Fuel of the Future?

The Economics, History and Politics of Hemp Fuels

By David Malmo-Levine

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hemp Field

"This is a rather interesting photograph for a couple of reasons. First, it's a photograph of a now elicit subject, a field of marijuana being grown in the Ural mountains in 1910 for hemp fiber. But even more interesting is that it represents some of the first color photography ever done, a result of the invention of panchromatic film in 1906. The photographer was Sergei Mikhailovich, 1863-1944, and the un-translated title is "Konoplianoe pole".

Part One: The Economics of Hemp Fuels

“In the most favorable growing conditions, we obtained yields of up to 15,000 kg of stem dry matter per hectare (6,070 kg per acre). Under similar conditions, other crops such as maize, sugar beet or potato produced similar dry matter yields. All results indicate that as far its yield is concerned, fiber hemp is in no way exceptional.”

Hemp facts and hemp fiction” Hayo M.G. van der Werf, Journal of the International Hemp Association, (1)

"The added cost of the extra drying needed for crops such as sugar cane, corn and Napier grasses make these high moisture plants an inefficient source for growing methanol. The (Hawaii Natural Energy) Institutes' 1990 report concluded that thermo chemical (pyrolytic) production of methanol from biomass is the most economical alternative for transportation fuel. They also confirmed Stanford Research Institutes' conclusion from the late seventies that woody or low moisture herbaceous plants are the most efficient biomass resource for thermo chemical conversion into liquid fuels such as methanol. It is the cellulose in low moisture herbaceous and woody plants that provides the hydrocarbons necessary for fuel production. ... Hemp is both a low moisture herbaceous and a woody plant.”

“Energy Farming”, Lynn Osburn, (2)

The campaign against biofuels:

I, like many other hemp activists, am interested in the potential for hemp as a fuel source. It is one of the key reasons I have devoted my life to the re-legalization of this impressive plant. The thought of replacing easy-to-monopolize, constantly-fought-over, climate-changing, polluting petroleum with a clean, ecologically sound, cheap, renewable resource able to be grown anywhere by anyone has – with the exception of a few “cannabiphobics”, skeptics, narcs and oil barons - personal (and I suspect near universal) appeal. Thus I was dismayed to stumble across a series of recent articles on CIA watchdog Mike Ruppert's websites that attack biofuels in general as “uneconomical”. These articles claim that it takes more energy to create biofuels than one receives from the created fuel. (3) I then discovered that this is a common argument found in other books and articles. (4).

To shake my hemp-fuel confidence further, I came across an article from the International Hemp Association saying that hemp as a fuel source is “in no way exceptional.”(5)

Other arguments against biofuels are that a) there isn't enough land to both grow fuel and food with (6), and b) that ethanol isn't as efficient as gasoline, so even if ethanol is cheaper per gallon it would be more expensive per mile.

The experts:

I decided to investigate these arguments against biofuels and hemp fuels by bouncing them off people doing research in this area. I spoke with Adrian Francis Clarke of Fibre (Europe) Laboratory LTD, Don Wirtshafter of the Ohio Hempery, Tim Castleman of fuelandfiber.com, and Shaun Crew of Hemp Oil Canada.

It is important to understand that hemp provides two types of fuel; hemp biodiesel – made from the oil of the hemp seed, and hemp ethanol/methanol – made from the fermented stalk. To clarify further, ethanol is made from such things as grains, sugars, starches, waste paper & forest products, and methanol is made from woody matter. Through processes such as gasification, acid hydrolysis and enzymes, hemp can be used to make both ethanol and methanol.

I asked questions about the current prices of hemp biodeisel and hemp ethanol/methanol, and what these prices would be post cannabis relegalization. To be economically viable, these fuels would have to be cheaper than gasoline, currently priced at up to 120 cents per liter (Can.) (7) or up to 3 dollars per gallon (US) (8) Of course, petroleum prices could get much more expensive in the near future, a topic which will be covered in the third part of this article under “peak oil”.

Don Wirtshafter responded that the size of the industrial
hemp industry determined how much hemp “waste” would be created, which would then dictate the price of hemp fuel. He wrote:

Hemp oil is too valuable to burn up as fuel. It will be the waste products that become the fuels of the future. ... Because we sell the protein for a good price, the price of hemp oil drops. When I was selling the seed cake to make Hempen Ale, making the oil was almost free. Again, it is the waste stream from your primary processes that will go into power generation.”

When I asked Don about the actual price of
hemp biodiesel, he replied:

“Twenty cents per gallon more than the cost of hemp oil. At this point, hemp seed oil is $15 per gallon. As we gain volume, our costs and therefore the price is dropping. Until hemp is a huge industry, it can't compete with the other huge industries. If the hemp protein powder continues to sell well, then the oil will continue to get cheaper and cheaper.”

On the topic of hemp ethanol/methanol, Don opined:

“The big change will come with green processing as is being developed by Adrian Clarke in Australia. This machine will change all the equations for fiber as did the cotton gin 150 years ago. The waste from that process will be the energy source.”

When I asked Adrian Clarke about the price of hemp ethanol/methanol, he replied:
“I cannot supply even a guess for the cost except to say that it must be simple and low cost for so many farmers to have done it. Ask a legal distiller what it would cost.”

Distillers of things-other-than-hemp provided a variety of possible prices: According to one source, Brazilian ethanol recently sold “for 45% less per liter than gasoline”. (9) According to another source, “...the cost of producing ethanol from cellulose is estimated to be between $1.15 and $1.43 per gallon in 1998 dollars”. (10) Back in 1981, a Canadian “fuel alcohol distiller” activist estimated his actual cost to be “22.9 cents a gallon” (11) which would be about 49.37 cents per gallon in today's dollars! (12)

Shaun Crew is a hemp seed oil expert. I asked him the hemp biodiesel question and he answered: “the price of hemp seed oil is higher than the price of corn oil at present. This may change in the years to come as acres significantly increase or yields significantly increase. Right now, hemp biodiesel could not be easily made for under $2.50 per litre.”

