Can Industrial Hemp Save Louisiana?

By Karina Shareen[1]

***This Note was originally published by the Journal of Energy Law and Resources.

Introduction

Louisiana is one of the top producers of sugarcane, rice, cotton, corn, and soybeans.[2] As a result, it has suffered two kinds of problems, both of which increasingly threaten Louisiana’s local economy and health. First, Louisiana is experiencing abnormal levels of soil deterioration, erosion, and compaction.[3] Second, the over-spraying of fertilizer, pesticides, and other chemicals has polluted our waters, even creating a hypoxic zone[4] in the Gulf of Mexico.[5]

Many solutions, such as sediment diversion and hydrologic restoration, have been proposed to address these environmental problems, but while all of these proposals may help to some extent, they are not the complete answer. Industrial hemp is an environmentally friendly crop that can be used as a cheaper, more sustainable alternative to current remediation[6] solutions and techniques.

What is less known about industrial hemp is that, in addition to its commercial uses, it can be used for various environmental purposes. It is a renewable resource that can help remove pollutants from soil through the process of phytoremediation and it can potentially help with coastal erosion and soil conditions for farming. It can even be used as a feedstock to produce biofuels.

What is Industrial Hemp?

Industrial hemp played an interesting role in the early years of United States history. It is abundant as a wild plant in many localities in western Missouri, Iowa, and southern Minnesota, and it is often found as a roadside weed throughout the Middle West.[7] In the mid 15th century, the Puritans first brought hemp to New England to grow for fiber, and it later spread to Virginia, Pennsylvania, and other neighboring states.[8] By 1775, the cultivation of industrial hemp reached the state of Kentucky, where it grew so well that a commercial industrial hemp industry was eventually developed.[9]

The plant is now cultivated for its use in the production of food and beverages, cosmetics and personal care products, national supplements, fabrics and textiles, yarns and spun fibers, paper, construction and insulation materials, and other manufactured goods.[10] Industrial hemp can be used to manufacture a wide range of products.[11] These commercial uses are widely documented in a range of feasibility and marketing studies conducted by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and various land grant universities and state agencies.[12] In the last few decades, the consumer industry has seen the development of hemp-based shampoos, facial creams, beers, jewelry, and even fashion.[13] These hemp-based products are good sources of magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, and potassium as well as B1, B3, and B5 vitamins.[14]

It is generally grown to process the seeds, fiber, and stalk into a variety of commercial products.[15] Industrial hemp is typically skinnier and taller, with slender leaves concentrated at the top.[16] It is one of the most environmentally friendly crops because it requires little or no pesticides, fertilizers, or water.[17] It even replenishes soil with nutrients and eliminates weeds.[18]

Currently, there are more than thirty countries that allow the cultivation of industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.[19] Since 2018, there have been no large-scale commercial productions of industrial hemp in the United States, causing the U.S. market to depend on the importation of industrial hemp seeds and fibers from countries such as Canada, China, India, and Romania.[20] In 2017, industrial hemp imports to the United States totaled approximately $67.3 million.[21] Out of this total, Canada is one of the largest suppliers of U.S. hemp imports, accounting for about 90% of the value of annual imports, with China and Romania accounting for 3-5% and 2-4%, respectively.[22]

Environmental Benefits of Cultivating Industrial Hemp

Phytoremediation of Louisiana Superfund Sites

In 1980, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)[23] in response to the dangers of uncontrolled releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances into the environment that may present an imminent or substantial danger to the public health or welfare.[24] The contaminated locations that CERCLA regulates are generally referred to as “superfund sites.” Superfund sites are locations throughout the U.S. that the National Priorities List (NPL)[25] has determined to be a national priority among the known or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants.[26] Currently, there are thirteen superfund sites located throughout eleven of the sixty-four parishes in Louisiana.[27] It is clear that Louisiana may not be the most environmental friendly State due to the existence of these superfund sites, but industrial hemp may be able to help remediate Louisiana’s superfund sites through the process of phytoremediation.

