Dakotah McGinlay: Get informed about hemp | SteamboatToday.com

Dakotah McGinlay: Get informed about hemp

Forget what your neighbors have told you.

Industrial hemp is like the productive cousin of marijuana. Innovation and creativity have pushed hemp into a market that extends from clothing to food and can even replace materials such as plastic and concrete.

If you can imagine the productivity of the marijuana industry, think about the byproducts of all that cannabis. As of legalities now, growers for marijuana must incinerate all their waste. No opportunity for compost or repurposing this extremely beneficial crop.

Replacing concrete with hempcrete is a sustainable option for our economy and environment. Hempcrete is here; it's a current technology that could be in your hand, on shelves, and fully biodegrading in our landfill. As we venture along the path to a sustainable future, these innovations are the vehicle that help us release the hold of our fossil fuel dependency.

Hemp Technology Collective evaluated that "hempcrete is estimated to sequester 110 kg per cubic meter (depending on transportation) which means large-scaled projects have the capabilities of drawing tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere. A ton of hempcrete is estimated to absorb and sequester an additional net ~249 kg of CO2 over 100 years."

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By redefining the cultural stigmas associated with hemp cultivation, we encourage a more cohesive awareness of the state of our production and consumption of harmful substances like plastic. Investigating the history of brings us into current dynamics of society in respect to who the market benefits and why certain laws and stigmas were created.

Industrialization of hemp could be enacted into the bills already in place that would incorporate production, medicinal and recreational purposes of the cannabis industry. Progress is being made, "the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015,” removes federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp" officially legalizing hemp. The issue still stands that hemp is portrayed poorly yet has incredible economic and environmental value.

We need to look at realistic options to move away from our unsustainable relationship with our one precious planet and entertain industrial hemp as a logical solution.

Licensed hemp farmer, Jeremy Stephen, built what he describes as "next generation houses" with hempcrete. He's getting off plastic and concrete, and he's doing it with hemp, i.e. cannabis, i.e. that subversive plant that we grew up learning how to say “no” to.

The U.S. imports $500 billion of hemp from Canada every year. Jeremy had to import his 55,000 pounds from a hemp producer in France, IsoCanna. He could have saved 20 percent if he sourced locally but the growth of hemp production in the U.S. has not developed to that scale just yet.

Production of hemp at an industrial level will require a larger infrastructure to help hemp compete with crops, harvesting of hemp and cannabis byproducts would need inexpensive yet economically structured for a sustainable, the end product must be evolved to perform adequately for the end use, and access to manufacturing technology.

Locally grown and distributed hemp products save time, money, and our environment. Jeremy Stephan began lobbying for a green light for hemp production and hopes to continue progressing this industry for the wide array of diverse functions. See this bright green breathable future with us.

Want to learn more or voice your opinion? Attend the Planning Commission public meeting at 6 p.m. May 18 at the Routt County Historic Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave. Steamboat Springs.

Dakotah McGinlay

Steamboat Springs