• For at least 3,000 years prior to 1842 widely varying marijuana extracts (bud, leaves, roots, etc.) were the most commonly used real medicines in the world for the majority of mankind's illnesses.
The U.S. Pharmacopoeia indicated cannabis should be used for treating such ailments as fatigue, fits of coughing, rheumatism, asthma, delirium tremens, migraine headaches, and the cramps and depressions associated with menstruation.
• In this century, cannabis research has demonstrated therapeutic value and complete safety in the treatment of many health problems including asthma, glaucoma, nausea, tumors, epilepsy, infection, stress, migraines, anorexia, depression, rheumatism, arthritis, and possibly herpes.
• Deaths from aspirin (U.S. per year): 180 - 1,000 +
• Deaths from legal drugs (U.S. per year) at doses used for prevention, diagnosis, or therapy: 106,000
• Almost any product that can be made from wood, cotton, or petroleum (including plastics) can be made from hemp. There are more than 25,000 known uses for hemp.
• For thousands of years virtually all good paints and varnishes were made with hemp seed oil and/or linseed oil.
• Hemp stems are 80% hurds (pulp by-product after the hemp fiber is removed from the plant). Hemp hurds are 77% cellulose - a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics, and fibers. Depending on which U.S. agricultural report is correct, an acre of full grown hemp plants can sustainably provide from four to 50 or even 100 times the cellulose found in cornstalks, kenaf, or sugar cane (the planet's next highest annual cellulose plants).
One acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees, making hemp a perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particle board, and concrete construction molds.
If hemp could supply the energy needs of the United States, its value would be inestimable. Now that the drug czar is in final retreat, America has an opportunity to, once and for all, say farewell to the Exxon Valdez, Saddam Hussein and a prohibitively expensive brinkmanship in the desert sands of Saudi Arabia. - Hugh Downs, ABC News, New York
At this point I would like to apologise for this document being so long but you have to admit, it is fascinating reading.
So at this point what are we doing with hemp in South Africa?
South Africa Today
Currently industrial trials are being grown in the Western and Eastern Cape.
Herewith a brief synopsis relating to the hemp industry in South Africa
1994- The ARC/IIC (then TCRI – Tobacco and Cotton Research Institute) secures a research contract with SAHC, sponsored by PG Bison, to investigate the viability of creating a SA Hemp sub-tropical cultivar.
1996 – the Eastern Cape Hemp steering committee (ECHSC) headed by Vuyo Mahlabi (VMP) for wild coast SDI, and co-chaired by Zongie Mbekeni (ZM) (ECDEAT), with the private sector participation of SAHC/Planet AC. Prior to the request for funding to the NDA by the ECHSC, the ARC ITCRI and the CSIR (Textec - Alex Boguslavski) published a recommendation (Dr. Joubert) that for climatic reasons and latitude position, Hemp could not possibly grow in the Eastern Cape. The SAHC/Planet AC and their technology partners, led by the EFC (Francois Desanlis, Head of Research and Development at the LCDA – the most successful Hemp producers in the EU) undertook a counter feasibility study on the Hemp capacity to crow in the Eastern Cape, which was conclusive and then accepted by the ARC/TCRI and CSIR Textec. 1997 The first trials started under the responsibility of the ECHSC, with the seeds imported under permits from France (EFC) and Novosadska – the SAHC/Planet signed confidentiality and plant breeders right agreement with the seed owners 1998 The National Hemp Initiative was born as a result of the positive first trials, and officially launched in DOHNE, in August 1998 in presence of Minister Thoko Didiza, and MEC for agriculture EC Mr. Max Mamase. The French technology partners were present as well as American partners – Don Wirtshafer. The Agro-trials for French and Yugoslavian seeds was renewed and agreed upon to be extended to the existing 5 sites. The ARC/TCRI was commissioned to handle the trials and French experts were called again by SAHC/Planet to co-manage results – recommendations were given to the ARC. 1999 Under the pressure of the NHF, the three performing cultivars (Felina, Fedora and Novosadska) were registered at the Department of Agriculture, Department of Genetic Resources as industrial agricultural crops, as well as the deregulation of Hemp from weed status. 