April 21, 2011 – 4/20, since its creation as the world’s first meme over thirty years ago, is synonymous with weed smoking. For the environmentally conscious, however, the day and time is aligned with another weed by-product: hemp.
For the uninitiated, hemp is the fiber from the cannabis plant and is one of the fastest growing biomasses on our planet. Prior to U.S. drug laws and weed hysteria, used to criminalize Mexicans (who smoked marijuana as an aide to help them relax after working in the fields) and to subjugate the population at large, hemp, as a product, was used for rope and as a covering. In fact, the word canvas is derived from cannabis. For about 300 years in America, hemp was a staple crop. George Washington grew it on his farm in Mount Vernon New York, using it for fiber production.
With the criminalization of marijuana came the halt in production of hemp. In its stead came the bureaucratic fear and prosecution unleashed by our government, ideas and propaganda which spread beyond our borders. We won’t bore you with the legalese or list the various acts passed to control something that’s been alive longer than mankind. Instead we’ll gloss over thirty something years and focus on the products made from hemp being sold online and in supermarkets today.
If you want to read an excellent documentation on how a plant became criminalized, read the children’s book “It’s Just A Plant” by Ricardo Cortez.
After the break, cool stuff made from hemp.
Above: The adidas hemp shell toe. When he was Governor of Texas in the 1990s, George Bush tried to ban the shoe because he thought it promoted the use of marijuana. You can buy it here.
Another hemp shoe by adidas, the adidas gazelle, made from hemp and cork. The Germany-based brand has been a leader in producing environmentally friendly products. The Gazelles are part of their Grun collection and may be purchased here.
Living Harvest produces hemp milk. A 32 oz. carton goes for $4.99 and a 12-Pack (12 x 32 oz. carton) for $54.88 saving you money in bulk. All of their hemp-based products can be purchased online or via phone: 866-972-6879
Hempy’s make and distribute a variety of products made from hemp, including the Banzai belts above. Order yours here.
Via DesignBoom and Inhabitat this monobloc stackable chair by Werner Aisslinger features a refined modern form. The aptly-named ‘hemp chair’ is made from natural fibers like hemp that have been molded under heat with a special non-toxic, eco-friendly glue. Essentially a single, thin sheet of composite material, the chair is surprisingly lightweight, strong and features delicate curves which give it an inimitable visual complexity. Aisslinger’s unique process allows for the low-cost mass production of each piece, but not at the cost of the environment.
Melissa Kirgan’s ‘Deep Waters’ halter gown of organic hemp gauze hand-dyed and embellished with hemp crochet, sliced glass bottle necklace, recycled glass beads, cotton head wrap with organic alpaca crochet (photography by Jeremy Langdon). Available at Ekolab.com in Sweden and NYC’s Lower East Side.