My Comments to USDA Regarding the Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program

My Comments to USDA Regarding the Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program

Introduction

These comments are in reference to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program interim final rule, Docket no. AMS-SC-19-0042.

I am Richard Rose of The Richard Rose Report. Starting in 1994 I was the first to introduce sophisticated branded dry, perishable and frozen foods based on hempseed, after pivoting from a 14-year award-winning career in soy-based foods. Shelled hempseed, the product I pioneered in the US and Canada, is now 90% of Canadian hemp. In 2000 I co-wrote The HempNut Health and Cookbook and in 2004 The HempNut Cookbook. With 40,000 followers on social media, I’ve given advice to thousands of farmers, processors, entrepreneurs, and regulators regarding hemp since 2014. It is that experience which informs these comments.

America’s Hemp Legacy

As you know, hemp’s legacy in America exceeds even the founding of the nation, starting in 1632 in Virginia where it was once mandatory. The Founding Fathers grew it as a cash and fiber crop, the War of 1812 was about supplies of it, and the esteemed work of Dr Lyster Dewey illuminated it. USDA’s Hemp for Victory campaign during the war was the pinnacle of hemp’s crucial importance in service to the nation.  

Responding to market demands, much of today’s hemp would be unrecognizable to Dr Dewey. While hemp became a proxy in the war against marijuana for decades, marijuana is now legal in some form in 47 of the 50 states. Hemp medicines have been approved by FDA, and hempseed foods are GRAS. Descheduled by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, hemp is no longer a drug diversion threat requiring excess regulation as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Hemp has the potential to improve family farms, the soil, industry, and sustainability, and has already been the reason many sons and daughters have returned to the farm. Hemp flower products can improve wellness and nutrition, and will someday be as ubiquitous as soybean in the domestic food production system. Hemp products will desalinate water, store energy, and make sheets of carbon fiber and plastic. Starting in 2010 the hemp cannabinoid cannabidiol re-invigorated the US hemp industry, and many new varieties were certified. Smokable hemp has the potential to be just as important of a product segment. Hemp has captured the agriculture and processing community’s interest, reinvigorating a new generation.

This opportunity is a momentous time in our country’s history. It couldn’t have come at a better time, the hemp industry grew fast but was mostly imported; it can now be supplied domestically. The CBD market grew 600% last year and for the first time hemp products are in retail chains. 

Congressional Changes

Request Congress raise maximum THC to 1%, as hemp is no longer a diversion source; especially with today’s higher CBD content, and especially in the 47 marijuana-legal states. Maximum THC for hemp is 1% in Switzerland, Australia, and most tropical countries.

Request Congress to allow “felon rehabilitation” programs, and support it with targeted grants. Congress’ unfortunate ban of only drug felons from hemp farming falls hardest on minorities, the poor, caregivers and their patients. 

Institutional Knowledge

In the spirit of Dr Dewey (1865-1944), hire several Agronomists with established experience in hemp. Many farms and state programs will be looking to USDA for answers to common questions and emerging problems.

Policy

End USDA and state program jurisdiction upon harvest of the plant.

Encourage farms to use hemp for decortication, animal bedding, fuel, building materials, phytoremediation of soil, and erosion control by not testing for delta-9 THC since there is no intent to harvest or produce flower products. 

Encourage regional co-ops for value-added processing to give farmers more control and higher returns. Empower contractors but give farmers leverage and the right to sell their crop to whomever they want.

Give farmers tools to find, sell to, contract with, and collect from buyers. Allow farm stands, retail sales of hemp farm products. Encourage field trials in year one for new farmers.

Designate Cannabis and hemp co-ops as “agricultural institutions” and allow them to submit plans directly to USDA, bypassing the state.

Encourage farms within twenty miles of other hemp or marijuana farms to develop responsible pollen and fiber/biomass management plans. 

Encourage hemp product exports and foreign marketing. Establish insurance, crop quality, and water programs. Offer development and R&D grants. 

Allow use of analytical laboratories by farmers and the general public, in order to test hemp product quality and compliance. 

Minor technical violations of the program should not be punitive and should be allowed to be corrected without penalty. 