In Tim Castleman's article "Hemp Biomass For Energy", he wrote his observations about biodiesel too, explaining that "Some varieties are reported to yield as much as 38% oil, and a record 2,000 lbs. per acre was recorded in 1999. At this rate, 760 lbs. of oil per acre would result in about 100 allons of oil, with production costs totaling about $5.20 per gallon.(13) I asked Tim if there were any other factors that could further reduce the price per gallon. He replied: Hempseed oil is worth $30 per gallon as food. ... hemp (biodiesel) doesn't make the lineup for fuel.”

Hemp methanol, on the other hand, does make the fuel lineup. According to Tim, hemp ethanol could be produced for 1.37 per gallon plus the cost of the feedstock, with technological improvements and tax credits reducing the price another dollar or so per gallon! (14) And the cost of the feedstock would become much more available as more hemp was grown for more products, providing more and more free (or nearly-free) feedstock as a “waste product”. Could you imagine paying under 50 cents per gallon (US) or 15 cents per liter (CAN) for your hemp ethanol?!!

Fuel efficiency:

Some might argue that ethanol isn't as fuel efficient as gas – thus the dollar-per-mile ratio of hemp ethanol would make it more expensive than gas to run. Ethanol contains approx. 34% less energy per gallon than gasoline, and therefore will result in a 34% reduction in miles per gallon. (15) This problem may be overcome through designing a more efficient vehicle – recently, French High School students achieved the best fuel efficiency at the European Shell Eco-marathon, using an ethanol-powered car with an energy consumption equivalent to traveling 2,885 kilometers on a single liter of gasoline (6,788 mpg). (16) Other technologies are being developed to make ethanol similar to gasoline in fuel efficiency. (17)

Availability of waste-hemp and over-regulation Is there enough hemp around right now to provide enough waste/feedstock to replace fossil fuels? No. Will this always be the case? That depends on how successful the medical and recreational cannabis activists are in removing irrational laws around this plant. Currently, the Canadian hemp economy is under “tight controls”. (18) A minimum of 10 acres must be grown. (19) The hemp must test below 0.3% in THC. (20) The strain must be “approved”. (21) Hundreds of potentially profitable industrial strains are denied to farmers. (22) The US won't approve importing Canadian hemp products if they contain even trace amounts of THC (23) Hemp seed must be rendered non-viable and tested for viability. (24) Those with criminal records for cannabis farming are not allowed to grow hemp. (25)

Breeders licenses – permitting access to the most economically rewarding element of industrial hemp farming - are difficult to obtain. One needs a science degree and 10 years experience working under an accredited breeder. (26)

When I asked Arthur Hanks of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance why this was so, he responded that “Certified seed is supposed to deliver known quantity. For a lot of buyers this is very important. Using common seed might be a false savings.”

“Can you provide me with an example of a false savings?” I asked.

Well, there was that problem with USO 14 ...” Arthur responded. “... breeders were not crossing it back with it's parents.

“But that's a fuck-up by accredited breeders.” I replied, “So certified seed doesn't necessarily mean fuck-up free seed.”

Good point.” Responded Arthur. “It's also true that cheap common seed will help make biomass hemp fuel more economically viable.”

“Do you think that the seed growers association may be acting like an elitist club that – like doctors and lawyers – is concerned more with controlling an industry than helping clients?”

There may be some of that in there ...”

At that point, I felt I hit upon the way the hemp industry was most unjustly over-regulated – through artificially high seed prices. Farmers cannot supply themselves with seed – they have to obtain it every year through government approved breeders. Seed is the farmer's biggest cost, varying between $6,250.00 to $16,875.00 for the average hemp farm (250 acres). For the largest hemp (3000 acres), seed costs can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Canadian hemp farmers spent somewhere between $1,250, 000 to $3,375,000.00 on seeds in 2006 (27) – an unnecessary cost ... more than a down-payment on a large hemp fuel manufacturing plant. The estimated cost of such a plant rages from $60 million for a plant that can produce 75 million liters per year (28), to $335 million, producing 1.7 billion liters per year. (29)
Banks don't invest money in hemp processing and manufacturing (30) – perhaps partly due to the red tape making hemp so artificially expensive, perhaps partly due to most of their current customers being hemp-substitute industries.

The red tape can only be justified if cannabis is considered dangerous - the moment medicinal and social hemp are re-legalized and treated like other herbs, the industrial hemp red tape will disappear. No doubt this will result in an increase in hemp seed breeders – all those considered “criminal” due to their history with breeding the drug strains will get a crack at breeding the hemp strains. Seed quality will then increase, the price will drop, and more money will stay in the pockets of farmers breeding their own seeds. Hemp products will become cheaper and more available. Farmers and cannabis cafe owners will both have capital to invest. At that point, the industrial hemp industry will be free to grow large and compete with non-renewable materials on an even playing field.

According to the 1938 Popular Mechanics article, hemp hurds “can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane”. That's just the hurds. When you factor in the fiber, the oil and the resin, the number of products hemp can produce is closer to 50,000. Almost everything that isn't glass or metal - including paper, pressed particle board, fabrics, plastics and concrete - can be made from hemp. (31) With a massive manufacturing base to reflect its massive utility, there will be plenty of hemp waste to make fuel from, driving the price down considerably.

The evil Dr. Pimental:

If the above-mentioned sources say hemp ethanol and non-hemp ethanol are so affordable, then why do so many sources claim otherwise? Apparently, the source for this other view comes from a single report from Dr. David Pimentel of Cornell University. He claims that bioethanol has a “negative net energy value”. It turns out that this is a well-publicized myth. In fact, Pimental's findings are flawed and disproved by other studies. (32)

The best fuel crop?

