Hyvää päivää hyvät hampuusit ja hampuusittaret.
Olen tässä kevään ajan valmistellut lopputyötä tutkintoani varten. Tänään sen viimein palautin koululle ja laitan ton pelkän tekstin nyt teille myös luettavaks. Viitteitä on 17 sivuu ja nettisivuviitteitä 340 sivuu tai jotain, lähetän ne pyynnöstä, kunhan vaan keksin miten... Gmaililla pitäis liikkuu isommanki datan, mut ei mun kyvyillä.
Saatte sitten vaikka arvailla että mikä koulu on kyseessä. Pyyhin nyt tosta nimet veks, vaikka toi nyt jostain varmaan löytyykin, jos joku sen haluu ettii.
Aihe oli siis hamppu ... pelkkä hamppu.
Lukekaa ja pistäkää kommenttia; puolustus on 1,5kk päästä, niin tarvii lisää matskuu.
Jos haluutte tosta virallisen kopion mis on nimet ja kaikki, ni lähettäkää viestii,, laitan maililla .. tai sitten kun saan jonku nettiosotteen.
HEMP: The solution and the impact
Being a Dissertation presented in part requirement for International Business and Management Studies at XXX XXX, School of Economics, XXX, The Netherlands and XXX, XXX, Finland.
12 April 2006
This work or any part thereof This work or any part thereof has not previously been presented in any form to the XXX or to any other institutional body whether for assessment or other purposes. Save for any express acknowledgements, references and/or bibliographies cited in the work, I confirm that the intellectual content is the result of my own efforts and no other person."
This dissertation is prepared for Dissertation Module of the XXX. The supervisor of this dissertation is XXX. The purpose of the module is to demonstrate the research and presentation skills I have incorporated during the IBMS programme.
There are many I would like to thank for helping me formulate this dissertation. First of all the inspiration for this subject arose after I read the impeccable book about hemp, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, written by Mr. Jack Herer. Also all the other grassroots advocates of hemp have made a great effort in publicizing hemp-information.
XXX already established all the necessary information for completing a dissertation successfully in his research methods -class.
In addition to XXX, other XXX teachers have helped me complete my dissertation. I would like to thank XXX for expert speculation on emission trade and oil prices.
A Special thank you note goes to every fine cannabis-establishment in Amsterdam, The Cannabis College and, Sensi Seeds, for spreading the word.
Further thanks goes to all of my friend and family who have contributed in some way to this dissertation. Special thanks to everyone who has had the resilience to oppose my views at every turn; this research is for you.
Table of contents
List of figures and tables
Fig. 1: Hemp Cultivation Area in the EU (ha); http://www.chanvre-info.ch/info/en/Euro ... -2002.html ; HEMP INFO
Other figures are presented in the appendices, and are referred to accordingly
After carefully studying the facts presented in this dissertation, the reader should firstly be aware of the importance hemp has had as a crop during the history of civilisation. While hemp has been arguably the natural resource that has yielded most welfare to people as a whole, it has been removed from our current historical records almost completely.
Secondly, in order to comprehend the relief that hemp is capable of providing, the reader is informed about the current situation. During the same time period that the demonizing of hemp cannabis has taken place among the western population, the global humanitarian catastrophes that can be blamed on destructive human actions, such as relying on fossil fuels to provide energy, have increased enormously. Such problems include for example soil depletion and toxication, deforestation, famine, aerial-, water- and soil-pollution, oil-related issues, poverty, various diseases, and others that I might have omitted.
The dissertation then moves on to explain the superiority of hemp as a resource. Various research, including governmental studies, demonstrates that the productivity, fibre quality, and nutritional quality, of hemp and various products that can be derived from hemp, is indeed greater than that of any substitutes. Especially those employed currently, such as cotton, petroleum and timber. The point is enforced to some extent by some calculations, that demonstrate the very efficient nutrition- and energy-producing qualities of hemp.
By the time the reader reaches the conclusion section of the dissertation, he or she may or may not be wondering why then hemp is not currently employed to in fullest possible capacity by the industry worldwide. The conclusion provides a possible answer for that question mark.
At the same time as the technological development in the early twentieth century would have enabled a significantly more efficient means of employing hemp plant, especially for fibre production for the industry, the prohibition on hemp was enforced by the officials of the government of the USA. The drug enforcement officials at time, and in a continuous manner until this day, worked largely in conjunction with powerful entities involved in the emerging petrochemical and wood pulp industries.
Nevertheless according to literally millions of people around the world, there is no logical reasoning provided for justification of the illegal status of cannabis hemp.
Even governmental studies one after another conclude that cannabis hemp should be de-criminalized. Furthermore, studies, conducted to a large extent by economists and other academics, argue that the prohibition against any drug or other indulged substance is neither efficient in any way; nor in compliance with human rights.
Further research is in my view highly needed, since so much was left out of the scope of this dissertation. Issues that may have suffered from exaggerated simplifications include, but are not limited to; efficiency, and financial calculations in assessing the feasibility of hemp, both within the context of the EU emissions trading scheme, and hunger relief in Kenya.
Simply because the situation where hemp actually was utilized by mankind to its full capacity is so far ahead in the future, the extent to which any of the aforementioned problems would be solved is left for the reader to assess.
The stress the world is currently facing from the activities of the human race is not anything short of unbearable. The past century has seen economic growth and technological advances as well as condensation of wealth in developed countries and impoverishing of people widely across the third world.
Beginning of the twentieth century marked a beginning of the petroleum era that we will firsthand experience closing within the next 50 years1. Along with chemical ridden processes for making wood-pulp paper and plastics, petroleum of course provided transport fuel for all cars and other engines. It did not take long until the whole society was geared for oil consumption. Researchers from Great Britain have estimated that 80% of all of our monetary living expense is wrapped up in energy costs. Furthermore 80% of our solid and airborne pollution can be blamed on fossil energy sources2.
