Hemp advocates turn up the volume
A 'hemcrete' house under construction in North Carolina.
Industrial hemp advocates will talk for hours about the strength and versatility of hemp fibers, the health benefits of its seed and the injustice being done to the Oregon and U.S. economies because the crop isn’t being grown domestically.
Last summer, Oregon became one of 16 states to legalize the growing of industrial hemp, but federal regulations require would-be farmers to get a permit from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to grow the crop.
The movement to legalize industrial hemp is making a national push this week to call attention to the crop’s long history in the United States — hemp was grown on the current site of the Pentagon and was used to make military products during World War II.
Hemp History Week comes to Portland on Tuesday with an event at the Bridgeport brewery in the Pearl District, a building that used to house a hemp rope factory.
David Madera, cofounder of Hemp Technologies of Asheville, N.C., is importing hemp from Canada and Europe to manufacture a carbon-neutral building material called "hemcrete." He is coming to Portland this week both to support the effort and to find a partner to build a hemcrete house in the Portland area.
"When I started looking at green building products, there was a lot of green-washing," Madera said. "A lot of it was petroleum-based."
Madera said hemcrete — hemp fibers combined with a lime-based binder — will continue to sequester carbon dioxide even after the building is built.
On the food side of the hemp business, Hans Fastre, CEO of Living Harvest Foods of Portland, said the legalization of hemp farming would increase his business’ gross margins by 10 percent.
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