People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and maybe those who live in hemp houses shouldn’t get stoned. Could be there’s some truth to that. Could be it was just a low-hanging metaphor easy for an overworked staff writer to reach for. Only time will tell, and the clock has only just started ticking on the new hemp-brick construction method.
Hemp is a plant with quite the history, when it comes to contributing to the success of the American frontier. It was used, and is still used, in various applications of the military, including ropes, shoes, sails, tarps, and fuel. It was grown and used for quite some time, but is now only being rediscovered in the last decade or two, due to cannabis prohibition that has oddly applied to hemp (which is not a drug, but a material) finally lightening up a bit.
But now America is starting to build structures from “hempcrete” bricks. This use was discovered in an old French bridge made in the sixth century. Since then, the has been an increase in interest for those who want building that are more organic and that can last as long as that bridge in France.
Backstory on Hemp
All this time, going back to the 50’s, hemp has been illegal by virtue of being guilty by association with marijuana, in the government’s eyes. Hemp has been able to prosper in much of the rest of industrialized world, however. Canada and Europe grows it with help of regulatory standards that monitor THC levels. Americans who want to use hempcrete for their homes will need to pay higher premiums due to the cost of importing and shipping fees. Then, you would need to take into account of the cost of delivering it to the construction site, the time it takes to unload the material, and the storage of it to insure that no moisture reaches the hempcrete.
Progress for Hempcrete
Previously, hemp supporters had assumed that the push for hemp production in the states would be the catalyst for the legalization of marijuana, but it seems the contrary is true today. With the decriminalization movement, the stigma of marijuana is now slowly eroding away, as the majority of Americans now support legalization. Hemp production initiatives are popping up all over, but not much substantial construction has got started just yet. As with the pharmaceutical industry and marijuana, hemp threatens the profits of other bigger industries in the construction and clothing businesses.