The fate of the humankind could have had a different tone although. In the beginning of the twentieth century, nearly contemporarily with commencing petroleum industry, another industry also got a boost from technological advances; Hemp was going to be the first billion dollar crop according to Popular Mechanics magazine in 19383, all thanks to the newly invented hemp decorticating machine4. Around the same time Henry Ford finished his work on a car completely manufactured from vegetable matter, mostly hemp5. Henry Ford had the same idea as Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine; in their vision cars were not intended to be run on petroleum. They, much like the greater public at the time, understood the environmental implications of fossil fuels. However government subsidies for petroleum and prohibition of hemp directed the path of development towards our current future.
In recent times the worries over the environment have grown louder but very little has been done to even reduce the rate of further destruction. The research for alternative sources of energy is most commonly understood as fusion or hydrogen fuel cells forgetting the plant energy. However the easiest method available for all mankind to give up fossil fuels and timber immediately is relying on agriculture as the source of energy, fibre and building material, by planting as much hemp6 as possible, wherever possible and providing the whole population of earth with food in the process7. For thousands of years mankind has done exactly that, except for the brief period in history starting from the early 1900s until this day.
It is my intention in this dissertation then to arrange the facts for the reader in such a clear and well-explained manner that all aspects of the benefits hemp-utilisation become clear to the reader. The text will also provide clear information of the environmental and other benefits of hemp, but for the reader it is then left to assess himself, what would be the environmental impact of global hemp cultivation.
History of hemp
The Birth of Agriculture
The birth of civilization most probably took place in the areas of the world that have the soil most suitable for agriculture8. Hemp has been known to be among the first cultivated crops by human. At first it was cultivated for food just like any other crop but later it became the first fibre plant to be cultivated? Whether agriculture was in the first place actually discovered because of the medicinal properties of cannabis is left to questioning. Causes and relations aside, the fact of the matter is that ever since the beginning of civilization man has utilized hemp in a variety of ways.
Archaeological finding demonstrating the continuous cultivation of hemp from prehistoric times suggest that hemp evolved in central Asia9. The Chinese used hemp for cloth and dressing armies. Hemp is also mentioned in the earliest Chinese pharmacopoeia. Later on during the Han Dynasty (207 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) the Chinese have been said to have invented papermaking. The first paper was made of recycled hemp cloth. In the year 770 the first book, Dharani, was printed – on hemp paper.
Hemp seed was also used as food, in porridge for example. Hempseed has been an important food staple during famine throughout history among many cultures10. In China it was nevertheless forgotten largely by the sixth century.
Like the Chinese were responsible for the first use of hemp fibre the Indians discovered the spiritual properties of cannabis hemp. Hemp plant probably originated from the areas surrounding the Himalayas. Also the Hindus believe that Shiva brought the plant from the Himalayas for human enjoyment and enlightenment11. Even the early Aryan name for Hemp bhanga can be seen in the names of the region. Bengal means “bhang land” and Bangladesh “bhang land people”.
The Aryans are partly responsible for the spreading of hemp to the west as they sowed the seed everywhere they went. Also the Scythians, an offshoot of the Aryans brought hemp to various parts of Eastern Europe. Hemp reached Egypt by the third millennium B.C.E, and spread throughout Africa afterwards. Hemp fibre was not used to a large extent, but consumption of cannabis for spiritual purposes became common in Africa.
The first prohibition of cannabis products in Cairo started in 1253. Prohibitions of various substances have since occurred among a wide array of cultures with varying results12.
Hemp in Europe and Conquering the New World
The Scythians and later Arabs were responsible of bringing hemp to Europe. Hemp was used as cloth as well as for ship rigging.
The Romans consumed large amounts of hemp because of their large armies and helped it spread to various parts of Europe. Early texts imply that Romans as well ate cannabis to promote hilarity. Later on in history it is notable that the Italian hemp industry provided the Venetian Fleet with superior quality hemp that enabled it to control the Mediterranean shipping.
The Vikings were also known to have used hemp for rope, sailcloth, caulking, and fish line and nets. They may be responsible for introducing hemp to the east coast of North America.
Hemp was cultivated across Spain, France, Germany and Great Britain for food, rope and cloth. The armies depended on a steady supply of hemp for material.
The first paper factory was founded by the Moors in Spanish city of Xativa13, in 1150. The paper was produced from hempen rags just like in China a thousand years earlier. Wood pulp paper became available only much later14. It can be therefore assumed that for example Gutenberg15 printed his first bibles on hemp paper.
Hemp was also a crucial part of the conquering of the high seas. Only hemp rigging and sails were durable enough for large ships to cross the Atlantic. In 1492 when Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic his ships were equipped with eighty tons of hemp rigging and canvas.
The Dutch had superior technique for saving labour in hemp processing, the windmills, which were themselves powered by hemp sails. The problem for the Dutch was that they were not able to farm the quantities needed to meet the demand.
The English struggled with the same problem but were even in a tighter position because of their island location. They relied on Russia for as much as 97% of their hemp needs. One of the reasons why Napoleon attacked Russia in the early 1800s was to cut of the hemp supply to the English.
The conquering of the New World spread the use of hemp again to new areas. Hemp flourished in America and the Native Americans used it for fabric and cordage. The early settlers were reluctant to cultivate hemp, in favour of food crops such as corn, but the European motherland demanded it16. Later on hemp cultivation was mandatory for the colonists, even though there was a ban on spinning and weaving in the colonies set by the Crown. In the early eighteenth century waves of immigrants and improved methods of spinning and weaving enabled the colonialists to be self sufficient in production by the time for the War for Independence.
Many of the founding fathers of the US were hemp farmers and advocates. They understood the value hemp had in the struggle for independence from the British Empire17. Thomas Jefferson also understood the disastrous effect on the soil that tobacco farming had compared to hemp farming18. The same holds true still today and yet tobacco farming continues abundant and state subsidised19.
Nevertheless by the time the American Civil War ended hemp usage was in decline as cotton price reductions had increased its popularity20. Cotton dominated the southern agriculture and further blow to the demand of hemp was provided by the growing supply of cheaper wood pulp paper that started around the 1850s21. The hemp industry was left behind because there weren’t machinery developed for easy harvesting or processing. The usage of hemp was reduced to cordage, twine and thread by the turn of the century.