As for the argument that hemp is not an exceptional source of cellulose, it's important to keep in mind that hemp:

1) doesn't need as much fertilizer or water as corn, switchgrass or other energy crops (33)

2) doesn't require the expensive drying required of corn and sugar cane (34),

3) can be grown where other energy crops can't (35)

4) is more resistant to “adverse fall weather” than other crops (36) and

5) has long been known to be the lowest-moisture highest-cellulose crop.

The hemp stalks being “over 75% cellulose” according to a 1929 paper from Schafer and Simmonds (37), with more conservative estimates indicating 53-74% of the bark being cellulose. (38) According to the Stanford Research Institute and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, it is woody, low-moisture herbaceous plants which make the best biomass for liquid fuels. (39) If one goes beyond simple cellulose-level comparisons and examines the cost-per-gallon with these extra cultivation and processing and transportation costs taken into account, hemp seems to be the best candidate for a fuel crop. Of course, all crops should be grown in rotation – too much of one thing is bad for the soil – but hemp seems the best crop to add to the rotation if we want to replace fossil fuels with something else in the tank.

Not enough land?

According to the 3rd edition of “Environmental Chemistry” by Professor Stanley E. Manahan, “Meeting US demands for oil and gas would require that about 6% of the land area of the coterminous 48 states be cultivated intensively for energy production.” (40) According to one source, the US has 60 million idle acres of farmland (41) - about 3% of US land area – and another 130 million or so acres devoted to raising meat (42). According to another source, more than 302 million hectares of land are devoted to producing feed for the U.S. livestock population
-- about 272 million hectares in pasture and about 30 million hectares for cultivated feed grains. (43) Either way, it seems there's more than enough land to grow fuel with, if we each eat five or ten fewer steaks every year. As well, urban agriculture is another option to free land up for fuel crops – for example, 6% of Cuba's food supply is grown in the city of Havana. (44) Not only would urban agriculture increase the area available for food, it would conserve energy previously used to transport food.

Recycling food oil can also help address our energy needs. US restaurants produce about 300 million US gallons of vegetable oil waste a year, much of which ends up in landfills. That oil could be reused as biofuel.(45) Beyond vegetarianism, energy conservation, urban agriculture and recycling, alternative fuel sources such as wind, wave and solar - combined with various types of battery-powered vehicles - could reduce the amount of land required to meet energy needs still further.


Make your own biofuels:

The process isn't quite rocket science, but involves many steps and many choices. For diesel-powered car drivers, one must decide if one is a) using the oil just as it is -- usually called SVO fuel (straight vegetable oil); b) mixing it with kerosene (paraffin) or petroleum diesel fuel, or with biodiesel, or blend it with a solvent, or with gasoline; or c) converting it to biodiesel. For regular gas-power car drivers, there are gasification and distillation processes that could turn any plant matter into fuel. Large car companies are already producing ethanol-friendly vehicles. Some sources describe the adjustments to the engine required to convert a gas-powered car into an
ethanol-powered one as “minor”, others as “extremely complicated”. As more and more people make such adjustments, they should become easier and less costly. These methods are too detailed to explain here, but there are many good resources on the internet where you can learn to make your own biofuels. Here are just a few:



The real reason for alcohol prohibition

As an interesting aside, I learned from Adrian Clarke that alcohol prohibition may have ended at the request of the oil companies, as the illegal stills set up to provide bootleg booze were being turned into sources of fuel. Apparently, there was even hemp ethanol production!

In an email to me, Clarke wrote; “I asked an historian who was working as a senior adviser to our Victorian State Government what he thought about the proposition that Prohibition was enacted to protect the Oil Companies and at their request, from the self-sufficiency hemp gave to farmers and other drivers. The historian had worked in American Universities and said he would consult his network. Three weeks later he called me to confirm absolutely that Prohibition was to stop people making their own car fuel. He said that records showed that up to 90% of all the illegal alcohol made up to that time, was for the fueling of cars. ... This historian did not go public.”

I attempted to verify this information, and found out that Henry Ford originally designed his “Model A” car to run on either alcohol or gasoline, whichever was available to the driver – and that John D. Rockefeller, owner of Standard Oil (now Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, American BP and a dozen other oil companies), put 4 million dollars into alcohol prohibition.(46) After alcohol prohibition began, Ford proposed that the dead capacity of shutting down distilleries might be used to produce denatured alcohol - "a cleaner, nicer, better fuel for automobiles than gasoline". (47) Veteran hemp activist Chris Conrad writes that Ford's dream of a nation of plant-powered vehicles was “thwarted first by alcohol prohibition, then by hemp prohibition”. (48)

The plan to shut down alcohol fuel through alcohol prohibition may have backfired. The number of illegal alcohol stills increased during alcohol prohibition.(49) Thus, in a celebrated 1932 letter, subsequently printed on the front page of The New York Times, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a lifelong
teetotaler, argued against the continuation of alcohol prohibition due to the “increase in disrespect for the law”. This letter became the singular event that pushed the nation to repeal alcohol prohibition.(50) This concern of John D. Jr. may be considered suspect, for as any good Rockefeller historian will point out, the Rockefellers themselves had been known to disrespect the law from time to time.(51) Perhaps John D was really concerned that people would become less dependent on his oil if they had their own stills, and he adopted the “disrespect for the law” concern to hide the self-interested motive behind his change of opinion. And then I stumbled on this bit of information:" Fifty years ago it was a corporate alliance between DuPont (which controlled GM) and Standard Oil (now Exxon) which suppressed Henry Ford's alcohol gasoline engine and committed the continent to using lead as an additive." (52) DuPont and Standard Oil ... hmmmm

... where have I heard those names before? ...

oh yes! It was these companies that had the most to do with making hemp illegal! I began to wonder to myself if both alcohol prohibition and hemp prohibition were created by the same
corporations for the same reasons – as attempts at fuel monopolies. A close examination of the history of hemp fuels, hemp prohibition, DuPont and Standard Oil might reveal the answer.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Part Two: The History of Hemp Fuels

"Why use the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the fields?" -Henry Ford (53)

The claim is that the threat hemp posed to natural resource companies back in the thirties accounts for its original ban.” - Hugh Downs, ABC news (54)

The first cars were biofuel cars!