Since some hemp farms are targets for thieves, the locations should be redacted and handled as a farm’s trade secret, not disclosed except under court order or to a law enforcement official. Otherwise, open-source all data. Mandate farms preserve records for no more than three years.

Do not mandate use of only certified or approved varieties, but do provide a clear and transparent path to certifying new varieties. Do not require testing for delta-9 THC if AOSCA, OECD, or other certified seed is used, since it is already certified by a government agency to be low in THC, making expensive testing redundant. 

Treat all hemp cultures equally; personal, outdoor, indoor, hoop house, broadacre, ornamental, and greenhouse cultivation of hemp. Allow small personal and/or ornamental hemp cultivation by citizens, without registration or delta-9 THC testing. 

Regulate like potatoes, not drugs.

Delta-9 THC Test Protocol

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 made clear Congressional intent was to regulate only one cannabinoid, namely delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Remove the “negligence” conditions, as this is not a potential drug crop. A new farmer exceeding 0.3% delta-9 THC is only a mere technical violation, not a drug diversion threat or proof of intent to grow marijuana. If a farm truly does intend to grow marijuana as hemp, the state already has laws to prosecute it. Since non-compliance is legally as if growing a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the risk is too high for innocent farmers caught in a steep learning curve. As we saw in 2019, many are victims of unscrupulous seed sellers, brokers, and consultants

Do not require testing for delta-9 THC if AOSCA, OECD, or other certified seed is used, since it is certified by a government agency to be low in THC, making expensive testing redundant. 

Require that the test sample collection protocol objective be not to obtain maximum THC, but to represent all the aerial parts of the field including males. Do not mandate collection of just the top ⅓ or 2 inches of high-performing specimens, and require use of an objective collection path and protocol through the field. The minimum number of samples per field or variety should exceed 10, later aggregated to one sample for testing.

Require test sample collection within 60 days of harvesting. The current standard of testing within 15 days of harvest is a prescription for disaster at the state level, for farms, sample collectors and testing laboratories. In a large state with many licensees, it could hold up harvests for months and could cripple the hemp program. 

Allow any agriculture professional to collect samples, not just law enforcement officers. This is not a drug crop.

Allow the delta-9 THC test to be performed by any state-licensed laboratory. Requiring a hemp analytical lab have a DEA permit solely in the event the sample is over 0.3% delta-9 THC contravenes a permanent injunction by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (2004)against DEA using the Controlled Substances Act to regulate THC if found in hemp. It will be a profound burden on labs and farms for a mere technical violation which treats all parties involved as criminals, and illegally gets DEA back into hemp regulation via “the back door.” 

Allow farms to harvest in good faith if it has a compliant delta-9 THC test from a licensed laboratory for the crop taken within 4 days of the state’s sample collection or later.

Encourage programs use High Performance Liquid Chromatography, and test only delta-9 THC. 

Clarify that for the purposes of program compliance, 0.3% is exceeded only by 0.4%, not 0.31%. 

Allow programs to have no regulations or delta-9 THC test on hemp grown only for not human consumption use of the stalk and/or root, including decortication, animal bedding, fuel, building materials, phytoremediation of soil, and erosion control. 

Require no program registration or delta-9 THC test if a farm is growing less than 5 acres of hemp, for use solely on that farm or for field trials and agronomic testing. 

Exempt registered seed breeders from mandatory delta-9 THC testing of plants used for developing new cultivars or varieties.

Require programs select only 10% of licensed farms for delta-9 THC testing, at random.

Require programs provide licensees certified laboratory analyses of delta-9 THC test as evidence of state of compliance or noncompliance.

Don’t hamstring tomorrow’s farmers for today’s Controlled Substances Act. With 50 years of “no medical value” unconstitutionality and 91% public support for the 47 marijuana-legal states which have in fact found medical value, federal descheduling of Cannabis is inevitable. 

Disposal

If the delta-9 THC test certifies levels exceeding 0.4%, allow the farm to submit an acceptable remediation plan within 10 days, or use the crop only on the farm for decortication, animal bedding, fuel, building materials, phytoremediation of soil, and/or erosion control.