Soon afterwards new technological advances promised new usages for hemp22. Henry Ford and the Ford Company were forerunners in the field of biomass research, bio energy, and biological construction materials. Already then it was possible to make anything from plant carbohydrates that can be made synthetically from petroleum23. Ford presented his car made entirely out of biological matter, except for a steel frame, in the beginning of the 1940s24.
In 1938 Popular Mechanics magazine hailed hemp as the “new billion dollar crop”. The advances in decorticating technology, other innovations and processes would have rendered the profitability of hemp industries almost limitless.
Prohibition of Hemp
Legal hemp growing ended in the US in 1937 after the Marijuana Tax Act passed25. The tax posed transfer fees so high that they were in fact prohibitive in nature. The law passed in record time and with as little public discussion and hearings as possible. Many of the other government agencies were left out of the process of criminalizing cannabis that definitely had a favourable opinion about its legal status. For example the American Medical Association was not aware that marijuana and cannabis were in fact the same substance26.
The people were the ones to suffer because cannabis had been a remedy for a wide assortment of illnesses for a long time. Substantial evidence proves the medicinal benefits that cannabis medication has over some of the legal synthetic varieties available.
Also it is notable that any government investigation, including 12 research projects by the Australian government and numerous investigations by the US Government, intended for providing data to support criminalization, has not yielded conclusions other than ones favourable to cannabis legalization27.
Despite its impressive comeback in the Second World War28, when the US was forced to mandate its farmers to grow hemp again due to Japan cutting off the supply of natural fibres from Asia, hemp has stayed illegal in the US and unknown and unutilized elsewhere.
Hemp farming now
The European Union has subsidized hemp growing since about 199329 and current production is about 18,000 hectares30 (2003). The cultivation is mostly concentrated in France, Spain and a few eastern European countries but vast research about uses of hemp have been conducted even in Finland.
The research shows that hemp grows very well in various climates and is among the most productive plants in almost any climate. Special cultivars for seed and fibre production have been developed for European conditions and further development is underway.
The small number of processing facilities that could accept hemp hinders the growth of the industry in Europe, since the farmers have no place to sell their hemp. Currently for example in Finland hemp is being used as biomass pellets in heat-energy generators. Before hemp growing really can take off the hemp needs to be processed in multiple ways, preferably for high value-added products. Hemp is also cultivated for seeds in Finland.
The price of hemp fibre in Europe is € 0,30 per kilo, about € 300 per metric ton. Hurds sell for about one third of that price. The price farmers usually receive for seed crop is € 400 per metric ton31.
Hemp farming has been legal in Canada since 1995 and Canadian activists have quickly gained status among the leading hemp advocates in the world. The proximity of USA brings a clear advantage for the Canadian producers since hemp farming is still illegal in the USA and yet they are the biggest market for hemp products. The Canadian hemp movement has brought great publicity for the cause and as well as product innovations.
China, Russia and others
The Chinese and the Russians never quitted hemp farming as the rest of the world did following the Americans. China has been the world’s biggest hemp producer for decades and the source of much imported hemp fibre in the western markets. China is also the world’s biggest hemp seed exporter.
Hemp has been used widely in China for thousands of years as medicine as well as fibre and food. Throughout Asia hempseed has been an important source of alimentation especially in times of famine. International lobbyists have tried their best to weed out the hemp cultivation in Asia as well and the industry has been in a decline for decades now. Much of the cultivation takes place in small indigenous villages though, so the hemp usage might be more abundant than the statistics show.
India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other areas surrounding the Himalayas are where researchers believe hemp has originated from. Hemp use had deep roots in the Hindu religion and the people of India. The tradition of the spiritual use of cannabis hemp here is ancient and hemp represents a holy remedy as well as a religious sacrament for the people.
Problems currently threatening the world
The problems that were mentioned in the introduction are explained here in more detail. It is important to understand that the causes and solutions to these problems are mostly very interrelated and complicated, but most importantly caused by human action.
Therefore a reversing human action must be made until any improvement can be expected. A thorough explanation thusly is needed to bring forth the aspects of hemp that could help solve these problems.
Deforestation/desertification/erosion/soil depletion/dust bowl/soil contamination
The biggest problem that most people don’t even realize happening these days is the clearing of forests all over the world. At the same time the consumption of paper made out of wood and other wood products is increasing32.
The forests have many functions and the consequences of their destroying will show rather quickly. Trees, wherever they grow, are the providers of oxygen, protectors of watersheds and storages for airborne carbon dioxide, the main cause of the greenhouse effect.
Especially the tropical rainforests are a home to numerous different plant and animal species that we do not even know yet. By cutting the rainforests we deny ourselves the opportunity to ever discover those. According to a recent publication by WWF33 the Amazon is turning into a savannah and it might happen already in the next 15 years. The reason soil depletion is so vast in the Amazon is because the circulation of foliage normally fertilizes the ground. When the trees are cut down, the crops use up the nutrients quickly and the soil is rendered useless. Therefore the reforestation effort should be maximized as well as generating alternatives for the timber cut from the forest. The current effort can not yield anything except complete destruction of the forest.
Deforestation is not the only reason for soil depletion, though. Cultivating some crops may be more hazardous to the soil than others. For example cotton, which many developing countries grow as a cash crop, uses half of all the pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, used in the world and drains the soil of almost all nutrients. The phenomenon in the USA known as the “Dust bowl” according to some is a result of stopping the hemp farming in the southern states of the Union34. Instead cotton was farmed widely which resulted in the damage of the land. Year after year enormous amounts of fertile soil keep on getting washed away by rain35.
Asian countries such as Nepal, Thailand and China have a long history of using hemp as a resource of fibre, food and energy, but many of the Asian countries have been restricted by the international law from growing hemp. The results of abolishing of hemp plants from their natural habitat have been disastrous in some cases.
When they quit growing hemp on the hills they literally let the soil wash away with rain. Further soil depletion is advanced by cutting down old and already limited in supply forests for heating lumber for example.
Some commentaries also mention rules set by the International Monetary Fund36 and World Bank that prohibit hemp cultivation if a country wishes to receive a loan granted by the aforementioned institutions. This has not been verified from reliable written sources however, but seems probable, their policies considering37.
