October 13, 2021 08:00 am ETEstimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
An Idaho-based hemp business called Hempitecture has caught the eye of the U.S. federal government. While the notoriously anti-cannabis state has tried to place a constitutional ban on cannabis, the state’s industrial hemp industry is excelling. Catching the eye of the government when dealing with cannabis is often a bad thing, but for the company’s COO, Tommy Gibbons, the attention resulted in an award of $90,000 for research into a hemp product his business produces.
The product in question is called HempWool, high-performance nontoxic insulation that offers a minimal carbon footprint and strong thermal resistance. Gibbons told media sources, “The Department of Energy is interested in the decarbonization potential of insulation and other building materials made from hemp fibers.”
Hemp: The New Billion-Dollar Crop
Industrial hemp is an amazing product. This is not new news. The only thing new about it is that this news is finally beginning to resurface after decades of cannabis propaganda and prohibition. Elected representatives with private interests have allowed other industries, such as cotton, to flourish while keeping as much dirt thrown over the hemp industry as possible. What they didn’t expect was that all that dirt would eventually cultivate a forest that would outgrow the lies of the government.
In February 1938, the magazine Popular Mechanics published an article titled “New Billion-Dollar Crop” that explored the vast potential of industrial hemp. Sadly, federal cannabis prohibition kicked off in 1937. As part of the cannabis family, hemp found itself banned as well. Or was it? In 1942—the midst of World War II—the federal government called on American farmers to do their part by cultivating hemp for the war effort.
To get the message out, the government made a film (that it buried and denied making for many years after) titled “Hemp for Victory” that explored the many uses of hemp that were known at the time. Industrial hemp practically grows itself. It doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers, and it helps replenish and repair damaged soil and air around it. Industrial hemp also has some of the longest and strongest plant fibers on the planet, making it usable for food, fuel, building materials, medicine, and more.
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Cotton’s Rise to Fame
Yet, for some reason, cotton replaced industrial hemp and became the fabric of our lives. A quick search on the cultivation of cotton reveals all kinds of major red flags: water quality and quantity issues, the use of excessive fertilizers and pesticides, soil depletion, and more.
To play the devil’s advocate, hemp isn’t free from concerns either. Hemp cultivators must ensure their plants meet the requirement of having 0.3% THC or less, special machinery is needed for the processing of hemp, and hemp how is commonly mistaken for recreational or medicinal cannabis plants and stolen. However, most of these concerns don’t compare to those of cotton.
So, why was it that industrial hemp was replaced by cotton and other materials? It all boils down to a misinformed government with private agendas, as opposed to having anything to do with the plants themselves. In fact, clothing made with non-organic cotton is often rife with toxins like weed killers, defoliants, pesticides, and formaldehyde by the time it hits store shelves, which is just one reason to question the use of cotton.
A Sustainable Future With Hemp
With its wide range of applications and impressive characteristics, hemp could be a game-changer for the world. Its strong fibers are resistant to pests, fire, mold, and mildew, and the crop leaves behind an extremely minimal carbon footprint. Hemp supporters are even actively researching ways to make hemp even better, such as how to process it effectively without creating waste. Other industry leaders are addressing the hemp waste that already exists.
Hempitecture is exploring ways to manufacture onshore insulation from the waste of American hemp farmers. In a description of the project, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says, “An emphasis on healthy and low carbon building materials has sparked a search for solutions from consumers and government to rebuild better infrastructure and reduce the massive footprint of the built environment.”
The DOE’s commitment to finding better options for America’s infrastructure is apparent with its support of Hempitecture and the research the company is conducting. Research into using hemp waste for everything from insulation to sweetener production has begun, and companies like Hempitecture are leading the charge. Hempitecture is currently exploring ways to improve upon the fire resistance and the insulating value of HempWool. Check out the company’s website to learn more.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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