Allow remediation of crops exceeding 0.3% delta-9 THC either on the farm or under bond at a remediation facility, or to be used in a product from which cannabinoids can not be readily obtained, such as decorticated bast and/or hurd fiber, animal bedding, fuel, building materials, phytoremediation of soil, and erosion control. 

In marijuana-legal states allow sale of the non-compliant hemp to licensees in that state’s marijuana program.

Require programs allow stalk and root be exempt from the program once harvested, and not needing delta-9 THC remediation in any event.

Allow programs to have no regulations or delta-9 THC test on hemp grown only for uses of the stalk and/or root not for human consumption, including decortication, animal bedding, fuel, building materials, phytoremediation of soil, and erosion control.

Smokable Hemp

I believe that the acceptance of tobacco in Europe was undoubtedly enhanced by European familiarity with smoking hemp. Tobacco was in many ways a counterpart to hemp, all the familiar features were there. Perhaps the spread of tobacco was so rapid and overwhelming in the Old World because a receptive ground had been laid by the traditional folk uses of hemp.” —Sula Benet Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp (1967)

While once fiber, then seed, and now CBD are the value-drivers for hemp, the biggest potential contribution to society of hemp today is as a non-tobacco tobacco replacement. Because of that, it has encountered a number of regulatory obstacles in tobacco-producing states. Since most adults can benefit from smokable hemp in some way, it has massive positive public health implications, especially for tobacco-cessation. It is critical that USDA work to encourage and protect smokable hemp from death by over-regulation. 

Budget

To fund the program I suggest re-deploying a significant portion of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) $1.6 billion domestic enforcement budget, as for years DEA‘s marijuana eradication program was composed 98% of feral hemp (ditchweed), our genetic hemp legacy.

Respectfully Submitted on January 5, 2020.

Richard Rose
Founder, The Richard Rose Report 

Hemp Industry Is Cleared to Do Business With Banks

Hemp Industry Is Cleared to Do Business With Banks

United States regulators say hemp businesses should not be treated with any more suspicion than other bank customers.

The number of banks in the United States willing to lend to hemp producers can be counted on one hand. That is about to change. 

Federal and state bank regulators announced Tuesday that they were scrapping a burdensome requirement that banks said kept them away from the hemp business. Banks will no longer have to treat their hemp customers as suspicious and file reams of paperwork to anti-money-laundering authorities for each interaction.

The change could provide a major boost to a niche product that began its own legalization process last year.

“Banking has been an ongoing problem,” said Erica McBride Stark, the executive director of the National Hemp Association, a trade group for growers. “So this actually should be quite helpful.”

Hemp products are made from the same plants that produce marijuana, but they are cultivated to have far less tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical that produces a “high” when ingested. The plants’ stalks can be woven into fabric and their seeds processed into oils used in food, but they cannot be made into drugs. 

Even so, federal law long considered hemp to be as forbidden as cocaine and heroin. But with the legalization of marijuana spreading across the country — 33 states have legalized the drug for medical use and 11 states will allow sales for recreational use by January — lawmakers in Washington decided to do away with the designation for its milder sibling.

Last year Congress legalized hemp as a crop and directed the Agriculture Department to start regulating hemp production. It took the agency almost a year to devise rules for the industry, but once they were released, on Oct. 31, bank regulators prepared to take action. Tuesday’s statement, from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Company and other state and federal regulators, informs banks that they can now treat hemp producers like other customers, as long as the companies can prove they’re following licensing requirements.

The restrictions on the industry had held back even Ms. Stark’s organization, a nonprofit that does not actually produce hemp. The trade group had problems getting basic services because banks were worried that it could be receiving proceeds from a crime when it collected its members’ dues. 

The Agriculture Department rule change on its own did not help. “They understood that hemp was removed from the federal Controlled Substances Act but because of the paperwork that was involved, a lot of them were just like, yeah, it’s just not worth it,” she said.

Rob Nichols, the president of the American Bankers Association, a trade group, said his members had been pushing for the change for some time. 

Last month, the association surveyed 1,800 agriculture-focused banks in the country and found that almost half had gotten questions from their farmer-customers about whether they would still do business with them if they started growing hemp. 