The world hunger problem has concentrated mostly in Africa and some Asian countries. The problem is not so much that we do not have enough food for everybody, but that it is unevenly distributed. The amount of food that goes to waste in the western world is immense. Nevertheless hunger persists to pose a threat to the poor even if they live in rich countries.
Every country would in any case need to produce at least some of its food. On the other hand in Asia the problem is not so much the lack of food but rather the lack of protein in the food for living. Especially for a growing child protein is essential. The researchers have long tried to discover a breed of rice that would contain sufficient quantities of protein with little success.
Many developing countries, which suffer from the hunger problem the most, have to rely on cash crops such as cotton and tobacco. The cash is sadly then only used for debt payments, which created the poverty in the first place. Such practices do nothing but harm to the land and do not provide any assistance for the local population.
The global energy consumption has increased at a quickening rate for the past century. Almost all of the current energy produced is from non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels or nuclear fission. Oil has been the main driver of the global economy throughout the twentieth century and remains as such for another 50 years or so until it runs out.
Global oil reserves have been concentrated sparsely around the globe and are cause of much political struggle. Recent wars in mid-east as well as other political endeavours by the US government have been criticized as being motivated by oil38. Crude oil prices have had an enormous impact on the world economy in the past as almost any production or transportation requires energy.
When an economy grows its need for energy grows as well. This is a cause of much concern since the economic development in China and other Asian nations has been very rapid in the near past. The oil prices currently are at their all-time high and while the global economic growth might hinder at some point, the need for energy will not. Analysts expect the oil price to lower to its “normal” value of approximately $30-40 in the next few years but I find it hard to imagine.
What is even more troublesome, it would roll back years of development in the field of alternative energy sources, because of the misconception of there still being oil left that people would get. My estimation is that crude oil prices will not go down significantly, because the demand keeps growing, until competition from alternative sources of energy pushes it down.
The development of alternative sources of energy has been stagnant in the past, but currently for example the efficiency of solar- and wind power plants has been increasing at a tremendous rate. The most readily available replacements for fossil fuels in transport use however are ethanol and bio diesel39.
As a result of constantly growing transport, whether road, sea or air, the pollution that piles up is causing problems such as cancer40. Air pollution does not limit to gases resulting from burning fossil fuels41. Also agricultural chemicals and other industrial chemicals that come in contact with people cause severe illnesses. It is justifiable to claim that cultivated crops that require no pesticides or herbicides would alleviate such problems in areas where crops such as cotton are cultivated.
Furthermore aerial pollution is the leading cause of global warming and depletion of the ozone layer. What can be distinguished from research is that bio fuels, while not pollution free, they provide not net gain in the amount of carbon dioxide42. This is because any plant that is burned releases the same amount of CO2 as it drawn in during its growth43.
Lack of clean water has been said to be the cause of coming wars, because there are so many countries that lack sufficient water for their people. As mentioned earlier, deforestation is one of the reasons for losing watersheds.
Water pollution is even a bigger problem than that. The dumpers of chemicals into waters are industry and agriculture. The wood pulp industry is among the worst. Cotton industry is not much better. As quoted in a documentary, according to Australian Patsy Hermsen, “Cotton industry is basically a chemical industry44”. This is essentially true since the entire manufacturing process, starting from growing the fibre, is carried out with chemicals.
Plastic is a by-product of the petroleum industry and has provided a cheap and virtually indestructible manufacturing material for almost a century now.
The problem with plastic waste is that it does not decompose during any span of time. When discarded in the nature, a plastic container will not even degrade until it is picked up by someone and properly disposed.
The final issue in this chapter is disease. Through a logic chain of thought we can rightly assume that malnutrition leads to exaggerated disease among a population as do pollution and lack of clean water. Again, this is just to remind the reader on the interlinked nature of these problems.
Currently the biggest threat we face in Europe, at least according to the news, is bird flu. Other recent catastrophes have presented such diseases as the mad cow disease and the foot and mouth disease.
At least the mad cow disease was attributed to some extent on the feed the cows were receiving. Basically other cows are ground up, their bones and otherwise inedible parts, and fed to the cows. Cannibalism is not clearly a natural phenomenon among cows, though. Much like human disease, it can be argued that also animal disease could be reduced by enforcing proper alimentation and cleaner environment.
The Solution and Impact Hemp Would Provide
The following section will assess the possibilities that humankind, by utilizing hemp worldwide to its full extent, could have to solve some of the problems troubling the current world we live in. These developments would to a large extent take place in developing countries which suffer the most from environmental and other disasters and thus stand to gain the most economically.
Furthermore the reader must understand that much technical and conceptual development in all fields of the hemp industry is needed. Simply because the plant was forgotten as a resource, all efforts for developing its productivity or producing methods have been forgone for almost 50 years now.
The disparity is striking when compared to other crops and industries. My guess is that when hemp takes similar leaps in development as other crops have after having been subject to research, the benefits listed below will become even harder to surpass.
Also it will be calculated to what extent hemp farming and other hemp industry would be of benefit economically within the context of European Union energy policy. The extent of environmental- and other benefits that would result from converting to hemp is left for the reader then to fathom.
Global hemp trade is not very active despite the hempen garment industry centralizing in China and trading worldwide. China is the largest exporter of hemp materials and its supply of hemp has been steady for long. What would be the so called going rate for hemp if it were widely traded is hard to assess, thus requiring more research; the hemp industry is in its earliest developing phase and global hemp trade is very limited currently, as is the market for seeds and products derived from them.
There has been some concern over the inner workings of the global hemp trade45. However speculations of global hemp prices and their effects on the economic growth are left for future research. One speculation concerning global trade of hemp seed is that prices would remain very low because of energy-utilization properties of hemp seed. Even rancid hemp seed oil has heating value, thus value as fuel.
Let us remember that hemp can be grown in such manner that it yields both high quality fibre and seed. Especially in the case of developing countries this fact can not be forgone.
For the purpose of determining whether hemp, utilized as is presented in this dissertation, is feasible, I have made some assumptions that render the pricing issue irrelevant. For example I assumed in my calculations that most countries in the world would focus their efforts on being self sufficient in plant energy to the largest extent possible.