Phytoremediation (also known as phytotechnology) is a subset of agronomy in which plants and soils are managed to solve environmental problems.[28] It is the process of directly using living green plants to remove the degradation or containment of contaminants in soils, sludges, sediments, surface water, and groundwater.[29] Due to the photosynthesizing process in plants, phytoremediation is a low-cost, solar energy-driven cleanup technique that can effectively treat a wide variety of environmental contaminants.[30] This technique can also cleanse metals, pesticides, solvents, explosives, crude oil, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and landfill leachates.[31]

Under this concept, certain plants are grown in contaminated sites for a period of time in order to remove pollutants from the soil under the process of phytoremediation. These plants would extract toxic substances from the soil and store them in their tissues, which would later be harvested and processed to dispose of the toxic substances. If an individual planted industrial hemp at the location of Louisiana’s superfund sites, the roots of industrial hemp would absorb the contaminants and either store or transform them into a harmless substance.

Though the study and process of phytoremediation is still currently being developed, the idea of using industrial hemp for phytoremediation is not completely novel. One of the first studies about industrial hemp’s ability to restore soil began in 1998, when Consolidated Growes and Processors (CGP), Phytotech, and Ukraine’s Institute of Bast Crops began to plant Cannabis sativa for the purpose of removing contaminants near the Chernobyl site.[32] Though the researchers of the study did not publish or report their results of those field experiments, it is rumored that the test results were promising.[33] The failure to publish or report the results of the 1998 study have caused scientists around the world to conduct their own research.

One of the main problems with phytoremediation is finding a plant that has: (1) a high hyper tolerance to heavy metal; (2) a high biomass; and (3) deep penetrating roots.[34] In addition, two main questions must be asked and constantly kept in mind when dealing with this subject: (1) What are the capabilities of using industrial hemp for phytoremediation and (2) assuming industrial hemp is feasible for phytoremediation, can the industrial hemp that was grown on contaminated soil be used as a raw material for other commercial products? Keeping these concerns in mind, industrial hemp may be a good candidate for soil phytoremediation because it is a tall plant with fast-growing roots that can reach up to one meter deep.[35]

The first case study that will be addressed comes from the International Journal of Industrial Crops and Products. In this case study, four German scientists examined industrial hemp’s capability to decontaminate heavy metal polluted soils, specifically focusing on the plant’s capabilities for phytoremediation and also whether hemp grown in contaminated soil could be harvested and used for other commercial purposes.[36] The study compared the fiber contents and properties of industrial hemp stems that were planted in pots with a high concentration of heavy metal pollutants (Nickel, Lead, and Cadmium) against non-polluted pots by examining four different parts of the plant: seeds, leaves, fibers, and hurds.[37]

In determining industrial hemp’s capabilities of phytoremediation, the study compared industrial hemp to a well-studied hyperaccumulator[38] called Alpine pennycress (T. caerulescens). In comparison to T. caerulescens., industrial hemp was outperformed 16-fold.[39] Though industrial hemp may not serve as a better hyperaccumulator than T. caerulescens due to its slow absorption rate, industrial hemp grows better under natural conditions and does not require the extensive use of fertilizers or optimal growth conditions.[40] T. caerulescens also cannot be used as a raw material for commercial purposes, unlike industrial hemp, which can be used for multiple purposes.[41]

The second question answered by this study was whether industrial hemp, grown on contaminated soil, could be used as a raw material for other commercial products. The study concluded that hemp seeds or leaves could not be used for food production because the concentration of toxic substances in the seeds or leaves exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) limit of having a 0.1 milligram concentration of heavy metal per 1 kilogram of food.[42] Though hemp seeds and leaves cannot be used for food production, harvested hemp can be used for energy production in thermal power stations, phytomining, and even production of paint and other industrial oils.[43] Harvested hemp can also potentially be used for coastal erosion, which will be discussed further in part three of this subsection.[44]

The Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy[45] undertook a similar study to assess industrial hemp’s tolerance and ability to absorb heavy metals. Unlike Linger’s 2001 study, this study focused on the absorption of Nickel, Cadmium and Chromium.[46] This study concluded that: (1) industrial hemp grown in heavy metal contaminated soil maintained a low THC level; (2) the high heavy metal concentrations in soil do not interfere significantly with hemp growth; and (3) that hemp has a high hyper-tolerance to heavy metals.[47] The results of these findings are consistent with Linger’s results. Industrial hemp cannot be considered a hyperaccumulator plant, but it is instead a metal tolerant organism that has evolved mechanisms allowing it to cope with high metal concentration in soil.[48] In non-scientific terms, industrial hemp is able to absorb toxins in the environment but may not be the quickest plant in existence.

Though industrial hemp may not be a hyperaccumulator, it is possible to use the plant to clean up Louisiana. Contaminated soils may be made productive and, although slowly, restored using industrial hemp.[49] It would be a slow restoration process of heavy metal contaminated soil, but it should not matter since some of Louisiana’s superfund sites have been listed on the NPL since 1993.[50]

The University of Hawaii’s Department of Molecular Biosciences & Bioengineering’s[51] study of phytoremediation using industrial hemp undertaken in 2002 is the last study that will be discussed. This study examined phytoremediation of laboratory-contaminated soil with benzo[a]pyrene and chrysene with industrial hemp.[52] These two chemicals are known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (“PAHs”), which are the most hazardous components of oil spills.[53] PAHs like benzo[a]pyrene and chrysene are considered to be carcinogenic and have been found to be present in the soils of many industrial sites.[54]

What distinguishes University of Hawaii’s study from the two previously discussed is that this study occurred in Hawaii after the enactment of the Hawaii Strategic Industrial Hemp Development Act of 1999.[55] In 1999, growing industrial hemp was illegal unless someone obtained a DEA-issued permit. This is now less of an issue since Hawaii was one of the earliest states to receive a permit to grow industrial hemp in 1999.[56]

The University of Hawaii came to the same conclusion as other studies that focused on phytoremediation using industrial hemp: that industrial hemp can tolerate high levels of heavy metal such as benzo[a]pyrene and chrysene. Even at these high concentrations of PAHs, the growth rate of industrial hemp never fell below 50% in comparison with the control group.[57] Overall, the researchers concluded that hemp is a prime candidate for remediation of PAHs-contaminated tropical areas due to the fast growth of industrial hemp.

The study also acknowledged that the use of industrial hemp for further phytoremediation research and purposes is dependent on its status as a controlled crop under the CSA.[58] The potential of industrial hemp for environmental purposes, including phytoremediation, or any commercial purpose is limited if the current federal status of the growing of industrial hemp remains the same.

Agricultural Benefits   

The use and strong reliance on large-scale monocropping of irrigated cotton[59] (and other crops) has led to severe soil exhaustion and salinization.[60] Industrial hemp is able to provide farmers with many agricultural benefits that may help prevent or stop these soil-related problems.

Industrial hemp improves not only the physical condition of the soil, but it also destroys weeds and does not exhaust the soil’s fertility.[61] In addition, the plant serves as a great crop rotation because of its quick and short growth cycle.[62] Growing a greater diversity of crops allows farmers to produce high yields for each crop in the rotation, to control pests and weeds with less reliance on chemical pesticides, and to enhance soil fertility with less need for synthetic fertilizers.[63] In addition, if hemp is retted[64] and broken up in the fields, it returns its nutrients to the soil, leaving it rich for the next crop.[65] Because of all the agricultural benefits of industrial hemp and the increased national awareness of climate change, there has been a surge of growth among U.S. farmers now planting the crop, often to replace corn, tobacco, and soy.[66] In addition, unlike cotton and other heavily pesticide-dependent crops, industrial hemp requires little care (other than basic fertilizer) once its grown, making it more environmentally friendly.[67]

Furthermore, the plant is able to loosen up soil and make it more ‘mellow’ because soil is shaded by hemp more than any other crop.[68] The foliage at the top of the plant makes a dense shade, and when the leaves fall, it forms a mulch on the ground that helps the surface of the soil retain its moisture.[69] This improves moisture penetration and helps with water retention. The loosening of soil also allows for a much easier penetration of nutrients and waters to reach a plant’s roots once other plants are planted in the area.

