Clothier Poised To Become 1st Traded Hemp Company

Clothier Poised To Become 1st Traded Hemp Company
Posted by CN Staff on July 08, 2003 at 17:59:03 PT
By The Canadian Press 
Source: Canadian Press 
Vancouver -- A local hemp clothier that has had dizzying success making corporate promotional wear is poised to become the first publicly traded hemp business in North America. Hemptown is looking to raise $25 million so it can build mills in Canada and a market for fabric-grade hemp, which it is now forced to buy in China. "We can grow the fibre in Canada; we sure can make clothes," said Jason Finnis, Hemptown's chief operating officer. "It's turning the fibre into yarn, that's the one step in the process we don't have." 
"But we're proving there's a market for the product and farmers want to grow it." Even industry boosters have been quick to call the plan a pipe dream, simply too costly to be successful, but admit anything is possible given the company's success so far. After a failed foray into the fashion world, Hemptown regrouped, dumping any association with the moonbeam and rainbow crowd known to buy the material. The company donned a serious corporate image and began making company hats and T-shirts. It attacked the trade-show circuit and won over distributors and embroiderers who had a list of existing big-name clients. Organizations from Warner Bros. and Toyota to the Government of Canada now are Hemptown customers. Finnis said corporations liked the easy public relations gain from using environmentally friendly fibre to make their hats and T-shirts. "A third of a pound of pesticides and chemical fertilizer goes into every cotton shirt, chemicals which are proven to cause cancer and birth defects and to harm the environment," Finnis said. "Hemp is a hardier crop, so doesn't require these chemicals to thrive." The company is developing the technology to allow it to screen logos on 100 per cent hemp fabric. It currently uses a blend that is 45 per cent cotton, which makes the clothes softer. The material feels a lot like linen but is very durable, making it ideal for sports uniforms, Finnis said. So Hemptown sponsors events such as the Molson Indy and is in talks with Olympic organizers in Beijing to become a sponsor for the 2008 Games. Hemptown grew 400 per cent from $195,000 in sales in 2001 to $782,000 the next year, and says it is set to outstrip that pace in 2003. It expects approval to start trading on NASDAQ by the end of the year. The plan is to raise capital to sustain its current growth rate for the next two to four years and then start building a fibre mill in Canada. "We've already signed agreements with knitting mills and we're testing to determine what is the best variety of hemp to grow here." Hemptown would contract out to farmers, likely on the Prairies, he said. Arthur Hanks, president of the Canadian Hemp Alliance trade group, said he thinks the development of hemp fabric here is a long way off. More research is being done into other applications such as biocomposites (chairs, decks, doors) and unwovens (material that can be formed into moulds for things like car dashboards), he said. "The fibre side is not easy," Hanks said from Regina. "You can see it in the fields, it's doable, but there's a steep learning curve when you get down to the nuts and bolts. "It's easier to hit the quality parameters with unwovens because you don't have to work the fibre down to such a fine state that it can be woven into yarn." Other hemp apparel manufacturers were more blunt about the prospects of producing the material in Canada. "Not in my lifetime," scoffed Robert Skrydlo, owner of The Hemp Company in Toronto. "There's hardly any fabric production done in North America anymore, other than some fleece that Roots does. And there's a reason -- you can do it at a lower cost in other countries." When he started his business making stylish dress shirts and other hip work-wear pieces a few years ago, Skrydlo had his designs sewn locally. After the first year he cut costs in half by contracting the whole operation out to Chinese manufacturers. "It's affordable to ship and the quality is a lot better," he said. "They've been working with hemp for hundreds of years." In Canada, growing hemp was banned for 60 years until the mid-1990s, when lawmakers recognized it was a cousin of marijuana but did not have the same psychoactive properties. Hemp, which grows well in a cool, northern climate, is farmed mostly in the Prairies, British Columbia and Ontario. About 90 per cent of it is harvested for the plants' seeds for use in food and beauty products. The hemp food industry brings in about $5 million a year, said Hanks. Profit estimates on beauty product sales are as high as $30 million with companies such as The Body Shop using hemp oil in everything from soap to hand cream and lip balm. Complete Title: Vancouver Clothier Poised To Become 1st Publicly Traded Hemp CompanySource: Canadian Press Published: Tuesday, July 08, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Canadian PressHemp Town -- Hemp Archives
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Comment #3 posted by ekim on July 09, 2003 at 19:11:05 PT
ck out USA Hemp Industry --------our clothing mills go out of business--- our papermills go out of business-- our molding and injection shops are going out of business--hello is anybody out there?
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on July 09, 2003 at 09:58:57 PT:
Hemp for Victory
We're so sorry about the moonbeams and rainbows. Gray flannel is so much better. Psych! 
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Comment #1 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on July 09, 2003 at 09:25:08 PT:
I am thankful Canadadians are brave enough to do their own thing. In the United States, after the General Accounting Office announced their dissatisfaction with the track record of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency and refused to authorize more money for the DEA, the DEA went on a rampage, tried to put out the cannabis buyers clubs, paraphenalia manufacturers, and all Hemp businesses. The 9th Circuit recently struck down the proposed DEA regulation which would have closed down all hemp businesses in the United States of America. You can download the 9th Circuit opinion from The history of the Marijuana laws has been the ascension of industrialization in the United States. See, e.g.: Shadow Of The Swastika, The most evil thing about the American drug laws is the hypocrisy that Americans are punished for Cannabis use while the United States Central Intelligence Agency launders over $200 billion per year of drug money thru Wall Street every year,; There are too many lazy people in the United States of America who vote for the two major parties, with the expectation that they will reap freedom and wealth. Wrong! The two major parties are soaking the poor and middle class Americans dry! It is time to wake up and vote for candidates of Green Party,, or Libertarian Party,! Too many Americans are not voting!I hope Canadians utilize Hemp for the renewable source of fuel, too, See, e.g.: to Canadians.Sincerely,Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, N.J., 08840-0159, (Cell telephone number)(908) 403-6990,
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