Nikolaus August Otto, the German inventor of the combustion engine, conceived his invention to run on ethanol. Rudolf Diesel, the German inventor of the Diesel engine, conceived his invention to run on peanut oil. (55) In a 1912 speech, Rudolf Diesel said "the use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today, but such oils may become, in the course of time, as important as petroleum and the coal-tar products of the present time." (56) Henry Ford designed the Ford Model T, a car produced between 1903 and 1926, to run on either gasoline or ethanol. (57) Ford was reported to have said; "There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There's enough alcohol in one year's yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years." (58)

In the 1930s the Ford Motor Company invested heavily in biomass fuels. Ford operated a successful biomass conversion plant that included hemp, at their Iron Mountain facility in Michigan. Ford engineers extracted methanol, charcoal fuel, tar, pitch, ethyl-acetate and creosote out of hemp. All fundamental ingredients for modern industry – ingredients now supplied by oil-related
industries. (59)

Not satisfied with just using biofuels, Ford actually made a car with a veggie-plastic body made from hemp, flax and ramie. It was so tough, he could attack it with an ax and not leave a dent! (60) It was “Ten times” stronger than steel yet one-third the weight (which would improve mileage). (61) Footage of this car being attacked with a sledgehammer in mid-winter survives on the
internet! (62)

In 1941, Popular Mechanics ran a story about Ford's hemp cars. They wrote; "Although no hint has been given as to when plastic cars may go into production, the experimental model is pictured as a step toward materialization of Henry Ford's belief that some day he would "grow automobiles from the soil." (63)

So what happened to Ford's dream of cars grown from the soil?

Well, with US alcohol prohibition repeal in 1933, most stills were abandoned or seized by the
“dry squads”. Oil was super-cheap and everywhere, so oil engines grew more popular and alcohol engines less so. And with US hemp prohibition in 1937, the best raw material for making veggie plastic feedstock was removed from the economy. It was (Rockefeller's) Standard Oil, (Mellon's) Gulf Oil and DuPont who had the most to do with hemp prohibition, and the most to gain from it.

Hemp prohibition and big oil

Prior to 1931, Harry Anslinger was Assistant U.S. Commissioner for Prohibition. In 1931, Anslinger, was hand-picked to head the new Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) by his uncle-in-law, Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury under President Herbert Hoover, designer of the FBN, and head of Gulf Oil. Andrew Mellon was also the owner and largest stockholder of the sixth largest bank (in 1937) in the United States, the Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, one of only two bankers for DuPont from 1928 to the present. DuPont owned General Motors. (64)

In 1937, the marijuana tax act put
hemp farmers out of business. It was a prohibition pretending to be a tax, similar to the machine-gun tax act created two weeks earlier. Anslinger testified at the poorly attended committee hearing, calling for a total ban on “marihuana”. He stated under oath that “Opium has all the good of Dr. Jekyll and all the evil of Mr. Hyde. This drug [cannabis] is entirely the monster Hyde, the harmful effects of which cannot be measured". This statement contradicted what he wrote in a confidential memorandum to the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury that "the drug trade still has a small medical need for marihuana, but has agreed to eliminate it entirely." (65)

Bureaucrats planned the hearings to avoid the discussion of the full House and presented the measure in the guise of a tax revenue bill brought to the six member House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Du Pont ally Robert Doughton of North Carolina. This bypassed the House without further hearings and passed it over to the Senate Finance Committee, controlled by another DuPont ally, Prentiss Brown of Michigan, where it was rubber stamped into law. (66) Another prominent member of one Congressional subcommittee who voted in favor of this bill was Joseph Guffey of Pennsylvania, an oil tycoon and former business partner of Andrew Mellon in the Spindletop oil fields in Texas. (67)

An important clue to who was behind this prohibition-pretending-to-be-a-tax can be found in the DuPont 1937 Annual Report: "The revenue raising power of government may be converted into an instrument for forcing acceptance of sudden new ideas of industrial and social reorganization". (68) With
hemp rope gone, DuPont's new invention Nylon would be one of the synthetic “sudden new ideas” accepted by North American citizens.

Why didn't the herbalists speak up?

The Flexner Report is a book-length study of medical education in the United States and Canada, written by the professional educator Abraham Flexner and published in 1910 under the aegis of the Carnegie Foundation. In fact, the report was partially conceived by Charles Eliot (of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rockefeller General Education Board and the Rockefeller Institute) and Simon Flexner (of the Rockefeller Institute) – who suggested his brother as author. (69) One of the recommendations of the report was that those who gave money to medical schools stop sponsoring the herbal schools, because they didn't have the proper “laboratories and texts”. (70)

Three years after publishing his report, Abraham Flexner went to work for the Rockefeller Institute, implementing the recommendations in his report for over two decades. (71) This influential report contributed greatly to the decline of alternative medicine, including herbology. (72) By 1932, Arthur Dean Bevan, the head of the American Medical Association's committees on medical education, stated he was “grateful” to Flexner for enabling “to put out of business” the eclectic medical schools in existence in 1910. (73)

By 1937, when the “Marijuana Tax Act” was being debated, there were no herbalism schools – no “alternative medicine” schools of any kind - left to provide a champion to speak on behalf of medical cannabis. And the “left-wing” President was no help, either. According to one researcher, FDR (who signed the Marijuana Tax Act into law) was on the Rockefeller payroll from his first days in politics. (74) Rockefeller had successfully eliminated or bought any potential opponent to the
hemp-substitute industries attempts at outlawing their natural competitor. Rockefeller's attack on herbalism made Mellon's attack on cannabis possible.