“We appreciate the steps regulators have taken today to clarify regulatory expectations for banks, and we look forward to working with them as they develop additional guidance,” Mr. Nichols said.

While the change will help businesses making clothes and other hemp products, it does not affect the legal marijuana businesses dealing with the same problems. The federal government still considers marijuana to be illegal, and even local banks have been too worried about getting in trouble to deal with them. 

But banks large and small have come together to support a bill in Congress, the SAFE Banking Act, that would legalize marijuana banking by stipulating that the proceeds of a state-sanctioned marijuana business would not be considered illegal under federal anti-money-laundering laws. 

The House of Representatives passed a version of the bill, and the banking industry is pushing the Senate to take it up. If it were to become law, it would let banks dive into a lucrative new industry that has been plagued by security concerns and is desperate for even the most basic services, like checking accounts and credit card processing.

Even though banks have been slow to embrace the cannabis industry, investors have been geared up to profit from it. Analysts tracking publicly traded companies have added pot producers to their portfolios, in order to help investors decide where best to maximize their exposure to the industry. Ultrarich venture capitalists have begun to treat pot businesses like tech start-ups. 

Banks have been the buzzkills. When Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana two years ago, American banks warned their Uruguayan counterparts that they would cut them off if they provided services to pharmacies selling the drug. Banks in Canada, where marijuana has been legal for the past year, are still worried about doing business with pot producers in case it causes them problems south of the border. 

Still, it wasn’t clear on Tuesday that the change to hemp regulations would immediately influence bankers’ attitudes. Bankers will still have to study up on the complicated licensing requirements that states and the Agriculture Department have devised for hemp growers. 

In the meantime, hemp growers’ hopes might still be dashed. Ms. Stark said she had heard Wells Fargo was considering offering banking services to hemp businesses, but a Wells Fargo spokesman said the bank was taking no such steps.

This story first appeared at The New York Times.

Emily Flitter covers banking and Wall Street. Before joining The Times in 2017, she spent eight years at Reuters, writing about politics, financial crimes and the environment. @FlitterOnFraud

Largest Industrial Hemp Processing Facility in the U.S. Coming to Lubbock Co.

Largest Industrial Hemp Processing Facility in the U.S. Coming to Lubbock Co.

Dallas-based Panda Biotech [on Tuesday] announced it is developing its first industrial hemp processing facility to produce high-quality, textile-grade fiber and premium cellulose. The “Panda High Plains Hemp Gin,” to be located in Lubbock County, Texas, is expected to be the largest hemp decortication center in the United States and one of the largest in the world. 

Panda Biotech plans on deploying the most technologically advanced, highest capacity and first-of-its-kind industrial hemp decorticating equipment ever used to separate the fiber and cellulose from the stalk. The Panda Biotech Hemp GinsTM will be based on smaller versions of proven decortication technology that have been used throughout Asia and Europe for decades.

To ensure the highest quality fiber, the company will only process hemp stalks that are harvested prior to the maturation of the seed and flower, which are the parts of the plant used in CBD products. 

Panda Biotech has also secured the rights to purchase a 255,000 square foot processing facility in Shallowater, Texas in the heart of cotton country. More than 130,000 tons of Texas-grown industrial hemp is expected to be processed annually into textile fiber and cellulose.

In the lead up to today’s announcement, Panda Biotech has engaged key stakeholders in the Texas High Plains region including the local farming community, academic institutions and elected officials. Panda Biotech is also establishing business relationships with large potential off-takers for the fiber and cellulose to be produced at its Texas facility. In addition, the company is assembling a “first in class” advisory board composed of some of the top industrial hemp, textile and cellulose experts in the nation as well as agronomists experienced in the seeding, cultivation and harvesting of industrial hemp.

“After more than a year of due diligence — which has included an analysis of the hemp fiber and cellulose industries in the People’s Republic of China, various European countries and Canada — we have concluded that the processing of hemp stalk for industrial uses will be the next multi-billion-dollar business in the United States,” said Scott Evans, executive vice president of Panda Biotech. “Hemp fiber and cellulose will help manufacturers meet the needs of today’s eco-conscious consumers who increasingly require environmentally friendly products and services. As a result, hemp will be a game changer for both agriculture and industry for generations to come.” 

