High Hopes for Hemp Sportswear  

High Hopes for Hemp Sportswear  
Posted by CN Staff on May 25, 2004 at 14:44:45 PT
By The Canadian Press 
Source: Canadian Press 
Vancouver -- Hemptown Clothing Inc. has enlisted the in its war on cotton.The Vancouver-headquartered company — which says producing a cotton T-shirt deposits more than one-eighth of a kilogram of chemicals in the environment and consumes 6,500 litres of water — bills itself as the world’s largest brand of T-shirts made from hemp, whose leaves yield marijuana.
Hemptown is collaborating with the NRC to develop a patentable enzyme technology process “that may see hemp fibres replace cotton worldwide.”The aim is to produce hemp clothing fabric that would match cotton in price, while eliminating cotton’s heavy consumption of irrigation water and agricultural chemicals.“This ground-breaking fibre technology is expected to be delivered into the market within the next three years,” Hemptown says.“Hemptown was identified as an ideal partner for NRC,” stated Scott Ferguson, the business development officer at the research council’s Institute for Biological Sciences.“We are excited about the prospects for this collaboration, which could ultimately revolutionize the apparel industry as well as many other industrial applications,” Ferguson said.Some hemp facts, according to the California-headquartered Hemp Industries Association:* Hemp is among the oldest industries, going back more than 10,000 years to the beginnings of pottery.* U.S. presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, and the American government subsidized hemp during the Second World War to produce rope.* Hemp seed contains more essential fatty acids than any other vegetable source, is second only to soybeans in complete protein, is high in B-vitamins and is 35 per cent dietary fibre. On the other hand, it is not psychoactive.* The bark of the hemp stalk contains some of the world’s longest natural soft fibres and are rich in cellulose. Hemp stalk also doesn’t make you high.* Hemp grows enthusiastically without herbicides, fungicides or pesticides — hey, it’s a weed! — while cotton consumes almost half the chemicals applied to American crops.* Hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be used for every quality of paper, with reduced need for chlorine bleaching.* Experimental hemp fibreboard is twice as strong as wood-based fibreboard.Source: Canadian PressPublished: Tuesday, May 25, 2004Copyright: 2004 The Canadian PressHIA Hemptown Clothing News -- Hemp Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 05, 2004 at 12:50:23 PT
Related Article from Business Edge
Industrial Hemp Gets a New Lease on Life Sky is limit for T-shirt firm if enzyme delivers as advertised By Monte Stewart - Business Edge Published: 8/5/2004 - Vol. 1, No. 16 
A Vancouver T-shirt manufacturer is banking that homegrown industrial hemp will help sales grow like the proverbial weed.Hemptown Clothing Inc. hopes to take advantage of a U.S. ban on industrial hemp cultivation as it collaborates with the Canadian government to develop a new enzyme, designed to make hemp feel softer but remain durable. The company now gets most of its fabric, which consists of 55 per cent hemp and 45 per cent cotton, from China, but plans to build a $3 to $5 million, 40,000-sq.-ft. mill on 80 acres of free land in Craik, Sask., next year.Industrial hemp comes from cannabis, the same plant species that produces marijuana, but doesn’t provide the same buzz as regular pot.If all goes according to plan, the new patentable enzyme, called pectinase, will make Hemptown’s fibre as soft – and as affordable – as cotton, without any need for it.‘‘It’ll be revolutionary for our business and for every hemp company out there,’’ said Jason Finnis, Hemptown’s founder and president, after a recent presentation on the enzyme at a downtown Vancouver pub. ‘‘It will allow us to grow and process fibre in Canada in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way.’’ Finnis said the pectinase enzyme will enable the company to produce a consistent fibre rather than one that is dependent on rain, dew and weather conditions that are difficult to control. The town of Craik and its surrounding municipality, located between Regina and Saskatoon along Highway 11 and a railway line, donated the land to Hemptown in May as an incentive to do business with area farmers.Finnis said the federal and Saskatchewan governments are interested in providing funding for the new facility.Once the mill is built, Hemptown hopes to boost revenues to $4.5 million US in 2005 from an anticipated $2.1 million this year and $661,000 US last year.U.S. law prohibits the growth of industrial hemp. But the U.S.government does allow American companies to import hemp material and garments.Hemptown sells most of its clothing to U.S. and Canadian wholesalers, who print logos on shirts and baseball caps.Canada and European countries allow the growth of hemp under regulated conditions.