The cost of ethanol production is omitted from the calculations and is expected to be no more than the cost of equal amount of energy provided by fossil fuels. The calculations are based strictly on the biomass energy production of hemp.
That in particular has been the reason for much debate over alternative fuels. Critics claim that the net energy content of bio-fuels is negative46. Clearly that is not the case for example with an ethanol plant that is self sufficient in power.
In short, these results are achieved by utilizing hemp worldwide to its full extent. One important fact about the hemp plant deserves to be brought up in this context; the yield of the hemp plant actually increases as a result of increased UV radiation from the sun, unlike almost any other plant. By continuing to burn fossil fuels we therefore ensure the eventual success of cannabis hemp. There is no need to wait until the moment arrives when nothing else grows on earth except hemp though.
Why then hemp products are not widely available and popular among the general public despite the superiority of some of its qualities, is left for further speculation. Perhaps we are stumbling on some quirky mishap in the capitalist theory, which clearly states that investment capital should be directed to those industries that yield the most profit.
In my mind there is no question whether or not profit can be derived from hemp products. I cannot make any comment about past generations and why they have not discovered the qualities of hemp and forced it through the industry. Now it seems that for example oil price is at a level that not only validates, but necessitates the look for alternative fuels and other resources.
In any case, many examples of possible uses of hemp are presented in the following, complimented with commentary of the positive effect the activity would have on environment, economy, and food supply.
Fibre, oil and cellulose for the industry47
The industrial uses of hempseed before the ban on hemp were various. Hempseed oil is effective both as a lubricant as well as a fuel for diesel engines. It is still used in paints, finishes, body-care products and such. Reader is informed that currently marketed beauty products, such as shampoos and conditioners, are in fact products of the petrochemical industry. The superior quality of body-care products derived of hemp seed oil is clear; oil with the same amino-acid composition as that of human, compared to synthetic chemical substitutes.
Furthermore hempseed oil can be used for many of the same uses as petroleum, such as plastics. There are currently companies that make hemp plastics for some specialty products, but the market is growing. Biodegradable plastics or other containers would solve a large portion of the waste problem. For example fast food chains would be a big market for such products.
Approximately 37 percent of the total mass of hemp plant is cellulose content. The cellulose could have the same uses in chemical industries as do petrochemical carbohydrates. The rest of the plant matter constitutes of different length fibres.
The fibre of the hemp plant is one of the strongest and longest in the plant world48. The fibre has many advantages over other fibres when spun into rope, twine, or cordage. When compared with cotton the benefits are obvious; it is much stronger, it does not lose its strength when exposed to weather changes or salt water, and it softens in use but does not weaken.
Hemp could replace all the cotton used today. With the same use of land, fibre production would increase dramatically. The fibre yield of hemp is about three ton per hectare, while for cotton it is much lower49.
The need for chemicals during the growth period would reduce as well, since hemp grows without any herbicides and needs little fertilization and pesticides. As mentioned earlier, cotton industry uses a large portion of all chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides consumed in the world today. Thusly the soil would be improved and more land would be available for other agricultural products.
Cotton is cultivated in developing countries on prime soil that is most suitable for food production, but is needed for generating cash50.
As a resource hemp is superior compared to trees as well. The bulletin No. 404 published by the US Department of Agriculture in 191651 testified that with continuous cultivation, the same acreage of hemp would yield four times as much pulp as pulp woods. The reason why this bulletin was published in the first place was of course because of growing concern over disappearing forests. However these concerns were discarded and very little paper is made today of other than wood pulp52.
In addition to producing more cellulose and longer fibre than trees, hemp produces superior quality paper with less toxic waste. 135 of the original bibles printed by the Gutenberg press were printed on hemp paper and 48 are still intact53. Everyone knows what happens to wood pulp paper when it gets old. It turns yellow and eventually into dust.
Further advantage of hemp fibre is its light weight. It therefore is applicable to a multitude of uses. For example it can replace chemical fibres such as glass fibre. It can be applied into plastic structures to strengthen them.
In fact German car manufacturers use hemp fibre in their manufacturing of panels and such for cars. That effectively reduces the environmental impact of the whole product while making it stronger, more durable and lighter. Such panels could be made entirely out of hemp, thanks to the high cellulose and lignin content of the plant.
Any number of particleboards can be manufactured from hemp. It is notable that Henry Ford manufactured an entire automobile from plant matter in the Ford Corporation research centre, already in 1930s. It weighed about two thirds of a regular car, thus improving gas efficiency, but could take many times the hits a normal car could without damage54.
Hemp would contribute largely to the building industry as well. Building materials made of hemp55 are more durable, fire resistant, mould resistant, and pest resistant than wood. A simple rule determines the toughness of a composite element; if everything else is equal, the longer the fibre, the stronger the product56.
The need for timber as building materials could be replaced with MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) elements easily. Nevertheless, utilizing timber as a building material can be considered as reducing carbon emissions as well. As a building material, wood effectively binds to itself much CO2 for a long period of time.
The French invention of a hemp concrete called Isochanvre provides even more possibilities for using hemp as a building material. The method is actually ancient but was rediscovered in the midst of the hemp renaissance. A site on the internet that provides information about different materials had the following to tell57:
Isochanvre is mixed with hydraulic lime and water to bind it together, then packed into timber formwork and left to solidify like concrete. It is easy to work with and requires less skill than common brickwork. Construction times are lower than brick, no cavity is required and neither is a damp proof membrane. As an additional environmental benefit, it takes only 4 months to grow the raw material for a house.
Building housing from organic matter would of course be beneficial for the environment. All the CO2 the hemp has drawn in during its lifespan would be stored into a fixed element for a long time, out of the atmosphere. Also much forest would be saved for growing, and collecting CO2.
Many a poor could be helped with cheap housing since at present the availability of building materials is limited in some of the poorest countries. Approximately 1 acre of hemp is required for building a house the size of 120m2. The part of hemp that is used for Isochanvre is the hurds; that means that the fibre can still be used for other purposes. This would bring the price of the material down if the fibre was appropriately collected and sold to other uses.