Mellon, DuPont and Rockefeller's other scams

The long history of Mellon, DuPont and Rockefeller intrigues indicate a working relationship going back to the 1920's. During his first four years as Secretary of the Treasury, Mellon gave himself a tax refund of $404,000, an amount second only to one of $457,000 for John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and both of these men were tied to the “Teapot Dome” politicians-taking-bribes-from-oilmen scandal. (75) There is also evidence to suggest that both Rockefeller and Mellon were given
advance notice to remove their savings from the stock market right before the crash of 1929. (76)

In the 1934, DuPont and Rockefeller contributed to the newly formed anti-FDR American Liberty League. (77) In that same year a bunch of wealthy men including Rockefeller, Mellon and DuPont were exposed by Smedley Darlington Butler – the most decorated Marine in US coup against FDR. Butler to make him the ruler of the USA. (78) Portions of Butler's story were corroborated, and the Senate committee did take the threat seriously and did verify that a fascist coup was indeed well past the planning stage, but the Senate committee expired before it could get around to punishing anyone. (79)

The “Business Plot” as it came to be known, wasn't the only time DuPont and Standard Oil flirted with fascism. In 1936, these corporations were noticed by the US Federal government for aiding the Nazi war machine. The US Ambassador in Germany, William Dodd, wrote FDR in from Berlin on Oct. 19, 1936, that “The DuPonts have three allies in Germany that are aiding in the armament business.... Standard Oil Company (New York Sub Company) sent $2,000,000 here in December
1933 ...” (80)

Mellon's Alcoa, DuPont and Standard Oil had all entered into cartel agreements with IG Farben, the Bayer-controlled super-chemical cartel and the Nazi's biggest financial backers. (81) DuPont owned Farben stock, (82) and Farben was a leading investor in Ford. (83)

These corporations even teamed up to put other competitors aside from history at the time – as plotters in an attempted claimed these industrialists approached him and offered
hemp out of business. Between 1936 and 1950, National City Lines, a holding company sponsored and funded by (DuPont's) GM, Firestone, and (Rockefeller's) Standard Oil of California, bought out more than 100 electric surface-traction systems in 45 cities (including New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Tulsa, Baltimore, and Los Angeles) to be dismantled and replaced with GM buses. In 1949 GM and its partners were in fact convicted in U.S. district court in Chicago of criminal conspiracy in this matter and fined $5,000. (84)

If history proved that these corporations conspired to sponsor fascists, bribe politicians and eliminate streetcars in order to sell more cars and oil, is it so much of a stretch to believe they also conspired to eliminate
hemp - another natural competitor? And is it that hard to believe that these same corporations continue to do so?

Part Three: The Politics of Hemp Fuels

"The forces keeping pot illegal are among the strongest in the world. They include the oil and petrochemical industries, liquor and tobacco companies, and the pharmaceutical industry. ... the truth is legalizing hemp would restructure our national economy and put more money in the hands of American farmers, while devastating the petrochemical industry - the major source of world pollution. They have billions of dollars and all the thugs and narco cops on their side, but the truth is on our side. One day the truth will prevail." -Steve Hagar, High Times publisher, Interview in High Times magazine, July 1990, (85)

But the reason the pro-marijuana lobby want marijuana legal has little to do with getting high, and a great deal to do with fighting oil giants like Saddam Hussein, Exxon and Iran. The pro-marijuana groups claim that hemp is such a versatile raw material, that its products not only compete with petroleum, but with coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, pharmaceutical, timber and textile companies. It is estimated that methane and methanol production alone from hemp grown as biomass could replace 90% of the world's energy needs. If they are ight, this is not good news for oil interests and could account for the continuation of marijuana prohibition.
Hugh Downs ABC News, NY, 11/90: (86)

Why did they take it away? Because hemp is petroleum. It's big business again.”
Willie Nelson, 1991 (87)

"Remember, there is a 'THEY' and 'THEY' ARE out to get you. 'THEY' are the petrochemical pharmaceutical military-industrial trans-national fascist corporate elite son-of-a-bitches. ... the war against marijuana ... the war against this natural plant is their attempt to keep the farmers, the people ... and folks like you and me out of power ...."
Gatewood Galbraith, "High Society" interview with David Malmo-Levine, Pot TV, 26
Oct. 2001 (88)

The anti-hemp team up to it's same old tricks The Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) sponsors ads against cannabis use in any form, a great help to those who want the hemp-industry's red tape to persist in Canada, and hemp prohibition to persist in the USA. The PDFA have many donors in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as all of the old anti-hemp team: Chevron and ExxonMobil (both previously Standard Oil), E.I.duPont de Nemours & Company, General Motors and even Ford (now turned to the dark side) all usually donate up to $30,000 per year Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan and Citibank sometimes provide up to $15,000 per year. (89)

Election campaign contributions also ensure that hemp remains prohibited or over-regulated. The oil and gas industry donated $4,529,926 to the Bush presidential campaigns. The Automotive industry donated another $3,740,926. (90) From 1992-2002, energy-giant Enron contributed a total $3,021,108 to the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Bush-Quayle ‘92 and George W. Bush 2000. (91) Not that the Bush administration wasn't already comfortable with the oil industry. Bush's father – George Sr. - was once a Texas oilman. Dick Cheney, Bush's VP, once ran Halliburton – the massive oil well construction and services corporation. Bush's Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, worked at (Rockefeller's) Chevron – they even named a tanker after her!

