Hemp City

In the weeks leading up to our Launch Party, we’ll be featuring some of our local friends who will be taking part. This is business week, so far we’ve featured the secret software company in Mosaic Books, today I attempt, through a smokey haze, to remember visiting Hemp City (at 526A Bernard Ave) and learn that there’s a lot more to hemp than it’s smoke-able cousin.

Hemp City has been in Kelowna for 5 years now and is one of two locations nearby (including one in West Kelowna) and surprising to some may be to see the full gamut of what they carry. The focus at Hemp City is sustainability and health.  Everything from organic clothing and locally made crafts to art supplies reside in the store. Not surprisingly the boys are advocates for hemp and give me the run-down on it’s multiple applications including clothes, paper, food, oil, gas, soaps, plastics, “pretty much anything under the sun” they finally admit raising questions to this author why we’re not growing more of this product everywhere?

Questions that arise might include ‘what if farmers hide marijuana plants among the hemp?’ but marijuana is grown widely spaced to maximize leaves. Hemp is grown in tightly-spaced rows to maximize stalk and is usually harvested before it goes to seed. If hemp does pollinate any nearby marijuana, genetically, the result will always be lower-THC marijuana, not higher-THC hemp. If hemp is grown outdoors, marijuana will not be grown close by to avoid producing lower-grade marijuana.

Back to the store, we wander around some more and I started seeing all kinds of poi, hula hoops, even some professional-level LED spinning tools, a wider variety that most wouldn’t expect. That’s specifically why we at Awesome Okanagan attempt to open these doors and ask a few questions.

Some possibly unknown hemp facts to take us out (via NAIHC):

  • Industrial hemp and marijuana are both classified by taxonomists as Cannabis sativa, a species with hundreds of varieties.
  • Industrial hemp has a THC content of between 0.05 and 1%. Marijuana has a THC content of 3% to 20%. To receive a standard psychoactive dose would require a person to power-smoke 10-12 hemp cigarettes over an extremely short period of time. The large volume and high temperature of vapor, gas and smoke would be almost impossible for a person to withstand.
  • At a volume level of 81%, hemp oil is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (the “good” fats). It’s quite high in some essential amino acids, including gamma linoleic acid (GLA), a very rare nutrient also found in mother’s milk.
  • Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent and more mildew-resistant than cotton.
  • Fabrics made of at least one-half hemp block the sun’s UV rays more effectively than other fabrics.
  • BMW is experimenting with hemp materials in automobiles as part of an effort to make cars more recyclable.
  • Hemp can be made into fine quality paper. The long fibers in hemp allow such paper to be recycled several times more than wood-based paper.
  • Hemp grows well in a variety of climates and soil types. It is naturally resistant to most pests, precluding the need for pesticides. It grows tightly spaced, out-competing any weeds, so herbicides are not necessary. It also leaves a weed-free field for a following crop.
  • Hemp can displace cotton which is usually grown with massive amounts of chemicals harmful to people and the environment. 50% of all the world’s pesticides are sprayed on cotton.
  • Hemp can displace wood fiber and save forests for watershed, wildlife habitat, recreation and oxygen production, carbon sequestration (reduces global warming), and other values.
  • Hemp can yield 3-8 dry tons of fiber per acre. This is four times what an average forest can yield.

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