Formation and growth of the industrial hemp industry

The U.S. hemp industry was made possible due to the passage of the federal Hemp Farming Act of 2018. Panda Biotech was subsequently formed after the provisions of the Act were incorporated in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill that was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 20, 2018. Both chambers of the Texas state legislature unanimously passed House Bill 1325, that was signed into law on June 10, 2019, by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The law authorizes the production and manufacture of industrial hemp crops in the State of Texas pending final approval of Texas’ hemp regulations by the USDA which is expected in the coming weeks. The law ensures Texas farmers are able to participate in a rapidly growing industry with a new viable crop option that should also be a boon to rural economies.

The global industrial hemp market is projected to grow from $4.6 billion in 2019 to $32 billion by 2022.

Benefits of industrial hemp fiber and cellulose

Industrial hemp used for manufacturing applications is highly valued for its natural durability, rapid growth and environmental sustainability. The processed fiber and cellulose from industrial hemp can be used in the production of a multitude of products including textiles, a wide array of building materials, paper products, automobile composites, nanomaterials, bio-plastics and finishing products such as caulking, sealants, varnishes and paints. In addition, research indicates that hemp-based supercapacitors offer a less expensive alternative to materials currently used in rechargeable batteries for applications such as smartphones and electric cars. As a result, industrial hemp is poised to transform numerous multi-billion-dollar industries.

Why Hemp’s Diversity Means Many Market Opportunities

Why Hemp’s Diversity Means Many Market Opportunities

Hemp is a type of cannabis that contains less THC and more CBD. THC is the psychoactive component responsible for providing the effect of a “high.” It can be dangerous when consumed in large amounts. However, CBD is useful in treating various medical conditions.

In December last year, the Trump administration legalized hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC, by clearing the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the farm bill. Apart from medicinal values, hemp has a variety of industrial usages, such as clothing, food and beverages, paper, and construction. Let’s look at hemp’s uses in the health and wellness sector.

Hemp’s uses in health and wellness

Although the US federal government has legalized hemp, the FDA hasn’t approved any CBD products except Epidiolex, which treats seizure disorders in patients over two years old. However, many hemp-derived CBD products are used in treating ailments such as anxiety, pain, dystonia, and Parkinson’s disease.

In July 2019, Brightfield Group said it expected the sales of CBD products to reach $5 billion in 2019, year-over-year growth of 706%. The market research company also expects the industry to reach $23.7 billion by 2023. Its report stated that tinctures have the largest share in the CBD market, followed by topicals, vape oils, and capsules. It added that companies are working on developing innovative CBD products, such as facial scrubs, sunscreen, and sparkling water. CBD’s vast market potential appears to have attracted many cannabis players.

Last week, Canopy Growth (WEED) (CGC) introduced its CBD products in 31 US states under the First & Free brand. In October, the company acquired a 72% stake in BioSteel Sports Nutrition, which produces and markets sports nutrition products. The company expects to introduce CBD sports nutrition offerings in US markets by early next year.

In August this year, Aurora Cannabis (ACBcompleted the acquisition of Hempco Food and Fiber. The acquisition could expand Aurora’s hemp-derived CBD business. The company also partnered with mixed martial arts organization UFC to conduct clinical research on the effectiveness of CBD in treating pain, inflammation, and other medical conditions.

However, recently, the FDA announced that it could not conclude CBD products were safe using the available data. It warned consumers that CBD products could cause injury to the liver, drowsiness, and diarrhea. Now, let’s look at the industrial usage of hemp.

Many industrial usages

  • As reported by Hemp Basics, hemp is useful in making ropes, sacks, carpets, nets, and webbing due to its strength and durability. Its durability also helps in making jeans, shoes, and sports clothing.
  • As reported by TreeHugger, hemp seeds contain protein, calcium, and iron. TreeHugger expects the plant to act as an ingredient in food and dietary health supplements.
  • Due to its sturdiness, hemp can come handy in making building materials such as fiberboard and pressboard.
  • The TreeHugger article reported that currently, hemp-derived paper forms only a small percentage of hemp’s use. The article added that hemp has the potential to provide a renewable and sustainable source of pulp for paper but that a lack of innovation has increased its production costs.
  • Hemp oil can be processed to produce biodiesel.