CIA – Corruption In America

In a land not very far away from here
George W. Bush was drinkin beer
His daddy was head of the CIA
Now listen up close to what I say
The CIA worked for Standard Oil
And other companies to whom they're loyal
In a whole 'nother land by the name of Iran
The people got wise and took a stand
to the oil companies, ay ain't shit funny?
This is our oil, our land, our money
CIA got mad and sent false info
to Iraq to help start the Iran/Iraq wo'
The Coup, “Pick A Bigger Weapon”, 2006

The Bush and Rockefeller clans have been working together for about 100 years,
when in 1908 Samuel P. Bush (great-grandfather to the current president) took over the presidency of Buckeye Steel Casting company from Frank Rockefeller (brother of John D. Sr.). (92) Both families have provided members of Skull and Bones – the Yale fraternity that helped to start the CIA. (93) On Mike Ruppert's website, a strong case is made that the CIA's main job is to divert black-market drug money to Wall St. (94) I myself have a variation on that theory. I believe the CIA's main job is to keep the oil companies in power by controlling drug profits and oil access. If they have to start wars (or in hemp's case, keep wars going) in order to do this ... it's all part of the job.One last interesting fact about the CIA. James Woolsey, ex-head of the CIA, now sits on the board of the North American Industrial Hemp Council. (95)

Most wars are oil wars

We must set the pace and assume responsibility of the major stockholder in this corporation known as the world.” - Leo Welsh, Chairman of the Board of Standard Oil of New Jersey (Exxon), 1946 (96)

Long ago, the U.S. State Department declared the Middle East oil was "A stupendous source of strategic power ... one of the greatest prizes in world history." (97) Oil played a part in many major wars over the last 100 years. The following are just a few of many examples. The first group of fighting men England deployed in the First World War was the Dorset regiment. In 1914, as the war began, this regiment was sent to Basra,I raq, where they were joined by 51 other British divisions - to keep Germany from obtaining oil. (98) Germany had just one month of oil reserves left when it surrendered in 1918. (99)

By the mid 1920's, Germany's IG Farben (a cartel which included Bayer) had perfected a way to transform coal into “synthetic oil”. (100) Germany had no oil, but lots of coal. At the start of World War Two, fourteen synthetic fuel plants were in full operation, and six more were under construction. (101) For the Reich minister of armaments and war production Alan Speer, the May 12th, 1944 bombing of Germany's synthetic oil industry was the “turning point” in the war. (102)

In the 1953 Iran Coup D'etat (codenamed “Operation Ajax” and lead by the CIA)
the UK and USA made sure the independent nationalist government of Iran was destroyed forever, so as not to threaten their access to Iranian oil. (103) Vietnam has over a billion barrels of proven oil reserves, and crude oil is their largest export. (104) Some have argued that it was the oil that the USA was after during the Vietnam war. (105) The first thing Dick Cheney did after coming to office in 2001 was to launch an “energy task force” to examine Iraqi oil maps and prospective corporate “Suitors for Iraqi Oilfields”. (106)

Some have argued that the 9/11 attacks were a
self-inflicted wound to justify military involvements in the oil-rich Middle East. (107) A closer examination of the destruction of WTC 7 (the third building to fall on 9/11, a building not hit by an airplane, the third steel-framed skyscraper to fall from fire in history after WTC 1 and 2) reveals one of many reasons to doubt the official story.(108) On 9/11, Cheney was coordinating six “war games” for the Air Force – some of which involved hijack situations. Some have argued that it was these games that distracted the Air Force away from their job of escorting wayward airplanes. (109)

As a result of 9/11, we have the war in Afghanistan. Some critics are now calling this country “Pipelineistan”, as there seems to be much energy directed towards building a pipeline from the oil-rich Caspian Sea to US-friendly Pakistan. (110) There were attempts by the Bush administration to link 9/11 to Iraq – indeed, Rumsfeld was drawing up plans to strike Iraq within hours of the attacks (111) - but all attempts to find such a connection proved unsuccessful.(112) The administration invented other reasons to invade. There are now 14 permanent military bases on Iraqi soil, all located near the oil fields. (113) Given the above evidence, it seems that the rulers of the world would stop at nothing to control the world's energy resources. Keeping the war on cannabis users going to keep control of energy seems like par for the course, given all the other oil-wars these “petrocrats” have perpetrated.

It seems that these oil wars have gone on for a hundred years, with no end in sight. But there are two factors that are now coming into play that will very likely turn public opinion away from fossil fuels and towards alternatives such as hemp fuel. These two factors are 1) peak oil, and 2) climate change.

Peak Oil

“There was always the possibility, according to Kettering's friend Charles Stewart Mott, "that if a time ever came when the sources of [fossil] heat and energy were ever used up ... that there would always be available the capturing of... energy from the sun... through agricultural products ..." Henry Ford, Charles Kettering and the "Fuel of the Future" Copyright Bill Kovarik, Ph.D., 1998 (114) Peak oil is the theory that once humans have reached maximum oil production, the price will get very high very fast, with possible catastrophic effects. Some observers suggest that the decline will prompt an economic and social meltdown on a scale last experienced in the Great Depression — or perhaps even the Black Death. (115)

Just imagine what would happen to you if your energy and fuel costs were to be three or four or five times that of what you are paying today. Now imagine the effect of that on a national or international scale. Already the price of synthetic oil has risen to its highest in over 50 years ... perhaps its highest ever. (116) At least one reputable source argues that peak oil came and went in December of 2005. (117)

There is every reason to believe Dick Cheney understood peak oil as far back as 1999, when he said “...by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? ... the Middle East with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies ...” (118) Perhaps peak oil is how our elites justify their oil wars to themselves. For them, it's the only solution to rapidly running out of the types of energy reserves that are subject to monopoly and control. From a hemp activists perspective, it is important to note that something can be done to prevent hardships coming from fossil fuel dependency and peak oil – but only if we act now, while energy is still relatively cheap.

