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Earth Hour 2019: 5 Ways Cannabis Can Save the Earth

Hoping to make a major earth-friendly change this year? As well as switching off your lights for Earth Hour 2019, make the switch to hemp!

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Earth Hour 2019
PHOTO | Adobe Stock

This Saturday, 30 March at 8.30PM local time, is Earth Hour. With its campaign #Connect2Earth, Earth Hour 2019 aims to unite millions of people around the world to show their commitment to the planet and tackling climate change. To join the movement, switch your lights off on 30 March, 8:30 pm your local time in solidarity with global efforts to secure nature and our home.

Hoping to make another major earth-friendly change this year? As well as switching off your lights, make the switch to hemp!

The cannabis plant is thought to be one of the earliest agricultural and economic crops, coveted for its multi-purpose nature. From building to clothing to food, medicine, and recreation, cannabis is one of the most versatile plants used throughout history. Here’s why we need to bring it back.

1. Hemp Cleans Soil

Hemp is like a sponge for environmental chemicals. The cannabis plant pulls in environmental toxins like excess mineral deposits through its roots, binding up potential toxins in its fibrous stalks and leaves. A key component in a process called “bioremediation”, hemp plants have already been successfully used to clean up dioxin, a pervasive environmental pollutant produced as a byproduct of steel smelting, in this case.

In a recent project from Colorado State University, hemp was used to absorb selenium buildup in an experimental setting. While elements like selenium are naturally found in soil, agricultural runoff deposits excessive quantities of the mineral into the surrounding landscape. The contaminant can harm aquatic life if it leaches into waterways, and it may cause harm to plants and animals that are less tolerant of the pollutant.

2. Cannabis Makes Biofuel

There are many reasons to invest in alternative fuels. For one, carbon emissions are the single largest contributor to climate change, which is already impacting weather patterns, animal migrations, and changes in food supplies around the globe.

Secondly, fossil fuels are a finite resource, meaning that there is only a limited amount available for consumption and we cannot make more. The overreliance on fossil fuels makes for security risks for many countries, who are dependent on access to a finite resource for basic living.

Here’s where hemp comes in. Hemp, like other plants, can be processed to make biofuels. Biofuels are oils extracted from plants. In the case of cannabis, the oil produced by hempseeds can be transformed into fuel through a process called transesterification, in which the oil is blended with combustible alcohol via the help of a catalyst.

While all biofuels are better for the environment than fossil fuels, hemp biofuel is a particularly attractive option. The benefit of using biofuel is that plant-based energy sources can be cultivated continuously in local areas without the risk of running out. Hemp is a vigorously growing plant that can thrive even in infertile soils, which makes it a superior selection over other biodiesel crops.

3. Build Carbon-Negative Homes with Hemp

Cannabis may be a sponge for soil pollutants, but it is also a sponge for carbon. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that carbon dioxide emissions are fueling a rapidly changing climate. Cannabis plants are unique in that they can both absorb carbon dioxide, retain the carbon, and release only oxygen back into the atmosphere.

In a sense, hemp plants are like carbon storage devices. For this reason, hemp is oft touted to be one of the “ultimate sustainable building materials”. Hemp stalk and pulp can be mixed with lime to create a plant-based concrete, concrete that incidentally prevents carbon from being re-released back into the environment. This process of “locking away” carbon is called carbon sequestration.

In a 2017 poster presented at the International Conference on Advances in Construction Materials and System, researchers found that a cube of hemp concrete successfully stored 307.26 kilograms of carbon per meter cubed of material. Unlike other materials like wood and metals, which are heavily reliant on fossil fuels and are not considered sustainable building materials, structures made from hemp concrete are considered carbon negative. Hemp pulls more carbon out of the environment than it puts back.

4. Hemp Makes Better Plastic

Let’s be honest, we’ve got a plastic problem. Plastic is polluting the ocean, leaching harmful chemicals into our foods, and refuses to degrade in any reasonable amount of time. Recently, major corporations like Starbucks have recently announced commitments to reduce their use of plastics. Many cities have stopped providing plastic bags in grocery stores, while others have banned the use of plastic straws.

While it would be silly to suggest that we could replace all plastics, the need for widespread alternatives is upon us. Currently, many compostable plastics are made from corn or other botanical materials. Hemp can provide another alternative.

Remember all of that carbon hemp plants pulled in from the atmosphere? Well, it turns out that the herb uses it to make high concentrations of cellulose, a natural polymer needed to make natural plastics.

Hemp biomass contains 60 to 75 percent cellulose, making it a particularly good candidate for biodegradable plastics.  By comparison, corn stover has clocked in at a little over 50 percent. The result is a strong and durable plastic that can decompose into natural compounds like carbon dioxide and water, without leaching harmful chemicals back into the environment.

5. Cannabis Makes Better Fiber

Cannabis plants have been used to make textiles and papers for millennia. And yet, cannabis prohibition back in 1937 interrupted what could have been a thriving and sustainable hemp industry. Cannabis plants require less water than cotton or wood, which are the two most common natural fiber sources used today.