Apart from health and wellness benefits, hemp has a variety of industrial usages. With a wide range of usages, we expect the hemp sector to have a considerable scope going forward. For more cannabis-related news and updates, check out 420 Investor Daily.

This story first appeared at Market Realist.

Hemp Paper May Cost More But its Environmental Benefits Are Worth it

Hemp Paper May Cost More But its Environmental Benefits Are Worth it

Hemp paper is stronger and more environmentally sound than wood paper.

This story is originally from RXLeaf.com

Hemp is a truly remarkable plant. It’s essentially the gift that keeps on giving. In addition to CBD oil, food, clothing or fuel, it can also make hemp paper. This paper type is likely the ideal replacement to wood pulp paper in our quest for a greener, cleaner world.

What is Hemp Paper?

The hemp plant is rich in cellulose. When boiled, beaten, or shredded into tiny fibers it can then be spread onto sheets that are pressed and dried to make a pulp.

When compared to wood pulp, hemp pulp offers several advantages. Fibers are generally four to five times longer than those found in wood pulp. This is something that leads to higher tear resistance and tensile strength in the resulting paper.

Hemp paper is commonly used in applications where there’s a need for high-strength paper as in the case of banknotes, stamp papers, and postal stamps. While many view it as a viable alternative to wood pulp, production costs are higher, something that currently prevents its widespread adoption.

The Benefits of Hemp Paper

The benefits of hemp paper extend far and wide as seen below. They include the quality of the paper itself to the associated efficiencies in cultivation as well as the wide-reaching environmental benefits.

  • Hemp offers superior quality paper: Hemp paper fibers do not decompose or deteriorate by turning yellow or brown like wood pulp paper does.
  • Quick growing: Hemp stalks grow in four months, while trees take between twenty to eighty years.
  • Increased yields: One acre of hemp on average will produce as much paper as four to ten acres of trees.
  • Environmentally friendly: Recycling hemp paper up to eight times is normal, while pulpwood paper can only tolerate three times.
  • Less harmful chemicals: Bleaching must occur with woodpulp paper via a process that uses many toxic chemicals. Hemp pulp requires no bleaching.
  • Reduced deforestation: Disturbed and angered by the images of the Amazon rainforest burning this year? Well, the wider adoption of hemp paper substantially reduces the alarming rates of deforestation.
  • Abundant cellulose: Cellulose is the principal component of paper. Trees contain thirty percent cellulose, while hemp plants contain up to eighty-five percent cellulose.

Can Hemp Reduce the Global Carbon Footprint

Hemp has some notable advantages when it comes to carbon footprint. This is something of great relevance in these challenging times for the global climate.

An Australian parliamentary report recently studied the role of industrial hemp in carbon farming. It concluded that hemp can absorb “more CO2 per hectare than any forest or commercial crop and is therefore the ideal carbon sink.”

The abilities of hemp to sequester carbon is nothing short of remarkable. Hemp begins to sequester carbon as soon as it is seeded. And one hectare of industrial hemp can absorb twenty-two tonnes of CO2. This translates to 1.62 tonnes of sequestered CO2 per ton of harvested hemp.

The fact that fast-growing hemp can grow to heights of thirteen meters in less than four months means that it’s often seen as the ideal solution when compared to other agroforestry alternatives.

In addition, hemp grows even in nutrient-poor soil. It requires minimal amounts of water and no artificial fertilizers are necessary.

Pulp Paper is a Big Source of Pollution

As the raw material for pulp paper, trees have always been widely available and affordable. With such affordability comes high consumption and high waste levels. But how does the production of pulp paper contribute to the global carbon footprint?

