent this year. Still in Puyallup, actually: an honor to speak alongside people Joal Salatin and Toby Hemenway.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:48 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 49

Keep fighting. We won the Drug Peace, we can triumph on building codes.

CTuttle June 1st, 2014 at 2:49 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 48

I like the Willie blurb on the front cover: “A blueprint for the America of the future.” ;-)

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:50 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 49

largely due to the pushback($) from the Contractors/Builders…! 8-(

Hmmmm….. maybe pay them off with Slovenian greenbacks:

SLOVENIA grows hemp and manufactures currency paper.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:50 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 46

There are hemp cultivars appropriate for all ecosystems except Antarctica. To me, one of the most important parts of HEMP BOUND is when modern hemp pioneer Ryan Loflin proved to his conservative E. Colorado neighbors that hemp takes half the water that the previous year’s wheat crop did. Huge news from Arkansas to Zambia.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:52 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 53

OMG, the man Tweeted Thursday that HEMP BOUND is “the best book of the year.” Still pinching myself.

greenwarrior June 1st, 2014 at 2:55 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 55

That’s outstanding.

The hemp clothing I’d seen some years back was pretty scratchy and rough feeling. Has that changed?

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:55 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 46

Here’s a link to a list of countries that grow hemp, with notes on some of their particular uses. They cover every climate zone. The places in Alaska which are most often mentioned for possible hemp agriculture are Delta, on the Tanana River, way up in the interior, and near where I live, in the lower Susitna River farming area of Pt. McKenzie-Goose Bay.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 2:57 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 57

That has changed. Christmas shopping in Haight-Ashbury last December, my wife and daughter found some very delicate, even gossamer hemp shirts and scarves.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 2:59 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 57

This is in interesting topic to me because my girlfriend makes a lot of my clothing, out of hemp of course. In the industry, hemp softness is known as “hand” and China is ahead. But I think American ingenuity will result in a revival that re-opens, for instance, closed S. Carolina textile factories. But soft hemp is not new: at the Hemp Museum in Amsterdam I touched hemp clothing from the 18th century that was soft as silk.

CTuttle June 1st, 2014 at 3:01 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 51

Speaking of Eastern Washington, I’d seen reports that hemp was an ideal remediator for radioactive waste sites, have you heard anything about it Doug…?

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:02 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 58

Canada also lists approved cultivars. I think in the States we’ll likely see new cultivars that blend these with what you might call Darwin’s cultivars: the ditch weed that’s survived 77 years of prohibition. HEMP BOUND recounts the story of the tragic loss of the Kentucky hemp seed germplasm, once the envy of the world.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 3:03 pm

But I think American ingenuity will result in a revival that re-opens, for instance, closed S. Carolina textile factories.

That is such an important point. In Too High to Fail, you were able to portray some of the Feds fighting the war on drugs as absurdly out of touch. Failing to revitalize waning American industry is just as bad, possibly worse. So many of the applications of hemp you write about would create industrial revivals. Your fervor about this is not at all misplaced, Doug.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:03 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 61

Like many plants, hemp can leach toxics from soil and was used around the Chernobyl disaster. But its key phytoremediating quality is foot long taproots that vitally aerate soil and provide unrivaled erosion control.

greenwarrior June 1st, 2014 at 3:03 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 58

Poland has demonstrated that hemp will clean soils contaminated by heavy metals. I wonder if it could be used to clean soils of radioactive materials. That would come in handy in a few places these days.

greenwarrior June 1st, 2014 at 3:04 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 59

That’s great to know.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 3:14 pm

One aspect of hemp marketing, in present and future, that Doug brings out in his portrait of David Bronner, of Dr. Bronner’s soap, is that hemp is a natural for organic and earth-friendly product marketing for a number of reasons:

Bronner didn’t add hemp as a political gesture. He added it as a customer service move.
This is a company model America can get behind. Not just because it’s righteous and so much less evil than, say, some satellite dish companies or banks I could name, but because it reflects values that are good for America’s economic and spiritual future.

Consumers today associate hemp with concepts like admirable ideals, healthy cooking, and the world’s strongest rope. Ask Arm & Hammer if it’s important that we associate baking soda with non- toxic freshness at an affordable price. Good reputation is bankable in a cynical age. So you might say Bronner and Co. are enjoying karmic payback for fighting to institutionalize industrial hemp in the United States.

The bottom-line benefits of this “Don’t Just Not Be Evil, Be Actively Good” brand are not just my opinion. The 2002 paper out of Purdue University that called hemp a “camp follower” plant also concludes that hemp is “pre-adapted to organic agriculture, and accordingly to the growing market for products associated with environmentally-friendly, sustainable production. Hemp products are an advertiser’s dream.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:22 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 67

The Hemp Brand is an extremely valuable asset, from a bottom-line marketing standpoint. Thank God it’s also going to be a key part of humanity’s climate change mitigation strategy.

CTuttle June 1st, 2014 at 3:24 pm

In the book you talk ethusiastically about Gasification, Doug, here’s an Al Jazeera report on All Power Labs’ individual units…! They utilize walnut shells in it, but, the units seems to be be pricey at about 30K for one to power up a home or jobsite…! Any thoughts about them…?

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 3:27 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 68

It is like there is no down side to reviving hemp agriculture here. I’ll admit I was skeptical about your overt enthusiasm for this as I started reading. But you didn’t just convince me, you sold me 100%.

