A new stand-alone, single-topic issue of CLOG was published recently and the topic is “Cannabis.” In the Fall of 2019 a writer and photographer from CLOG visited Scotch Valley Ranch to interview our farmer/entrepreneur, John Houshmand, and to document the CBD hemp operation.
Since we are in the time of coronavirus you cannot pick up a copy of “Cannabis” at your local bookstore or at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, so we excerpted highlights from John’s interview as well as an article by David Becker, consultant to Scotch Valley Ranch’s CBD farm, called “How Hemp Can Help Heal Our Planet, If We Let It.”
Highlights from “A Conversation with John Houshmand”
CLOG: What is the process like to get your license?
John: It was a fairly standard process. We just had to be very clear, explicitly stating what we were going to be doing, what strains we were going to be growing it for, and we had to GPS-locate the fields and buildings. It’s a very thorough process of approval.
CLOG: Can you give me the timeline: when did you plant them outdoors, what was the prep of the land like?
John: We got the New York State license in March, so we started indoor in April. In terms of field prep, we did not plow, we did not disc, we did not break the ecology of the field. We mow it like a lawn, and then we have a post-hole digger on a tractor and made one-foot-diameter holes in the ground and planted into those, then mulched. We planted them in June and July, It took a long time to do that.
CLOG: Is there any ambition of going from CBD products to THC products when it’s legalized?
John: No! My theory is that 95% of the population will try a CBD product and only 35% of the population will do a THC product. Everyone is using CBD right now. I like the healing properties of CBD and I like being on that side of the line.
“How Hemp Can Help Heal Our Planet, If We Let It:”
(Excerpted David Becker’s article in CLOG)
The earth’s geological epochs typically span hundreds of millions of years. But scientists suggest that in the years we have entered a new epoch, equal to the great natural forces that shaped continents and species. This new epoch is the Anthropocene–the age of humanity.
An increase in levels of anthropogenically-produced carbon dioxide is trapped in our atmosphere warming the plants. Plants are extraordinarily effective at actively removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere…tree plantations do a poor job of storing carbon compared to natural forests. Once trees reach maturity plantation forests are turned into pulp for paper, eventually releasing stored CO2 back into the atmosphere.
Hemp also has the potential to make a significant dent in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. (Hemp) grows extraordinarily fast, often in hot conditions and poor soil with minimal fertilizer and pesticides. In less than three months, hemp can grow from seedling to 6 feet tall and five feet wide. Industrial hemp farmers can grow plants as tall as 15 feet with plants making their own canopy, which in turn reduces weeding.
As cannabis grows much faster than trees, it produces more oxygen without losing carbon to photorespiration at the same level as trees.
With cannabis, we start removing carbon the year it is planted…The entire cannabis plant can be used, from the roots to the stem to the flower, supporting entire industries, including fiber for clothing, biodegradable plastic, hempcrete, biodiesel, paper and more. Tougher than the alternatives it replaces, cannabis will do a better and faster job at locking in carbon for the long haul. So, the question is not whether cannabis can play a crucial role in our survival, but will we let it?