Science disputes just how much of a polluter the paper industry is. Studies exist that put forward strong arguments for both sides. One Chinese case study, published in Applied Energy (2015), claimed that within China, CO2 emissions from the paper industry, “ranged from 126.0 Mt to 155.4 Mt”. The report touted it as being the “largest source of carbon emissions.”

report published in the Environmental Engineering and Management Journal (2012), provided a thorough breakdown of the environmental impact of pulp and paper mills. Researchers attributed the environmental impact from the wood pulping industry to come from the bleaching process. The resulting pollutants that are subsequently introduced to the environment are chiefly made up of harmful sulfur compounds and nitrogen oxides that pollute the air.

Wastewater is also a concern, and discharged bleaching effluence consists of chlorinated organic compounds. These human-made chemicals, known as xenobiotics, persist in the environment for considerable periods. Pulp mills are also voracious consumers of water. With the discharging of waste waters often taking place at a rate of twenty to one hundred cubic meters per ton of product.

The Counter Evidence for Hemp Paper

Evidence put forward from the U.S. Environmental Protection agency paints a rather different picture, however. The research claims that, “greenhouse gas emissions from the pulp and paper industry has dropped from 44.2 to 37.7 million metric tons CO2”. The fifteen percent betterment is due to improved energy efficiency and the, “increased use of less carbon-intensive fossil fuels.”

Furthermore, a report published by the National Emissions Inventory (2014) claims that “the pulp and paper industry in North America produced only about 0.5 percent of the total carbon emissions in 2014.”

Paper Production and Deforestation

While the short term effects of the industry will inevitably cause a debate, few can argue with the increased rates of deforestation.

The destruction of forests around the globe essentially results in the destruction of, not only local habitat, but . Birds and animals thrive in the forest and are much more vulnerable to predators with the continuous cutting down of trees.

An article that appeared in National Geographic (2019) cited the fact that much of the wood that fuels the paper industry comes from illegal logging operations in the Amazon. In the past fifty years, seventeen percent of the Amazonian rainforest has been destroyed. While not all of this can be attributed to paper production, it certainly does make the case for sustainably sourced hemp as a viable alternative.

The Future of Hemp Paper

With the recent spread of legalized cannabis across much of North America, the aversion by association that many have toward hemp is slowly beginning to wane. With the recent passing of the Farm Bill, hemp has once again become a viable crop. And along with paper production, it’s wide and varied uses may just be the catalyst for some positive global changes.

This story first appeared at RX Leaf.

The World’s First Marijuana Mall Opened in Colorado

The World’s First Marijuana Mall Opened in Colorado

History is being made in Trinidad, Colorado, as the world’s first marijuana mall is scheduled to open this upcoming April.

Developers Chris Elkins and Sean Sheridan deemed Trinidad as the perfect location to build their dream project given Trinidad’s views on law and tourism.

In an interview with local news station KRDO, Elkins said, “This town has a zero-foot setback, which allows us to put five dispensaries here right next to one another. As far as we know, we are the only town in Colorado that can do this.”

Elkins and Sheridan have received city permits and have already purchased a building in downtown Trinidad on Commercial Street. Their next step is waiting for City Council to give their approval.

According to Elkins, four of the five spaces have already been leased to marijuana-based businesses, and if the City Council gives their approval, they are hoping to open their doors to the public in April.

Along with their passion for marijuana, Elkins and Sheridan are also incorporating their entrepreneurial skills into this project, and they are excited about the benefits the mini-mall will bring to the town.

Elkins expects the mini-mall to boost the local economy, and it seems as though many local residents agree.

Mechelle Duran, a Trinidad local who lives nearby the mini-mall location, said, “I’m excited to see it open. We have a lot of pot stores already and there is a lot of benefits.”

 There are other locals who have expressed their concern with the mini-mall attracting homeless people and transients.

Tamara Johnson, a Trinidad local, said, “To be honest, I don’t have any problems with marijuana or marijuana users but I do know we have had a lot more problems with theft. I know Walmart is having problems. And transients, that’s becoming a huge problem.”

Regardless of the differing opinions of Trinidad locals, Elkins and Sheridan remain optimistic and anxiously await the grand opening of the world’s first marijuana mini-mall.

This story first appeared at CannaSOS