‘‘One beautiful thing here is that cotton cannot grow in Canada and hemp thrives in Canada,’’ said Finnis.Unlike cotton, said Finnish, hemp requires no harmful pesticides and much less water to cultivate. He claimed that each cotton T-shirt requires 1/3 of a pound of pesticides and 7,000 litres of fresh water to produce, while hemp can be grown with rain water.‘‘Right now, processing hemp takes up to about 45 days, which requires a lot of manpower as well as time,’’ said Finnis, adding high labour costs make hemp-fabric production impossible in North America. ‘‘This (enzymatic) process will take it down to five hours, and five hours means that it can be set in the same day that plants are harvested, rather than in a month.’’ But first, Hemptown and the National Research Council (NRC) must fine tune the enzyme technology.‘‘We’re less than a year into collaboration (on the new enzyme), we’ve already surpassed everything that’s being done in the world, but we don’t know exactly the machines that we need to put into this building,’’ said Finnis. ‘‘So, over the next 12 months, we’ll have a better handle of what we need to put in. It’s very close (to being determined). But we have to build the building first anyway. ’’ Hemptown is growing different types of hemp fibre on research blocks in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and sending samples of the harvests to Ottawa.‘‘The end result is fibre that we can spin into yarn and then into T-shirts,’’ said Finnis, adding the clothes are made on centuries-old looms.Wing Sung, a biologist with the NRC’s Institute for Biological Sciences, said pectinase-altered hemp fibre will benefit the environment and Canadian farmers. An enzyme, essentially an amino acid, has an advantage over other technologies in that it is bio-degradable and can be ‘‘reabsorbed back to nature,’’ said Sung, who came to Vancouver from Ottawa to speak at Hemptown’s presentation.Although industrial hemp is banned in the U.S., it contains only 0.3 per cent of THC, the psychoactive agent that gives pot smokers a sense of euphoria.‘‘You would never get a high smoking it,’’ said Sung.He said the U.S. cultivation ban eliminates American competition and provides Canada with ‘‘a window of opportunity.’’ ‘‘If the U.S. put their minds to do it, they have much bigger manpower,’’ said Sung. ‘‘We may not have a chance. Since they ban it, why not develop our technology? Wait another five years and the ban is lifted. I would prefer to do something right now.’’ Sung has already produced a similar enzyme, xylanase, used to produce a bleached form of wood pulp that saved $500,000 to $1 million in production costs and now accounts for 10 per cent of pulp sales in Canada and five per cent in the U.S.Sung decided to help Hemptown after reading an article last year that suggested a softer Canadian-made version of hemp was ‘‘a pipe dream.’’ He set about developing a form of hemp that was soft to the touch but still durable enough to withstand heavy machinery.‘‘Two years ago, I didn’t have any idea what hemp means or looks like,’’ said Sung. ‘‘I didn’t realize it was marijuana. I was totally ignorant.’’ Hemptown now intends to patent ‘the enzymatic process, said Finnis. Hemp fibre that can’t be used for textiles can be used for automobile interior moulding, fibreboard and alternative fuels such as ethanol.Finnis, 32, was a music student at the University of Victoria 10 years ago when he had ‘‘a bit of an epiphany’’ that hemp could be used in textiles.He dropped out of UVic and started Hemptown with his fiancee Larisa Harrison with only a $300 investment.The public company trades on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board in New York under the symbol HPTWF.By building slowly, said Finnis, Hemptown was able to raise ‘‘well over $1 million’’ before going public last December. Hemp, he said, no longer has the stigma that it once did.‘‘We get the occasional joke or snicker, but really not much anymore,’’ said Finnis.
 Copyright: 2004 Business Edge
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Comment #3 posted by ekim on May 25, 2004 at 19:42:05 PT
patentable enzyme technology process -- ynotus?
Shis go read the comments on story below has site for plastic.  Bill for Industrial Hemp Study Shelved 
Posted by FoM on November 14, 2001 at 13:12:49 PT
By Adriana Colindres, State Capitol Bureau 
Source: State Journal-Register A top supporter of a proposal to allow the University of Illinois to study industrial hemp said Tuesday he probably won't call his controversial bill for a vote during the fall veto session.
