Carbon Farming: AgTech is our Future

What is required is to capture the CO2 - from the air?

Two years ago, CO2 levels were 401ppm. Today, this has risen to 405ppm... with consistent readings according to NASA data June 2016; when levels should be dropping on a seasonal basis. Two percent per year is rather alarming.

Governments are "talking" about this issue and instituting carbon taxes. They've been talking for decades now... with few results. It is not a logical solution, to simply reduce existing emissions.... the carbon needs to be reclaimed from the atmosphere. I've reviewed several of the technology projects proposed to capture carbon. They do not appear to be large enough to make a difference. There is ONE approach that would work. AGRICULTURE: the growing of C3 crops that absorb more carbon as CO2 levels rise. Most of the crops we grow are 'modern' C4 plants. Cannabis is an ancient species that captures CO2 at a significant rate. As levels rise, the plants get bigger. Simple, really. AgTech is the only real solution on the horizon. Turning those crops into homes, products and eco-materials captures the carbon directly. Permanently. For the life of the home or product created, the carbon is taken out of the air. Hempcrete buildings would use hundreds of tons of hemp material. Each ton of hempcrete captures 1.6 tons of CO2. A micro-cellulose process, Zeoform, has been developed that does exactly the same thing. This simple technology turns hemp crops into cellulose for manufacturing: a proven, commercial application that creates value from what is now "waste". Hemp farmers and the entire supply chain benefits. Circular economy at work.

This is the time of the Perfect Storm for cannabis. Across the spectrum, people are calling for legalization. From medical cannabis to “recreational” to industrial uses – the ancient species is emerging into the mainstream. Now, medical users are looking to industrial strains for the higher CBD levels found in farm crops across the nation. The irony is that breeding low THC varieties for “industrial” uses is perfect for many medical uses.

Industrial hemp is a crop every farmer worldwide can grow profitably. Starting this year. I call this “carbon farming”. From the small 10 acre farm up to thousands of acres in the Prairies, cannabis produces seed, fibre, cellulose and leaf material; tons per acre. A “triple bottom line” as the saying goes. Taken to a logical conclusion, the concept of carbon farming could absorb ALL the CO2 we emit globally. Taken to 85 million hectares, CO2 levels would begin to drop. Year after year.

Closing the Loop. Solving the third part of the equation.

In creating solutions within the industrial cannabis (hemp) sector, the critical equation depends on separating the fibre from the core. One tough job – the fibre is strong and bonded to the stalk with lignum – same stuff trees use to stand tall in the forests.

This key step, separation (decortication), determines every other industrial application that follows. As cannabis is coming to the forefront once again, four new machine designs that improve the separation (decortication) process have been developed. Each of these efficiently separates the fibre from the core: generally a 30% fibre - 70% core ratio. Using the fibre for textiles is pretty straightforward. The core hurd produced; not as well developed in the marketplace.

Machines to use the fibre part of hemp are well developed. These produce a wide range of products: insulation, geo matting, yarn, rope, textiles, building materials and some composites. Commercial applications to use the core hurd 'waste' have been typically been animal bedding, hempcrete or absorption products. Some work has been done on chip-board and particle board panel manufacturing. Previously we've mentioned a new process, Zeoform, that uses the core cellulose from hemp stalk. An eco-material that can replace a wide variety of wood, plastic, fibreglass or composites on a local, scaleable-level. Zeoform can be produced locally without chemicals, using just plain water. This creates real opportunity and value. This closes the industrial hemp loop perfectly. It solves the Gordian Knot of the sector.

Industrial hemp can now produce maximum value at the farm level and beyond. Extending to dual-purpose crops that are grown for seed and fibre, use of the core hurd increases the value of each acre. Fibre and core markets would increase farm revenues by a wide margin. This creates an excellent circular economy beginning at the farm. This is the third part of the equation. Processing : Fibre : Core. Fibre and core cellulose production improve the returns on the farm acre by acre compared to growing for seed markets alone.

In a previous article, the Coming Age of Abundance, we talked about technology, new materials, systems and designs coming into focus that are transforming our civilization. New technologies coming into the market are making an impact that is accelerating. These range in size and capacity, but will affect everyone on our planet. As prohibition collapses, new technology for hemp processing and innovations coming into the market will make it possible to use renewable, sustainable agriculture in a sustainable fashion. Capturing carbon with every product we manufacture is a key to a circular economy. We stand at the verge of a wholesale change in our global civilization. Progress in the cannabis supply chain is essential: industry requires a steady source of supply and producers require a steady stream of consumers who want a clean, green planet. This will drive the cannabis industry forward into the coming Age of Abundance.

Said, in high tide or in low tide ~Bob Marley

~Bruce Ryan •

What a long strange trip it's been. 

~Jerry Garcia - Grateful Dead

banner Going from a "good idea" to creating the "reality" is far more difficult than I had ever imagined.  The ability to keep going, to never give up, to never stand down is absolutely essential.  No matter what the world hands out, sheer determination is the key.  

