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From: (Ben Masel)
Date: 8 Mar 92 03:30:00 GMT
Newsgroups: talk.politics.drugs
Subject: Re: Book burning


The following two responses are abstracts of papers presented at
the First European Conference on Industrial Uses for Agricultural
Crops, held at Maastricht, The Netherlands last November.  I hope
to have the full papers soon, and will post when available.





Hemp is a nonwoody annual plant containing two types of cellulose
fibers, of which one type originates from the bark, and the other
from the wood part of the stem. These fibers have different
physical properties and chemical composition. The long flexible
bast fiber which occurs in high proportion has long been used for
textiles and ropemaking. Both fibers can be used in the
preparation of pulp, paper, and probably numerous other products.
An important characteristic of the pulping of hemp compared to
wood is the treatment neccessary to produce pulp is milder.

These and other data have raised the possibility of new approaches
to pulp manufacturing that overcome the serious environmental
problems created by the pulp and paper industry and of developing
energy efficient processes.

The production of pulp and paper from hemp consists of various
operations. Preliminary production steps are the seperation of
bark and wood and if storage is required drying or ensiling. The
numerous steps are: pulping, bleaching, waste-water treatment, and
the basic operations in papermaking. All these tasks are being
studied and optimized. The pulping process we have focused on are:
thermomechanical and chemo- thermomechanical pulping, alkaline
extraction, organosolv pulping, and biopulping.

The results obtained are promising and indicate that pulp and
paper can be prepared from hemp using clean processes and that
substantial energy savings can be achieved. Different qualities of
pulp and paper can be produce dependent on the pulping process.



E.P.M. De Meyer

CPO, P.O.Box 16, 6700 Wageningen, The Netherlands

The feasibility of the production of cellulose by means of the
annual crop Cannabis Sativa is being studied in the Netherlands.
This paper deals with one of the basic steps of the project, the
establishment of a Cannabis collection and the characterisation of
the populations with respect to yield and quality.

Until now varieties of domesticated Cannabis are selected for the
production of either phloem fibers or narcotic resin. Both groups
are represented in the collection, as well as a third group
consisting of spontaneous populations. The complete collection
contains about 160 more or less distinctive populations. After
evaluation, selected populations will be used in a breeding

The dry matter production of cannabis plants depends primarily on
the legnth of the inductive photoperiod which determines the
duration of the vegetative period at a certain latitude. The
harvest index - the fraction of the main stems of the total dry
matter - depends on plant habit traits like degree of branching
and internode legnth. A summary of the variation for vegetative
growth will be presented in relation to stem growth parameters as
measured in a field experiment.

The optimal quality properties of cellulose pulp varieties of
Cannabis are still under study but it is already clear that the
available fiber varieties only partially meet the requirements.

Alternative sources of raw materials for paper pulp production are
usually compared with the main source at present which is conifer
wood. A comparison of Cannabis fiber dimensions and conifer wood
dimensions will be presented. Only the fraction of secondary
phloem fibers is similar to conifer fibers. Almost no variation
has been detected for the length of the relatively short wood
fibers of Cannabis, which hampers attempts to improve the quality
of the xylem fraction by means of breeding. The phloem fibers are
considered to be the most valuable components of the stem. A quick
method to estimate phloem fiber content was developed and results
of the evaluation of the collection with respect to fiber content
will be presented. Also a method to estimate the amount of primary
and secondary fibers within the total fraction of phloem fibers
will be discussed.


Ben Masel,  Director WI NORML  608-257-5456

911 Williamson St, Madison WI 53703

i didn't put politics in the gutter, i found it there.


In the early part of the 1900s the US Farm Bureau had
a department for fiber investigations.

One report is as follows:

In the literature of the fiber producing plants of the
world the word hemp appears frequently, applied oftentimes
to fibers that are widely distinct from each other.  The
word is usually employed with a prefix, even when the
true hemp is meant, as manila hemp, sisal hemp, Russian
hemp, etc.  In this article will be considered the hemp
plant proper, the Cannabis Sativa of the botanists, which
has been so generally cultivated the world over as a
cordage fiber that the value of all other fibers as to
strength and durability is estimated by it.

The Sanskrit name of the plant is bhanga; in Hindostan it 
is called ganja; the Arab name is kinnub, from which,
doubtless, its Latin name cannabis, is derived; in Persia
it is known as bung, while in China it is chu ts-ao,
and in Japan, asa.

Its native home is India and Persia, but it is in general
cultivation in many parts of the world, both in temperate
and more tropical climes, though only in Russia and Poland
in large quantities for export.

French hemp is much valued, but the finest quality comes
from Italy, and is fine, soft, light colored, and strong.
Hemp, though grown throughout India, is little cultivated
for its fiber, although Bombay grown hemp "was proved to
be superior to Russian."

Hemp is largely grown in Japan for the manufacture of
cloth.  This industry is very old, as prior to the
introduction of silk weaving it was the only textile
fabric of the country.

Its cultivation is an established industry in the United
States, Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois being the chief
sources of supply, though the culture has extended as
far north as Minnesota and as far south as the Mississippi
Delta, while California has only recently become 
interested in its growth.

Formerly large areas were devoted to the cultivation of
the plant in the United States, and thirty five years
ago nearly 40,000 tons of hemp was produced in Kentucky
alone, while now the figure has diminished due to
imports of Philippine manila and jute.

Kentucky hemp is used successfully not only for rigging
of vessels and for twines and yarns and bagging, but
it is also spun and woven into cloth, just as today
it is manufactured into fabrics in portions of

Soil Selection

As in Brittany, so in Kentucky, limestone soils, or the
alluvial soils such as are found in the river bottoms,
are best adapted to this plant.  The culture, therefore,
is quite general along the smaller streams of Brittany,
where the climate is mild and the atmosphere humid.

In Kentucky the best lands only are chosen for hemp,
and the most favorable results are obtained where there
is an underlying bed of blue limestone.  In certain
portions of the State, Shelby County for example, it
is claimed that a finer and tougher fiber is produced
than in other sections, and this is thought to be
due to a mixture in the soil of a whitish, oily clay.
As a general rule, however, light or dry soils or
heavy, tenacious soils are most unfavorable.

Hemp is not an exhaustive crop.  A recent report states
that in Kentucky a grower in virgin soil sown to hemp
can be followed with this crop for fifteen to twenty
years successively; sown then to small grain and clover,
it can be grown every third year, without fertilizers,
almost indefinitely.

In New York, it is customary to apply barnyard manures
as there it is considered essential to put the soil
in good fertility to make a successful crop.

Capt. Kirk: let's head for that planet, third from the sun, it
            looks promising.... |-)