The opposition to the cultivation of industrial hemp often concerns the abundant supply of plant food that is required to cultivate the crop. Though that may be true, most of the food supply absorbed during the crop’s development is returned to the soil at the close of the season.[70] Industrial hemp that is cultivated for the production of fiber is cut before the seeds are formed and retted on the land where it has been grown, tending to improve rather than injure the soil. In this retting process, nearly all of the soluble ingredients are washed out and returned to the soil.[71]

Coastal Erosion

About half of the nation’s original wetland habitats have been lost over the past 200 years.[72] Louisiana’s wetlands represent about 40% of the wetlands in the U.S., but they also account for 80% of the losses.[73] These wetlands are exceptionally valuable for Louisiana’s economy and way of life because they impact the recreational and agricultural interests of the state. With growing awareness of the rapid coastal loss that Louisiana and other wetlands have already experienced, many studies have been undertaken to find a solution to this problem. Solutions to stop coastal erosion in Louisiana have included sediment diversion, hydrologic restoration, and marsh restoration. These solutions have helped slow down the process of coastal erosion, but they also have the potential to alter natural coastal processes. They are not the only available solutions to help protect Louisiana’s coast, however. Industrial hemp may be a form of biodegradable erosion control (BEC) that can help Louisiana’s deteriorating coast.[74]

BEC refers to methods that help prevent coastal erosion through the use of biodegradable materials.[75] BEC methods are more environmentally friendly because they provide an all-natural way of vegetation development that is more suitable for plant growth.[76] For example, some contractors have discontinued the use of plastic netting on fiber rolls in favor of biodegradable hemp or coir.[77] These plastic nettings can trap and kill some animals that make use of this habitat zone.[78] When using fiber rolls created from industrial hemp, the fiber rolls breakdown when exposed to sunlight, lessening their erosion prevention over time, but still retaining the typical lifespan of five to ten years.[79]

Another use of industrial hemp that can help prevent coastal erosion is the recycling of the plant for marsh restoration. Jefferson Parish’s Christmas Tree Recycling Shoreline Marsh Project is currently in its 28th year of collecting used Christmas trees from the parish to help mitigate shoreline erosion and rebuild wetlands in the Barataria Basin.[80] Since the project’s inception, more than 15,500 linear feet of shoreline wave dampening fences have been constructed, and six abandoned oil canals have been filled near the town of Jean Laffite.[81] Though this project has won many awards and received nationwide recognition,[82] one downside is that the collection of Christmas trees occurs only once a year: Christmas. Industrial hemp can be used as an extension of the Jefferson Parish recycling project because it can be collected and recycled year-round, as it is not limited to being donated only during the Christmas season. Not only would this extension increase public awareness of wetland losses and conservation of our natural resources, it would be a way to re-use the harvested hemp that was grown for the purposes of phytoremediation of Louisiana’s superfund sites to prevent coastal erosion.[83]

An Alternative to Fossil Fuels

Society’s dependence on non-renewable resources (i.e., petroleum-based fossil fuel) is a major concern because they are finite and depleting at a rapid rate due to increasing demand.[84] Industrial hemp can possibly lessen society’s dependence on fossil fuels through the production of biodiesel. Even former President George W. Bush stated that biofuels (i.e., biodiesel) can help break the U.S. “addiction” to non-renewable resources like foreign oil in his 2006 State of the Union Address.[85] President Bush pushed relentlessly for an alternative to foreign oil during his term and even proposed a 22% increase in funding for clean energy technology research at the U.S. Department of Energy through his Advanced Energy Initiative.[86]

Biofuel is a renewable energy alternative to fossil fuels. It is a highly efficient diesel replacement that is produced by a process called transesterification, a chemical reaction between vegetable or animal fat and alcohol in the presence of a catalyst.[87] Currently, the production of biofuels mainly comes from corn, soybeans, olives, peanuts, and rapeseed oil.[88] As a result of widespread access to inexpensive petroleum-based fuels, biofuels gained little interest by society.[89] But with the recent increased awareness of the effects of global warming and the increase of oil demand, researchers are becoming interested in biofuel once again.