The recently emerged method of producing ethanol from cellulose with a high efficiency rate could be a part in getting rid of fossil fuels altogether. Ethanol is a cleanly burning fuel which could be used in a mixture of gasoline or diesel. All cars currently running on gasoline could use a 10% mix of ethanol with no problems. Ethanol can be used without gasoline as well as a pure fuel.
Hemp with its high cellulose content would be one of the crops most suitable for energy farming. The ability of hemp to provide other useful resources for manufacturing products effectively ensures that hemp is one of the cheapest methods available for cellulose production, again not forgetting the environmental benefits.
Other transport fuel that can be derived from hemp is bio diesel made of hemp seed oil. The yield would not be so great and other uses of the oil may be more suitable. Other methods for bio diesel production should be therefore researched58. As mentioned before, hemp can be efficiently cultivated in such manner that also seed is produced. Thus for a farmer producing his own fuel might be advantageous; or other small-scale production.
Land improvement and toxin cleansing
One clear advantage hemp has over most other crops is its value as a land improver. Hemp grows naturally like a weed, and acts as a natural weed suppressant because of the way it grows. It requires very little attention compared to other crops, not to mention chemical pesticides or herbicides. During the growth period the roots of hemp plant break through the soil and leave it in perfect condition for next year’s crop.
For this reason hemp is effective as a rotational crop as well. It is my assumption therefore that, by employing hemp to its full extent to serve as a land improver in agriculture, world food production would increase significantly, and the rate at which the top soil is lost currently would be reduced as well.
That in turn would reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, which are a product of the petrochemical industry, thus contributing to the green house gas emissions.
It has been proven that farming hemp reduces the toxins found in soil very efficiently. The use of chemicals in agriculture currently contributes largely to the contamination of soil, especially in the USA. The use of chemicals can also be blamed for causing much contaminants and carcinogens passing on to the food that we eat. It would be thus crucial, simply in order to secure food safety, to prevent the further contamination of agricultural land immediately.
Food for the masses
The hemp seed is the most wholesome protein provided by any plant. In addition its oil content is up to 40%. The oil is also among the healthiest of vegetable oils. The unsaturated fatty acid content of hempseed oil is healthier than in any other oil and the hemp protein is the only vegetable protein composed of all of amino acids necessary for human body making it perfect for human consumption.
Many studies show the benefits to human immune system that can be contributed to hemp seed in a diet, more specifically the globulin content of the seed.
Hemp’s ability to grow throughout the temperate and warm zones of our planet59 offers unseen possibilities in improving the world food production as well. The problem is to get the food to those in need. The sustainable solution would be to provide everyone with means of producing their own food. If cash crops such as cotton were replaced with hemp, the same yield of fibre could be achieved along with seeds for food.
For research purposes I have to lay out some ground rules for the calculations. The primary goal is to provide the whole needy population with a year’s supply of hempseed from one crop. This is because in most conditions hemp is a one year crop and if food is stored and distributed effectively, the hemp farming can provide then for the whole population in a continuous manner.
To keep calculations simple I use 1 ton of hemp seed per 1 hectare as a thumb’s rule. Reader be advised that this formula is derived from Finnish research, so actual results are likely higher than estimated, possibly quite significantly in warmer climates. There is also possibility of multiple harvests in one year in so as to multiply the yield per hectare.
It is likely in this instance as well that the cost of the seed could be covered by the sales of fibre in some form. Anything ranging from textile to paper and building material can be built from it, so high sales for securing cash are possible.
The hemp dry matter has enormous energy value as well and could be utilized in many ways. Ethanol is a clean burning transport fuel that can replace gasoline and help energy self sufficiency. Ethanol refineries require extensive capital investment though60. Diesel on the other hand can be replaced by bio diesel at a very low cost. Some older diesel cars run on pure vegetable oil without trouble, nor emissions61. Because discussion over the matter is rampant, I shall for the sake of simplifying calculations replace diesel with hemp oil 1 for 1.
The biggest problem in such a strategy is not necessarily the lack of labour or machinery, but lack of organization in coordinating the efforts. Without going much into detail, many improvements are needed in the organization of humanitarian aid.
Perhaps Universities or other institutions could draw plans for a project and conduct it in conjunction with an NGO62. It is, after all, only a matter of allocating resources, and in the case of humanitarian help, all help and improvements come in handy. Funding could be kept low, whilst motivation and multilateral learning high.
The beauty of hemp on the other hand would be its relatively quick impact in a community. Hemp only takes 100 days to mature, depending on the strain, so for example food relief would certainly be welcome in many areas, the quicker the better. For this reason, these ideas should be presented to researchers working for NGOs.
Next I have to estimate the amount needed per person. Rather than following the 2000kcal diet63, I estimated the need of protein instead. If that is calculated to be 50g daily64, then the required need for hemp seed is 200g per day totalling 73kg a year. That multiplied with the population count gives us the needed area for continuously cultivated hemp.
I will use for calculating purposes Kenya as an example. The arable land available is 45 597 km265 which equals 4 559 700 hectares. The area needed for hemp seed cultivation would be almost 2,5 million hectares.
Now with little over half of arable land in use, we can make some calculations about by-products. First of all bio-diesel could be produced from the seed yield probably at a rate of 350 litres per ton. The nutritional value of the seed meal would remain the same, only unnecessary fat, albeit healthy in comparison, is used for fuel.
The total production would be 875 million litres of oil. The energy value of that alone is enormous, and the oil could be sold for cash if no other use is invented. The cash would in turn cover the costs of feeding the people.
Some sort of an estimate could be made of the dry matter yield as well, because it has great value in many uses. The easiest method of utilization is burning it for heat, for example to cook hemp-seed-oatmeal with.
As mentioned earlier, the soil depletion that follows deforestation is very rapid in a rainforest. Data gathered shows also that hemp can be a powerful help while the soil recuperates and turn into forest again. There are currently efforts to plant trees to areas that have been removed of trees and where only sand remains.
While the trees are fast growing as well as ground improving it is shown that hemp would revive the depleted soil even quicker providing faster forestation. While hemp grows it grows a taproot almost foot-long that punctures the soil thus enabling following crops better and easier growth.
