Why Hemp Could Be The Future Of Plastics

This article was originally published on Benzinga, and updated for exclusive re-publication on HIGH TIMES.

Leslie Bocskor, investment banker and president of cannabis advisory firm Electrum Partners, is one of the most passionate people in the cannabis industry that Benzinga has come across. In a recent chat, the site’s Javier Hasse asked him to discuss a topic he was passionate about, an issue he found particularly interesting.

Bocskor recently became fascinated with hemp. Not cannabis, but good old-fashioned hemp, the kind that was used to make fabrics in the 19th century.

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Move Over Marijuana: Hemp Had a Good Year Too

More states than ever are opening up to industrial hemp.

Eight out of nine cannabis decriminalization ballot measures passing during the 2016 general election — it was a banner year for cannabis. But while pot puns proliferated in the headlines, marijuana’s botanical cousin saw decidedly less coverage.

Nonetheless, hemp had its milestones too: four states passed some sort of hemp-specific legislation in 2016, several hemp programs were enacted, and three out of four successful adult-use initiatives included hemp in their texts.

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FEELING IRIE ON DEMAND: Refined CBD topicals and tinctures

Irie tinctures contain a base of Hemp-derived CBD, reinforced with beneficial herbs and oils. Focusing on the healing and helpful properties of cannabinoids, Irie creates specific, effective products that are refined and easy to dose. Hemp seed oil, skullcap mint and curcumin from turmeric bolster the Pain Tincture and create a silky smooth drop that isn’t sticky or overly herbal.

Embracing the same holistic approach, their topicals combine hemp and complimentary ingredients to promote flexibility and healthy joint function. The entire Irie line features pleasing herbal scents, easy-to-read labels and intentional, no-nonsense ingredients. As this product is derived from hemp, it’s luckily available nationwide.

Additional info:

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San Diego Celebrates Hemp History Week

Many of the uses and benefits of hemp were on display at the International Cannabis University (ICU) in San Diego, California for a celebration of Hemp History Week. The event on June 4 also took advantage of the date (6/4) to celebrate recreational cannabis use, legalized with the passage of Prop. 64 (get it?!?) by California voters in 2016.

Dion Markgraaff, cannabis activist and organizer of the festivities, said the goal of the event was to educate the public on the sustainability and versatility of hemp.

“To me, the cannabis movement is an educational movement,” he said.

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South Carolina Quietly Legalizes Hemp Production

South Carolina really needed this: the state’s General Assembly recently legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp.

As local newspapers quickly explained the difference between hemp and its groovy cousin marijuana, state politicians and farmers jumped for joy.

“Any agricultural crop we can cultivate here and make a profit for our farmers, we should try,” said Republican State Senator Greg Hembree.

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Return of the Industrial Hemp Industry

Shaping the new hemp economy in America.

In 2012, Ryan Loflin, 41, had a successful business building designer homes from reclaimed barnwood. But in 2013, Loflin defied federal law and converted 55 acres of alfalfa on his family farm in southeastern Colorado into the first hemp field grown in the United States since cannabis prohibition began over 70 years ago.

“It’s all about job creation, that’s the whole point of this industry,” says Loflin, “To get small town America back to having jobs that are profitable. The end result in rural America is going to be pretty outstanding. It has so many uses… everything except glass can be made from hemp, it’s a special crop.”

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Hemp Ninja Training: Relaunching an American Industry

When you go from consumer to producer (of anything), your units of measure change. I’ve spent much of the past three years—in my customary role of comedic investigative journalist, camera crew in tow—surveying hemp farmers from Oregon to Kentucky. But in 2016, I became a hemp farmer. Which meant my shopping list grew from 16-ounce bottles of Nutiva hemp-seed oil to rodent-proof storage bins for two tons of hemp seed.

Even with my family’s considerable omega-3 needs, that’s an amount I would be hard-pressed to argue was for personal consumption. That’s because, along with 816 other licensed American farmer-entrepreneurs in 15 states (and counting), I’m trying to help birth an independent agricultural resurgence in the digital age—not while clutching a latte in a heated boardroom, but in an icy Vermont maple-sugar shack processing hemp that was planted from seed way back in the innocent spring of 2016.

And here’s the real reason why I’m grateful to shiver: The petrochemical era is winding down. It worked for a little while, if you don’t count a planet half-poisoned. But when the dinosaur juice we call oil no longer flows in viable quantities, we still have a shot at keeping the digital good life going. Visualize plants, fungi and algae providing everything from aerospace parts to car batteries. Actually, you don’t have to visualize: It’s already happening.

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EMBODIED ENERGY: Pamela Bosch and Her House of Hemp

Grandmother, artist and activist, Pamela Bosch, is rebuilding her Bellingham, Washington home using hemp, love of community and a spirit of ingenuity. She is a pioneer in America’s hemp-building movement, and an active player in the larger grassroots effort to improve the world, as Pamela puts it, “from the bottom up.”

Hemp HouseIn 2015, Pamela began researching hempcrete, a sustainable, non-toxic building material, made from mixing hemp hurd (the inner part of the stalk), lime and water. She traveled the world, networking and researching, then built a prototype outbuilding in her backyard. It’s an all-natural, breathable wall insulate that resists pests and mold and regulates humidity, with none of the off-gassing or harmful effects of common building materials.

I recently had a chance to meet Pamela and see her work in progress. We started in her living room—a cornucopia of guitars, hand drums, a piano, paintings and artist’s supplies. She showed me the plans for her renovation, then took me out back, past an old pickup truck with a forest mural painted on its sides, to her beautiful little hempcrete studio.

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NUTRITION, BATTERIES, AND BEER: Hemp—An Agricultural Game Changer

Getting you high is just about the only thing hemp can’t do.

Hemp, species cannabis sativa, is marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin. It’s a fast-growing, stalky plant with no more than 0.3 percent THC, the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. It can be grown in just about any climate, and enriches the soil as it’s grown. Additionally, it’s naturally resistant to disease and doesn’t require any chemicals, from fertilizer to weed killer, to thrive.

And, like this plant’s rich history, which dates back millennia, its uses are equally vast. From food to building materials and technology to textiles, this versatile plant may be one of the most useful on the planet. A 1938 issue of Popular Mechanics claimed it could be used to produce more than 25,000 products.

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America’s Hemp CBD Crop Arrives!

A gushing well of curative, CBD-rich hemp oil in Kentucky is bursting through federal prohibition.

Ninety-year-olds Glenna and Jake Graves sit in the living room of their family farmhouse in Lexington, Kentucky, a home they’ve built over 70 years together, surrounded by family who watch Glenna’s hands shake with the tremors of advanced age

“For the last 30 years or so, she’s had really bad tremors,” her son Andy Graves, 58, says. “Her hands shake all the time. In fact, she couldn’t hold a cup of water still if she tried.”

Read more at Cannabis Now