Rep. Ron Lawfer, R-Stockton, attempted Tuesday to persuade his colleagues to override Gov. George Ryan's veto of House Bill 3377. But Lawfer withdrew the bill from consideration after several minutes of debate. The debate included a comment from Rep. Mary Lou Cowlishaw, R-Naperville, that approving the bill would send the wrong message to young people about illegal drugs.He said later that "unless something changes," he will not seek a vote on the bill during the veto session, which still has five more days to run.Lawfer has championed the idea of a study on industrial hemp for a couple of years. He believes the plant, a biological relative of marijuana, could become a new cash crop for struggling farmers.Industrial hemp was grown in Illinois during the early 20th century. Now, it may not be grown anywhere in the United States without permission. In other countries, hemp seeds and fibers are used in producing clothes, paper and other items.On two occasions, similar industrial hemp bills have won approval in the Illinois House and Senate. Each time, however, Ryan vetoed them.HB3377 was a revised version of an earlier industrial hemp bill. Ryan vetoed it in August, saying that while the bill's supporters are well-meaning, the measure "plays into the national strategy of groups seeking to remove existing criminal penalties for cannabis/marijuana possession and use."Lawmakers could override the governor's veto with a three-fifths vote in each chamber, meaning 71 "yes" votes in the House and 36 "yes" votes in the Senate.When Lawfer's bill passed last spring, it garnered 72 votes in the House and 38 in the Senate."I wasn't sure that I had 71 votes," Lawfer said Tuesday.With the upcoming 2002 elections, which will require lawmakers to run in newly drawn legislative districts, some were reluctant to support the industrial hemp bill, he said. He declined to name any of them.One part of Lawfer's bill would require U of I researchers to try to develop a hemp plant without the psychoactive ingredient THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is also present in marijuana and causes a "high."Also on Tuesday, the House voted 106-8 to accept Ryan's suggested changes to House Bill 2412, which would allow beer sales at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium.The bill passed last spring, when the Chicago Bears were considering a temporary move to Champaign during Soldier Field's $500 million renovation. The Bears since have announced they will be playing at Memorial Stadium.In an amendatory veto message last summer, Ryan said he would accept beer sales at the stadium, as long as they didn't start until 90 minutes before kickoff and ceased at the end of the third quarter. Such a change would be in line with the standards at other professional football stadiums, Ryan said.To become law, the governor's changes also must pass in the Senate.Note: Lawmakers worry about sending wrong message. Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
Author: Adriana Colindres, State Capitol Bureau
Published: November 14, 2001
Copyright: 2001 The State Journal-Register
Contact: letters
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Comment #2 posted by Shishaldin on May 25, 2004 at 19:27:42 PT
On that note...
Hi All-Hemp has been burning in my brain quite a lot lately. AAAAAAHHHHH! Call NIDA/John Walters/JOYCE! 
Just kidding...:PSeriously tho', I've had a dream of me trying to convince my now deceased mother about the miracle plant's uses and benefits. She was very anti-cannabis while alive (and in the dream, too), and even when she was in excrutiating pain with her rapidly growing (and then re-growing!) intestinal tumors, she turned down my offer of the herb to comfort her. She took the accursed Morphine instead, which took her conciousness away from us, as well as her pain. I was kinda hoping I could convince her in the afterlife :)The other dream I had was where I was a sales rep for Hemp lumber. Now, considering that I work in software quality assurance, that's quite a career change for me. But, in the dream, I was showing the manager of a lumber yard just how strong my hemp lumber was, and I was just so stoked to be evangelising the good word of woodless hemp lumber.So, out of REM sleep and into Alpha wave patterns my brain goes. Does anybody out there in CNEWS-land know of suppliers of HEMP lumber? I've done some searching and read of Bill Conde, formerly of Oregon (now Belize) who did a lot of research into this, but I can't find any suppliers retail or wholesale, of the stuff. I want to get this out to construction friends of mine and local/regional lumberyards, too (in my ever-decreasing "spare time"). Any help would be MUCH appreciated.Gotta follow my dreams :) Maybe Mom will come around, too...Always in All Ways,Peace and Strength,Shishaldin
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on May 25, 2004 at 17:47:22 PT
China makes Billions on Hemp 
 Chinese Hemp Industry has Boundless Potential 
Posted by FoM on November 05, 2001 at 09:01:46 PT
Business News 
Source: People's Daily As world fashion increasingly moves toward simplicity, comfort and health protection, experts point out that hemp, a major economic crop in China, could have great market prospects after the nation's entry into the World Trade Organization.
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