Further, hemp plants feature a low concentration of lignin when compared with wood. Lignin is a natural fiber in plants that provides a hard, sturdy structure. This lignin concentration is important for making products like paper. With a lower lignin concentration, hemp requires synthetic chemicals to process into paper and cardboard than wood. This makes processing hemp pulp a more environmentally-friendly practice overall.

Remember to switch off in solidarity with #Connect2Earth and global efforts to secure nature and our planet on 30 March, 8:30 pm your local time.

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Network in Paradise at the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference & Expo

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CanEx Jamaica
PHOTO | Konstiantyn

According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc, the global legal cannabis market is expected to reach USD 66.3 billion by the end of 2025. Helped in part by the increasing acceptance of cannabis to treat numerous medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, arthritis, and neurological disorders, along with the lucrative revenue created by legal cannabis sales, there has never been a more crucial time for entrepreneurs and businesses to network and expand their businesses on a global scale.

As one of the leaders in international business-to-business (B2B) events, the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo brings together top cannabis industry experts from around the globe including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean.

Taking place September 26-28 at the Montego Bay Convention Center, in beautiful Montego Bay, the fourth annual CanEx Jamaica Business Conference & Expo features addresses, panel discussions and presentations on a variety of topics — from advocacy, cultivation, science and medicine to investment, banking and finance, and the business of cannabis including women entrepreneurship.

Over 70 world-class speakers and panelists will provide insights into the direction of the global cannabis industry to over 3,000 delegates.

Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harboride dispensary and the Last Prisoner Project, is speaking on two panels — “Post Decriminalization of Cannabis: Towards Restorative Justice” and “Strategic Approaches to Cannabis Investments” to how the investment landscape is evolving.

Bruce Linton, founder of Canopy Growth Corp, the first cannabis producing company in North America to be listed on a major stock exchange, will host a fireside chat with CanEx founder, Douglas K. Gordon.

Former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, will host “The Global Cannabis Movement” that will explore what globalization means in practical terms for the industry, where things stand presently and the future of the global market.

Cam Battley, Chief Corporate Officer of Aurora Cannabis Inc., will be speaking on the panel “CEO Roundtable: Roadmap to Sustainable Profitability for the Industry” to discuss the global challenges and opportunities facing the cannabis Industry.

Plus, over 200 exhibitors and sponsors, from cultivators to investment firms and media experts will provide attendees opportunities for networking, business expansion and identify new areas of growth within the legal industry.

Held for the first time in 2016, CanEx Jamaica is responsible for connecting cannabis experts, researchers, business professionals, creating new strategic partnerships in a truly memorable and vibrant setting.

For more information, visit canexjamaica.com.

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After 25 Years, Supreme Closes Iconic Lafayette Store

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PHOTO | Supreme

In a move that has shocked through the streetwear community, Supreme has closed its original space on Lafayette after 25 years of business.

Back in February, the brand announced that its famous Lafayette location would be under renovation. Now, due to the unforeseen closure, the 190 Bowery location in Manhattan will now be the brand’s main location in the Big Apple.

 

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Celebrating 25 years. Pooky, Lafayette Street, New York City 1995 📷 @suekwon_

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Off the Record, It’s National Expungement Week

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National Expungement Week

“Would you like to know an absolutely crazy fact? There are 77 million people in the United States who have a criminal record.” This crazy statistic that instantly grabs your attention is how Seth Rogen opens the PSA for National Expungement Week.

Rogen also asks, “What does ‘expungement’ mean?” ‘On the record’, expungement means, clearing or sealing the record of a person’s prior arrest, criminal charges or conviction.

That’s a possibility for some of the 77 million people with criminal records — a large amount being minor offenses — which make up nearly a quarter of the population of the United States. Having a criminal record seriously impedes the ability to live for millions of people. It restricts access to jobs, housing, education, and the right to vote.

National Expungement Week aka N.E.W. is the initiative of Cage-Free Repair (the non-profit section of Cage-Free Cannabis) Cannabis and Equity First Alliance.

Cage-Free Cannabis is rooted in three kinds of justice, from reparative, to economic and environmental. Equity First Alliance works to bring reparative justice to, and be a voice for, those who have been most harmed by the War on Drugs.

The initiative will see over 40 events held in 30 cities, which will host workshops, allowing people to meet with lawyers and experts who can help them clear records, from September 21-28.

Among other company’s and businesses, N.E.W. is supported by Houseplant, the cannabis company launched by Rogen and Evan Goldberg, in the hopes of exposing the social injustices associated with cannabis convictions.

With 18 events in 15 cities that helped nearly 300 people begin the process of changing their records, the inaugural National Expungement Week in 2018 was clearly a success and led to the initiative returning this year.

If you’re interested in clearing your record or helping someone else do the same, you can find further information — including the dates and details of specific events — on the official site of N.E.W.; offtherecord.us.

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