Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hemp, hemp, hemp.

No, I'm not going to talk about our old friend Mary Jane - although she's going to become relevant.

The war against drugs has led to the growing of all forms of hemp being banned, even though hemp is actually a very useful fibre used in textiles and building materials in more sensible parts of the world.

The 2014 farm bill does include a provision for "industrial hemp" to be grown solely by universities and agricultural departments for experimental purposes. A lot of people - especially artists who would like to get their hands on hemp fibres - think the ban is stupid. Industrial hemp does not have enough THC in it for anyone to get high off of. Some varieties have none at all.

Industrial hemp has another downside, though. The inner bark is useless...

...until now.

Researchers in the UK have built supercapacitors out of the stuff - a kind of battery that could ultimately power electric cars and tools far more cheaply than the expensive graphene currently being used for the task. (The same team also made a battery out of...banana peels).

So, how about it. No matter how you feel about marijuana, banning industrial hemp is just stupid...and here's another reason to stop being so short-sighted.