Recently, researchers at the University of Connecticut discovered that industrial hemp has properties that make it viable and attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biofuel.[90] Benefits of using industrial hemp as feed stock for biofuel include the plant’s ability: (1) to grow in infertile soils reduces the need to grow it on primary croplands, which can then be reserved for growing food; (2) to lower emission of sulfur oxide when burned, a major precursor to acid rain; and (3) to serve as a carbon neutral replacement to diesel fuel.[91] In addition, industrial hemp is a very effective scrubber of carbon dioxide due to the plant’s rapid rate of carbon dioxide ingestion.[92] By serving as an alternative to petroleum-based fuel, industrial hemp could lessen society’s dependence on non-renewable resources and help improve air quality at the same time.

However, the idea of using biofuel as an alternative has recently become a controversial topic, especially by environmentalists and the oil and gas industry in the country. Environmentalists argue that biofuels account for a greater carbon footprint because the mechanism utilized to cultivate the crops to produce biofuel requires large amounts of electricity, water, fertilizers, and additional agricultural.[93] This issue can be quickly addressed and potentially solved by growing industrial hemp as a feedstock because it requires less care and water than current crops being grown as feedstock.[94] However, it is unlikely ethanol producers or the oil and gas industry in Louisiana would welcome the increased production of hemp biofuels since it would decrease society’s reliance on petroleum-based fuels and potentially cut in to the demand of their product.

Louisiana’s Environment is Ideal to Grow Industrial Hemp

Louisiana may be an ideal environment to grow industrial hemp. The optimal climate[95] for the growth of industrial hemp consists of a mild, humid, and temperate climate.[96] Ideal temperatures for industrial hemp growth ranges between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.[97] Industrial hemp reaches a stage of rapid growth when the average daily temperature of the environment is 61 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. In this stage, the plant will grow 4 to 6 centimeters per day. However, industrial hemp can grow in high or low temperatures. The plant also requires a plentiful supply of moisture throughout its growing seasons, and especially during the first six weeks of planting.[98] After the plant has become well-rooted; the plant can then endure drier conditions.

The average rainfall in Louisiana from 2010 to 2017 was 57.94 inches, while the average temperature is 67.5 degrees Fahrenheit.[99] Louisiana also has the ideal environmental conditions to break down hemp fibers. Comparing Louisiana’s averages from 2010 to 2017 to the ideal conditions for growing industrial hemp, Louisiana seems like an ideal environment.

Moreover, one of the amazing characteristics of industrial hemp is its ability to grow in a variety of soils and climates.[100] Industrial hemp is generally an easy crop to cultivate, but the crop will not grow well on stiff, impervious clay soil, or on light sandy or gravelly soils.[101] The plant grows best on loose, well-aerated soil. Soil temperatures of 46-50 degrees Fahrenheit are preferable, but not required.[102] The ideal growing conditions for the plant also include a humus-rich[103] soil in a lower altitude.[104] This perfectly describes Louisiana since the lush vegetation across most of the state causes our soil to have high levels of organic materials that slowly decompose to humus.[105] Taking the preferable conditions for growing industrial hemp and the characteristics of Louisiana’s environment into account, Louisiana is an ideal environment to grow the plant.

Conclusion

Industrial hemp is not a miracle crop that will fix all the issues in the State, but it is crop that can potentially assist Louisiana in remediating its soil, help reduce the effects of coastal erosion, and even serve as an alternative feedstock for biofuel production.

[1] Junior Associate, Louisiana State University Journal of Energy Law and Resources, J.D./D.C.L. Candidate, May 2020. I would like to thank Prof. Darlene Goring and David J. Gray for their help and guidance throughout this process in helping execute this Note.