2000 The NHF decided to engage in trials on 11 sites in the Eastern Cape – with the three most performing cultivars, registered with the NDA. At this time, a full member of the NHF, Thandeka Kunene, negotiated a RM15 from the Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) through the DACST. These funds included a budget for seeds, which was allocated to purchase French cultivars and were in the custody of the CSIR Textec. The ARC proceeded with the transaction, organized by the SAHC/Planet. 2001 ECDALA was chairing the NHF, and under the leadership of L. Ngada orchestrated the transformation of the NHF as follows: Ø In view of the confirmed results from research and agreements with the DOH that the NHF shall handle the application for permits for all provincial project, the private sector was asked to resign from the NHF and start their own projects. This was at the time that SAHX/Planet presented the Hemp industrial Park project to the NHF for endorsement, which was obtained a the end of 2001 – together with the endorsement of the Naturally “Yours” center, a center which used Hemp bricks walling as a demo for the WSSD2002. 2002 The CSIR (Textec) hold a conference at the WSSD 2002, on the Natural Fibers, where Hemp is a major fixture. Foreign guest speakers were invited at lavish costs (Jess Calloway from the Finish Hemp cultivar FINOLA is a close associate of EFC) to speak about Hemp. 2003 The NNIP through Chicory SA, requested technical data form the ARC/IIC (Dr. Joubert, in person) on the Hemp trials results in Eastern Cape. 5 years have been costly spent in a research which led to determine three acceptable cultivars for industrial trials. 2004 Formation of Western Cape Hemp Initiative (WCHI) as part of the National Hemp Initiative (NHI)
It is important to develop sound business plans for rollout of commercial and industrial hemp in South Africa. There has to be a pre-determined use for the anticipated crop. The first stage is to grow hemp for making paper and to develop a paper making industry. This can be followed by growing hemp for various other reasons such as rehabilitation of marginal soils, growing hemp for seed, for making foodstuffs, hemp for oil extraction, followed by hemp for building materials, leading to textiles and finally to fiber for the automotive industry. Infrastructures need to be built for decortification and processing. It is also necessary to understand the difference between hemp and marijuana or dagga as it is commonly called in South Africa. Although both dagga and hemp share the same Genus species name, Cannabis sativa (L) they are as different from each other as a Doberman is to a poodle, although they both are dogs. The essential difference lies in the level of THC (Tetra Hydra Cannabinol) content of the plant, (THC is the psychotropic bio chemical present in the Dagga variety of Cannabis) THC is usually present when Cannabis sativa is grown as dagga. This means the plants are nurtured and cultivated, spaced and grown to produce lush flowering buds. Hemp on the other hand is grown by broadcasting the seed so they grow in close proximity allowing them to compete for space and light. This causes the plants to grow prolific stalks which produces the valuable fibers and contains little if any THC. Cultivation of dagga and hemp are not complimentary. Quality of dagga will be most inferior if pollinated by hemp. Hemp is legal in approximately 70 “civilized “countries. “ Civilized “ because hemp was at the origin of western and far – Eastern civilizations, as hemp was the single most important crop in the entire northern hemisphere, producing the ropes and textiles for the logistics of expansionism, the paper for the dissemination of knowledge, the protein for the development of intelligence. Hemp has been cultivated since 4000 BC.and has only been temporarily “out of fashion.” The time has come where it can again be utilized to produce myriads of consumer goods by developing new enterprises and industries that will contribute towards the rise out of poverty.
By integrating this multi-dimensional approach, a comprehensive energy efficient housing concept forming the backbone of a sustainable smart modern African digital eco-village, a nutritional solution encompassing indoor sprouting gardens, organic farming and permaculture practices as well as the re-introduction of a hemp industry, we stand more than a rea