Rather than deciding that the journey is too difficult or the road is too tough.... relentless pursuit of the goal is the one factor that "makes it real".  Nothing less will do. The road to success is littered with the dreams of those who fail. Being committed to the dream, failure is not an option. Doing what it takes, taking care of the next task, continuing onward in the face of adversity.... these are the qualities that separate dreams from dedication.  It's one thing to have the idea of a Circular Economy ~ it's quite another to create the tools and technology to make it happen.

They say when you see a problem, find a solution.  Peter Diamandis says, impact the lives of a billion people in a positive way.  The goal here is transforming the way we, as a species, get our food, clothing, shelter, energy and everyday products from the petro-chemical industries to carbon-negative technologies.  We all know 

what the problem is: spewing countless tons of CO2 and pollutants into our environment.  Time to transition into what Michio Kaku calls a "Type 1 Civilization" - one that gets our energy from the sun and uses natural sources for our basic needs.  Mining asteroids for precious metals might also make sense to a Type 1 Civilization.

sciencecannabisNext year is bringing more changes. After two decades, the government is relaxing the strict rules and crazy regulations around industrial hemp.  Federal money is being spent to encourage the sector.... new technology has emerged that positions cannabis as the most valuable input in a Circular Economy.  Manufacturing a vast array of products while capturing CO2 at the same time is just so, logical.

The industrial impetus to do this is clear and straightforward: from the farm to the factory.



Patronage & prohibition is being disguised as "legalization" in Canada.  Government spin-control is the order of the day.  The recent Discussion Paper tabled by the Liberal Party shows a very clear pattern of deception. Disingenuous, as my lawyer friends call it.

Hard core prohibitionists head up the Task Force. Bill Blair, ex-Chief of Police and Anne McLellan, ex-Minister of Justice. These are people who've been at the forefront of criminal sanctions, worse, preventing, delaying and denying court ordered changes to the law for well over a decade.  The discussion paper is full of references to discredited studies, false assumptions and suspect ideas long since dismissed as drug war rhetoric.  More propaganda based upon "experts" who are paid to protect their jobs.

No information on the numerous court rulings, Charter Rights violations and rampant corruption is found.  There is no input from the cannabis sub-culture.  Absent are peer-reviewd published studies which would provide a balanced perspective. Missing is the CONCLUSION from the Senate Report of 2002: Repeal Prohibition. Instead, the entire "discussion paper" is an exercise in convincing the population that the government has considered the publics input.  Unlike the Senate Report, there are no consultations with those governed: the entire cannabis community. This latest charade from the Liberal government is actually prohibition all dressed up as "legalization".  It barely qualifies as decriminalization with the threat of criminal law to enforce the deception.  Liberal insiders have already reaped millions playing the Marihuana Licenced Production Regulation game the Conservative government dreamed up.  It does qualify as government fraud.

To make a short list:

1. A recent study at the University of British Columbia reveals that a mere 5% of cannabis gardens (grow-ops) are connected to organized crime.

2. Studies showing the effects of cannabis on teenagers have been widely discredited. The most widely published "study" was shown to be fraudulent with a vanishlingly small study group. 

3. Peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate an increase in neurons are not referenced.  Research on Alzheimers disease is not referenced. There are over 24,000 studies published.

4. Cannabis has the same toxicity index as water. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs and alcohol, an overdose is impossible.  The harms are greatly exaggerated without supporting proof.

5. The Senate Report makes several recommendations: an age limit of 16+, restrictions on advertising, excluding big tobacco and alcohol corporations, keeping medical information relevant to patients and a small-business orientation with local outlets across the country.

"Prohibition is a failure of good governance." -Senate Report ©2002  "Prohibition creates corruption at all levels of government." U.N. Report ©1993

Violations of section 2, 7, 8 and 15 of the Charter of Rights & Freedoms continue unabated ~ in violation of the Constitution under the law.  Police are arresting and charging citizens in record numbers with a 'crime' that has been struck down by the Courts as being "without force nor effect".   The government is "of two minds" regarding the law, the Charter and the Constitution.

This not acceptable. It certainly isn't rational nor legal.

The entire cannabis community has been subjected to decades of arrests, prosecutions, prison sentences, robbery, coercion, beatings and murder.... by the government and their agents. Those afflicted by this failed social policy have no voice.  The burden of criminal records and the discrimination that results are considered acceptable by these prohibitionists.  They now wish to tax, regulate and control the entire (corrupt) process. This qualifies as taxation without representation.  This entire charade will fail.  Under prohibition, enforced by the heavy hand of the law, the "regulations" have failed.  We, the People, have ignored these sanctions for years.  We voted for Trudeau & the Liberal Party under the platform promise to legalize cannabis.  This is not legalization - it is deception.  We won't make the same mistake again.

Our sub-culture (approximately 15% of the population) will not comply with draconian rules, patronage, regulations and criminal sanctions designed to maintain prohibiton in disguise.  This process is designed to crush the cannabis community under government domination.  Cannabis is a natural herb, the Tree of Life, and deserves intelligent, enlightened political discourse... not more of the same failed policy. 

