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A dinner, conversation on industrial hemp with author Doug Fine

Industrial hemp expert and farmer Doug Fine is celebrating Earth Week on the Menominee Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin.

Fine and Menominee hemp activist Marcus Grignon will together host a “Dinner and Conversation on Industrial Hemp” at the Menominee Casino Resort April 18. The event is  from 6-8 p.m. The event is free and open to all community members and the public.

Fine’s most recent book, Hemp Bound, was published in 2012 and explores using industrial hemp to usher in a new era of prosperity in America. A variety of hemp products from soaps to foods to building materials will be on display as a hands-on exhibit for people to learn about the versatility of this plant.

The first 100 attendees will receive a 3D printed hemp pen.

Industrial hemp is a part of the Cannabis Sativa plant family. Unlike its cousin marijuana, industrial hemp has absolutely no psychoactive properties or value. Hemp has less than 1 percent THC compared to 10 percent or more in Marijuana. Industrial Hemp can be made into plastics, fiber composites, food, fuel, textiles, homes and therapeutic medicines for epilepsy and other ailments.

“Doug Fine coming to speak at the Menominee Casino Resort is a great opportunity for anyone that still thinks Industrial Hemp is a drug and not an economic driver,” says Marcus Grignon, campaign manager of Hempstead Project Heart, “Wisconsin was once a booming Industrial Hemp state in the first part of the 20th century. Our hope is that we revitalize this forgotten industry and rebuild our great state.”

Wisconsin currently suffers from a stagnant farming economy, mostly due to the Great Recession in 2008. According to the Wisconsin Rural Partners, only 4 percent of the rural counties in Wisconsin have bounced back from the recession.

Further, in 2015, farm net profits dropped by $1.6 billion. Industrial Hemp can be a tool to revamp Wisconsin’s rural counties and create new business opportunities in a growing industry statewide.

After passing an ordinance authorizing hemp cultivation, the Menominee Indian Tribe, in accordance with the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill), initiated cultivation of hemp at the College of Menominee Nation for research purposes.

The crop was raided by the DEA in the fall of 2015. The tribe remains interested in pursuing industrial hemp farming and processing as a sustainable economic strategy.

Wisconsin legislators have introduced two bills to legalize hemp farming in the state, one sponsored by Republican Rep.Jesse Kremer and the other by Democratic Rep. Dave Considine. To date, more than 30 states have legalized industrial hemp for commercial and research purposes.

The “Dinner and Conversation on Industrial Hemp” is sponsored by Hempstead Project Heart, a project of the Earth Island Institute. The project was created to raise awareness of the benefits of industrial hemp for people and the planet and redevelop thriving hemp economies that connect tribal, urban and rural communities.

The project was co-founded by the late legendary Native artist John Trudell with musician Willie Nelson.

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