[2] See Natl. Ag. Statistics Service (NASS), 2017 State Agriculture Overview: Louisiana, United States, https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=LOUISIANA (last visited Oct. 18, 2018).

[3] See Natl. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), What is a Dead Zone?, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/deadzone.html (last visited Oct. 28, 2018).

[4] Hypoxic zones are areas in the ocean of such low oxygen concentration that animal life suffocates and dies, and as a result are sometimes called “dead zones.”

[5] See supra note 3.

[6] The word ‘remediation’ in this Note refers to the action of reversing, preventing, or stopping environmental damage.

[7] Lyster H. Dewey, Hemp, 1913 Y.B. of the U.S. Dep’t. of Agric. 283, 294.

[8] Id. at 291.

[9] Id. at 292 and 302.

[10] See Johnson, supra note 7.

[11] This paper aims to highlight the environmental benefits of industrial hemp, not its commercial purposes. Therefore, only a few of the commercial products and benefits are mentioned in this Note.

[12] Johnson, see Appendix A in supra note 7 at 40.

[13] Supra note 20. For modern uses for industrial hemp, see Figure 1.

[14] The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), Hemp Seeds and Hemp Oil as Food, http://eiha.org/media/attach/478/Hemp_Seeds_and_Hemp_Oil_as_Food_EIHA_EIHA.pdf (last visited Oct. 11, 2018).

[15] Renée Johnson, Cong. Research Serv., RL32725, Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity (2013).

[16] Ministry of Hemp, So How Can You Actually Tell the Difference?, https://ministryofhemp.com/hemp/not-marijuana/

[17] See below Moxley et al., Efficient Sugar Release by the Cellulose Solvent-Based Lignocellulose Fractionation Technology and Enzymatic Cellulose Hydrolysis, 56 J. Agric. Food Chem. 7885, 7885 (2008).

[18] Moxley et al., Efficient Sugar Release by the Cellulose Solvent-Based Lignocellulose Fractionation Technology and Enzymatic Cellulose Hydrolysis, 56 J. Agric. Food Chem. 7885, 7885 (2008).

[19] See Johnson, supra note 7 at 1.

[20] Id. at 6.

[21] See Table 1 in Renée Johnson, Cong. Research Serv., RL32725, Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity 5 (2018).

[22] Johnson, supra note 7.

[23] Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), 42 U.S.C. 9601-9675.

[24] National Priorities List, 83 Fed. Reg. 46, 408 (Sept. 13, 2018).

[25] The NPL is required to list out any site that may be contaminated or polluted under section 105(a)(8)(B) of CERCLA.

[26] 94 Stat. 2767; Federal Register Notice of the Current NPL Final Rule, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2018-09-13/pdf/2018-19878.pdf (last visited Sept. 17, 2018).

[27] National Priorities List (NPL) – by State, https://www.epa.gov/superfund/national-priorities-list-npl-sites-state (last visited Sept. 17, 2018).

[28] Rufus L. Chaney & Ilya A. Baklanov, Phytoremediation and Phytomining: Status and Promise, 83 Advances in Botanical Res. 189, 190 (2017).

[29] Phytoremediation: An Environmentally Sound Technology for Pollution Prevention, Control and Remediation, http://www.unep.or.jp/Ietc/Publications/Freshwater/FMS2/1.asp (last visited Sept. 17, 2018).

[30] Id.

[31] Id.

[32] See Mitchell Colbert, Radioactive Research: Is Hemp Soil a Savior?, https://thehempmag.com/2018/07/radioactive-research-is-hemp-a-soil-savior/ (last visited Sept. 18, 2018).

[33] Id.

[34] See Khan et. al., Relationships Between Chromium Biomagnification Ratio, Accumulation Factor, and Mycorrhizae in Plants Growing on Tannery Effluent-Polluted Soil, Chemosphere 26, 198-199 (2000).