This is another watershed moment in the long journey toward a bright future.banner

It will be fascinating to watch this roll out.  

An article on the subject:

BillofRightsareRights.jpgThe roots of prohibition can be traced to the colonial empires of the past. British Empire politics and policies encouraged prohibition for nearly 500 years. On the other hand, the British Navy sailed on cannabis ("hemp") for rope, clothing and sails. 

It was a requirement that citizens grow the plant everywhere, in every port. This did help to spread "Indian Hemp" around the world. Hail Britannia. Cannabis prohibition appears to be just more of the same with a modern twist: profiling of the citizens. Racist roots aside, the net effect of prohibition results in wholesale records, criminal and otherwise, that are created and stored in "law" enforcement databases worldwide. A clear violation of Human Rights & Freedoms. Section 8 of our Charter states: Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure. The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that the purpose of Section 15 is to protect those groups who suffer social, political and legal disadvantage in society. Discrimination occurs where, for example, a person, because of a personal characteristic, suffers disadvantages or is denied opportunities available to other members of society. Searching the internet and phone records, for example, to detailing connections between those in the cannabis community, is illegal. Yet it happens every day. Guilt by association. Members of the cannabis culture are routinely discriminated against on a daily basis.

The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that a limit on Charter rights is acceptable if:

• the limit deals with a pressing and substantial social problem, and
• the government's response to the problem is reasonable and demonstrably justified.

Criminal court cases where deeply held spiritual beliefs are examined (on trial in relation to cannabis), the judges rulings have used the "not withstanding" clause to violate Charter Rights on a consistent basis. Jail time has been ordered to "punish" the defendants ~ as if that would change their beliefs! The governments response is neither reasonable nor justified - except under the terms of prohibition. A sincere belief in the Tree of Life can land you in prison. In no uncertain terms, this is persecution of a religious minority under Section 2 of the Charter. Very clear violations of section 2 of the Charter of Rights & Freedoms and the Constitution.

The larger social & economic impact is even greater. We've all seen the numbers and the statistics. They seriously suck. The entire justice system is broken. Indeed the pressing and substantial social problem IS prohibition itself. A failed social policy that undermines our civilization in corrupt ways. In the words of the Senate in 2002, "prohibition is a failure of good governance". What is the way out? One approach is to jam the machine. Stand on your rights as a citizen. Simply refuse to plead guilty, drag the whole thing out for months. This serves to occupy valuable time & resources in the 'justice system'. It's just not worth spending all that effort into prosecuting minor cannabis consumers. Putting them in jail only costs the taxpayers more & more year after year. Worse, the issue is never resolved. Law enforcement can't even keep cannabis out of the prisons. Prohibition contributes nothing but social & financial damage to all citizens. Taxpayers suffer under the burden whether they agree or not. Billions of tax dollars wasted. Decade after decade. Worse, our children get arrested in record numbers. Qualifies as taxation without consent nor representation. We do not consent.

Another tactic is by democratic vote. In States where a ballot initiative is (even) allowed, the citizens have overturned cannabis prohibition. Oddly enough, the sky didn't fall. Here in Canada they don't really let us vote. The last referendum was years and years ago. A national referendum was held on alcohol prohibition in 1898.... yes, 116 years ago. Guess what? Prohibition fell as a result of the citizens being sick & tired of being subject to a social policy created by politicians and vested interests. The sky didn't fall. Sound familiar? History has a tendency to repeat itself.

Editorials on this subject note that Washington and Colorado have already legalized cannabis. "I think it can be safely said that Washington’s law is viewed as problematic. Colorado's is better. I think we can do better yet. Something simple and not overly restrictive." For example:
• A preamble, with a list of Whereas':, listing the evils and failures of prohibition.
• Cannabis, in any form, formulation, product or extract, shall be legal for adults to possess, grow and to give away for free.
• Commercial sales and cultivation of cannabis shall subject to the same regulation as other retail, industrial or agricultural businesses and be subject to standard taxes only.
• Age limit (18 - 21) ie: If you can vote, cannabis is legal.
• People having past convictions for cultivation, possession or sale, shall have their criminal records expunged.
• Nothing here shall change the law on impaired driving.
• Nothing here shall be construed as superseding current medicinal "marijuana" laws.
• Add protection for parents from government agencies as to use, possession, or growing in homes with children, and for medicinal use by children.

When writing such a bill, avoid restrictive:
• Licensing
• Local options
• Tax earmarks
• Public consumption
• Outside vs inside grow
• Cannabis vs Hemp
• Grow quantities
• Advertising*
• Lab testing*

Here in Canada, the recommendations of the Senate* report ©2002, the Liberal's majority vote on Resolution 117 ©2012 and the draft policy paper* tabled by the Young Liberals ©2013 will be the guiding documents for the repeal of prohibition after the next election. It is a serious political and social issue. This problem began in Parliament, it must end there. Nothing less will do.
Our descendants may be stuck for 50 or 100 years with what we come up with… so it is vital that we get it right. Convoluted rules, regulations and restrictions will impact the free market innovations and products for years to come. We'll get to those in a bit.