Our society could work together to create ethanol factories and windmills and solar panels and urban gardens, while cutting back on energy waste and meat-eating. If, however, we wait until the crisis hits, we may be too late to make the transition. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) announced on October 31st, 2006 that the U.S. production of biodiesel could reach 250 million gallons in 2006, triple the amount produced in 2005. (119) U.S. production of ethanol has surpassed the 4.5 billion gallon mark as of July 1, 2006. (120) While these facts are encouraging, we still have a long way to go to reduce the 20 million barrels of oil per day the US market consumes. (121)

Climate change

Each crop produces as much oxygen as it will later produce of CO2 if every bit of it is burned as fuel, creating a balanced cycle. Furthermore, hemp deposits 10 percent of its mass in the soil as roots and up to 30 percent as leaves which drop during the growing season. This means that some 20 to 40 percent more oxygen can be produced each season than will later be consumed as fuel – a net gain in clean air. Call it a “reverse greenhouse effect”.” -Chris Conrad, “Hemp – Lifeline to the Future”, (122)

The other emergency surrounding the fuel debate is climate change. There is much evidence to suggest that the use of fossil fuels is creating a “greenhouse effect” in our atmosphere that has led to the melting of the icecaps and glaciers, an increase in the number and intensity of storms, floods and droughts, and a warming and rising of the oceans. Some people – including Germany's environment minister and Britain's deputy prime minister - consider the damage done by hurricane Katrina in 1995 to be caused by this human-made climate change.(123) The consensus that fossil fuels cause climate change is quite strong. Those who study peer-reviewed reports know this to be true. For example, one study pointed out that out of 928 peer reviewed articles dealing with climate change, none doubted global warming was the cause. (124) Exxon Mobil (the largest chunk of the Rockefeller empire) has been pouring millions of dollars into creating the illusion that there is still doubt as to the cause of climate change. (125)

I recommend that everyone who still has doubts about the human factor in climate change check out the film “An Inconvenient Truth” - or pick up the book version. It's quite convincing. As hemp activists, we need to inform ourselves about climate change, particularly about one of the solutions to prevent catastrophe: carbon sequestration. Plants remove carbon from the atmosphere by incorporating it into biomass through photosynthesis. The Kyoto Protocol on climate change calls for an increase in carbon sequestration. (126) Hemp is an ideal crop for carbon sequestration, as it both provides the cheapest bio fuel and reduces the greenhouse effect as it grows. But, like peak oil, the clock is ticking, as there is only so much time to start “sequestering” before the damage from climate change overwhelms the relief efforts. The time to change over to hemp fuel is now.

The solution is obvious: end cannabis prohibition, remove the red tape and switch subsidies Even with record windfall profits, the oil industry is still subsidized to the tune of roughly $6 billion per year in the US. (127) That's not including the additional taxpayer tab for the oil wars and climate change – hundreds of billions of dollars for each of those. Just think of how many ethanol fuel plants 6 billion dollars could build. We cannabis activists must join forces with the environmentalists and the anti-war crowd and demand that the energy subsidies are switched from oil to ethanol and other renewables. And we must encourage these other activists to vocally, financially and electorally support our efforts to re-legalize cannabis, remove all that red
tape killing our hemp industries, and facilitate bank loans for projects such as hemp fuel plants, to give humanity a decent chance to replace these unsustainable fuel systems.

In conclusion ... some people laugh when I tell them I'm a cannabis activist for environmental and anti-oil war reasons. But it's absolutely true. So all you environmentalists and anti-war activists that have so far been silent about hemp better start to get noisy real soon, because ending the totalitarian war on cannabis and the cannabis community is probably the key to solving those other world-threatening problems. And for all you cannabis-lovers who are only focused on the medicinal or economic benefits of cannabis re-legalization, it's time to add “saving the environment” to your list ... because when you think about it, smog, oil wars and climate change are some of the biggest buzzkills imaginable.