[35] Sandra Citterio, et al., Heavy Metal Tolerance and Accumulation of Cd, Cr and Ni by Cannabis sativa L., 256 Plant and Soil 241 (Oct. 2003).

[36] P. Linger, et al., Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Growing on Heavy Metal Contaminated Soil: Fibre Quality and Phytoremediation Potential, 16 Indus. Crops and Products 33, 38-39 (2001).

[37] Id.

[38] A hyperaccumulator is a classification given to plants that are known to accumulate extra-ordinarily high amounts of metallic elements in their tissues without any noxious effects; See Ewa Muszyńska & Ewa Hanus-Fajerska, Why are Heavy Metal Hyperaccumulating Plants So Amazing?, 96 BioTechnologia 265, 265-271 (2015).

[39] Supra note 53 at 40.

[40] Id.

[41] Id.

[42] Id.

[43] Id.

[44] Infra note 84.

[45] Citterio, supra note 54.

[46] Id.

[47] Id. at 247-249.

[48] Citterio, supra note 54 at 250.

[49] Id. at 251.

[50] See superfund site, Bayou Bonfouca in Slidell, Louisiana.; National Priorities List (NPL) – by State, https://www.epa.gov/superfund/national-priorities-list-npl-sites-state (last visited Sept. 17, 2018)

[51] Sonia Campbell, et al., Remediation of Benzo[a]pyrene and Chrysene-Contaminated Soil with Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa), 4 Int. J. of Phytoremediation 157, 158 (2002).

[52] Id.

[53] Id.

[54] Id.

[55] H.B. 32 CDI, Act 305 (1999).

[56] Johnson, supra note 7 at 20.

[57] Campbell, supra note 68 at 163.

[58] Id. at 162.

[59] Monocropping refers to as growing one type of crop on the land.

[60] International Trade Center, Cotton and Climate Change: Impacts and Options to Mitigate and Adapt (2011).

[61] Lyster H. Dewey, Hemp, 1913 Y.B. of the U.S. Dep’t. of Agric. 283, 308.

[62] Johnson, see supra note 7 at 6; Kraenzal, see supra note 41 at 19; Duppong see supra note 141 at 6.

[63] Union of Concerned Scientists, Healthy Farm Practices: Crop Rotation and Diversity, https://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/solutions/advance-sustainable-agriculture/crop-diversity-and-rotation.html#.W70eny-ZOAw (last visited Oct. 2, 2018).

[64] The USDA defines retting as a microbial process that breaks the chemical bonds that hold the stem together and allows separation of the bast fibers from the woody core. It requires both available moisture and temperatures warm enough for the microbial action to occur (see Daryl T. Ehrensing, Feasibility of Industrial Hemp Production in the United States Pacific Northwest, Agricultural Experiment Station at Oregon State University 20 (1998)).

[65] Dewey, supra note 78 at 311..

[66] David Carpenter, In Kentucky, Farmers Find Hemp May Be More Profitable Than Tobacco, Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidcarpenter/2018/08/28/kentucky-farmers-hemp-more-profitable-than-tobacco/#5482321c100f (last visited Sept. 16, 2018).

[67] Johnson, supra See Johnson, supra note 7.

[68] Dewey, supra note 78 at 313.

[69] Id. at 309.

[70] Id.

[71] Id. at 311.

[72] United States Geological Survey, Louisiana Coastal WetlandsA Resource at Risk, https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/la-wetlands/ (last visited Oct. 10, 2018).

[73] Id.

[74] Woods Hole Sea Grant Program, Biodegradable Erosion Control, Marine Extension Bulletin, 2011 (http://www.whoi.edu/fileserver.do?id=82284&pt=2&p=88928).

[75] Id.

[76] Choosing Between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Erosion Matting, American Excelsior Company, https://americanexcelsior.com/choosing-between-biodegradable-and-non-biodegradable-erosion-matting/ (last visited January 7, 2019).

[77] Supra note 91 at 2.

[78] Id.

[79] Id.