After harvesting, the foliage is left on the ground which is therefore in perfect condition for a new crop or even forest growth. In areas where timber is in short supply but is required by local population for example for heating, hemp would bring twice the help by providing wood substituting material while helping forest growth.
In the long run if considered from the standpoint of airborne carbon dioxide and attempt to reduce its quantity, the easiest solution is to let the forests grow while stopping green house gas emissions. If all paper and heating lumber was non-wood, the forest, while growing, would turn carbon emissions into oxygen at a growing rate. Even if the use of timber was reduced to for example building material it would reduce the total amount of aerial carbon dioxide.
News that at first glance do not seem to relate to deforestation have popped up that present the Indonesian government’s plans to farm palm trees for fuel oil in areas that go through indigenous lands, and also in other ways resemble the disastrous mining industry of the country.
Prime rainforest will again be cut down in vast quantities and the soil and watersheds lost for a long time. This time the reasoning is different though. The plan of the Indonesians is to sell bio diesel made of palm oil to the European Union66. As eco friendly as it seems, the actions have been deemed as ecologically disastrous.
Example case of the feasibility of hemp
Scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the European Community
The European Union in an effort to eventually cut down emissions has enacted a trading system of allowances for greenhouse gas emissions67. The trading system started already in January 2005 and is supposed to be in full swing by the end of 2007.
At its current state the system does not credit for example forest-growth. The intention of this passage is to calculate how much the economical effect for substituting to hemp in industry would be.
In the beginning stage the directive does not include all emissions, just a selection of industrial facilities that contribute largely to the pollution. There are rules regarding all inputs that the plants use, both material, and fuel. Production facilities mentioned in the article include, industrial plants for the production of (a) pulp from timber or other fibrous material, (b) paper and board with a production capacity exceeding 20 tonnes every day68, which are an example of industries where all inputs, both energy and material could well be substituted with hemp. The factors on which the emissions calculations are based on would therefore be the lowest possible. Biomass is considered carbon dioxide neutral. Emission factor 0 is applied [tCO2/TJ or t or m3] to biomass69 when the total emissions are calculated. The resulting financial gain for an exemplary company will be calculated also.
At its first stage the directive does not contribute effectively to the main cause of greenhouse emissions; transport fuels. It is fairly simple to calculate the emission savings when a ton of ethanol is burned compared to a ton of crude oil though. Similar calculations will be made with hemp seed bio diesel as well.
I had to make some simplifications that are justifiable because of uncertainties in the future developments. I am for example assuming that all of the hemp-ethanol producing plants are self sufficient in energy and no fossil fuel is needed in the manufacturing process of ethanol70, or diesel. What will be the reality once such establishments exist is anyone’s guess really.
Also for simplification other greenhouse gases mentioned and included71 in the directive will not be calculated; for biomass inputs the factor to use when calculating the emissions will be 0 as is the case with carbon dioxide.
Furthermore the price used for calculating total carbon dioxide emission costs will be €30.00 per CO2 ton, a rough average extracted from the European Climate Exchange website72.
The Case of Fuel vs. Ethanol refining
For the sake of the managerial nature of the degree program I shall keep on using, what I would like to call, managerial numbers, which are by definition very crudely estimated and highly susceptible.
So as to not lose the credibility of my calculations though, I use estimations of production levels based on production levels in Finland73, which are prone to be lower than in other countries74, due to northern location and short summer period.
The first case is a simple calculation of the economic benefits an ethanol plant yields when compared to an oil refinery. It is calculated how much are the total emissions of gasoline equal in energy of the yearly ethanol production. Those are the resulting yearly savings of switching to ethanol, for the whole industry. The capital investment required for such a plant is estimated at €75 million. A similar size refinery in another example had equivalent capital requirements75.
When compared with different numbers the result should show to some extent the price volatility that has entered into the energy market as a result of emissions trading. The position of renewable energy sources is stronger in that sense.
When the example is taken further the hemp refinery can be used as a benchmark unit for some calculations. As it is already proven, a cellulose ethanol factory can indeed run profitably in Finland, why not calculate how many such plants are needed to substitute gasoline in its entirety. Since diesel needs to be substituted as well, it is calculated how much hemp is needed to grow for seed in order to meet the demand for diesel.
Price calculations are simplified for this purpose because farming hemp would not make sense only for energy purposes. Therefore it is calculated how much land needs to be farmed to produce primary hemp fibre for markets, and dry matter as a by product, enough to meet the demand for our factory. The price the farmer receives for the fibre is thusly his primary income. This way we can achieve a situation in which the by-product that goes to our factory is free for the purposes of this example.
In reality there are plenty of other uses for the by-product material such as Isochanvre-cement. The remaining 6660 kg of hurds76 , a number used to calculate the average by-product yield per hectare, would be enough to construct such a house.
The specifications of the factory in question77 are the following. Yearly input of dry matter, 547 500 tons; yearly ethanol output, 170 million litres.
First, the farmed area needed to produce enough hemp for a factory producing 170 million litres of ethanol annually. The average yield per hectare in our example is 6660 kg, so area needed for cultivation is roughly 82 210 hectares78.
The energy content in the yearly ethanol-production volume of 170 million litres is 4250 TJ. The amount of gasoline needed to produce the same amount is 96 million litres. The reason why less gasoline is needed is because of their energy content. Gasoline has an energy density value79 of 44 KJ/kg, while the energy density value of ethanol80 is 25 KJ/kg.
The total carbon that is released to the atmosphere by consuming 96 million litres of gasoline is 294 525 tCO281, according to the EU. That is the number to base the financial calculations on, in this case.
The total annual savings for an economy would be almost € 9 million82 or payback period for investment of eight years and a half.
What about substituting all the gasoline in Finland with ethanol? The total energy consumed as gasoline in Finland 2004 was 78 458 TJ, so 19 refineries and 1 561 990 hectares of cultivated hemp should do it. That represents 4,39 per cent of the total area of Finland83. To give an idea of the feasibility of this, the total arable land and garden area in Finland is 2 243 000 hectares.