I couldn’t find anything on reviving hemp rope for marine uses in the book. Maybe I missed it, though. I started commercial fishing in Alaska in 1973, and there was no hemp fishing line or hemp rope for mooring, towing or rigging. Almost everything was and is nylon or polypropylene. Will that possibly change? At one time hemp was almost the exclusive maritime cordage.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:32 pm

There are a few caveats to consider: first, current high prices for farmers are no guarantee of future high prices. On the fiber side, hemp, as the book documents, can be challenging to harvest until a learning curve is scaled. And after harvest, the options are retting (a risky two week fungal battle to soften the outer bark) or decortication (expensive). As for rope, it’s the reason the USDA made the “Hemp For Victory”film during World War Two. Hemp prohibition didn’t get off to a great start after the Japanese captured the new source (Philippines): note the Drug War was already shipping jobs offshore. We will indeed see a return to domestic hemp rope production soon, once again for performance reasons.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 3:36 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 71

Good. The last hemp rope I remember dealing with was when I was in 9th grade. Our Boy Scout troop was raising money for a hike through the Olympic Mountains (up the Elwha River, down the Quinalt) by re-tying 30-foot lengths of “manila” for the longshoremen’s union. We got a dime per 30-foot length coiled. I must have coiled 1,000 of them or more.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:38 pm

You can (and I often do) get Romanian-grown hemp twine even at chain stores. I use it for staking tomatoes and grapes.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 3:41 pm

I love your quote from experimental hemp farmer Ryan Loflin in the last section of the book: “Farming is farming.”

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:42 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 74

Yeah, hemp grows like a weed but that doesn’t mean it’s a no brainer to be a commercial farmer. Of anything.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 3:43 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 73

I’ll get some soon. My Stupice tomatoes (my own 11th generation seed from Romanian heirlooms) are almost six feet high already, because of how hot my greenhouse got in our record April and May temperatures. They may reach the roof this year, and will need to be harnessed a good bit. Already some are about the size of a half dollar.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:44 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 75

I should add that at nearly every HEMP BOUND live event so far someone has told me they have an entrepreneurial idea like providing the gasification units discussed in the book to community owned processors.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:44 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 76

Yum.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 3:46 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 78

When you return to Alaska, we’ll share some.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 3:46 pm
In response to BevW @ 79

Thanks, Bev.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:46 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 80

Deal.

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Any thoughts on the continuing process for legal recreational cannabis, before we close out for today, Doug? I’ve shared Too High to Fail with about a dozen people now (I’ve got two copies). Everyone finished it within a few days. A student even finished it quickly, and then asked for five more days for his term paper deadline.

BevW June 1st, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Doug, are there any allergies to hemp?

BevW June 1st, 2014 at 3:52 pm

As we come to the last minutes of this great Book Salon discussion. Any last thoughts?

Doug, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, and what our future is with hemp.

ET, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information: Doug’s website/books and Twitter. ET’s website and Twitter.

NOTE: There will be no Book Salons next week.

Thanks all, Have a great week. If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 3:52 pm
In response to BevW @ 84

As a cloth, it supposedly “allergen-free.”

Elliott June 1st, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I’m with Willie Nelson, great book! Good luck on the tour.

Thanks to both of you

and as always BevW

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:54 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 83

Wow, fantastic and much appreciated. The nationwide support for allowing states to regulate cannabis something like alcohol is increasing so fast that I believe we’ll see cannabis removed from the Controlled Substances Act within three years. I’m now working on updating international drug law to allow this as well — here’s some testimony I gave about this at the United Nations last month: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJxCWP8SmvM

homeroid June 1st, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Doug thanks for this info. Could hemp crete be sprayed as an insulating layer on or in existing structures.

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:54 pm
In response to Elliott @ 87

Thanks so much!

Doug Fine June 1st, 2014 at 3:55 pm
In response to homeroid @ 89

Yes! There are applications being developed along those lines in British Columbia as mentioned in HEMP BOUND.

karenjj2 June 1st, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Thank you for your visit here at the lake, Doug, and for your truly wonderful book — as in full of wonder at all the answers provided by hemp that may at last be realized.

A very enjoyable Salon. Kudos to ET and BevW, too!

CTuttle June 1st, 2014 at 3:57 pm
In response to Doug Fine @ 77

You mention Pacific Biodiesel in the book, Doug, recently they’ve expanded their Keaau facilities and now have State and County contracts to fuel their diesel fleets…! Ironically, HEI, our State power monopoly was pushing to build a large-scale gasification plant in Pahala, utilizing all of the fallow Ka’u Sugar canefields, but, planting GMO Sorghum…! Fortunately, we stopped that GMO bullsh*t in it’s tracks…! ;-)

CTuttle June 1st, 2014 at 4:00 pm
In response to BevW @ 85

Mahalo Nui Loa, Doug, Philip, and Bev for another awesome Book Salon…! *g*

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 4:00 pm
In response to karenjj2 @ 92

Thanks, karenjj2. Working on reading and appraising Doug’s books isn’t actually work.

Thanks, Bev, for all you do here. FDL lucked out in snagging you for this important niche. Hope to have dinner with you again in Seattle. Next time, I’ll take you to Poppy!

EdwardTeller June 1st, 2014 at 4:01 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 93

I remember reading a bit on that. God, do I hate the GMO cult!

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