[80] Jefferson Parish, Christmas Tree Marsh Restoration, http://www.jeffparish.net/index.aspx?page=321 (last visited Oct. 15, 2018).

[81] Id.

[82] Id.

[83]See above discussion Part II, Subsection B(1) of this Note.

[84] Ahmad Alcheikh, Advantages and Challenges of Hemp Biodiesel Production: A Comparison of Hemp vs. Other Crops Commonly used for Biodiesel Production, University of Gävle 10 (June 2015).

[85] George W. Bush, President of the United States, State of the Union Address (Jan. 31, 2006).

[86] Nat’l. Econ. Council, Advanced Energy Initiative, 1 (2006).

[87] Alcheikh, supra note 101 at 10.

[88] Christine Buckley, Hemp Produces Viable Biodiesel, UConn Study Finds, UConn Today (2010).

[89] Alcheikh, supra note 101 at 13.

[90] Buckley, supra note 105.

[91] See Buckley supra footnote 105; See Ahmad Alcheikh supra footnote 101 at 20.

[92] Ahmad Alcheikh, Advantages and Challenges of Hemp Biodiesel Production: A Comparison of Hemp vs. Other Crops Commonly used for Biodiesel Production, University of Gävle 10 (June 2015).

[93] Dharni Grover, Bioguels are Good Politics but Translate into Bad Policy, Major Papers at the University of Windsor 2 (2018).

[94] See supra note 103.

[95] Keep in mind when reading this subsection, only the optimal climate to grow industrial hemp is discussed. This does not include other suitable climates where the plant may grow.

[96] David G. Kraenzal et al., Inst. For Natural Res. & Econ. Dev., N.D. State Univ., Agric. Econ. Report No. 402, Industrial Hemp as an Alternative Crop in North Dakota: A White Paper Study of the Markets, Profitability, Processing, Agronomics and History 19 (1998).

[97] Lyster H. Dewey, Hemp, 1913 Y.B. of the U.S. Dep’t. of Agric. 283.

[98] Lyster H. Dewey, Hemp, 1913 Y.B. of the U.S. Dep’t. of Agric. 283, 306.

[99] NOOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Climate at a Glance: Statewide Time Series, published 2018, https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/statewide/timeseries/16/tavg/12/12/20102018?base_prd=true&firstbaseyear=2010&lastbaseyear=2018 (last visited Sept. 19, 2018).

[100] David G. Kraenzal et al., Inst. For Natural Res. & Econ. Dev., N.D. State Univ., Agric. Econ. Report No. 402, Industrial Hemp as an Alternative Crop in North Dakota: A White Paper Study of the Markets, Profitability, Processing, Agronomics and History 19 (1998).

[101] Lyster H. Dewey, Hemp, 1913 Y.B. of the U.S. Dep’t. of Agric. 283.

[102] The Perdue Hemp Project, Hemp Production, Purdue University, https://dev.purduehemp.org/hemp-production/ (last visited Sept. 19, 2018).

[103] Humus-rich soil refers to the loose, upper layer of soil.

[104] Louisiana Cannabis Association, Agriculture, https://www.louisianacannabis.org/agriculture/ (last visited Oct. 23, 2018).

[105] David Weindorf, An Overview of Louisiana Soils, Louisiana Agriculture (2013).

8 thoughts on “Can Industrial Hemp Save Louisiana?”

  1. Hi Karina Shareen! I am incredibly thankful for your writing and believe that this plants benefit for the state is astronomical. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana where I attended University Laboratory School in high school and currently go to Pace University studying Environmental Policy and working full time at High Falls Hemp NY in New York! We are licensed growers processors and distributors. Finding a natural way to help restore our coast line has been a dream of mine and your detailed description of the agriculture and environmental benefits of hemp growth makes me scream YES!! Bringing an efficient system of hemp cultivation to the state of Louisiana would aid our economy and benefit our environment. This has been a passionate plan of mine ever since entering the industry. I would love to stay in touch and discover the flexibility the state government would be wiling to provide in planting hemp on public land near coastal water ways and superfund sites.

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