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Laguna Beach Residents Provide Hemp Products, Question the Illegality of Growing Hemp

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"Because hemp is anti-microbial, it doesn't allow for bacterial growth," says Hutchinson. "It doesn't get 'funky' after a day at the beach. It's porous, so it dries more quickly on a clothes line or in a drier. This uses less energy. Every time you wash hemp, it gets softer. Feel how soft this is!"

Chris Boucher, Laguna Beach resident and owner of Hempsteads International, is on hand delivering fabric to Hutchinson in her studio. He supplies Hutchinson with material for her creations.

His company's products include T-shirts, fabrics, clothing, hemp protein, seeds, oil and body care items. He imports fair trade hemp fabrics from China, as well as products and clothing made from organically grown plants.

"This means," says Boucher, "that the plants are grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides, and that the fabric producers and clothing manufacturers receive a fair price."

Boucher got his start in the surf and beach clothing industry 15 years ago in Costa Mesa. Hutchinson has made clothing for festivals, including the Sawdust Festival, for the same amount of time. Both of them saw the beach apparel industry "vanish" from Southern California.

"Seventy per cent of the apparel industry," says Hutchinson, "has been outsourced to China."

She and Boucher would like to see production and manufacturing come back to California by legalizing the growing of hemp in this state, and for the manufacturing of hemp products to occur here.

At this time, it is illegal for California farmers to grow hemp. However, on May 31st, the California State Senate passed SB-676, which will legalize industrial hemp production. It needs to be voted upon by the State Assembly, and then signed by Governor Jerry Brown before it becomes a law.

Boucher says, "John Lovell, the lobbyist for the California Narcotics Officers and Police Chiefs Associations, keeps on blabbing hysteria ... 'If this bill is passed, it's gonna make kids want to smoke pot!'"

"Lovell was kicked out of the last hearing by the Sargeant at Arms," says Boucher, "because he was so interruptive. How can he even say these things? Three times now, liberals and conservatives have come together to pass this bill."

"Industrial hemp," says Boucher, "is the same species as medical marijuana, but a different variety. You're going after a really good stalk, not seeds ... not buds. The plant can't have more than 0.3 percent of THC. And the law requires that plants would be tested to make sure they're in that limit."

"Farmers see through the hysteria," says Boucher. "They know it would be an economic boon for their constituency."

Hemp was grown by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. It is used in the manufacture of textiles. In fact, the genus name for hemp is cannabis, which is the Greek word for 'canvas'. Hemp is also used for making plastic, paper, body care products, foods, oils and construction materials.

Hemp "concrete," or Tradical Hemcrete, is manufactured by Lime Technology.

According to Lime Technology's website, "Hemcrete absorbs CO2 in its manufacture and so has a negative embodied CO2, is renewable, is highly insulating, changes temperature very slowly reducing heating loads, and creates a breathable walling system for healthy living."

"There is the potential," says Boucher, "for $100-$200 million to be made by California industries within the first year or two of hemp legalization."

Michelle Hutchinson hopes to boost California's economy by using California-grown hemp.

"I'm still producing a mostly American-made product." says Hutchinson. "I still employ local seamstresses to sew my clothing. I would like to be using American-made fabric from organic American-grown hemp plants, which are more eco-friendly."

"One ton of organic hemp," says Boucher, "eliminates one ton of CO2. One acre of cotton puts 800 pounds of CO2 in the air. Organic hemp needs about half the water that cotton does, but produces about twice the fiber per acre. Because it's organically grown, it requires no nitrogen-based fertilizers. Plus, bugs don't attack hemp so you don't need pesticides."

According to the Organic Trade Association's website, the growing of cotton uses 16% of the world's pesticides.

"If people buy my clothing or pillows or window hangings," says Hutchinson, "it's a bonus. I get to talk about sustainable options with my customers. It's about conscious consumerism."

"You can vote with your dollar," says Hutchinson. "My hemp bikinis are $65. They're locally made, soft and durable. A bikini at a department store can cost a lot more and be made in a different country."

"Hopefully by January next year," says Boucher, "we can have 1,000,000 acres of hemp growing out in Imperial Valley, creating jobs."

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: lagunabeach.patch.com
Author: Kathy Ochiai
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Patch
Website: Laguna Beach Residents Provide Hemp Products, Question the Illegality of Growing Hemp
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