To calculate the amount of hemp needed to meet the diesel demand is equally easy. Seed production in Finland is about 1000kg/ha, and oil content in hemp seed is almost 40%. The annual diesel demand in Finland is about 1900 million litres84. With a yield of 400 litres/ha the demand of oil can’t be met, 4,75 million hectares of land would have to be cultivated, which is currently not even the case of total agricultural production in Finland.
Conclusions regarding hemp cellulose-alcohol
Since desired results from the Finnish calculations were achieved for ethanol production but not diesel, I will demonstrate another country which could indeed meet all its energy needs. See Food for the masses, p.32.
At this stage I will comment the results of the calculations in this example. While extreme simplifications were employed to arrive at the results, the numbers prove that an ethanol refinery would be a feasible alternative in Finland, as well as in other countries since the emission payment rates are the same everywhere in the union.
Already the return on investment received as CO2 savings alone proves the point. The ethanol price calculations are left out of the equation and the result is based on the assumption that the ethanol refineries are self sufficient in power. It can be assumed that much lower prices for ethanol would be achieved than prices of gasoline.
Fluctuations in the price of CO2 emissions would affect the theoretical savings as well. The current price is approximately € 30 per tCO2, but there isn’t much information available on the developments. The long term goal of EU in this matter and the underlying purpose of emission trade are to reduce the overall emissions of industry within the Union.
The price of carbon emissions allowances is determined, in the long term, by two major determinants; the rate of technological development within industry that cut emissions (pushes price down), and the rate at which EU slashes emission allowances (forces prices higher).
Moreover simple calculations show that reasonable rate on return is still achieved even if the price was lower. In turn higher price for CO2 emissions would mean higher returns.
If for example a nation wanted85 to implement hemp in its energy strategy it could secure finance for the whole process through CO2 savings in the long term. If the intention was to replace fossil fuels altogether, favourable tax rates could be applied for bio fuels and retain cash for covering the costs of ethanol industry from heavy petrol taxation.
Even competition restricting taxation implemented by the state would pass EU reviews without scrutiny in my opinion, since the goal is pollution reduction.
More research on the subject is obviously needed; much was left out because of the limited scope of this calculation; including farm subsidies, that in my opinion wouldn’t be needed if hemp was promoted industry-wide.
For example oil prices are estimated to lower back to under $ 30 per barrel in coming years86. For this reason also the emission trade seems like a good idea, once properly initiated. It can be argued that the emission trade scheme helps in keeping the cost of switching to bio fuels reasonably low.
Furthermore this strategy would also require extensive development on the processing of hemp fibre. It is not obvious from the calculations but by utilizing the hemp in the most effective manner the resulting products could have considerably high added value.
In this context the Finns could for example employ their skills and knowledge of papermaking to the newly available acreage of hemp fibre. Hemp paper would be more valuable than wood pulp paper because of its superior quality. Furthermore paper industry is currently in the midst of cutting back labour in Finland, so skilled labour is indeed available, as is idle production capacity.
Research on the subject is definitely required. More information about hemp products can be found elsewhere in the report but further estimations of benefits of hemp are left for future research.
The calculations in the past chapters are very crude estimations of different hemp-utilization scenarios. Every assumption is based on facts nevertheless. The factual data provided by references allows the reader to verify my calculations and present critique.
The factual nature of my assumptions allows me to continue pondering on this subject more widely, using simple logical reasoning.
What happened then?
The question we end up facing reads as follows; why isn’t hemp then used in the way the previous passages suggest it should be?
This was also the founding question of the dissertation, now that I come to think about it. I think the conclusion that I hoped for already in the beginning stages of this research, when forming the research question, was that hemp indeed is able to help us solve many problems while at the same time contribute to industry, locally and in a global scale.
In fact, the following research should be concluded on the basis of the question, how best hemp can solve local issues while contributing to economy. Thus no limitations should be set to restrict hemp research anywhere in the world.
In this research it has become apparent that a culture, as the one we live in, is able to forget much even about basic natural resources, if we really set our mind to it. The lack of knowledge about hemp is frequent among the population because of one simple reason. Hemp has been wiped out, literally, out of our history records, to a large extent. I for one do not remember a single mention of hemp, as being an important resource for human, during any period of history; according to, for example schoolbooks, that is. It is obvious why then the impact of hemp comes as such a surprise to literally everyone I talk to.
Why was the market left un-informed?
So we can argue that the lack of knowledge spread throughout a population can cause a distortion to the concept of efficient markets. It is shown that earth can very well be powered by the hemp plant if that is the will of the people. Something else must be the cause behind the fact that we still burn carbon in order to get energy, while we already possess the means to clean the planet.
Perhaps Dr. Andrew Katelaris had it correct when he said “it [hemp prohibition] was a blatant case of industrial espionage, to remove competition from evolving petrochemical substitutes to superior natural fibres”87.
When you look at the current situation critically it is clear that the record profits that oil companies reap, and have for the last century, are the profits that occur because of efficient markets theory gone very wrong. Moreover, those profits are a result of an un-informed market.
The profits that do occur in the current situation only increase the welfare of a handful of people, or companies for that matter. Exxon Mobil reported profit of over $36 billion88 last year, amount unheard of ever before, in corporate history.
Furthermore, when we compare the externalities89 of the solutions provided in the scenarios, and what has been done now, it is apparent which is clearly more beneficial for the man-kind as a whole. If all energy needs were met with renewable resources, there wouldn’t be a constant flow of money from literally everyone’s pay-cheque to the oil oligarchy90 for one.
That is why illegal means were employed when hemp was criminalized. Hemp, being the most versatile and efficient of all plant resources, posed the biggest threat to petrochemical industries, and therefore had to be eliminated completely. If a reader disagrees, then I welcome any discussion concerning the reasons (or excuses) for hemp criminalization, or the whole war on drugs that we are reportedly fighting.
The war on drugs
In closing I shall present some facts about the effects of current drug policies and everyone is free to make his or her own calculations of the total costs of the war on drugs; a war that is fought in every country of the world, and a war that is mistakenly fought against the victims of drugs, a war that is the cause of more problems than results from drug use (health problems).
It is our natural right to grow any plant that exists on this planet that is on debate here; some would say it’s a human right. Wouldn’t forbidding such an act be