Thousands Expected at SC Hemp Expo

Thousands Expected at SC Hemp Expo
Posted by FoM on May 13, 2000 at 13:26:32 PT
By Anil Ananthaswamy, Sentinel Correspondent
Source: Santa Cruz County Sentinel
Chiropractor Evan Ginsberg walked into Natural Expressions, a downtown store selling hemp clothing and accessories looking for professional attire.Although he left empty-handed Friday, his alternative shopping taste is a sign of the times. Hemp as a legitimate material is gaining acceptance; it is distancing itself from its intoxicating cousin ó marijuana.
Santa Cruz hemp supporters are touting the non-mood-altering uses of hemp this weekend at the third annual Santa Cruz Industrial Hemp Expo.The two-day event at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium is the "largest, de-facto trade show for the hemp industry in the United States," according to event producer Bob Lamonica.This yearís expo features more than 75 exhibit and sales booths, about 50 percent more than last yearís expo.Hemp vendors arrive from all over North America."This is the hotbed of the hemp movement," said Jay Blair, chief executive officer of Joint Hempstock Inc., a Toronto, Canada-based company that manufactures hemp seed oil.Blair, like other hemp advocates, is passionate about hempís potential. He hopes to market technology to make pulp from hemp-stalk for companies manufacturing paper, fuel, building materials and plastic. An Atlanta-based venture capital firm is funding the effort, he said."The irony is that we are using American money to get this kick-started," Blair said.Commercial cultivation of the hemp plant, a relative of marijuana, is illegal in the United States; even though hemp does not contain the same mood-altering substance as marijuana. But Lamonica feels the winds of change blowing."There are 10 states that have hemp legislation on the books," he said. Legal issues aside, a change in public perception is also evident."People are seeing how versatile hemp is," said Sangeeta Grewal, project manager with Santa Barbara-based HempWorld Inc., an event sponsor. "They donít correlate it with pot."Hempís versatility will be amply demonstrated at the expo. Hemp clothing and fabrics, a house built of hemp, a block of "hempcrete," hemp food and beverages, hemp soaps, shampoos, and oils, hemp paper, and even hemp crust pizza will be on display and on sale.But more than hemp-based products, itís the plantís ecological benefits that light up Dylan Hilsmanís eyes. Owner of Santa Cruz-based Pan World Traders, which has a hemp factory in Romania, and Natural Expressions ó the factoryís outlet in downtown Santa Cruz ó Hilsman believes hemp should replace cotton.Whereas hemp is naturally resistant to insects and easily grows so thick it chokes out weeds like the Canadian thistle grass, cotton uses "more chemicals and pesticides than any other crop in the world," Hilsman said.While hemp plants can out-compete weeds around the world, they are outlaws in the United States.Since part of the problem is hempís association with marijuana, the expo will limit displays advocating the medical use of marijuana to one-half of one booth. The Womenís Alliance for Medical Marijuana, a welcome guest according to Lamonica, will occupy the lone booth.The Santa Cruz Industrial Hemp Expo is today and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, Church Street, Santa Cruz. Admission is $6 a day. For information, call 425-3003, or visit the Web at Published: May 13, 2000Copyright © 1999-2000, Santa Cruz County Sentinel Publishers Co.Related Article & Web Site:Santa Cruz Industrial Hemp Expo Fest Pictures Cruz Hemp Expo 2000!
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