(1) Vol. 1, #2, Dec. 1994, http://mojo.calyx.net/~olsen/HEMP/IHA/iha01213.html
(2) The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Eleventh Edition, 2000, p. 252
(3) http://www.copvcia.com/free/ww3/011606_world_stories.shtml#1
(4) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8607389/
Crude – The Story of Oil”, Sonia Shah, 2004, Seven Stories Press, New York, p. 169
(5) http://mojo.calyx.net/~olsen/HEMP/IHA/iha01213.html
(6) http://www.evworld.com/general.cfm?section=directory&page=insider&nextedition=12
(7) http://climate.uvic.ca/people/ewiebe/car/fuel_price.html
(8) http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/mogas_home_page.html
(9) http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/02/06/8367959/index.htm
(10) http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/analysispaper/biomass.html
(11) “The New Moonshiners”, Merilyn Mohr, Harrowsmith, #35, Vol. V:7, Apr./May 1981
(12) http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/rates/inflation_calc.html
(13) "http://fuelandfiber.com/Hemp4NRG/Hemp4NRGRV3.htm
(14) CIFAR Conference XIV, "Cracking the Nut: Bioprocessing Lignocellulose to
Renewable Products and Energy", June 4, 2001
(15) http://www.pacificresearch.org/press/opd/2007/opd_07-01-26tt.html
(16) http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2006/2006-05-22-03.asp
(17) http://www.extaltlabs.com/
(18)“Hemp”, Bourrie, p. 67
(19) Arthur Hanks, personal communication
(20) http://www.hemptrade.ca/en/public/about-hemp.ihtml
(21) http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/pubs/precurs/regs1089/cultiv-cuture_e.html
(22) Arthur Hanks, personal communication. See also:
(23)Arthur Hanks, personal communication
(24) http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/pubs/precurs/regs1089/possession_e.html
(25) http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/pubs/precurs/regs1089/revocation_e.html
(26) Canadian Seed Growers Association, personal communication
(27) Arthur Hanks, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, personal communication
(28)Keith Hutchence, personal communication
(29) Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, quoted in Emperor, p. 253
(30) Arthur Hanks, personal communication
(31) “Hemp – Lifeline to the Future”, Chris Conrad, pp. 96-100, 102
(32) http://www.eesi.org/programs/agriculture/Energy%20Balance%20update.htm
(33)Emperor, p. 250, Kieth Hutchence, personal communication
(34) Emperor, p. 252
(35) Kieth Hutchence, personal communication
(36) Keith
(37) Emperor, p. 253, note 17
(38)“Hemp facts and hemp fiction” Hayo M.G. van der Werf, Journal of the
International Hemp Association, Vol. 1, #2, Dec. 1994,
(39) Emperor, p. 252
(40) Emperor, p. 250
(41) http://www.globalhemp.com/Archives/Magazines/newtech1.html
(42) Emperor, p. 250
(43) http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Aug97/livestock.hrs.html
(44) http://www.iastate.edu/news/releases/2000/may/agtips.html
(45) http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel.html
(46) http://permaculture.com/alcohol/faqs.shtml
(47) original quote from Brough, James. The Ford Dynasty: An American Story. New
York: Doubleday, 1977, p. 118, cited in "Ford - The Men and the Machine", p. 365
(48) Lifeline, p. 99
(49) http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=441
(50) Letter on Prohibition - see Daniel Okrent, Great Fortune: The Epic of
Rockefeller Center, New York: Viking Press, 2003. (pp.246/7).
(51) www.cannabisculture.com/news/gwbayer
(52) from "The New Moonshiners, Merilyn Mohr, Harrowsmith, April/May 1981, pp. 29 See also: http://www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/papers/fuel.html
(53) http://www.druglibrary.org/SCHAFFER/hemp/indust/hawaii1.htm
(54) http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/hemp/downs2.htm
(55) http://www.dieselveg.com/rudolf_diesel.htm
(56) http://www.cyberlipid.org/glycer/biodiesel.htm
(57) http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/analysispaper/biomass.html
(58) http://www.hempcar.org/ford.shtml
(59) http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/hemp/downs2.htm
(60) Emperor, 209
(61) Lifeline, p. 99
(62) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rgDyEO_8cI
(63) Popular Mechanics, December, 1941 http://www.torontohemp.com/popmech.htm
(64) http://www.jackherer.com/chapter04.html
(65) Harry S. Anslinger, memo to Stephen Gibbons. Feb 1, 1936, from Lifeline to the Future, p. 45
(66) http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/pot/blunderof37.html
(67) http://www.wealth4freedom.com/Elkhorn.html
(68) Emperor, p. 29
(69) Rockefeller Medicine Men, pp. 143-144
Medical Education in the United States and Canada, Abraham Flexner, 1910, The
Classics Of Medicine Library, Gryphon, 1990, p.162
(71)The Circuit Riders – Rockefeller Money and the Rise of Modern Science pp.37, 135
(72) http://www.drpelletier.com/excerpts/156-Natures_Pharmacy.html
(73) Rockefeller Medicine Men, p. 155
(74) "The Drug Story," pp. 38-39
(75) America’s Sixty Families, Ferdinand Lundberg, The Vanguard Press 1937, New York, NY, pp.167, 206-208 http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg28389.html
(76) “The Creature From Jekyll Island”, pp. 495-497
(77) “The Plot to Seize The White House” By Jules Archer Hawthorn Books (1973)
(78) http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/53/Plot1.html
(79) http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/53/Plot1.html
(80) “Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler”, Antony Sutton, p. 15,
(81) “Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler”, Antony Sutton, p. 34, “IG Farben”, Richard Sasuly, 1947, p.184 http://www.spiritone.com/~gdy52150/1920sp3.html
(82) “The Devil's Chemists”, Josiah E. DuBois, p. 81
(83) “IG Farben”, Richard Sasuly, 1947, p. 182
(84) http://www.1134.org/stan/ul/GM-et-al.html
(85) quoted in "High Times Greatest Hits," St. Martin's Press, 1994, p. 138
(86) http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/hemp/downs2.htm
(87) High Times #185, Jan. 1991
(88) www.pot-tv.net/archive/shows/pottvshowse-996.html
(89) http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Partnership_for_a_Drug_Free_America
(90) http://www.opensecrets.org/presidential/indus.asp?ID=N00008072&Cycle=All
(91) http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1638383/posts
(92) http://www.scripophily.net/bucsteelcasc4.html
(93) http://www.freedomdomain.com/secretsocieties/skull01.html
(94) http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/economy/dontblink.html
(95) http://naihc.org/NAIHC_overview/board.html
(96) Victor Perlo, Militarism and Industry: Arms Profiteering in the Missile Age, New York: International Publishers, 1963, p. 144
(97) http://www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/chomgulfalb.htm
(98) http://www.spinwatch.org/content/view/3298/24/ see also “The Prize”, Daniel Yergin, p. 173
(99) “The Prize”, p. 183.
(100) Ibid, p. 330
(101) Ibid, p. 333
(102) “The Crime and Punishment of IG Farben”, Joseph Borkin, 1979, p. 128
(103) http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/08/25/1534210&mode=thread&tid=47
(104) http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/inimr-ri.nsf/fr/gr111788f.html
(105) http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/articles/040412/12barone.htm
(106) “It's the Crude, Dude”, Linda McQuaig, 2004, pp. 55-57
(107) http://www.scholarsfor911truth.org/
(108) http://www.rinf.com/news/nov05/World-Trade-Center.html
(109) http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/011805_simplify_case.shtml
(110) http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/pipestan1.html
(111) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/09/04/september11/main520830.shtml
(112) http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/attack/140133_bushiraq18.html
(113) http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/permindex.htm
(114) http://www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/papers/fuel.html
(115) http://www.peak-oil-news.info/economic-oil-supply-meltdown/
(116) http://oregonstate.edu/Dept/pol_sci/fac/sahr/gasol.htm
(117) http://www.energybulletin.net/21696.html
(118) http://www.energybulletin.net/349.html
(119) http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/news_detail.html?news_id=10385
(120) http://www.michigan.gov/mda/0,1607,7-125--154870--,00.html
(121) http://angrybear.blogspot.com/2005/04/oil-impact-on-us-economy.html
(122) “Hemp – Lifeline to the Future”, p. 72
(123) http://www.guardian.co.uk/katrina/story/0,16441,1567348,00.html
(124) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26065-2004Dec25.html
(125) http://www.environmentaldefense.org/article.cfm?contentid=4870
(126) http://www.sinkswatch.org/http://arch.rivm.nl/env/int/ipcc/pages_media/SRCCS-final/IPCCSpecialReportonCarbondioxideCaptureandStorage.htm
(127) http://action.globalexchange.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=4874&t=ActionCenter.dwt

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